Shaun’s documentary “Stairway to Heaven: Gods, Gurus and the Ganges”, which aired on SBS last year before Christmas (and was repeated again last week – watch it online) is to become a series.
Artemis (the producers of the series) and SBS have secured funding for another three “Stairway to Heaven” specials, where Shaun will continue on his “quest for the meaning of life, as he immerses himself in the lives of people whose strong beliefs lead them to take extreme measures.”
No word yet on which religions he will immerse in, but we expect the specials will be shot later this year to air in 2016.
This wasn’t entirely unexpected, as Shaun indicated to David Dale of SMH late last year:
The Tribal Mind: Many viewers will be surprised to see you in this, because they’d assume you’re a sceptic, from the way you mock the politicians in Mad As Hell.
Shaun Micallef: It’s something I’m really interested in, which is people’s unquestioning commitment to faith. There are people who have that, and I don’t have that, and I find it a very enviable thing. The premise of what we hope will be a series was to just go off and immerse myself in these communities – seminaries, monasteries, wide open spaces in India – and meet these people and just see what it is that makes them so certain, to go in with an open mind, to not be cynical or even sceptical, to be genuinely curious and just observe.
The difficult thing for me was getting rid of the feeling that I needed to make jokes all the time. If there was going to be any humour there, I should let it occur naturally. It’s got nothing to do with comedy, it’s about life.
TM: I understand you thought about being a priest when you were a teenager. Are you still a Catholic?
SM: Yes, we still celebrate the feast days, we’ve brought our children up in the Catholic Church. If it’s all up to me, I’m in big trouble. There’s got to be some grand architect.
TM: Did the experience of making Stairway To Heaven transform you?
SM: Maybe it didn’t change me, but it gently moved me to look in a different direction. If I’d sorted it all out in one documentary, there wouldn’t be any reason to do another one. I haven’t quite got the answer to the meaning of life yet, but it’s not a bad objective for a TV series.
TM: So if it becomes a series, we can follow your trajectory …
SM: Until I’m a pure beam of energy.