McLennan & McCartney, two Kates for the price of one.


They refer to each other by surname. They answer questions on behalf of the other. And they have two comedies coming your way in April and May thanks to ABC.

Kate McLennan (left) and Kate McCartney (right) will feature in their own sitcom pilot Bleak in May with a second season of their online comedy The Katering Show on iview from today.

The Katering Show has been quite the hit on YouTube, with additional playouts on iview. But be warned, it’s not your typical foodie show.

McCartney: “I do genuinely hate cooking. Straight up! It’s a complete waste of time, for me.”
McLennan: “I quite like cooking.”
McCartney: “You used to like it a lot more. But now you’ve tired. Let me speak on your behalf.”

The series sees both Kates, using their own names, in a kitchen that could easily be mistaken for a certain TV cooking show, but with storylines that tackle everything from marriage equality to Yummy Mummies, climate change and Ramen.

As creators, writers and performers, this love project blurs the lines between the real and fictional Kates.

“What we explore a little bit more in this series is my ego. In the world of the show McCartney doesn’t want to be there and McLennan doesn’t have anything else,” says McClennan.

“The first series was us but heightened. In the second series my character has become a bit more malleable.”

“Invariably I inhabit our viewpoint a lot more, on topics,” McCartney suggests. “Sometimes McLennan will be on board with that. Her character might speak from our point of view but occasionally she’ll provide a popular voice that we take issue with. A side of an argument that we don’t necessarily agree with.

“There’s a natural inclination when you have 2 people on screen together that they should be disagreeing. But we fond writing the first series that if we took opposing views on things that were untrue to how we actually felt, it just didn’t work.,” McLennan adds.

The duo met through having the same agent, when both were also working on “a terrible animation.”

“Eventually when I got onto Twitter she started following me and became obsessed with me,” says McCartney.

“I did and I made a fool of myself on several occasions!” McLennan recalls.

“We had an idea for a show that was effectively similar. So rather than try to compete we should just join forces.”

That project was the comedy Bleak, which will debut in ABC’s Comedy Showroom next month. It took longer to be realised so in between they whipped up The Katering Show

“TV development can really stretch out so we just wanted to do something quickly,” McCartney explains.

“We’re too impatient to wait. So it seemed easier to do it ourselves,” McLennan agrees.

“When the ABC said they wanted to help make the (Katering) series, McCartney was 9 months pregnant. I was 3 months pregnant. Bleak had been greenlit as a pilot and we knew they would put it on air somewhere around April, May. So we knew that in order to get more eyeballs it would be better to make Katering and put it on before.

“We set ourselves this ridiculous task of popping out 2 kids, writing 8 scripts to make it happen. It was a very intense period.”

“We produced a lot! Both human and otherwise,” McCartney adds.

O'Brien Family L_R Michael (Gulliver McGrath), Noni (Jean Kitson), Anna (Kate McLennan) and John (Shane Bourne) _f0abba0e

In the upcoming Bleak, Kate McLennan plays self-obsessed screw-up Anna O’Brien, who  loses her boyfriend, house and dead-end job in one day. With no friends, no money and nowhere to go, she crawls back to the warm embrace of her well to-do family, (with parents Jean Kittson and Shane Bourne) only to be given a drink and then shown the door.

The humour in Bleak is far more absurdist than their cooking venture.


“The shows that we really respond to are those stark Danish dramas. Murder with nice furniture. But we just got really silly. We might have been tired when we wrote it!,” McCartney suggests.

“When we first started writing it we thought it would be quite realistic: a lot of locked-off shots, a lot of atmosphere, a lot of story. And then we write a pilot that goes like the clappers and ends in a very strange place.”

With the show’s stark title and Anna crafted as an anti-hero , the duo are unforgiving about straying from traditional comedic paths.

“We’ve been expressly told by people to make her more likeable,” McCartney notes.

“Which we directly rail against!” McLennan insists.

“Screen Australia and FilmVic are pushing to have more female voices in TV and film.

“I think we qualify as female voices now!

“I’m sure we have a direct line to just ring them up and say we’ve got another idea and just get it made. Is that what happens now?”

Bleak will feature amongst 5 other new comedies with ABC inviting audience feedback for at least one to proceed to a full series. The two Kates are alert but not alarmed what might happen if they get the good news.

“If we get the pilot we get to write it in 24 hours. If we don’t we get banished!”

The Katering Show is now available on iview.
Bleak premieres 9pm Wednesday May 25 on ABC.



  1. @ Secret Squirrel,
    Just love reading your comments and always fast forward to such.
    I’m sure Mr Knox’s gets an ironic giggle every time one is posted.
    Long may you reign on TV Tonight blog comments.

  2. Secret Squïrrel

    Thanks for the interview, David. Australian TV does need more female voices in lead roles and also more home-grown comedy. These ladies comfortably fulfil both requirements. I hope they do well.

    Thankfully, the numpties that want to do away with the ABC lack the power to do that. These types of shows would never get up on either Seven or Nine.

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