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Episode 2

Frankie Boyle visits Russia ahead of the World Cup. Celtic fan Frankie meets ordinary Russian football fans to find out if the game means as much to them as it does to him.

Comedian Frankie Boyle continues his travels in Russia ahead of the 2018 football World Cup. Watched by a global audience of two billion people, the tournament is a big opportunity for Russians to showcase their country, culture and sporting dominance. But Russian football is in a sorry state, with possibly the worst-performing national team since the fall of the USSR and fans who are notorious for their racist chants and violence. What has happened in Russia to turn the beautiful game ugly?

In this episode, Celtic fan Frankie goes in search of ordinary Russian football fans to find out if the game means as much to them as it does to him. He gets invited to watch a match in the corporate box of a wealthy Spartak Moscow fan, and despairs of the soullessness of corporate hospitality. Spartak is proud of its proletarian roots. Created by the trade union organisation in 1922, it became known as the people's team, although since it was taken over by a billionaire, its fortunes have been on the wane.

With money flooding into the game of football across the world, Frankie discovers that in Russia, it is not just the premiership footballers who are cashing in. In the middle of Moscow's high-rise tower blocks, Frankie meets the street footballers who are selling their skills to the highest bidders, earning massive advertising endorsements. Heading out of the capital to the small industrial town of Shatura, Frankie is delighted to meet Celtic's biggest supporter, a Russian power station worker who loves the Scottish team so much he changed his name to Denis McGoalach and formed his own Celtic team. Frankie can't resist the invitation to join the Celtic Shatura team, realising those childhood dreams of playing in the green-and-white hoops.

Frankie travels to Russia's most hardcore town to play an unusual game of football with a team who play the game at high speed on motorbikes. Thankfully their post-match antics only involve being whipped with twigs in a sauna. Frankie then goes to St Petersburg, which is hosting one of the World Cup semi-final matches, to meet Russia's leading football historian and biggest collector of football paraphernalia, where he discovers that football arrived in Russia 120 years ago via the Scots. Before he leaves, Frankie wants to see where the England team and many fans will be staying during the tournament, so he heads to a small seaside town called Repino on the outskirts of St Petersburg. Some people are saying that the facilities in Repino aren't good enough for the World Cup. On the bright side for England, it is a World Cup, so at least they won't have to stay there for very long.

59 minutes

Last on

Wed 27 Mar 2019 00:15

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Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:01

    Michael Nyman

    First Region From Mgv

  • 00:16


    Lose Yourself

  • 00:16


    Lose Yourself

  • 00:20

    The Russian Folk Ensemble 'Bal

    Horoshi Vesnoi V Sadu Tzvetochki

  • 00:26

    Elmer Bernstein

    Premature Plans

  • 00:33

    Dmitry Shostakovich

    Jazz Suite No.2 – Waltz 2

  • 00:37

    Matt Monro

    From Russia With Love


Role Contributor
Presenter Frankie Boyle
Production Company ITN Productions


  • Sun 10 Jun 2018 21:00
  • Wed 13 Jun 2018 23:15
  • Sat 30 Jun 2018 00:55
  • Thu 12 Jul 2018 23:15
  • Wed 27 Mar 2019 00:15