Hamish & Andy confident split season run of True Story won’t impact audience

Hamish Blake and Andy Lee are confident splitting their new scripted comedy True Story into two five-part series runs won’t impact the show’s audience.

Speaking to media after a preview of the show – which debuts Monday, June 5 at 7.30pm on Nine – the duo said the split in season one’s TV run was due to scheduling issues.

Nine “thinks it’s so good that the audience would need a month to calm down” joked Blake.

“It’s actually just due to the airing windows and us finishing the episodes.”

Blake is confident splitting the series into two five-episode runs won’t impact the show building momentum with an audience.

“Each episode stands alone, if it was a drama series, if you needed to be ‘Will Billy and Samantha get together?’ and you needed to remember that six weeks later [it may not work],” he said.

“One of the things that we love about the show is you can come in on any week and it is its own self-contained mini-arc.”

For Lee that presents its own challenge.

“Some people do want characters and that’s what makes Offspring go so long because you fall in love with these characters and you want to see what they’re up to,” he said.

“We’ve got the challenge of every week it’s a brand new cast. This is about stories rather than about the casting. ”

Blake added: “While we don’t the series long arc, it does allow for it to stop for a break and start up again.”

The show will also be available on Nine’s streaming and on-demand service 9Now.

True Story with Hamish & Andy uses dramatic re-enactments to bring to life “the best Australian tales you’ve never heard”.

The show sees ordinary Australians sit down with comedy duo and tell them their very best story, with their narration inter-cut with the re-enactment by a variety of Australian comedy and acting talent from the likes of John Wood to Helen Dallimore to Kitty Flanagan.

“There’s a lot of people whose status, I would say, is certainly a lot higher than turning up for one afternoon, but they just make it sing. It just warms the cockles a little bit to know the real principals out there are going ‘Holy shit, John Wood played me’,” quipped Blake.

“For Andy and I, we’re just eternally grateful for a) the storytellers, b) the team that made the show and c) the actors that did such a great job bringing it to life for if any of those three components weren’t there, we wouldn’t have a show.”

Created and produced by Tim Bartley, Blake, Lee and Ryan Shelton, the series has been partly funded by Film Victoria.

Tim Bartley, Hamish Blake, Andy Lee and Ryan Shelton

On the funding, Lee said the team are really grateful.

“It was really important for us for this one because we had to create 10 new worlds, so that’s an expensive process.

“Hamish and I are obviously on $10m an episode and that comes straight from the government,” Lee quipped.

On a more serious note, Lee said: “With Film Victoria, we couldn’t have done it without them but obviously Nine was the bulk of the support.

“What was really great – we employed 65 crew, 65 people working daily on the show, 138 speaking roles, nearly 300 extras, up to nearly 700 different actors.

“It was a huge amount of people being used and coming through the machine. When you think about all those, they need costumes, these departments, they weren’t huge, we had really clever, tiny departments working their butts off just to make sure we could get there. That’s where the government funding comes in.”

Lee said they are thankful to Nine for green-lighting the project which in a world of reality TV is quite different.

“We’re grateful to Channel Nine for saying ‘Yes, we’re happy to go with this, it’s a difficult arena, comedy. Also, one-off half-hour shows is difficult. A lot of programming across commercial networks uses stripped at the moment, it’s stripped across multiple days, we’ll be up against strong long-term, reality-based shows. This will be a different offering,” he said.

“When we first conceived the show we had an honest discussion with the network, we said ‘We think this could possibly work with you guys, we’d love it to, but we also think it could have a home at the ABC and we want your honest opinion to whether it would work.'”

Blake added: “We’re all big boys and girls, we’ve all been in the industry for a long time and the general rule for any new show is: hope it works.”

Hamish & Andy and the star of True Story episode one, Rachel

On the real Australians who tell their stories in the show, Lee said there was a lot of trust.

“They didn’t know what the show was going to look like, they didn’t even know it was going to be a TV show at first because we really wanted to keep it a secret because it’s such a long process. We’re really grateful for these 10 people who came forward,” he said.

Blake added: “The dream is people will be sitting on the couch going ‘Mum, you have to go on the show’.”


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