ABC1’s Bogan Date double headed for Thursdays

bogan 009ABC TV last night held a rare media launch at South Wharf in Melbourne for two of its upcoming comedies, Upper Middle Bogan by Robyn Butler & Wayne Hope and It’s A Date by Pete Helliar.

The two scripted comedies will air back to back on Thursday nights in mid-August.

In attendance were the stars of both shows including Annie Maynard, Patrick Brammall, Glenn Robbins, Michala Banas, Kate Ritchie, John Wood, Sibylla Budd, Shane Jacobson, Poh Ling Yeow, Lawrence Mooney, Ian Smith, Denise Scott, Debra Lawrence, Jess Harris, Ronny Chieng, Kate McLennan, Luke McGregor, Sally-Anne Upton, Dennis Coard, Ron Jacobson, Louis Corbett, Nazeem Hussain, Harrison Feldman, Lara Robinson, Rhys Mitchell, and Madeleine Jevic.

Also in attendance were ABC’s new Director of Television Richard Finlayson, ABC1 Channel Controller Brendan Dahill and drama execs Christopher Gist and Brett Sleigh.

Co-hosting the night were Pete Helliar and Glenn Robbins and it didn’t take long before the two got stuck into the plethora of Reality shows on the screen.

“When you look at the landscape of Australian television at the moment, there’s a lot of singing, a lot of cooking,” observed Robbins before quickly realising Poh Ling Yeow was in the room.

“Which is all good. Hello Poh, how you going? Love your cooking!” he laughed.

“But for f**k’s sake, seriously. Can we have some good Australian narrative comedy? Australians telling their own f***king stories?” he sighed.

As the crowd cheered, he celebrated, “We have it in two shows. Upper Middle Bogan and Date Night!”

It’s A Date!” retorted creator Pete Helliar.

“Sorry!” Robbins apologised. “It’s A Date.

But nobody seemed to mind the slip-up.

Even Richard Finlayson got in the mood with a little humour.

“There are many reasons why ABC should be making this sort of comedy, and I have some notes that (ABC Managing Director) Mark Scott gave me earlier,” he told the crowd.

“We’re going to investigate important social issues, contemporary families and the challenges of modern relationships, we’re going to explore diverse worlds from a social and geographic perspective and hold a mirror up to society, we’re going to explore universal themes through the eyes of the idiosyncratic….” he joked.

“But most of all what we are really proud to present are two shows that are actually f***king funny. I can say ‘f***king’ here, obviously.”


Let it be noted, these two comedies look very promising indeed….

8:30pm Thursday August 15 ABC1
From the makers of The Librarians and Very Small Business comes this new eight-part comedy series.

When an upper middle class woman discovers she is adopted she is shocked to find out she comes from a drag racing family in the outer suburbs.

When Bess Denyar (Annie Maynard), a doctor with a posh mother (Robyn Nevin), an architect husband (Patrick Brammall) and twin 13-year-olds, Oscar (Harrison Feldman) and Edwina (Lara Robinson), at a private school, finds out that she is adopted, she is stunned. But even more so when she meets her birth parents – Wayne (Glenn Robbins) and Julie Wheeler (Robyn Malcolm).

If that’s not enough to digest, Bess also discovers that she has siblings – Amber (Michala Banas), Kayne (Rhys Mitchell) and Brianna (Madeleine Jevic).

The Wheelers head up a drag racing team in the outer suburbs, and are thrilled to discover the daughter they thought they had lost. A Gristmill Production for ABC TV. Executive Producers: Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope and Geoff Porz. ABC TV Executive Producer: Debbie Lee.

9pm Thursday August 15 ABC1
It’s A Date is a comedy series exploring the trials and tribulations of the world of dating.

The eight-part narrative comedy series features an extraordinary mix of Australia’s most respected performers including Gold Logie award-winners Asher Keddie, Kate Ritchie, John Wood and Lisa McCune alongside stars of the stage and screen Stephen Curry, Sibylla Budd, Shane Jacobson, Sophie Lowe, Nadine Garner, Pia Miranda, Peter Helliar, Poh Ling Yeow, Dave Lawson, Lawrence Mooney, Ryan Shelton, Ian Smith, Dan Wyllie, Denise Scott and from the UK, comedy superstar Ross Noble in a rare TV acting role. Alongside these seasoned performers are some of Australia’s best emerging comedy talents including Jess Harris, Ronny Chieng, Kate McLennan, Luke McGregor, Louis Corbett, Eva Lazzaro and Nazeem Hussain.

