Gap Year takes gold

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television 17 - DEB­BIE SCHIPP HAMISH AND ANDY’S EURO GAP YEAR WIN, Thurs­day 8pm

IT’S been a Euro- led re­cov­ery for com­edy duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee, whose sec­ond in­stal­ment of Gap Year has hit its straps, with big rat­ings for Chan­nel 9.

Af­ter an un­der­whelm­ing first sea­son rat­ings- wise last year in New York, the boys headed to Lon­don this year to cash in on Olympic fever.

It’s worked a treat, with the show av­er­ag­ing 1.4 mil­lion view­ers but, with just two episodes to go, Blake says there are two more mis­sions to be ac­com­plished: set­ting up his sin­gle side­kick, Lee, with the ul­ti­mate life part­ner and se­cur­ing an Olympics role for Nine’s cov­er­age of the Games.

He’s aimed no lower than Duchess of Cam­bridge Kate Mid­dle­ton’s sis­ter, Pippa, for Lee, but so far the pair have had no luck mak­ing contact.

‘‘ Which is a shame, since I’ve al­ready al­lowed time for him to be on a hon­ey­moon and get back to Aus­tralia,’’ Gold Lo­gie win­ner Blake says.

Blake’s self- ap­pointed role as Lee’s wing­man and love coach is one of the few themes to sur­vive Blake and Lee’s orig­i­nal Gap Year to be in­cluded in the Euro ver­sion.

The New York show was crit­i­cised for be­ing too stu­dio- heavy. Cer­tainly the duo are at their best on tele­vi­sion when they are out­side, com­muning with the lo­cals.

And Eng­land’s prox­im­ity to a host of Euro­pean coun­tries has al­lowed them to do just that.

‘‘ We based our­selves in Lon­don, in a pub, do­ing two or three- day treks, like any back­packer,’’ Lee says.

‘‘ This year lent it­self to be­ing far more travel- based be­cause we had so many coun­tries to choose from.’’

They’re just wish­ing it could ex­tend into the Olympics.

‘‘ We have of­fi­cially asked Nine if we can com­men­tate on the Games and those calls have gone unan­swered,’’ Blake says.

‘‘ All we want is archery or men’s tram­polin­ing, men’s hand­ball, some­thing late at night. But so far it looks like we’ll have to just de­vote half of our last show to the Games, then hand over for the Olympics broad­casts to start.’’

We have of­fi­cially asked Nine if we can com­men­tate on the Games and those calls have gone unan­swered

Lee says if com­men­tat­ing is out, they are also primed to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in their own brand of Euro Gap Year pen­tathlon, should the cry go up for an­other Olympics demon­stra­tion sport.

‘‘ It will con­sist of bridge jump­ing, worst use of the Google ‘‘ trans­late’’ app, rein­deer rac­ing, sausage and pret­zel eat­ing – Hamish is an ex­pert – and one other,’’ Lee says.

The pair have done all that and more in the in­ter­ests of the show.

Rein­deer rac­ing in La­p­land, one of the ear­li­est in­stal­ments, let the pair know they were in for on odd jour­ney.

‘‘ Who in Aus­tralia con­cep­tu­alises rein­deers out­side of car­toons and Christ­mas cards?’’ Blake asks.

‘‘ I just thought they were made- up, wise- crack­ing lar­rikins that hang out with Santa.

‘‘ In re­al­ity, they are a very heavy, very an­gry moose- like mam­mal that can get up to 60km an hour when you are strapped to them with skis.’’

Lee and Blake say the lan­guage bar­rier in places like Ger­many has been both a help and a hin­drance.

‘‘ Some­times it helps when peo­ple were say­ing ‘ Who are these guys? Get them out of our town’, and we are just smil­ing and nod­ding and say­ing ‘ More cheese, please’,’’ Blake says.

Lee laughs: ‘‘ Google trans­late has its lim­its.’’

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