Thank God You're Here

Thank God You're Here is an Australian television improvised comedy program created by Working Dog Productions, which premiered on Network Ten on 5 April 2006, and aired for the first three seasons and on Seven for the fourth season.

Thank God You're Here
Created byWorking Dog Productions
Directed byPeter Ots (Series 1–3)
Jon Olb (Series 4)
Presented byShane Bourne
JudgesTom Gleisner
Opening theme"Come Anytime" by Hoodoo Gurus
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes41 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Santo Cilauro
Tom Gleisner
Michael Hirsh
Rob Sitch
Producer(s)Debra Chyote
Production location(s)Global Television Studios, Nunawading, Victoria (Series 1–3)[1]
Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, Flemington, Victoria (Series 4)
Editor(s)Ian Carmichael (Series 1–2, 4)
Ken Hardie (Series 3)
Running time60 minutes
Release
Original networkNetwork Ten (2006–2007)
Seven Network (2009)
Picture format576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby 5.1
Original release5 April 2006 (2006-04-05) 
8 July 2009 (2009-07-08)
External links
Website

Each episode involves performers walking through a door into an unknown situation, greeted by the line "Thank God you're here!". They then had to improvise their way through the scene. At the end of each episode a winner was announced. It was the most successful new show in Australia of 2006, attracting an average of 1.7 million viewers after the first few episodes.

The show is hosted by Shane Bourne, and is judged by Tom Gleisner. The format was sold for recreation in a number of countries.

Synopsis

Each contestant is dressed in appropriate costume, has some brief banter with the host, and is then invited to "walk through the blue door" onto a hidden set. They are greeted by the ensemble cast, in character, with the line "Thank God you're here!", and must then attempt to improvise their role in the scene. Typically they will be asked in-character questions by the ensemble cast and challenged to provide information about the scene, including the names of characters or objects.

At least twice during each episode (to cover set-up and costuming for the live audience), footage is shown of each of the four participants performing a challenge, often on location, which was filmed earlier in the week. These include a commentary booth where the contestants have to comment on an unfamiliar subject, an office where they are being interviewed or interrogated (by police, customs officials, etc.), showing customers things for sale (cars, boats, pianos, houses, etc.), or advertisements (e.g. slimming products, housing developments, etc.). The other characters in these scenes are generally played by members of the ensemble cast. The third series also introduced an additional segment in which Gleisner highlights a "real life" Thank God You're Here-style situation, such as the infamous Guy Goma BBC interview and frequently, that of politicians forced to improvise answers under pressure. The fourth season introduced a different segment, where Gleisner points out that he believes an Australian cricket player is able to endorse anything, and presents a falsified advertisement where a retired Australian cricketer (Damien Fleming) attempts to endorse an also falsified company of a completely random field (such as a French restaurant or sewage processing plant). Running gags in these segments include the cricketer comparing selecting such a company with his medium pace bowling, the use of "jargon" which actually is completely made-up, comparing the reliability (or other value) with his own bowling style, and a man named "Steve" who is called upon to agree with this previous statement ("bit like my bowling, eh, Steve?")

Finally, when all the contestants have played in a scene by themselves, all four enter a final scene together for the "all-in group challenge". At the end of the show, the judge declares a winner; this choice is entirely at the judge's discretion, and is largely arbitrary. Honorable and dishonorable mentions are also given, usually to contestants who do not win so that the judge can comment on their performances. The winner receives a trophy in the shape of the programme's blue door logo.

There are variations on the standard setup: occasionally the greeting will be slightly changed to better suit the setting (e.g. "Thank the gods you're here!" for a scene featuring Vikings or "Thank God you're alive" in a scene featuring a car accident), and often an alternative entrance will be built into the set. These are often used for comic effect, as in the aforementioned car accident scenario where the contestant (Matthew Newton) climbed through the back of the set and emerged from the door of a wrecked car embedded in the wall of a second-storey flat.

Ensemble cast

Although their parts are thoroughly scripted, the actors who interact with the guest stars in each scenario are drawn from an ensemble of experienced improvisational actors.

Improvisation experience is preferred so that the cast can react appropriately and immediately to the improvisations of the guest stars, though in most cases this improvisation is limited. This ensemble is also used in many of the mid-week assignments, fulfilling the roles of customers or members of the public with whom the guests must interact in a real-life setting.

The following are regular ensemble cast members who have appeared or currently appear on the show.

