Comic duo’s Euro­vi­sion

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Hbears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to their Chan­nel 10 Car­a­van of Courage spe­cials.

Hamish and Andy’s Amer­i­can Car­a­van of Courage (2009), Car­a­van of Courage: Great Bri­tain and Ire­land (2010) and the Com­mon­wealth Games spe­cial Learn In­dia with Hamish and Andy were hits.

Blake and Lee had the per­fect com­edy for­mula — visit far-flung places, in­ter­view weird peo­ple and make sure the cam­era is turned on.

The pair stum­bled when they moved to Chan­nel 9 in what was re­ported to be a $15 mil­lion two-year deal.

Early episodes of last year’s New York-based Gap Year were more Rove McManus than Hamish and Andy.

They were sud­denly churn­ing out a stu­dio-based chat show filled with in­ter­na­tional guests spruik­ing their lat­est al­bum or film.

View­ers saw James Franco flog­ging Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Taylor Swift sell­ing Speak Now, and, most bizarrely, Neil Pa­trick Har­ris talk­ing up The Smurfs.

The first episode of Gap Year, last July, scored a healthy 1.546 mil­lion view­ers na­tion­ally. By Septem­ber the show had slipped to 733,000.

That didn’t stop Gap Year from win­ning this year’s Lo­gie for best light en­ter­tain­ment pro­gram. Blake also col­lected the cov­eted Gold Lo­gie.

The awards prove the pair are still in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar with the Aus­tralian pub­lic — but no prize can hide the fact that the gap year con­cept needed re-think­ing.

That is ex­actly what has hap­pened. Celebri­ties have been ditched from Euro Gap Year. In­stead, the pair have con­cen­trated on travel seg­ments fea­tur­ing loopy lo­cals.

Rein­deer rac­ing in La­p­land, a fin­ger pulling com­pe­ti­tion in Ger­many, and a but­ler academy in the Nether­lands is fod­der for Euro Gap Year.

‘‘ The travel as­pect was some­thing we found the most fun to do and it also res­onated the most with our au­di­ence,’’ Lee says.

‘‘ I don’t see any room for celebri­ties on the show,’’ Blake adds. ‘‘ The guests are the peo­ple we’re meet­ing on our trav­els.’’

The pair have just com­pleted a hitch­hike race through Ger­many when they chat to Switched On. They had to stand on op­po­site sides of the road in Frank­furt and AMISH Blake and Andy Lee have gone back to the fu­ture. The duo’s new show Hamish and Andy’s Euro Gap Year who­ever could get the far­thest in 24 hours hitch­hik­ing was de­clared the win­ner.

‘‘ You’ve caught us on triple Be­roc­cas — we’re wor­ried our bod­ies are break­ing down,’’ Blake says with a laugh.

‘‘ We got to speak to busi­ness­men, truck driv­ers and, let’s face it, prob­a­bly some sus­pected drug deal­ers. Nei­ther of us slept the en­tire time but it was a lot of ridicu­lous fun.’’

It is clear that Blake and Lee have got their groove back. They are the first to ad­mit they made mis­takes in the early episodes of Gap Year.

They didn’t need to ape Rove McManus.

They just needed to be them­selves. They point out that hits Spicks and Specks and Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Gen­er­a­tion changed markedly from their first episodes.

‘‘ At the start (of last year’s Gap Year) we wanted to leave it wide open for any­thing to hap­pen,’’ Blake says.

‘‘ The trade-off was a lack of clar­ity about what the show was about.

‘‘ It wasn’t un­til around the fourth episode on­wards that we started to get a feel (for what the show should be like).’’ Gap Year’s stark New York ware­house has been re­placed by a run-down Lon­don pub, the Lord Stan­ley, for Euro Gap. Lon­don is still buzzing from the Queen’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee. The Olympics are on the hori­zon.

‘‘ Lon­don feels more nat­u­ral for a gap year (than New York),’’ Lee says. ‘‘ It gives the show a clearer pur­pose.

‘‘ We are still learn­ing a lot. We are not great for­ward thinkers. We kind of just stay in the mo­ment and run with it. This has been our fo­cus .’’ Hamish& Andy’s Euro Gap Year, Chan­nel 9, Thurs­day 8pm

They’ve done

Eng­land, Ire­land and In­dia, and now they are back

in Europe

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