Gap Year takes gold
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.’’