On The Road Again

File this one under good news:

WHO knew the world needed more Russell Coight?

The resurrection of a hapless travel character, two new Aussie dramas, and a raft of returning reality shows: these are the building blocks of Channel 10’s offerings to viewers in 2017.

Among the new offerings is Ten’s punt on laughs and nostalgia, with the return of comedian Glenn Robbins’ alter-ego Russell Coight after a 15-year absence.

Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures was last seen on Ten in 2002, as an hilarious parody on the adventure travel genre.

Channelling the likes of the Leyland Brothers, Steve Irwin and Harry Butler, but with the bush skills of none of them, Coight would bumble his way through the outback in a mockumentary travel show long on sight gags, self-delusion, self-injury and failed examples of his bushcraft. He’d end each show with the catchcry “So what are we waiting for, let’s get cracking on another All Aussie Adventure”, but his mangled one-liners, scant details, fudged facts and talent for stating the blindingly obvious were what gained him cult status.

Some visitors to Australia didn’t get the joke — and actually thought travel’s antihero was real.

At the time we though Coight was a little hit-and-miss over a full season – it’s basically a do-over of the reoccurring “Wallaby Jack” sketch Working Dog did on The Late Show in the early 90s, after all – but as there’s no mention of exactly what format he’ll be back in, it’s possible it’ll be a one-off telemovie where the strain of keeping the gag going won’t show.

Anything more than that (what would a full season even be for a half-hour sitcom on a commercial network? Six episodes?) might be too much of a good thing, especially as the kind of bush shows Coight was parodying have pretty much died out over the last decade. Unless he turns up as the host of Survivor Australia, which would be officially awesome.

But enough clear-eyed examination of the revival of a decades-old property: Coight was still pretty funny even on his rare bad days, and having Ten step up and have two Australian out-and-out comedy shows (Have You Been Paying Attention? will also be back, surprising no-one, as will The Wrong Girl and Offspring, which maybe kinda sorta count as scripted comedy) in their 2017 line-up is definitely good news.

And with Nine committed to a second season of Here Come the Habibs, that’s two out of three commercial networks running scripted comedy in 2017. C’mon Seven, lift your game: that long-awaited revival of Acropolis Now isn’t just going to happen on its own…


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