THE BIG ASK SHANE BOURNE
CityHomicide has become a great local success story. You must be happy about that. It’s great. We started in February and we’re doing 22 episodes. It’s a big commitment for the network to make. You couldn’t do 40 episodes a year of a show like this (as was the case with Blue Heelers) because this is essentially a murder-mystery. Structurally, our show is a puzzle every week and you don’t want to overdo it. The scripts for this season are informative and intelligent and as much as I think it’s been a great show from the start, the scripts have taken another step up. That makes sense because we— writers, actors and crew— now know exactly what kind of beast this is. We have an added confidence now because we aren’t thinking all the time, ‘‘are we doing the right thing?,’’ or ‘‘will it appeal to viewers?’’ like we were at the start. Why is it so difficult for cop shows to have both critical and commercial appeal? That kind of appeal is a hard thing to pull off. Some of the gritty shows haven’t allowed the audience to really connect with the characters. Was there a particular moment where you realised this was not your average cop show, but something special? There have been a couple of those moments. One was an episode with the armed robbery squad and we had Vince Colosimo and David Field Casting is one of the strengths of our show. Look at the guest roles. We’re in the enviable position where top actors are putting their hand up because they want to work on the show. Tell us about some of the plots that have made an impact on you this season. There’s a hostage situation in the homicide building. It’s a totally different journey for our characters to go on. The stakes in this episode are very high. The show has delivered some disturbing plotlines and graphic imagery. and Wendy Hughes working with us. If you were a footy team, you’d say that was a ‘‘solid win’’— that we were going to have a good season. Then there was an episode where Stanley’s goddaughter was found in the tip. We ended up in a church for the funeral and there were photos and music. It just hit me, brought me to tears. While you have gained recognition forMDA and City Homicide, you’re no stranger to acting on the small screen. What was it like all those years ago starring in the Aussie version of AreYouBeing Served? It was enormous fun. It was 1979-80 and we did two seasons. Got paid cash, and not even given to you in an envelope. It was $400 (a week). Not too shabby back then. I used to get $50 for a stand-up gig, so $400 was great. So are you going to take over from Daryl Somers as host of Dancing withtheStars? They did call me and I said thanks but no thanks. I think I have enough going on without taking on something like that. I grew up watching all the variety shows and I think Thank God You’re Here captures more of what variety shows are meant to be about than any other show around.