  • Heidi Arena (All series)
  • Daniel Cordeaux (All series)
  • Ed Kavalee (All series)
  • Nicola Parry (All Series)
  • Angela Johnson (Season 4)
  • Ben Anderson (Season 2 – Season 4)
  • Andrew Bayly (Season 1, Episode 2 – Season 4)
  • Isabella Dunwill (Season 2)
  • Simon Dowling (Season 1, Episode 3 – Season 4)
  • Rebekah Foord (Season 1, Episode 3 – Season 3, Episode 1)
  • Roz Hammond (Season 3 – Season 4)
  • Simon Russell (Season 2 – Season 4)

Several special guests have also appeared, either playing themselves or as part of the ensemble cast for a scene. Special guests have included Carl Barron, Dan O'Connor, Kimberley Davies, Simon Burke, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Mark Holden, Joan Sydney, Kate Ceberano, The Veronicas, Mick Molloy, Nikki Webster and Alan Fletcher. Other guests including Don Burke, Suzie Wilks, Jane Hall and Andy Lee have appeared as mock presenters in the locational challenges.

Appearances

Contestant Appearances Show wins
Angus Sampson 11 3
Hamish Blake 10 3
Josh Lawson 9 3
Julia Zemiro 8 2
Fifi Box 7 1
Peter Rowsthorn 7 2
Cal Wilson 7 3
Merrick Watts 7 3
Shaun Micallef 7 2
Frank Woodley 6 1
Akmal Saleh 6 1
Tony Martin 6 1
Bob Franklin 5 3
Rebel Wilson 4 1
Anh Do 4 1
Matthew Newton 3 1
Dave Hughes 3 1
Arj Barker 3 1
Kate Langbroek 3 1
Alan Brough 3 1
Glenn Robbins 2 0
Robyn Butler 2 0
Ryan Shelton 2 0
Tahir Bilgic 2 0
Colin Lane 2 1
Kate Jenkinson 2 0
Jo Stanley 2 0
Peter Helliar 2 0
Stephen Curry 2 0
Nish 2 0
Carl Barron 2 1
Josie Long 2 1
Felicity Ward 2 0
Toby Truslove 2 0
Santo Cilauro 1 0
Tanya Bulmer 1 0
Dalian Evans 1 0
Bianca Dye 1 0
Russell Gilbert 1 0
Anthony Field 1 1
Andrew G 1 0
Jimeoin 1 1
Stephen K Amos 1 0
Eddie Ifft 1 0
Julia Morris 1 0
Ross Noble 1 1
Matt Tilley 1 0
Sean Choolburra 1 0
Adam Hills 1 0
Franklyn Ajaye 1 0
Heath Franklin 1 0
Jordan Raskopoulos 1 1
Rhys Darby 1 0
Rob Carlton 1 0
Tom Gleeson 1 0

Episodes

Season Ep # Season Premiere Season Finale
Season 1 10 5 April 2006 7 June 2006
Season 2 10 6 September 2006 8 November 2006
Season 3 11 11 July 2007 26 September 2007
Season 4 10 29 April 2009 8 July 2009

Show promotion

Host Shane Bourne and Judge Tom Gleisner appeared on Rove Live on 11 April 2006, to promote the show after the first episode had screened. After an interview with Rove McManus, they participated in a game McManus called Where The Bloody Hell Have You Been, a play on words of the Australian tourism campaign, "So Where The Bloody Hell Are You?". In this game they had to perform, without preparation, a situation involving a funeral, and the reading of an improvised eulogy, following exactly the same format as Thank God You're Here.

Music

The main theme is "Come Anytime" (June 1989) by Sydney-based rock band, Hoodoo Gurus. A piece used throughout the interludes of the first Season of the show is "Don't You Know Who I Am", performed by Small Mercies.

In the second season, new music was also used in addition to the main themes:

In the third season, more new music was used in addition to the main themes:

Production and broadcast schedule

The show is filmed at Global Television Studios in Nunawading (a suburb in the outskirts of Melbourne)[1] which are rented by ATV-10 for the first three seasons in series 1–3 in 2006 & 2007.

Recording of a single episode is done between 7:30pm and 10:30pm. Each segment is recorded "as if live", but with longer breaks between acts for set changes and costuming. Some retakes are done after the initial recording is done to correct any errors made by the hosts during the initial recording, or to cover sounds picked up from outside the studio. The guest scenarios are recorded non-stop, and are longer than what will be seen on TV.

