And it’s goodbye from him

Hamish & Andy’s announcement that they will cut back to a weekly show next year to give themselves time to work on other projects was big news yesterday, but so far the details of what the other projects are, what they’ll do in their weekly show, when the weekly show will air, and who will replace them in the drive slot have not emerged. So let’s indulge in a little speculation…

It’s been fairly obvious for a while that Hamish & Andy are being courted overseas, or at least have some ambitions to work outside Australia. Whilst in the US and Britain making the Caravan of Courage they’ve appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Graham Norton Show, respectively. The pair have also presented two specials for the BBC’s digital radio station 6 Music, and a recent article in The Guardian claimed they’d been “signed” by British commercial station Absolute Radio. Read that article fully and “signed” turns out to mean “Absolute Radio are airing Caravan of Courage”, but it’s also interesting to note that Absolute Radio asked the pair to provide holiday cover for a regular presenter when Hamish & Andy were recently in the UK (could the three shows they presented have been trials?) and have gone to the trouble of setting up a Hamish & Andy podcast. It’s unlikely that Absolute would have bothered to do either of these things if they didn’t have some future plans for the pair.

Television is the obvious next step for Hamish & Andy, it’s something they’ve expressed a desire to do more of and they’re currently signed to Ten. Their previous work on TV includes their under-rated 2004 series for Channel 7, the sporadically good current affairs show send-up Real Stories and their spots on Rove. As sketches and pranks have made up the bulk of their TV work and it’s clearly where their interest lies, any Hamish & Andy TV show is likely to focus on these areas. Roving Enterprises are likely to be involved in a Hamish & Andy TV show made in Australia, and if the pair head overseas the BBC seems most likely to sign them. The BBC have a solid track record when it comes to sketch shows, and in their appearance on the The Graham Norton Show Hamish & Andy won the audience over with their quick wit and Hamish’s live ghosting.

As for the weekly show the pair will present next year (and let’s assume this will actually happen and wasn’t just an easy let-down for their “horrified” audience which we won’t hear about for months and then will be quietly “dropped”), it’s likely to be a slimmed down version of their usual schtick, with enough international appeal to allow it to be aired on Absolute Radio as well as the Today Network. It will also be the sort of show they can record in advance and/or overseas should work commitments necessitate this.

Finding an appropriate timeslot for the weekly Hamish & Andy show will be tricky. It seems unlikely that the show would remain in the same timeslot – if it did what would air on the other four days? – and convincing listeners to make time for the show on weekends could be a challenge even with their popularity. Another thing to consider is that the Today Network already have a weekly show which fulfils a similar remit in The Fifi Box Show. Could Box’s services no longer be required?

Then there’s the problem for Austereo of who to replace Hamish & Andy with. Rumour has it they’ve been auditioning a wide range of possibilities, from up-and-comers to more experienced hands, for several months now, and word has also reached this blog that Austereo are putting together a “Dream Team” to replace the duo. We imagine the long list for the “Dream Team” would include painful prank-calling Fox FM breakfast host Matt Tilley, Nova’s drive time funnyman Ryan Shelton, currently unemployed experienced hands such as Peter Hellier and Dave O’Neil (although they’re both probably too old for the gig), annoying Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation regular Josh Thomas, and the aforementioned Fifi Box (although fitting the gig around her TV commitments could be tricky). An established team who’ve been working together for ages and are actually pretty funny, like Hamish & Andy, is unlikely – remember Guy Dobson’s in charge of the casting.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what happens. Hamish & Andy have never really succeeded on television and this is their best shot at. Movies are also a possibility, and no doubt there’s at least one semi-decent “ordinary Aussie battling against the odds” flick in them. And if it all goes horribly wrong, but they don’t do a Martin/Molloy and start suing each other, Jono and Dano’s recent return to radio proves that old favourites can still get a gig in radio if they’ve been away for long enough, so I might as well predict a return to regular radio in 2025. On Gold Classic Hits.

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  • Pete Hill says:

    I think that a change of pace and setting for hamish and andy might just be the best thing for them. In the limited time I have been listening to them, my impression is that the boys have considerable talent and potential. But in many ways, the high-profile commercial format they have been working in has been too narrowly structured for them to make full-use of their abilities. Having to mention the name of at least one of the show’s sponsors seemingly every single minute, not to mention the usual obligatory cross-promotions, so certain TV shows and certain celebs have to be plugged, sometimes doesn’t leave a lot of room for humour.
    Another problem has been that to some degree they have been victims of their own success. Being good comedians and being high-profile celebrities are often two very different things and they don’t always compliment each other.
    Being able to do something where they have more say about the format and not having to indulge in phone-ins, prank calls and D-grade celebrity interviews (Roberta Williams, anyone?) and being able to reach an audience beyond the 16-21 crowd just might give them a chance to shine.
    We’ll see if there is real talent and real ability behind the hype. I’ve got a feeling there just might be but it might mean them having to forget about being poster-boy celebs, at least for a while.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    According to today’s Age, H&A’s once-a-week show will air in the same 4-6pm timeslot:–andy-curtail-air-time-20100825-13s82.html

    So a Friday timeslot seems on the cards a la Roy & H.G. on MMM. Bad news for whoever gets the other four days too, I would have thought – you’d be competing with H&A as well as the other networks.

  • Pete Hill says:

    Oh, christ. I have just read that Fifi Box is seriously in the running to take over the timeslot from Hamish & Andy. God help us!