When Bess Denyar (Annie Maynard) discovers she’s adopted so many things about the conflict she has with her upper middle class life start to make sense: her random burping, her dislike of the ballet and french films, her idiot red-haired son. When she meets her real parents Wayne (Glenn Robbins) and Julie Wheeler (Robyn Malcolm) things start to make a little more sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a simple transition to blend her existing and original families. It is, however, going to be very funny.

Robyn Hope and Wayne Butler deliver another very sharp reflection on the societal class war with Upper Middle Bogan, writing and casting perfectly. The ensemble includes Patrick Brammall, Lara Robinson, Madeline Jevic, Robyn Nevin, Rhys Mitchell, Dougie Baldwin & Harrison Feldman but it’s Michala Banas that shines as the abrupt newly single mother and formerly eldest sister struggling to cope with her “new” sister.

It’s not spoon-fed comedy – there’s no laugh track and the lines will come from the most surprising places. Robbins & Malcolm are hilarious as the parents making up for the years apart; Brammall brilliant as the sex-mad husband; & Banas is a joy to behold. Thank goodness for Hope & Butler and their determination to deliver smart comedy that can simultaneously have you laughing at fart/burp jokes.

Upper Middle Bogan. Hard in, deep out indeed.


Dates are risky. Particularly first dates – opening yourself to someone and revealing something of the real, vulnerable you in the hope they’ll respond to you and not crush your heart in their hand like so many have before (but enough about me). It’s A Date delivers comedy with real heart – something that’s very hard to pull-off without being hacky. This series manages it with deft and gentle touch.

Each episode features two separate dates and is themed around a question, including:
How much do first impressions count?
When should you abandon a date?
Do opposites attract?
Does age matter?
Should you date on the rebound?
How important is a sense of humour on a date?
Should you have sex on a first date?
How important is honesty on a date?

The answers to each will surprise and delight, and thanks to some amazing writing and performance catch you off-guard. Creator Peter Helliar has drawn from Australia’s finest in his co-writers for the series, including Kate Langbroek, Justin Hamilton, Lawrence Mooney and Phil Lloyd – all offering generous insight and pathos to the joyous dangers of the possibility of love.

The cast too are incredible: Kate McLennan, Stephen Curry, Sophie Lowe, Sybilla Budd, Shane Jacobsen, Asher Keddie, Louis Corbett, Lisa McCune, Kate Richie, John Wood, Nadine Garner, Denise Scott and more – with some gorgeously natural performances from suprises like Poh Ling Yeow, Luke McGregor, Nazeem Hussain, Ronny Chieng & Ross Noble. All of the stories and performances are so strong it’s hard to single one out… certainly look forward to McLennan & Hussan’s date in ep 4.

It’s piercingly relatable and unashamedly romantic comedy that will have a dig at your funny bone and a yank on your heartstrings. It’s A Date – It’s a hit.

Upper Middle Bogan – Thu 8:30pm, ABC1.
It’s A Date – Thu 9pm, ABC1.