It’s A Date explores the tension, expectation and complication of finding true love. Each episode thematically links two self-contained dates as they bravely head toward desire or disaster.

Each new episode features a different cast tackling a different set of situations and addressing a new question each week. Should you have sex on a first date? Does age matter? How accurate are first impressions? How important is honesty on a first date?

Series creator and lead writer, Peter Helliar, has assembled some of Australia’s leading comedy writers – Phil Lloyd, Jess Harris, Ryan Shelton, Justin Hamilton, Tony Moclair, Lawrence Mooney, Steven Gates and Kate Langbroek – to share the journey.

Produced by Laura Waters and Andrea Denholm. Co-Producer Peter Helliar. Series Producer Paul Walton. Directed by Jonathan Brough and Peter Helliar. ABC TV Executive Producers: Debbie Lee and Brett Sleigh. A Princess Pictures Production in association with ABC TV and Film Victoria.


  1. There are some previews now on Youtube:

    Upper Middle Bogan looks dire – every joke consists of bogans burping and swearing. Classy.

    It’s A Date doesn’t look too bad, although it seems to have a lot of lame, predictable double entendres.

    Neither show appears to have any actual, erm, jokes, which one would assume to be a mandatory requirement in a comedy. Unless, of course, copious amounts of swearing is considered comedy by the ABC (look how well that turned out for Wed Night Fever).

    You have to wonder if the ABC has a policy of commissioning works that deliberately don’t appeal to their core demographic.

  2. @TM – “Do you work in comedy???”

    Well, sort of. I write and perform comedy, but I don’t get paid for it. That’s why I appear so grumpy whenever I encounter taxpayer-funded “comedy” that doesn’t have jokes in it, or doesn’t even try to be funny.

  3. Loved ‘Very Small Business’ & ‘Stories From The Golf’ on SBS, but wasn’t sold on ‘The Librarians.’ Which means I’ll be watching without expectations.

    Darcey09, I’d argue that ‘Housos’ on SBS One is a comedy that is most definitely not coming from inner city dwellers. Paul Fenech & Co seem like outer-suburban creatures who both equally pillories & celebrates ‘bogan culture.’

  4. @ Ronnie, Pertinax, & co.
    I couldn’t agree more.Nearly all of these comedies come from inner city dwellers who are well educated.
    It’s their somewhat (IMO) warped impression of working class people, some of whom may be bogans. Not really funny, mostly cringeworthy and none of it is remotely real. Yes, it’s comedy & doesn’t need to be accurate, but it’s about time they explored other avenues instead of going back to the same old hackneyed theme.

  5. When EPs have been the gatekeepers at both SBS and the ABC for so many years its no wonder the choices start to look very samey – reversioned concepts from the same suppliers. Here’s hoping the new Head of Comedy, Rick Kawolski, can think laterally about what else there is on offer in narrative comedy. Does anyone recall Grass Roots? I’m totally over these inward looking suburban tropes and cliches.

  6. “From the makers of The Librarians and Very Small Business…” Groan. And yes, Pertinax, you make a very pertinent point.

    Also, I do not understand It’s A Date. Is it an Agony Aunts type format?

  7. Since Kath and Kim has ABC1 even tried to make a comedy that does rely solely on crude stereotypes of the outer suburbs to try and amuse its inner Sydney audience?

  8. I hope Upper Middle Bogan is going to be funnier than The Librarians, which was grossly unfunny.

    @Darcey09 – I completely agree with you re the same old faces. Some of the people responsible for Elegant Gentleman’s Guide are involved in this. If you couldn’t write a decent joke for a sketch show, then you probably aren’t going to fare much better writing for a sitcom.

    In some sort of miracle, the ABC has managed to commission two show that don’t feature Josh Thomas. Josh must be furious with his manager!

  9. I’m not a fan of reality TV either.
    I agree we need more narrative comedy, but why does the ABC always use the same old clique? I’ve tired of the current lot.

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