True story of pair’s big risk
Take the money and run — that was the temptation facing TV hitmakers Hamish Blake and Andy Lee in 2014.
With their Gap Year to South America series bringing to an end their three-year deal with Channel 9 (rumoured to be worth about $15 million), rival networks were circling, open cheque books in hand.
The comedy duo were in the rare position of naming their price but instead chose to walk away.
True Story with Hamish & Andy is the result of that risk — a new and original format completely different from Gap Year or the pair’s earlier Caravan Of Courage.
Lee is frank about the pressure to “keep up the momentum, but if you are putting those things (financial obligations) on you, it can tarnish your creativity, (so) we said ‘thanks but no thanks’.”
Working double duty on their TV programs and radio careers, the pair admit they needed a complete break from the small screen to get their mojo back.
It wasn’t until they hit on the True Story concept things jelled: take great pub yarns told by everyday Aussies and reimagine them using a cast of actors and comedians. Still, there were risks, with Blake and Lee only appearing in the interview segments and not the re-enactments — left to an allstar cast including Craig McLachlan, Kat Stewart and Mick Molloy.
“Finding a show that can encapsulate that buzz you’re getting when you’re hearing a really funny story for the first time was really appealing to us,” Lee said.
WATCH TRUE STORY WITH HAMISH & ANDY CHANNEL NINE, MONDAY, 7.30PM