Plonk not branded content says co-creator: ‘just happened to be funded by tourism body’


Earl, Taylor and Joshua Tyler

Plonk, a behind-the-scenes comedy web series following the trials of a TV crew as they create a wine show, is set to return as a fully-fledged TV show on streaming platform Stan following the success of last year’s web series as the show’s co-creator disputes the show’s branded content tag.

Last year’s web series, featuring The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and created by Nathan Earl and Glen Condie, explored the NSW wine region and this year’s series will take viewers to the South Australian wine region.

Speaking to Mumbrella about the second series of the show, Plonk co-creator and executive producer Nathan Earl debated whether the show was branded content, suggesting it was a TV show that “just happened to be funded by a tourism partner”.Season one of the show was primarily funded by Destination NSW, a consequence of which its producers argue it was given the branded content tag, while season two has been jointly funded by Screen Australia and the South Australia Tourism Commission.

“That branded content tag is interesting because everybody that makes Plonk is from a television background so we always saw it as television show that just happened to be funded by a tourism partner rather than a network,” said Earl.

“This time around we’ve got a significant amount of our funding from Screen Australia and our other major funder is the South Australian Tourism Commission, it’s a weird hybrid on the funding model.”

On season two Earl said viewers could expect a similar season to last year’s efforts.

“More from the same dysfunctional television crew except this time we have a much larger canvas to play with which is the South Australian wine industry. We’ve expanded the idea out, the episodes are longer, there’s more of them, we’ve expanded the dysfunctional TV team out a little more to include a few more supporting characters who have to put up with our foibles,” he said.

Last year’s web series consisted of five 10-minute videos which were then later stitched together to form complete half hour shows to air on Ten‘s secondary channel Eleven. Season two, set to premiere on Stan in June, consists of six half-hour episodes.

On the distribution deal with Stan Earl said it forced the team to focus more specifically on creating strong TV episodes.

“What it’s done is it has forced us to focus very specifically on making the television episodes as strong as they can be,” he said.

“Last time we made a web series and we were lucky enough for it to get a run on Channel Ten and Eleven and so we cobbled together these half hour episodes out of the web episodes. This time around in the writing and editing we focused on making a really strong 22-minute-half hour episode.

“Being on Stan legitimises Plonk as genuine television show in its own right and hopefully we reach an audience who are hungry to take a chance on different types of content.

“And it will eventually get released through the more traditional means down the track as well,” he added.

When quizzed if hopes Plonk will air on Nine, one of the joint partners behind Stan, Earl said he was hopeful.

“If Nine likes it and it does well on Stan and there’s enough of a demand for it then it would be lovely for it to play out on Nine or Gem or Go. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”

The second season of Plonk picks up 12 months after the cancellation of the fictitious Plonk program at the end of season 1 and was filmed in Adelaide and the South Australian wine regions of Barossa, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Adelaide Hills.

It will feature cameos from food legend Maggie Beer, celebrity sommelier Matt Skinner, comedian Greg Fleet and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.

Plonk season one will be available to stream on Stan from May.

Miranda Ward 


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