Just Your Typical Act Of Commercial Bastardry

For those of you wondering why you haven’t been hearing much about the much-anticipated (by us) revival of John Clarke’s The Games, wonder no more:

The Nine Network has scrapped plans for a sequel to the Olympic-themed mockumentary The Games.

Nine announced plans at the end of 2010 for The Games: London Calling, a follow-up to the series which aired on the ABC in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

It starred comedians John Clarke, Bryan Dawe and Gina Riley as the Olympic Organising Committee.

After a number of delays, a network insider has confirmed to The Sun-Herald that the series will no longer proceed.

Instead, Nine has given Hamish Blake and Andy Lee a second series, which will see the comedy duo travel to London prior to the Games.

It’s unclear whether The Games: London Calling will have a future back on the ABC or another broadcaster.

While it’s tempting – oh so very, very tempting – to suggest that Hamish & Andy’s drive for a London-based series is what’s scuppered a show that, let’s be honest, would have been roughly a billion times funnier than yet another batch of re-heated feel-good stunts, let’s not forget where the real villainy lies: the Channel Nine boardroom. They’re the ones who’ve axed The Games, and any attempt to paint it as anyone else’s fault is utter bollocks.

C’mon, do you think Nine is only going to have one show providing serious coverage of the Olympics? They couldn’t put on two, obviously very different, sports-themed comedies in the one year? Hamish & Andy’s London drive probably didn’t help – in fact, it probably made the Nine bosses decision a lot easier – but in the end it remains the bosses’ decision no matter how many times news reports say we’re getting Hamish & Andy “instead” of The Games.

They’re the ones who don’t think you can cope with two comedy shows about sport in the one year, but feel confident you can handle The Celebrity Apprentice five fucking times a week. They’re the ones who axed or shunted to the graveyard just about every comedy show they aired in 2011, but just couldn’t shovel out enough episodes of The Block. Shit, we should just be grateful they didn’t get John Clarke to host a cooking show. Or a revival of Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. Or a topless bar fight on Underbelly.

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  • Tim says:

    It seems silly to be so angry about something as un-important as a comedy show, when there are so many, more important things in the world to be angry about, but Channel 9 seems to be able to generate that hate inside me.

    I was proud of 9 for taking a chance with The Joy Of Sets (even if they thought they were getting Gruen 3.0). But now they’re back to their usual arseholeyness. I guess it’s my fault for being naive enough to trust them. At least it now makes voting for the ‘Worst network for comedy’ and the ‘Comedy which failed to appear’ in the Tumblies a lot easier.

  • Billyc says:

    This is very disappointing. Channel 9 are fools to announce a show as part of their “home of comedy” spiel and then not make it. Why would anyone make a show with them if this is how they are treated.

  • James says:

    I don’t see any reason to necessarily link the demise of one show with the rise of another. The article uses the word ‘instead,’ but that doesn’t mean the two are connected.

    (All that said, not saying the two couldn’t be connected.)

    I’m sure more will come out in time – curious to know if they wrote scripts, how far along it was…

  • pete hill says:

    I’m disappointed but sadly not surprised. Ben Elton tanked, the Joy of Sets failed to perform, H&A Gap Year did only moderately well (in terms of the budget and hype lavished on it), like any corporate body, CH9 turned around and said, ‘well, comedy ain’t working, lets stick to lifestyle and reality.’
    I hope that another channel buy the rights to the project and we can still see it, even if it doesn’t air until after the 2012 London games. Series 1 of the Games remains, for me, not only one of the best comedy series ever produced in Australia, but one of the best Australian TV shows of any kind. Series 2 was not quite as good as Series 1 but it was still better than 98% of anything else ever produced on Australian TV.
    The series has not been sufficiently credited either, in my opinion, for the international influence it has had. Without the first series of the Games (which aired in 1998), would we have had The Office, The Thick of It, Parks and Recreation, People Like Us and scores of other mockumentary comedies?
    Here’s a pitch to make Ch9 rethink their abandonment of the new series of the Games-

    Episode 3- John Clarke and Bryan Dawe get out of their porsche, wearing dark sunglasses and walk in slow motion towards the front door of their office building accompanied by a sexy contemporary rock soundtrack.
    They enter the foyer, passing gleaming furniture with the IKEA label clearly displayed. The young, attractive receptionist’s eyes follow the two men as they glide towards the lift, a mixture of fear and awe on her face.
    The two men leave the lift on the uppermost floor, entering a room undergoing renovation work, two competing teams of bright overall-clad inner-city professionals hurriedly finishing two rival decorating jobs. Clarke pauses and briefly eyes both projects, his face set in a grim stare.
    “Three hours left before judging” he says simply before walking away.
    The camera closes on the worried expressions of a few of the renovators, lingering longest on the middle-aged self-employed mum who keeps dummy-spitting.
    Clarke and Dawe reach their office. This episode’s Ch9 celebrity cameo, Stephen Jacobs, walks up, “I got your lunches’, proferring two paper bags, the MacDonalds logos in clear view.
    “On my desk”, says Clarke, his face set in stone.
    ” Don’t let them get cold”, Jacobs replies, “just like today’s weather”, he adds, winking at the camera.
    Gina Riley is at her desk. She is now played by a different actress- 22-year-old Sophie Imbruwaiteformica who got her first role as a stripper on the fifth season of Underbelly. The new character Gina Riley is also a former stripper and indeed the first episode of the new season of the Games was entirely devoted to Clarke and Dawe visiting strip clubs to head-hunt the Games Office’s new publicity and PR manager.
    Riley holds up a fax sheet, “You need to see this”
    Clarke takes it and reads. He drops an F-word and crumples the paper in his white-knuckled fist. Riley glances at Dawe. “The minister. He’s dropped us in the shit again”
    “That F—-g A—–hole C—t”, Dawe growls, spittle flying from his clenched teeth.
    Nicholas Bell, the minister’s secretary and his two bumbling assistants Hamish & Andy, strides angrily up the corridor.
    “You have really screwed things up this time, Clarke!”, Bell yells.
    “Heh, heh, screw….heh, heh, funny…giggle, giggle, mention the sponsors, heh, heh, I used to sleep with Megan Gale…heh, heh….” Hamish and Andy chuckle in the corner, wiping their eyes in wonderment at the depth of their genius.
    Bell jabs his finger into Clarke’s chest, yelling “you were supposed to get the sponsors to commit to the new agreement by thursday, we’re still 20 percent down in the-…”
    Bell doesn’t finish his sentence. Dawe grabs him in a headlock and slams him through a wall, plaster flying in all directions.
    “The renovators can fix that next week for elimination”, Dawe says with a grin.
    Clarke nods, his face set in stone, lightly brushing his suit with one hand. Riley walks over, her mini-skirt failing to conceal the top of her suspenders.
    She uses her long nails to flick away a non-existant piece of dust from Clarke’s shoulder, gazing at his eyes. “I like the way you handle things”
    Clarke grins slightly, “I handle these Games the way I handle everything- straight-down the line and no bullshit”, he says with maximum breathless-ness and gravel in his tone.
    Following a slow-motion love scene (with a sexy contemporary rock soundtrack) between Clarke and Riley in the office stationary storeroom, our three heroes start work for the day….