According to one source in London, the Van den Driessche family has agreed to a reality TV show based on the recent dramatic events surrounding their activities in and around the world of pro cycling, doping and exotic birds.
Daughter Femke has become instantly famous as the first pro rider caught for motorized doping at the recent cyclo-cross World Championship race. She claimed the bike belonged to a friend who had installed a motor inside. However Femke and the team mechanics somehow didn’t even notice it wasn’t her own race bike. A fabulous and farcical story that TV producers are ready to jump on.
Father Peter and son Niels are also accused of stealing two expensive parakeets from a pet store De Gouldamandine in Varsenare. In addition, Neils is currently serving a doping suspension himself, the pharma kind, not the motorized variety. There is no end to the storytelling possibilities.
Femke has been fired from her Kleur op Maat squad and bike sponsor Wilier is suing both Femke and the team. It all adds up to a series of high action scenes and powerful, searing human drama.
London production company Fire & Water are in negotiation with the Van den Driessche family about a reality show to go into production as early as March. “You can’t invent stories this good. The whole family is in shit up to their necks. It’s fantastic TV,” said Nigel Wickhaven, head of production at Fire & Water.
The show will apparently take an MTV-style approach with cameras all over the family home. “We’ll shoot everything. Dad is a thief, the son a doper and the poor daughter, pushed into mechanical doping. Can you imagine the emotional breakdowns, the arguments, the accusations? I can’t wait to shoot,” said Wickhaven.
The bizarre story hits every note of a classic dark comedy and Wickhaven thinks this narrative may captivate all of Europe. “Look at the pictures, you know? Femke looks like this sweet girl and the father looks like a skinhead. And yet, this tough guys has a fascination with little tiny singing birds,” says WIckhaven. “There’s some very strange psychological undertones. Very Freudian.”
Ir remains to be seen whether the Van den Driessche family will even be available for shooting with all their legal troubles. However, Wickhaven is confident he can work around their schedule. “It’s all part of the show, really. The lawyers, the courtroom, the pet shop, the mysterious friend with the motorized bike, the blind mechanic, the crazy Belgian bike race fans, the pressure to win, the glory and the cheating. We’ll do whatever we have to do to bring the story to life.’
Wickhaven has already enlisted former bike racer and author Joe Parkin, know for his famous book A Dog In A Hat, the chronicle of his days racing in Belgium in the the mid and late eighties. “Yeah, I though of calling the show Dope And A Parakeet and that reminded me of Joe’s book,” said WIckhaven. “He’s tremendously excited about writing the script.”
With an aggressive production schedule already mapped out and the story receiving tremendous attention, Wickhaven has begun casting. “Obviously, we have Femke, Neils and Peter but I want to find just the right parakeets.”