Chris Lilley, whose Summer Heights High is now a weekly fixture on HBO, has spoken about his resistance to selling the format, despite the offer of big bucks.
“It felt completely wrong to do,” he told Televisionary blog. “It was a hard decision to make because there were lots of people around me saying that there’s lots of money if you do sell the rights.
“I got flown over here [to the States] to meet all these people and everyone is saying, ‘No one in America is going to buy this show. They’re never going to watch it,'” said Lilley.
“The first thing they said was, ‘You need to come here and redo it in an American accent,’ which to me was just so wrong. And just the thought of someone else playing these characters, I couldn’t handle watching it or living through it, it felt so wrong. Because I’m not just playing them, they’ve been with me for ages and I think about them constantly, and they’re me. I’m the reason they came to life. So someone copying that just makes no sense.”
Still, admits Lilley, “I am probably going to be less rich and famous because of it but I just don’t want to have to live seeing someone else copy it.”
The series is currently re-screening on ABC Wednesdays at 9:30pm.