Comic duo’s Eurovision
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
England, Ireland and India, and now they are back