Thank God You're Here: articles

Thank God, says Shane

HE IS the last person nervous comedians, actors and radio people see before encountering the unexpected. But it almost wasn't to be. Initially, Shane Bourne was going to turn down the job of hosting ratings smash Thank God You're Here.

"When I was first approached, I ummed and aahed," Bourne says with an impish grin.

"I'd been doing a lot of drama and it was nice, at this stage of my life, to have people giving me AFI Awards.

"But I was interested, and so I looked into it. It wasn't until I saw some filmed scenes that I thought 'I've got to do this'. Now, I'm just having the bloody time of my life.

"It's just been a joy and, I swear to God, every show, I've been laughing my head off. I just wouldn't be doing that in another situation, another job."

Nor would he be seen on pretty much every television set in the country. For a show that no one seemed to be able to explain, Thank God You're Here, which starts its second season on Ten tonight, was an easy sell to viewers.

"I'm glad it wasn't over-hyped," Bourne says. "Then again, it really couldn't be because it was too bloody hard to explain."

Bourne isn't surprised by the show's success. It taps in to something primal about Australian television.

"I've been comparing it to Hey Hey, It's Saturday, because it had a family audience and there was a time when it was laugh-out-loud funny," he says. "But have you ever noticed the variety shows of recent years?

"They're still good, but they're fine-tuned and the humour all comes from that. When you look at the history of television in this country, all the greatest and classic moments came from things going wrong."

Thank God You're Here, Channel 10, Wednesday, 7.30pm

By Sean Fewster
September 06, 2006