Chris Taylor channels ‘Chris LePlonk’
Chris Taylor plays a version of himself as an average TV host in Stan's new Wine comedy.
“I’m the guy from The Chaser who has fallen on hard times and forced to do this crummy, commercial lifestyle show about Wine,” Chris Taylor admits.
But wait, there’s a catch.
Taylor hasn’t quit The Chaser and sold his ABC soul. No, he’s describing the character he plays on Plonk, Stan’s new local comedy about the making of a Wine TV show.
Taylor plays a heightened version of himself, as a lifestyle TV host.
“I play Chris Taylor but it’s a very exaggerated, unflattering version of me. I’m doing Matt LeBlanc in Episodes. Or Kate Winslet in Extras.”
Or Chris LePlonk perhaps?
He is joined by Joshua Tyler and creator Nathan Earl, for the second season of the comedy, which began life as a web-comedy before it was repackaged for ELEVEN. In 2015 it moves to Stan with new episodes.
Season Two features Maggie Beer, Matt Skinner, Greg Fleet, Andrew Hansen, Susie Porter, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, and local winemakers.
“The sitcom follows a TV crew and me as Host to make this shitty little lifestyle show. And we’re very incompetent. We are to lifestyle what Frontline was to current affairs. We’re intrusive, insensitive to the talent, not very good at our jobs,” he explains.
“There are satirical digs in the way television is made and how the niche genre of how Wine television is made. Which is not a big genre. I think Stuart McGill did one and James May did one!
“I’ve never understood why people who drink Wine are often made to feel as if they’re not entitled to. You go to a cellar door or a certain restaurant and you feel like you need a PhD just to be taken seriously by the person trying to serve.
“Wine’s just a drink like beer or bourbon and it’s ridiculous the industry allows this elitist, aloof language to surround it.”
“There are no cheesy close-ups”
While the first season had funding from the NSW Tourism Board Taylor assures that Plonk isn’t branded content.
“I struggle with this too. It’s not branded content in the sense that you and I have come to know, where there are Coles logos in every second frame,” he continues.
“In the sense that they wanted NSW wineries look like fun and engaging places to hang out yes it was branded content, but the product was the scenery.
“They had no editorial interference into the creative of the show, so long as it was shot. They’d seen Sideways and realised what it had done for Napa (Valley, California) tourism.”
Season Two is set in South Australian wine regions.
“SA Tourism body did kick in some money, but most of it came from Screen Australia and then Channel Nine came on board as the distributor this time around. So I don’t think you can call it branded content anymore, it’s just narrative comedy.
“There are no cheesy close-ups of Rosemount Estate or McWilliams. In fact they even give the writers carte blanche over which vineyards we visit.”
There are six episodes of Plonk available on Stan from today.
“You can have a Plonk binge! But watch responsibly.”