Hamish and Andy’s “Perfect” Holiday: Capturing high jinks on the road

• ‘Perfect’ Holiday premieres on Sunday, November 17, at 7pm on Nine

Hamish and Andy’s latest travel series – Perfect Holiday – launches Sunday on Nine. The iconic duo is renowned for their comedic take on globe-trotting experiences since their 2007 show Caravan of Courage where they travelled across the nation. Executive producer of Hamish and Andy’s “Perfect” Holiday Tim Bartley spoke to Mediaweek about what to expect on the new series and some memorable moments (as well as small hiccups) when filming. 

Family-like is the best way to describe the relationship between the Australian comedy duo – Hamish and Andy – and Radio Karate business partners Bartley and Ryan Shelton – who were nominated for this year’s TV Week Logie Awards for True Story (Most Popular Comedy Program). The four have worked together since 2003 at Channel 31 in Melbourne. “We’ve been with each other for our whole professional career. For Ryan, Hamish and myself, we’ve known each other since school days,” said Bartley. “We have a strong collaborative relationship. It makes work not work at all – it’s good fun.

(From left) Tim Bartley, Hamish Blake, Ryan Shelton and Andy Lee

“Something we’re all really passionate about is discovering new, weird and wonderful things and cultures, so to be given the opportunity to do it again (after Gap Year) is really exciting for us and we hope Hamish and Andy’s audience is still really hungry for that style of content.

“The show is sort of an evolution of that content; we’ve developed a few format points that help give it structure and help Hamish and Andy stitch each other up. Essentially they keep content secrets from each other while we’re shooting. The show will be an evolution of Gap Year, but still harnessing all the high jinks and fun and stupidity that makes that show fun to make and fun to watch. The most fun we had filming was when we genuinely surprised the guys on the road with the research we had done, and all the characters we found.”

While viewers can expect a whole bunch of surprises, also expect more high concept ideas that play out on the road. “Hamish secretly organised a completely made up bike race up the tallest paved road in America for Andy. Hamish discovered it was like putting on a music festival at 14,000 feet with no communication. We shot that in Colorado, and that’s the very last story of the series. It’s a bit triumphant, or in our case short of triumph,” laughed Bartley. 

“We also shot some great stuff in Alaska with some amazing, quirky characters from up there. We managed to get access to shoot on a casino floor in Vegas, which took about four months of negotiating to get that access. Ultimately, what makes this show so great are the high jinks and surprises; and maybe the audience will learn things along the way… but probably not.”

Bartley mentioned there were a couple of minor hiccups when filming, which are almost always inevitable when filming overseas. “One GoPro died in the line of duty, which was tragic. It was off the coast of Alaska in a watery grave. Otherwise, we were phenomenally lucky from a technical point of view. 

“Our hard-working data wranglers did a great job of making sure the vision came home safely. The best thing about this show is that as long as you keep the vision, normally a hiccup makes the best part of the segment. We film everything, so if things go wrong and we’ve got it on tape, then that’s great. We embrace it.

Bartley also got in on the action in front of the camera. “I was strapped to the back of a school bus on a racing track and its figure 8 bus racing. In the middle of the track the buses cross each other at speed, and I screamed a lot and thought I was going to die.

“I didn’t feel it was appropriate for one of our other camera operators to take that gig up, so I put my hand up. That was an amazingly memorable day, and these very hospitable crazy Americans letting us partake in their bus race was awesome.”

In regards to future plans for Hamish and Andy, there’s nothing set in concrete at the moment. “We’re lucky enough to have True Story happening in a few territories at the moment, so we’re continuing to work with producers overseas. That keeps us busy. Hopefully one day we might get the chance to do another ‘Perfect’ Holiday, but at the moment we’re just concentrating on making sure this season gets away and hopefully most people love it as much as we do.”

Hamish and Andy’s ‘Perfect’ Holiday premieres on Sunday, November 17, at 7pm on Nine.

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