Staying in: Sauciness and silicone

A statuesque Austrian woman wearing a crown, a lurid green bikini and a matching sash reading "Miss Asparagus" sashays into a television studio to sit on the knee of a suave Frenchman. "Would you mind taking a look at my asparagus?" he asks, in more of a simple than a double entendre. "How does it compare to other boys' asparagus? What part do you prefer - the shaft or the tip?" Having salaciously invited the woman to gorge herself on some asparagus, the man then wonders: "Was it as good for you as it was for me?" The spirit of Carry On is not dead. It lives on in Eurotrash.

Channel 4's self-mockingly kitsch celebration of boobs and behinds is, rather amazingly, starting its 10th series on Friday. People either love it or loathe it because it's the show that decency forgot. One particularly memorable (for all the wrong reasons) item concerned a German artist who painted with his own excrement. Presiding like a twinkly satyr over this parade of sauciness and silicone is Antoine de Caunes, the aforementioned Frenchman.

Later on, at the studio in the outskirts of Paris, he takes time out from another ludicrous sketch - in which he is dressed, for no discernible reason, as a Spanish flamenco dancer - to explain why the British have so warmed to his bin-load of Eurotrash.

Done up in long, dark tresses, which he keeps flicking from his eyes, a gaudy red shirt, too-tight trousers and an over-sized gold medallion nestling in an unruly chest-wig, De Caunes reflects that: "If you look at it without being drunk, the show is about an absolutely ridiculous French guy who's pretending to be a sex-bomb when he's really just an old fart. The British get that sense of self-irony."

Jean-Paul Gaultier, the designer who is returning for a special-guest- star appearance as De Caunes' bickering co-host on Friday, chimes in: "Only French people could make fun of French people like this on English TV."

These subtleties, however, have been lost on the many critics who can't see beyond content, which is often bluer than a bay in the Aegean. De Caunes - who speaks much better English than he lets on during Eurotrash - has no time for these carpers. "The tabloids are always complaining that the show has too much sex, but that's so hypocritical. They put tits on Page 3 and then harass us for showing too much sex. But they're always the first people to watch Eurotrash. The British pretend to be so straight, but they're the most eccentric people on Earth. Look at London. By day, it's a normal working city, but by night all these weirdos come out of the ground like werewolves."

De Caunes goes on to claim - somewhat improbably - that Eurotrash also handles its guests with respect. "Seriously, we treat them correctly. We have weird people coming on - you open any paper and you see it's a mad world - but we're never rude or nasty to them.

"In France, there is a freak show whose only purpose is to exploit people, but we never use them because they're bizarre. We had a guy on from Scandinavia who sings country-and-western songs on a unicycle. He's so bad, it's fantastic - that's the theme of the show. We're good fun for the whole family." Especially if that family is named Addams.

In France, the 42-year-old De Caunes is developing handy sidelines as a writer of detective fiction and as a movie star. After one celebrated recent role involving a graphic sex scene, critics wrote admirably about his bottom (talk about turning the tables). Did he require a body double? "No - I'm not Demi Moore," he laughs. "It was definitely my bottom. People are always focusing on nudity. But if there's a good reason for it, I don't see it as a problem. It's no worse than pretending to be Nana Mouskouri on Eurotrash."

It is thanks to such endearingly silly stunts that De Caunes has become that most unusual of beings: a Frenchman popular in Britain. "The good news is that for people of my generation, this so-called war between Britain and France is over," he concurs. "We never cared about it, and because of popular culture, it has now disappeared anyway.

"The bad news is," he concludes with a smile, "that the French guy I'm following in terms of popularity is Sacha Distel. That makes me afraid. Am I going to end up as the next Sacha Distel?"

The new series of `Eurotrash' begins on Friday at 10.30pm on Channel 4

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture