True story of pair’s big risk

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE BOX -

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.


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