Old meets new in oddball quiz show's encore
SHAUN Micallef never expected to find himself back behind the Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation desk.
The solicitor turned satirist and TV funny man says he and his original co-stars Amanda Keller, Charlie Pickering and Josh Thomas toyed with reconvening for a reunion special.
"We had our last season in 2012 and it kind of ended because we all wanted to do go off and do different things," he says. "I had a couple of irons in the fire: Mrs and Mrs Murder and Mad As Hell. Both got up, which was nice.
"Six years down the track we remain in correspondence with each other and we said 'Wouldn't it be fun to do a reunion show?'
"Unfortunately (original broadcaster) Ten couldn't accommodate it in their schedule and it didn't work out. We said 'Well, it was a nice idea. Why don't we just catch up for lunch? It will be a lot cheaper'."
But when Nine expressed interest in rebooting the inter-generational quiz show, Micallef agreed to help out with the audition process assuming new team captains would also need a new host.
"I've known for Robyn (Butler) 20 years. She came just for a laugh really," he says. "Andy (Lee) I know. Young Laurence (Boxhall) I didn't know, but he was very good in the auditions. He was very quick and smart and funny, and I said 'It won't look like you're trying to replace Josh'.
"They said 'Would you do it if we got those three?' I said 'Sure'. I thought maybe they'd get one or two, not all three. They got them all so I said 'What the hell? It's a month's worth of shooting'.
"I asked the kids because they're the reason I did the show the first time around. They said 'Yeah it's the only thing we liked you in'. If I can get my 15-year-old interested in anything at all then I'm going to seize it with both hands."
The result is a new, eight-episode series that is equal parts old and new. Micallef and much of the original crew return, with Butler, Lee and Boxhall representing the X, Y and Z generations (Baby Boomers have been given the flick). Some of the quiz segments will be familiar, while others like 'lip reading' are hilarious new additions.
"I'm not really a responsible, proper TV presenter. I can't and won't do it in a conventional way," Micallef says.
"There's quite an odd rhythm to it. In parts it's quite shambolic; it's not slick or cool and it's not a format from overseas.
"I hope there's a joyous abandon to it. It's a lovely alternative for a family to sit down at 7.30pm and not watch a bunch of people argue over food or pretend to be in love with each other. It's an unpretentious family show."
Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation premieres on Monday at 7.30pm on Channel 9.