True love is in the stars
It’s a Date – with four Gold Logie winners, writes Darren Cartwright
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.