SpOTlighT Blast from the past
Television viewers may remember It’s a Knockout, a slapstick show of slippery slopes and custard pies. The French equivalent, Intervilles, involved skulduggery and rivalry between competing towns. “We cheated endlessly,” says former presenter Olivier Chiabodo, 54, who has broken 20 years of silence on the subject. In one episode in 1997, Chiabodo was photographed helping the team from Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in western France, competing against Pays d’Ancenis. He was sacked by the broadcaster, TF1, which also filed a criminal lawsuit against him. An out-of-court settlement, including a confidentiality clause, followed. Now Chiabodo claims he had, in fact, merely been obeying orders from the producer because TF1 wanted to curry favour with regional politicians backing the theme park. The team captain that day was Bruno Retailleau, now a prominent member of the French Senate. He has not commented on the allegations.