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“Why does the television smell of garlic, dear?”

~ Oscar Wilde on SECAM

“F*ck me, Henri, 40 years of work and all we get is Benny Hill and 1970's variety shows!”

For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia think they have an article about SECAM.

SECAM, also written SÉCAM (Système élégant contre les AMéricains, French for "Elegant system against the Americans"), is an analog color television system first used in France. A team led by the unimaginitively named Henri De France between the years 1956-1967-1984 between long periods of eating cheese and baguettes whilst drunk and high on absynth and brake fluid invented SECAM. Designed as a European alternative to the NTSC system (Nice Try Shite Colours) created by the USA and intended to save the world from imperialist American aggression.

Technical Detail[edit]

A complete mess. Eleven years of hard work drinking and drugs resulted in a system that whilst not as bad as the American effort (colour-wise) has so many flaws it is only really suitable for the blind and is about as much use as their subtitles for the deaf (none; intermittent; subtitles for another show (usually about cheese or baguettes) or subtitles for the right show but don't make sense).


SECAM I was actually a C-Clamp.
  • SECAM I: After four years of hard drinking, smoking and eating cheese and baguettes, Henri de France woke up in 1960 to the sound of Charles_de_Gaulle hammering on his workshop door. Realising he was in deep shit, he picked up the tool (shown right) from his bench and told de Gaulle he thought he was asked to invent the C-Clamp. He almost got away with until de Gaulle saw the words "Made in Germany" stamped on the back. It took three operations to remove the clamp from his rectum.

Sea Clam: SECAM II - the spelling was closer.
  • SECAM II: Three years later and history repeated itself. Fortunately, this time Henri de France had some unfunished sea clams from his lunch. The end result - only one operation to remove the offending clams, although follow-up surgery was required on his anal bleeding and severely damaged sphincher.

Sea Cam - Not quite there...
  • SECAM III. This was now almost perfect - "Sea Cam": He was getting closer. Only an extraneous "A" to remove from the word "Sea" and then join the words together - voila: secam. De Gaulle was slightly more impressed until he realised that the waterproof bag was actually a used cholostomy bag that Henri de France now required after his previous failures. Result - major anal reconstruction and two blood transfusions caused by the need to remove the extraneous video camera from his bottom.

Perfection At Last- sorry, that's PAL
  • SECAM IIIb: By now it was 1967 and de Gaulle was soon to die. As a last ditch attempt to please him, Henri de France invented SECAM IIIb - a minor revision to the previous standard which resulted in him producing the electronic baguette. This had many advantages - very French, tasty, unlikely to offend anyone and also, and this was a very important personal consideration - more comfortable up the arse.

  • SECAM NIR: This was a Franco/Soviet attempt to improve things further athough a broken vodka bootle up the arse was too much for de Henri who now required cholostomy trousers to cope with the festering bread based products. Result - nothing. Henri de France took up kitten huffing as ever larger anal installations (including the Eiffel Tour between 1968-1979) failed to provide sexual gratification.

  • SECAM IV/H: This was implemented in around 1980 to add a touch of camembert and the magic ingredient - garlic. This was necessary because the baguette was becoming rather dry. It also had useful antiseptic properties and was soothing on Henri de France's ringpiece which had reached the size of Luxembourg and has caused the common misconception: "Luxembourg - what a shithole".

Comparison Of Systems[edit]

Below are random sample images shown in their original form (left) and how they appear on the telly in the homeland of their origin.

Original Image
As seen in NTSC-land

Here we see George Bush as he is (left) and how he is seen on a typical NTSC telly.

Problems: Loss of hue, lack of UN resolution and clarity.

NB: The above symptoms are for the NTSC colour systems and not George Dubya.

  • PAL aka Winalot and Chum (Germany)
Original Image
As seen in PAL-land

Here we see Angela Merkin, current Chancellor of Germany, as she is (left) and how he is seen on a typical PAL telly.

Problems: Nein. German efficiency strikes again. Superior colour (black, white and red are favourites), superior resolution and stronger beer.

  • SECAM (France)
Original Image
As seen in SECAM-land

Here we see Nicolas Sarkozy as he is (left) and how he is seen on a typical SECAM telly.

Problems: He's a twat.


SECAM IIIb was finally implemented in 1967 and used up to the early 1980's. Late in the 1970's, it was discovered that video recorders would not work properly with the dumbass French SECAM televsions. Therefore, the French invented the SCART connector (which is translated from the French acronym PERITEL - Possibly Even Ropier Interface for TELevision) to get around this but it was still shite, especially when the SCART connector would work loose.

It has also been imposed on a few other countries lured by the smell of garlic and cheese and the promise of cheap wine and Parisien whores by the boatload. However, most of those in Eastern Europe, as well as Mongolia, escaped to PAL-land after the fall of communism in the early 1990's when the French were too busy dodging soap (if it wasn't good enough for the Mongolians who would it be good for???!!).


The latest in French television technology - in a supermarché near you just in time for Christmas 2008

France prides iteslf on being at the forefront of technology. It can produce spacecraft (that crash occasionally), aeroplanes (that crash occasionally), trains (that run okay when there is not a strike), hi-tech military equipment (to sell to countries opposed to the rest of the world), etc, etc. Unfortunately, it also produced SECAM.


None. SECAM will die in France in 2011 after le switchover digitale unless it is eaten by Grues first (which is unlikely as they started to eat it but left it in agony for the past 40 years because it was soooooo bad) .

It will probably hang on in a few other territories for some years afterwards, unlike the French army which tends to get their arses out very quickly at the first sign of a slighly irritated local.

A dieu, SECAM.


  • Not NTSC American NTSC.
  • Garlicy, cheesey and baguetty (French point of view only).


  • French.
  • Shite.
  • French.
  • Smells like shite/garlic/cheese (rest of the world, not France).
  • I can't use my UK telly here in France - bast*rds.
  • Yep, it's still French.