‘Really? Are they going to like it?’: Even Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer were stunned by the global success of Colin From Accounts

Colin From Accounts is back for a second season, and the world is watching.

Created, starring, and written by Aussie husband-and-wife team Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer, Colin from Accounts is that rarest of beasts: an Australian romantic comedy.

The first season was an undeniable hit show. Produced by Easy Tiger Productions and CBS Studios for Foxtel and released on BINGE in one hit last December, Colin from Accounts was soon picked up by BBC Two in the UK (where they air the cool stuff) and Paramount+ in the US. Dyer and Brammall’s easy chemistry, hilarious dialogue, and the show’s big, beating heart soon found fans in all corners of the world. Plus, you know, a cute dog can only help.

Back home, it hasn’t done too shabbily either, taking the AACTA Awards for Best Narrative Comedy, and three Logie Awards — Most Outstanding Comedy Program, plus the Most Outstanding Actress and Most Outstanding Actor for the two leads.

Dyer and Brammall spoke to Mumbrella an hour before the new season of Colin From Accounts dropped on BINGE.

How much pressure is involved in following up a first season smash, as you have had to do?

Patrick Brammall: It varies throughout the process. I think because the response to season one was so kind of beyond our expectations, I think I personally started to feel a bit like, ‘Oh God’, before we sat down to write season two.

Harriet Dyer: And as we sat down to write it, we realised there was so much that we didn’t get to put into season one. We had all these leftover jokes and leftover storylines, and we also knew how much the public enjoyed our ensemble characters as well, and so we actually had – it was a better place to start from.

Brammall: It was, and weirdly, once we started writing, all the kind of talk and feedback and stuff kind of disappeared. It was just us alone in a room kind of reconnecting with our world that we love so much. So, we felt fine all through that, and I think the pressure remounted when we were delivering it.

Dyer: Yeah, in the edit is when we felt the most pressure, because the writing and the shooting, it was like, ‘it’s still all possible’, but then in the edit, that’s the thing you’re actually handing in for everyone to watch, and even though we don’t press the buttons, we are sitting in their, every day of the edit. It’s eight weeks of watching ourselves and trying to work out what we should cut, what we should flesh out – and that was the most stressful part.

Brammall: Yeah, because you’re finally going, ‘Well, this is actually what the audience is gonna see. So is it good enough?’ And by that time, we’re so close to it, it’s hard to sort of zoom out and see.

Dyer:  And very tired, you know, at that point. You’re really rung out, and then you’re doing press as well, and got a toddler, it’s just all, it all stacks up a bit in the edit.

Brammall: But it’s fine. We’ve got no one to blame but ourselves.

Dyer: That’s our fault, yeah.

And you guys work with CBS Studios to produce this? Are they hands-on in terms of like notes, feedback? Do they push back? And has that gotten either worse or better after the success of the first season?

Dyer: They’ve given, like, one note a season. They’re amazing. And they actually gave a very late note this season, for season two, which was a game changer. It was something we were very grateful for.

Brammall: They’ve just been very hands-off. They’ve given us a long leash, and we’ll submit scripts and episodes, and they’ll just, 99% of the time, it’s just like, ‘This is great. Can’t wait for this to happen.’

Dyer: And I don’t know if like all American studios are like that. I think we got very lucky.

Brammall: Very lucky.

It’s succeeded in a number of markets, were there ones that you were surprised they related to it, or conversely, were there markets that you thought, ‘this will go well there’, and it just didn’t?

Dyer: We hadn’t really thought about it.

Brammall: No, we were surprised when it went to any markets outside of Australia, honestly.

Dyer: Yeah, truly. We were really humbled and overwhelmed at how much the Brits loved it though, because we find that comedy to be the funniest. You know, that’s our sensibility. So we were really, we just were chuffed when they liked it.

Brammall: Yeah. But then when we’re talking to, you know, people from Spain and people from, you know, Benelux and stuff, we’re like, ‘Really? They bought it as well, really? Are they going to like it?’ And they do. I can’t make heads and tails of that.

Dyer: It’s a bit tricky when it’s in a different language, I think, obviously. Unless they’re watching it with subtitles, they might be watching it with dubbed different actors. That’s something I have to let go of, because I’m not sure if they’re doing what we would do. So, anyone that watches it, we’re like, ‘Good on you, mate’.

Brammall: Yeah, when that happens, I always think of growing up watching Monkey on ABC, and that was all dubbed. I didn’t have a clue as a kid, but I loved it.

And practically speaking, is working with a dog hard?

Brammall: I mean, I wouldn’t know, but this dog. I wouldn’t know about dogs generally, but this dog is unbelievable. He’s very, very chill. He’s like, [command] ‘sit there’, ‘stand there’, ‘walk there’, ‘bark’. He’ll just do it all.

Dyer: Also, when they schedule the show, there are like dog days. It’s not like he’s on 24-7. He has a shorter shoot day. We’ve put his bits together, and because the set has to be a little quieter. You can’t be as rambunctious, and you know, you’ve got to kind of keep it chill, because dogs are — you know, he’s an animal after all.

Brammall: Yeah, and he needs constant breaks. And also, you know, we’ll bring him in for the wide shot. And, then, when we come in for the closeup or the mid, he’s not in shot. So, we’ll take him off set.

Dyer: And then he’ll be replaced with a towel with a belt around it, attached to a lead. It’s pretty high-tech.

Sounds it. And you guys also did a very rare thing for Australia, which is you delivered a successful rom-com, which isn’t really a thing that’s done in this market. Was that something that just kind of developed? Because, I suppose it’s a comedy first, and there’s romantic elements.

Dyer: Yeah. It did develop, didn’t it?

Brammall: Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. We didn’t set out to do it. We conceived of an idea, which was, you know, a relationship comedy. We wanted it to be funny and a relationship for us to — you know, cause we’re actors by trade — so it’s something we could do opposite each other. And then it was only really after it sort of fleshed out the idea, and written the pilot, we started pitching it. And then we pitched it as a rom-com because we did a bit of research and realised that Australia had never produced a TV rom-com. And so we went, ‘Oh, this is a first, you know, a bit of a selling point’.

Dyer: Yeah, that was helpful in the pitches, you know?

Brammall: As a selling point, it’s great, it’s a useful thing, but yeah, we never set out to, you know, subscribe to rom-com tropes or anything like that. But, you know, I suppose we did in the end. A lot of those rom-com tropes are in the show – but it’s not like we always wanted to make a rom-com.

Season two of Colin From Accounts can be streamed on BINGE now.


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