There’s a programme on the BBC at the moment, and it basically involves three “celebrities” going to France and trying to learn the language. It is a reality show, but it’s not like Big Brother or anything like that.
The celebs are staying in a posh villa in a really nice, rural part of France. They are not allowed to speak English between 9am and 5pm, or something like that. They have their own personal French tutor to help them. They spend the morning having lessons, then they head out in the afternoon, into France and take on some kind of challenge to help them practise what they’ve learned.
At the end of, I think, four weeks, they have to do their day jobs completely in French. So, for example, one of them is a stand-up comedian, and will have to perform a routine in French.
It’s basically trying to see if the immersion technique works, that by throwing these people into France and making them be around French people and speak French all day long, they will learn the language quicker.
It’s hard to tell whether it’s working or not, but it does make good television.
My problem with it is that the celebs keep complaining. One of the challenges was to work in a restaurant. One of the celebs was complaining that she didn’t want to, that it isn’t why she came to France.
How ungrateful can you be? How often does someone say to you - Go and stay in a villa, have a personal tutor, learn French, get paid to do so? Not very often.
It’s a chance in a lifetime and they’re still not happy about it.