Press release time!
From Monday 6th May at 6.00pm
On ABC, iview and ABC COMEDY’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
Airing weekdays at 6.00pm on ABC TV and 8.30pm on ABC COMEDY until the Election on May 18th .
This year, ABC has been granted exclusive access to the Government Coach as he prepares his team for the biggest match of their career. In this gripping, fly-on-the-wall documentary series we follow the final two weeks of a dramatic season that’s already seen three captains, multiple injuries, and an Opposition hungry to win back the trophy. But with Scomo, Frypan, and Spud Dutton on his side, Coach is going to be giving it 110% right up until the final siren.
In 2018, Sammy J was given the honour of replacing the late, great John Clarke who together with Bryan Dawe provided their legendary satirical sketches for a generation. Viewers have since embraced the young, skinny political nerd, with ratings steadily increasing across the season – proving the old adage that “it’s not the size of the timeslot, it’s how you use it.”
In addition to broadcast, the show has found a huge audience online through its Facebook release, with episodes such as ‘Brexit Yoga’ and ‘Explaining Terrorism to Children’ racking up millions of views worldwide.
Sammy J and his co-writers Chris McDonald and James Pender strive to surprise viewers each week, with new characters and settings constantly evolving. One week Sammy J will be doing craft exercises in the Play School-inspired ‘Playground Politics’; the next he will be dressed as a sheep addressing his fellow cruise passengers on a Live Export boat.
Throughout it all, his breakout character ‘The Government Coach’ has been offering regular commentary on the state of his team – even turning up unannounced at Malcolm Turnbull’s final press conference to cheer on his captain.
Sammy J says: “Countdown to Glory is set to replace The Killing Season as the definitive Australian political documentary for a generation. We’ll be creating a brand-new episode every day for two weeks in the lead up to the election, based on the news of the day, which will be almost as stressful as trying to understand Bill Shorten’s negative gearing policy.”
Says the Government Coach: “Look I don’t normally like dealing with the maggots in the press gallery, but this is an important Grand Final, and I want to make sure the boys get full credit for their efforts.”
With an upcoming election and no shortage of controversies, 2019 is shaping up to be the satirical gift that keeps on giving.
Seems Sammy J is way more popular than the deafening silence that greets his sketches each week would suggest. Hey, it’s totally possible: people love characters, and even though The Government Coach usually seems like nothing more than a bunch of meaningless sports cliches applied to politics in such a way as to provide zero insight into either, who doesn’t love a footy coach?
Then again, having it pointed out that the vast majority of Australians – and pretty much 100% of the media – sees sport as far more important than politics is obviously a public service. After all, it’s impossible to imagine a popular series of sketches where a political fixer works behind the scenes to help a sporting team win… even if the vast amount of government cash poured into sporting stadiums across the country makes it pretty clear that’s something that really does happen.
Anyway, unless The Weekly really steps up during the election, this looks about as good as the ABC’s comedy coverage is going to get. Who doesn’t love democracy?
Again, if you make a comedy with a genuine critique of the oz political process – model the protagonist on the life of any of those ridiculous campaign directors or whatever they are titled – and you have a hit on your hands. Scripts overflowing with content, not just the jokey metaphors.