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.

Talkin’ ‘Bout Rumours

Shaun, Stuart and a BananaEven since Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation finished in 2012, there have been rumours of the return of the successful show, especially given its flexible and original format.

The Australian has re-opened the rumours, saying ITV are shopping the show around the TV networks, with Channel Nine a likely destination. Interestingly, “sources” say Shaun is a likely host, but isn’t locked in yet.

Shaun himself has said that for him and the cast, the show was done, so not sure if this will develop further than a rumour….

Seeing The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple logoI had the pleasure of seeing MTCs production of The Odd Couple, starring my favourite odd couple, Shaun and Francis.

I’d seen the female version of The Odd Couple before, so had an understanding of the plot, but seeing the characters again highlighted both the differences and similarities.

MTC don’t do anything by halves, so the set was absolutely amazing – no wobbling walls here. Even for the 60’s, it was one hell of an apartment for a bachelor, or a couple of bachelors, in New York.

Despite the 60’s setting, it didn’t feel overly dated, apart from a few lines which wouldn’t cut mustard today. The wives throwing out their husbands was probably ahead of its time, actually.

Shaun’s Felix is a bit camp, a bit slapstick, a bit Christopher Walken in his American accent, but lots of fun. Francis’s acting chops were on display and he played Oscar with probably the right amount of anger and frustration. There were some brilliant scenes between them; chasing each other through the apartment and passive aggressively arguing over the cleanliness of the place were my favourites. As Felix’s wife’s name is Frances, his slips of the tongue referring to Oscar (ie. Francis) as Frances had a nice double meeting.

The whole cast were amazing, and I got the chance to gush at Michala Banas, David Paterson and Grant Piro after the show – all of whom were lovely. Not to mention Francis and Shaun, who always are.

I’d love to see Shaun and Francis in a comedy revue, as I think Shaun suits that better (thinking of Good Evening with Stephen Curry), but I really enjoyed the production and it felt as fun to watch as it might have been for the actors (Shaun having made Michala corpse – for the first time, apparently – when we saw it).

odd-couple-signatures