Obviously, even though we don’t like to admit it here, the Brits sometimes do things first and better than us.
The people from Rampage Studios were kind enough to send me the first two episodes of this series about the London Rollergirls (and a lot more). But they were also smart enough to allow me just a few hours to watch them and with restricted passwords, so I can’t post them for all to see. The series can be seen on Extreme TV in the UK.
I have seen every Derby Film from The Fireball with Mickey Rooney, Pat O’Brien, and Marilyn Monroe. to my “Derby”. “Whip It” and “Derby Baby” so you can say I know my Derby. But DTID chooses an interesting path: each episode follows a different individual through her daily life, especially with Derby. Treekill Tart (Theresa Brown) wants more than anything to be a London Rollergirl and is in their rec league. The first episode follows her through her training, competing and finally with her tryout which occurs every six months by LRG. What makes it good programming is seeing the reaction of others in her personal life, her work as a park ranger, her try with the other women at burlesque. and finally her tryout, which if you have watched Derby at all you know she will be rejected, but she just goes forward to try again. And unlike the series shown on AE years ago, this show is never dull or exploitive.
Although the camera work and editing are stellar there will be complaints from Derbyites that there isn’t more Derby and less other. The obvious answer: if you are creating a series you want everyone to watch and be interested in, you better achieve balance, and the producers have accomplished that. And Treekill exudes such joy and spirit the episode just flies by, and of course my very own (she will learn someday) Raw Heidi and the others are huge contributors. They were able to catch the naturalness and the uniqueness of Roller Derby (“Darby”) people. And the Ewok portion showed another side of the fun of the game.
The second episode is definitely more hardcore. The focus is on that great Derby couple from the Brawlers, Stefanie Mainey and Olivia Coupe; Stefanie the star skater, Olivia the captain, and a couple in real life. You want to see fitness and training that any sport participant would want to emulate, it is here….a great tourney in Europe where the Berlin Bombshells upset the team from the UK, the Tiger Bay Brawlers; it is there where the skating and the fans are captured perfectly. And the episode ends with LRG coming to the US to skate (and beat!) the fabulous Rat City (Seattle) Rollers in a huge NBA arena. The action caught is startling.
I am not a reviewer and there is no way I can do this series justice. Those who know me know that I love film and am rather harsh in my criticisms (see “The Dallas Buyers Club” and know I liked it), so I am far less likely to fall over everything just because it is Derby.
This is a wonderful series: I hope someone picks it up here: frankly, if not ESPN, then Oprah, Bravo, etc. Perhaps the most important thing you will get from these shows are implied empowerment, team play, athleticism, love of sport with no pay, and an enthusiasm for life that is bigger than life.
Good show, Rampage, and the London Rollergirls and supporting cast.