True love is in the stars

It’s a Date – with four Gold Lo­gie win­ners, writes Dar­ren Cartwright

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

CO­ME­DIAN Peter Hel­liar has brought to­gether four Gold Lo­gie win­ners for his new scripted com­edy se­ries It’s a Date. Hel­liar had to fill 140 roles for the eight-part se­ries, which starts tonight. The cast list reads like a who’s who of Aus­tralian en­ter­tain­ment. It in­cludes Gold Lo­gie win­ners Asher Ked­die, John Wood, Kate Ritchie and Lisa McCune. Aus­tralian favourites Stephen Curry, Shane Ja­cob­son, Ian Smith, Nadine Garner and Pia Mi­randa also have roles.

The line-up of co­me­di­ans in­cludes Ross No­ble, Dave Law­son, Lawrence Mooney and Ryan Shel­ton.

Hel­liar also stars in an episode – tonight’s. He works along­side McCune.

It’s A Date is a nar­ra­tive drama/com­edy se­ries that ex­plores the world of dat­ing and deals with the ten­sions, ex­pec­ta­tions and com­pli­ca­tions of find­ing true love. Each episode con­tains two dates as they head to­ward de­sire or disas­ter.

Hel­liar is at pains to ex­plain none were based on his or the cast’s real-life ex­pe­ri­ences.

‘‘If you are go­ing to write it you may as well cast your­self in it,’’ says Hel­liar.

‘‘I just want to make it clear that it’s a writ­ten, scripted com­edy so they are all play­ing char­ac­ters, they are not play­ing them­selves.’’

Hel­liar cre­ated the se­ries and co-wrote an episode each with Shel­ton, Phil Lloyd, Jess Har­ris, Justin Hamil­ton, Tony Mo­clair, Mooney, Steven Gates and Kate Lang­broek. The episodes are ti­tled in the form of dat­ing dilem­mas such as How Im­por­tant is Hon­esty on a First Date , Do Op­po­sites At­tract , When Should You Aban­don a Date and Does Age Mat­ter?.

It’s the big­gest tele­vi­sion pro­ject Hel­liar has worked on and he says it does ad­dress some of the more dif­fi­cult mo­ments about dat­ing, while try­ing to be light­hearted at the same time.

‘‘It’s got a lot of heart and pathos. Some episodes are fun­nier than oth­ers and some are lent more to the dark side of dat­ing,’’ Hel­liar says.

‘‘I’ve writ­ten some sketch stuff and a film a few years ago but this is the big­gest un­der­tak­ing for a TV se­ries I have done. I got to co-write with a writer for each episode as well.’’

Hel­liar took great pride in cast­ing ac­tors in roles with which TV view­ers would not nor­mally as­so­ciate them.

He gave the more se­ri­ous lines to the co­me­di­ans and re­served some of the best gags and skits for the ac­tors, to change the on-screen dy­namic.

‘‘We wanted to make sure that when you saw some­one who was a house­hold name like Asher Ked­die or John Wood, that they were do­ing some­thing that you wouldn’t nor­mally see them do­ing,’’ Hel­liar says.

‘‘Wood is al­ways play­ing a mag­is­trate or coun­try cop but in this he is a bit goofy in a way, telling re­ally bad jokes and is bois­ter­ous, so it’s so fun to watch.’’

It’s a Date: Thurs­days, 9pm, ABC1.

Lisa McCune and Peter Hel­liar star in It’s a Date.

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