Packing a punch
Kelly Landry explains the secrets behind Wipeout Australia to Colin Vickery and Alice Wasley
KELLY Landry has a confession to make. She has only met her Wipeout Australia co-hosts James Brayshaw and Josh Lawson once— at a photo shoot.
That is because the Geelong model and former Million Dollar Wheel of Fortune co-host spent two months in South America for Wipeout Australia while Brayshaw and Lawson spent all their time in front of a green screen back here in Australia.
The production methods of Wipeout Australia are very different to Aussie versions of other overseas TV formats. Unlike Australian Survivor or local versions of Idol or So You Think You Can Dance, Wipeout Australia wasn’t actually filmed here.
Instead Landry, 160 contestants and an Australian production team flew to Argentina to film on a world Wipeout set that is 40 minutes out of Buenos Aires. When the Aussie version was finished filming, another country flew in and started filming their version.
It was an enormous logistical operation to get all the Australians overseas, but one that ultimately saves money because it means the huge Wipeout set doesn’t have to be built in Australia.
‘‘People bonded with each other— we all became this tight-knit family,’’ Landry says of the experience.
‘‘The contestants had a 15-hour flight together, they were all staying in the same hotel and were going on the same tours on their days off.
‘‘We were saying ‘we want more competition between you guys’ and they were all loving each other!’’
As with the US original, each episode of Wipeout Australia starts with 20 contestants who run qualifiers with the 12 fastest through to the next round. A final four end up in the wipeout zone with the chance to win $20,000.
Obstacles include The Sweeper (contestants jump over a giant rotating arm), Sucker Punch (contestants run along a wall where fists come out and punch them) and Dizzy Dummy (six people are strapped into a spinner and then forced to run a short course).
‘‘We tried to get an even spread of people in terms of athletic, not so athletic and colourful characters,’’ Landry says.
‘‘There were a lot of overconfident people who, in their initial interview, said ‘I’m going to win’ and ‘I’m going to nail it’ and then they’d run the qualifier and be exhausted going ‘that’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done’.
‘‘It was pretty funny to watch it all unfold and see some people unravel completely.
‘‘It (success in Wipeout Australia) certainly requires physical stamina and endurance. A lot of people really wanted to win the money as well, so determination obviously plays a big role.
‘‘It’s like running a marathon. In the end, it’s the mind that can get you over the line — and maybe a little craziness. There’s luck as well. Some of the contestants had unfortunate moments. Their timing might have been slightly out and there’s your game done.’’
Landry says there was just as much fun away from the cameras as there was in front of them.
‘‘When you let 160 Australians loose in Buenos Aires, which is like the Paris of South America, and many had never been overseas before, it can be very amusing.’’
Being in Argentina for two months didn’t make Landry homesick. She has travelled extensively during her modelling career.
‘‘Travelling is never an issue for me. There’s a gene missing in me, I think, because I never get homesick that much. If I spend more than a few months in one place I get itchy feet.’’