The Ex-PM Series 2 arrives Thursday

We’re nearly ready for Series 2 of The Ex-PM – it starts this Thursday 8:30pm on the ABC.

Andrew Dugdale (Shaun), once the longest serving Prime Minister, is returning to politics, and standing for election in the seat of Darling Downs in regional Australia. He’s aided by his wife, daughter, agent, personal assistant, driver, security detail and ghost-writer – so what can go wrong?

Dugdale will be back on the hustings, seeking every publicity opportunity he can to get himself back into the public eye.

View more on the ABC website.

Keep an eye on this website during the series for some behind-the-scenes info on how it was filmed.

White, Red and Shaun Rabbit

White Rabbit Red RabbitWhite Rabbit, Red Rabbit is a play where the actor has no idea what the script is before they perform it, on stage, for the first time, in front of the audience. Shaun was that actor tonight at the Melbourne Arts Centre, improvising between lines on the written page and playing with the audience as the script dictated.

It was a darker play than expected, but thought provoking, and always good to see Shaun playing it up on stage – hopefully we’ll see him do something more like it soon.

Tales from a Tall Forest

In the midst of writing, editing and starring in two TV shows, Shaun has whipped up a new book for our grubby little hands.

Tales From A Tall ForestOnce upon a time being, forever and ever ago, there lived a forest tall of tales … ? When an innocent princess wanders into the forest, she finds herself trapped between a wolf with a ravenous appetite and a sweet little house with a secret. Meanwhile, a desperate fisherman enters into a very bad bargain with a power-hungry monkey. And meanerwhile still, a tiny tricksy tailor promises a promise that not even the most magic of beanstalks can help him escape.

In the same style as those he used to invent for his kids, Shaun has written woven traditional fairy stories into new and surprising adventures. It’s aimed at “tweens”, but there’s something to enjoy for any fan of Shaun’s style or work. I’m a good part through it, and it’s fun and meandering; and not as much of a mind-bend as his previous novels.

The stunning illustrations are throughout by award-winning artist Jonathan Bentley.

More grim than Grimms’, less soppy than Aesop.

Shaun will be doing a reading at The Sun Theatre in Yarraville, Melbourne in October.

It’s a wrap for Season 7 of Mad As Hell.. but it will return!

The bookshelf from the Mad As Hell setIt seems like twelve weeks have flown past, but as we watch the last episode of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell tonight, the cast and crew will be holding their wrap party for what has been a fantastic season, and proof that it’s needed in Australia’s TV landscape.

But don’t despair… it will be back in 2018 for Season 8! Everyone I’ve spoken to the ABC can’t be more thrilled to have it back, and are excited to see it in ABC’s new Southbank studios next year. There’s a real sense of family and team about the show – the cast and crew really love working on it together, and Shaun admitted he still gets a lot of enjoyment from making it. So with a bit of luck we’ll see it in the early part of 2018.

End of an Era

With tonight being the penultimate episode of Series 7, that means there’s only one more episode (next week) of Mad As Hell for this year!

Coincidentally, by all accounts, next week’s taping of Mad As Hell will be the last thing to be recorded at the ABC Elsternwick studios, which have been the ABC’s main television facilities in Melbourne since 1956.

The studios have been the home of Countdown, The Big Gig, The Late Show, Recovery, countless others, and of course – The Micallef P(r)ogram(me), Newstopia and Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell.

Next year, the show will tape in new studios at the ABC Southbank site in Melbourne, where all ABC operations in Victoria have been consolidated. The move was anticipated earlier in the year, but the new studios have not been ready.

Speaking to some of the cast and crew, there is a feeling of melancholy over leaving the studios in Gordon Street, with the history (along with asbestos) being ingrained in the walls, and many people of the people still there having had worked in the building for over 30 years. Even for the Mad As Hell team, it’s been six years alone.

It’s a fitting thing that Shaun and his team, who currently carry the satirical torch for the ABC, should give it the final on-air send off.

You can read more about the studios in this news article.

Mad as Hell is back!

Season 7 (can you believe it!?) of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell is back tonight on ABC at 8:30pm.
If you miss it, there will be re-runs on ABC2 plus there’s always iView.

And if you noticed this site was MIA for the past few weeks – whoops! But we’re back to usual operations 🙂

Mad as Hell returns on Wednesday June 21 at 8.30pm

Mad As Hell S6Ep5: Smooth OperatorWhat more is there to say?

Okay, maybe the press release:

Mad as Hell returns to face a world that’s madder and badder than ever before; a world poised on the brink of a nuclear winter; where Europe is falling apart; where a President and a Supreme Leader are largely interchangeable, a Liberal Treasurer can deliver a Labor budget as if its normal and our raw sewage is spied on by the government for metadata; a world where we’re all running out of power, housing, money, time, climate, journalism, non-renewables, patience – and nothing makes sense anymore. Nothing that is, except Shaun Micallef’s weekly expert analysis of the Kafka-esque nightmare that our world has become.

Fewer ads than The Project; earlier than Heads Up with Chris Kenny; and a good twenty three and half hours shorter than the former ABC News 24, Mad as Hell returns on Wednesday June 21 at 8.30pm.

Oh, and in other news…
This website is seven years old today! Woohoo!

Stairway to Heaven specials start Wednesday

After much anticipation, Shaun’s Stairway to Heaven specials continue this Wednesday on SBS at 8:30pm.

Following on from his singular special in 2014, Shaun is continuing to immerse himself in the lives of those with “unshakable faith” to discover what gives them that faith, and wondering if there is more to life than being a semi-professional writer/comedian.

First up, Shaun travels to Salt Lake City to live, eat and pray with the Mormons before heading off with young missionaries to the jungles of the South Pacific. He then ventures to the Deserts of Utah to break bread with breakaway polygamists.

In Faith Healers (January 25th), Shaun immerses himself deep in the back blocks of Brazil, in the community of world famous medium and psychic spirit healer John of God for a chance to commune with the dead. Here Catholicism is intertwined with a belief in supernatural miracles, mediums and the afterlife.

Finally, Shaun wonders if Armageddon really is nigh (February 1st) and how to physically and spiritually prepare for the Apocalypse. Heading to America he undergoes biblical combat training with Doomsday Preppers  and explores the world of TV evangelism with Born Again Christian fundamentalists. On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he stands where Jesus is prophesied to return, before finally retreating to the Greek Island of Patmos where the Book of Revelation was scribed.

You can watch the first episode, Gods, Gurus and Ganges, on Vimeo.

Thanks to Artemis International for the information.