BENDIGO tyre fitters and mechanics are poised to put our fair city on the map tomorrow night, when they weigh in on the culture wars for the Miriam Margolyes: Australia Unmasked television program.
The group has bravely stepped forward to assume the mantle of Australian bogans, to represent revhead culture for Margolyes as she compares the class system here to that of the UK.
While Bendigo may be known for the gold rush and its art and culture - an unflattering guidebook review courtesy of the S**t Towns of Australia has pointed Margolyes in our direction to find the bogans she needs.
Hilariously, she is filmed driving into the service area of Bendigo Beaurepaires, eyeing the staff, and reflecting that she may have hit the "jackpot".
In the hour-long episode Billy Phillips, 26, and formerly of Berwick, checks the tyre pressure on her van, upgrades her motorised scooter and invites her to a burnout competition.
The self-described "friendly bogan" and colleague Ashley Ferguson, dubbed the "bearded bogan" take on leading roles in a lighthearted overview of the less than prestigious motor sports they both enjoy.
Any doubts over Mr Phillips' credentials are quickly settled when he shows off his 1993 Holden VP wagon series II, richly adorned with suggestive stickers.
Margolyes expressed concern that bogans might be a lot like "yobs" and therefore likely to be loud and have an over developed sense of appreciation for jet skis.
She followed the group to the burnout "skid event" on a speedway outside of Bendigo and is filmed riding shotgun for a brief time and warming to the people, if not the hobby.
"Every assumption I had about bogans was wrong," she said.
"They are generous, they are fun and I think I was guilty - once again - of snobbery.
"I learned there is a bit of bogan in me."
The intellectual endeavour to better understand the class system in Australia was inspired by Margolyes' own citizenship ceremony in Canberra, which took place nearly 10 years ago.
She was gifted a booklet from the Australian government which extolled the virtues of the "fair go" and the absence of a class system in her new homeland.
"I come from England and the place is riddled with class," she said.
She took to the streets of Melbourne on her scooter to ask people which class they belonged to and found they overwhelmingly identified as middle class.
A homeless man begging on the streets tells her he was educated at Melbourne Grammar School and Monash University, where he was awarded a science degree in math and chemistry.
He said he had "worked too hard and had a breakdown" leading to his life on the streets.
She quizzed each participant on whether they felt they had received a "fair go" which elicited a lot of positive responses and some concern for other groups including Indigenous Australians and the homeless.
Mr Phillips told the Bendigo Advertiser that filming the show was a lot of fun and Margolyes was enjoyable company.
"You never know what to expect really when you are going to meet celebrities - but she was really nice," he said.
"If she came down again we would take her (to events), no problems."
The program, episode two of the series, airs Tuesday July 26 at 8.30pm on ABC TV.
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