Prank Patrol hits the road

ABC3’s Prank Patrol is going from strength to strength with the BBC investing in the third season, enabling the hidden camera show to take a road trip through Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

“We’re starting in Victoria then going to South Australia for another 8 episodes then over to WA for another 8. So we’re doing a straight line across the bottom of Australia,” host Scotty Tweedie says.

Until now the activeTV series has filmed in Melbourne and Brisbane, but the UK investment will allow for some regional pranks with Aussie kids.

“We’re based in metro, but then we shoot out as far as we can. But obviously for logistics and budgets we have to stay in the cities.

“The Brits are loving the Aussie Prank Patrol which is a nice thing. They’ve jumped on board to speed it up and make Series 3 happen quicker.”

Tweedie has been hosting the show for 2.5 years and his presence in public sometimes alerts astute kids to a possible prank, even when there isn’t one happening.

“Sometimes people see me and think there’s a prank going on.

“Sometimes I egg them on a bit and talk into my sleeve!”

And when I say ‘people’ I mean our audience, which is 7-15 year olds. So if I go out for dinner I’m clear, totally clear,” he says.

One recent prank attended by TV Tonight took place in a fake call centre where one teenager pranked her best friend after writing to the show.

As Tweedie explains, there is an extensive set-up involving friends and family prior to the execution of the gag. The Prank Patrol crew have one take to get the scene right, using hidden cameras and actors skilled in improvisation to tackle the unforseen.

“We do some auditions to find out if it it’s the right person, the right prankster. There’s a lot that’s involved to get on the show. And once you get the formula right there’s still that margin of unknown until you start recording the prank,” says Tweedie.

“Until we’re rolling and they walk into the scene, we don’t know what’s going to happen -which is the beautiful thing about the show. You get that pure reaction. Sometimes it goes perfectly and sometimes it doesn’t. But that’s the nature of doing a prank show with hidden cameras.

“We film over three days and it’s Day One and Day Two where I have to put in the hard yards. Day Three is co-ordinating it all together. We film right up until we’re going to prank and then we lockdown, rehearse, I can chill out and watch the action unfold and then I have to get the interview questions right and enjoy the emotion between two friends.”

Meanwhile Tweedie is also set to appear on The Loop, ELEVEN’s new music video show on Saturday mornings. He has a rare chance to work for two broadcasters at the same time.

“I’ve been given an awesome opportunity, but I’m still with the ABC. So I’m able to balance the two,” he says.

“It’s a new breakfast Saturday morning music show which I think Australia desperately needs at the moment. It’ll be a lot of fun, but there’s a lot I can’t tell you yet.

“I think it’s perfect for the ELEVEN audience and it’s great for me having done 2.5 years of Prank Patrol with ABC3 to start doing something a little bit different.”

The Loop begins on January 28, returning music videos to the network after TEN axed the long-running Video Hits.

Video Hits was an institution it ran for 24 years. I think there were two music shows in the world that have run for that long. So it was its own thing.

“We’re going to start something new and fresh, but we’re not trying to take Video Hits‘ place. It’s something new on a new channel.”

While filming Prank Patrol on the road, Tweedie will also have to juggle his filming commitments for The Loop.

“There will be a lot red-eye flights from Perth, but it’s only for 12 weeks,” he says.

For a young host, 2012 looks like being a busy year. It may only be a matter of time before he hits prime-time commercial TV.

“I’d be an idiot to say ‘No’ but that’s down the track.”

Prank Patrol returns to ABC3 in 2012.

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