A new se­ries of­fers no prizes or cook­ing deals, just a bunch of true sto­ries as told to two Aussie co­me­di­ans.

New Zealand Listener - - CONTENTS - Fiona Rae

Like a lot of things these days, True Story with Hamish & Andy (Three, Thurs­day, 8.00pm) be­gan with a shout-out on Face­book. The re­sult is like Drunk His­tory with­out the drunk. Or the his­tory.

In­stead, Aus­tralian TV and ra­dio hosts Hamish Blake and Andy Lee have taken some­thing of which we all have at least one – good yarns – and recre­ated them with ac­tors.

The sto­ries come from or­di­nary Aussies, who sit down for a con­ver­sa­tion about an in­ci­dent from their past. So that their re­ac­tions are spon­ta­neous, Blake and Lee do not hear the story be­fore­hand, which Blake told web­site tv­ was “eas­ily the scari­est part of the show. No­body would have known if we’d ‘cheated’.

“But we now re­alise how crit­i­cal it is. The heart of the show is the con­ver­sa­tion with Andy and I, learn­ing things at the same pace as the au­di­ence.”

As sur­prise hit Drunk His­tory (and Te Radar’s Che­quered Past) dis­cov­ered, it’s a con­cept that works a treat (and would ex­port eas­ily to any coun­try). It’s also re­fresh­ingly free of re­al­ity-TV ma­nip­u­la­tion and cyn­i­cism.

“With­out get­ting too touchy-feely, every­one sit­ting in that seat is just there for the joy of telling a good story,” says Blake. “There’s no prize, no cook­ing deal.”

In the first episode, ac­tor John Leary plays a man whose de­bil­i­tat­ing aver­sion to nee­dles leads to a se­ries of un­for­tu­nate events when his wife, played by He­len Dal­limore, has in vitro fer­til­i­sa­tion treat­ment. Blood tests are just the be­gin­ning. Wait for the am­nio­cen­te­sis.

Other guest stars in­clude Craig McLach­lan, Kath & Kim’s Glenn Rob­bins, Off­spring’s Kat Ste­wart and co­me­dian Kitty Flana­gan.

Kiwi stand-up Thomas Sains­bury, who has be­come a hit on Snapchat with his

im­per­son­ations of politi­cians, ap­pears in an episode set in Dunedin (re­ally Mel­bourne) about an es­ca­lat­ing se­ries of pranks be­tween two stu­dent flat­mates.

“One of them was telling us, ‘I can­not stress how ashamed I am of my­self. But you have to re­mem­ber I was at uni in a share house, never think­ing this could be an episode of tele­vi­sion.’”

Be­cause of its gross­ness, that par­tic­u­lar episode caused con­tro­versy across the Tassie. You’re wel­come, Aus­tralia. De­spite this, the se­ries has been re­newed.

“We want to go to the next level of kook­ier sto­ries next sea­son,” says Blake.

En­tries are open at ­hamis­han­

True Story with Hamish & Andy, Thurs­day.

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