Digging deep for Lego

Lego producers admit they had no idea where to take Season 3, now topping the ratings.

It’s winning the ratings right now, but Lego Masters executive producer David McDonald admits at one point he no idea where to take Season Three.

“I’ll be honest, we got to the end of Series Two going to air and the series producer and I were texting each other saying, ‘What are we going to do next?’ Three weeks later, we got together and there was plenty,” he tells TV Tonight.

“For an audience there’s more visually going on”

Aside from its lively casting, this season injects more kinetics into the challenges.

“There are things moving, added to the build, that are interesting in a visual sense. For an audience there’s more visually going on as well as the actual models themselves.

“There’s stuff happening after the build… stuff that we’ve orchestrated to be part of the challenge that’s not actually Lego. Last year we went underwater, or shaking (the model) or building a bridge that’s got weight on it.”

Challenge ideas have been largely devised by Endemol Shine Australia but as Lego Masters expands around the world, so too do the challenge concepts.

“For the last two series, it’s been our ideas. But it is a shared thing, like the ‘cut in half’ that we did in Series One is now pretty much a trope around every territory. It’s what happens, but most of what we do is stuff that we’ve thought of.”

“I’ll be honest, I thought it was ok”

McDonald -who also produces Gogglebox– also speaks to Nine execs about their expectations for the series and what changes might be in order. This year has two extra episodes on 2020.

They talk about what they loved in the previous series. ‘That was my favourite episode’ and ‘I really enjoyed this episode’, which is a great way to do it.

“One episode that was their favourite, I’ll be honest, I thought it was ok,” he admits.

“But I think it rated the highest, and they liked it before the ratings came in, so they must know what they’re talking about!”

Nine has already greenlit two more seasons of the show with Hamish Blake returning as host. McDonald attributes the show’s appeal to Blake’s irreverent reality hosting as much as the Lego challenges. The show is ideally suited to a ratings ‘unicorn’: co-viewing between adults and children together.

“A lot of adults build with Lego. I think also model makers like it, I think people with train layouts like it ..apart from the kids that are watching it. Then I think there’s another section of the audience that love Hamish. It’s the piss-taking of reality shows, to a degree, that’s part of the charm of it,” he explains.

“A lot of people I know watch it as a family”

“Anecdotally, a lot of people I know watch it as a family. There’s few shows that they do watch if they’ve got younger kids. This is the one that they watch. Parents can laugh at the stuff that Hamish is doing, the kids just love the Lego. It’s nice if it hits that happy medium. It can entertain both of them at the same time.

“That affable, effortless style he has is charming.”

But McDonald is also careful not to let Blake’s irreverence derail a most serious competition.

“A show like this was ripe for the picking – but it can’t be the expense of the contestants or the competition. That’s real.”

Lego Masters airs Sunday – Tuesday on Nine.

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