For the first time since 2015, Mad As Hell is returning at the start of the ratings year – January 31st – for its EIGHTH season! This will be the first at the new studios in Southbank, Melbourne, where the ABC has consolidated all its television and radio production in Victoria. But the whole team has moved across, so expect arguably the best satirical show on Australian TV to continue where it left off.
In 2015, Comedian Lawrence Leung took his successful stage show about a young Asian-Australian turning against all of his parents expectations to become a travelling conman, and turned it into a movie: Sucker!
The main cast includes Timothy Spall, John Luc, Lily Sullivan, Kat Stewart, Lawrence Leung and Jacek Korman. Shaun plays the small role of Harry, a bug-eyed second-hand record store proprietor.
If you missed it when it was released, Sucker is airing on Channel 11, Tuesday 9th January at 8:30pm.
In the midst of writing, editing and starring in two TV shows, Shaun has whipped up a new book for our grubby little hands.
Once 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.
It 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.
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!
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.
Even 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….
Shaun and long time collaborator Francis Greenslade have long been an odd couple, but for their first time in a starring role onstage together, they will be The Odd Couple.
In Neil Simon’s famous 1960’s play, Shaun plays clean-freak Felix and Francis plays the messy Oscar, both of whom have found themselves recently single, living together and depending on each other. With their friends supporting/hindering them and a date with the sisters from next door, can they really last as roommates?
In exciting news, Shaun has let it slip to us that both Mad As Hell and The Ex-PM will both return to the ABC in 2017!
Shaun will film Series 2 of The Ex-PM early next year, which will probably mean the seventh (yep, you read that correctly) series of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell will slot in mid-year, and will make it Shaun’s longest running television show (TAYG was 72 episodes).
Francis told us recently that Curtis is a character he really enjoys playing (more of that interview soon), so I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to Dugdale’s return.