Series One (Early 2006)

The final episode of Season One, in which the actor Angus Sampson won, had 2.13 million viewers nationally.[2]

Series Two (Late 2006)

The second series of the show ran from 6 September to 8 November 2006, at a 7:30 pm AEST timeslot. The ratings for the second season place the show in the top three shows watched in Australia boosting the ratings of follow-up show House on the network and placing the show up with ratings juggernaut Border Security: Australia's Front Line which broadcasts on the Seven Network. Thank God You're Here received an average of two million viewers every week. For the last episode of 2006 (8 November), had received ratings of 1.85 million viewers nationally.[3]

Series Three (2007)

The first episode of Series Three was filmed on 21 June 2007. Guests for this episode included Stephen Curry, Josh Lawson, Peter Helliar and Cal Wilson. Series Three had begun at the same 7:30 pm time slot on Wednesday 11 July 2007.

Series Four (2009)

The fourth season will air on the Seven Network instead of Network Ten. With Global Television Studios in Nunawading getting ready to shut down,[1] Series 4 started filming at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds in Flemington, in the shed normally used as the Poultry Pavilion. With the move from Nunawading also comes a move from Global to Cutting Edge as the broadcast provider. Shooting starts on Thursday 19 March 2009, in front of a live audience of 500 people. At the recording of episode 2 on 26 March, Tom Gleisner told the audience they couldn't find an available studio big enough for all their sets and large studio audience, so started looking at other types of venues, and found what they needed at the showgrounds. Portable buildings have been set up outside the pavilion as offices, etc. Another vacant pavilion is used to house the audience before taping. The new venue is an issue for audio, as there is no soundproofing, so the nearby railway line often interferes with scenes, and Tom said if it rains, they are "stuffed".

Series Five

In 2014, co-creator Rob Sitch said that a revival of the program was possible.[4]

Ratings

Season Episodes originally Aired Network Television Season Rank Viewers (in millions) Ref.
Season Premiere Season Finale
1 10 5 April 2006 7 June 2006 Network Ten Early 2006 #2 1.729 [5]
2 10 6 September 2006 8 November 2006 Late 2006 #1 1.773
3 11 11 July 2007 26 September 2007 2007 #2 1.860
4 10 29 April 2009 8 July 2009 Seven Network 2009 #1 1.516

DVD releases

Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the show have been released on DVD in Australia. There are currently no plans to release the DVDs in other countries. Season 1 was released on 8 November 2006, Season 2 was released on 23 August 2007, Season 3 was released on 28 November 2007 and Season 4 was released on 5 November 2009.

Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series One
Set Details Special Features
  • 10 Episodes
  • 51 Scenarios
  • 3 Disc Set
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired
  • English audio (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1)
  • Behind the scenes documentary
  • Unscreened highlights
  • Vintage Frank Woodley performance from the pilot
  • Hard copy Thank God You're Here game built into the DVD cover
Release Dates
Region 4
8 November 2006


Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series Two
Set Details Special Features
  • 10 Episodes
  • 51 Scenarios
  • 3 Disc Set
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired
  • Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1) & English narration for the sight impaired.

No Special Features are included.

Release Dates
Region 4
23 August 2007


Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series Three
Set Details Special Features
  • 11 Episodes
  • 55 Scenarios
  • 3 Disc Set
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired
  • English audio (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1)

No Special Features are included.

Release Dates
Region 4
28 November 2007


Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series One, Two & Three
Set Details Special Features
  • 31 Episodes
  • 9 Disc Set
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired
  • English audio (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1)

As per Series One release.

Release Dates
Region 4
28 November 2007


Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series Four
Set Details Special Features
  • 10 Episodes
  • 51 Scenarios
  • 3 Disc Set
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired
  • English audio (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1)

Uncut, extended scenarios from during the week.

Release Dates
Region 4
5 November 2009

Awards

  • Most Outstanding Comedy Program Logie, 2007
  • Most Popular Light Entertainment Program Logie, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 (nominated)

Board game

In December 2009 the "Thank God You're Here" board game was released. It contains 70 different scenarios which can be acted out in the home, in a similar format to the show. The board game is being distributed in selected stores only, including What's New.

Distribution - International Version

The format has been sold to FremantleMedia for worldwide distribution and has subsequently been sold for creation in 18 countries including the United States.[6] International versions are required to use the same sketch premises used on the original Australian version and if one wants to alter one of their episodes in some way, such as taping a Christmas-themed episode, they must go through FremantleMedia for permission to do so.

Country Name Host Channel Language Premiere Website Judge
 AustraliaThank God You're HereShane BourneNetwork Ten 2006–2007
Seven Network 2009
English5 April 2006LinkTom Gleisner
 Armenia3 ՊԱՏ (3 Walls)Garik Papoyan, Felix KhachatryanArmenia TVArmenian2009–2010
 Azerbaijan3 ՊԱՏ (3 Walls)Orkhan Fikretoglu, Turane Huseynliİctimai TelevisionAzerbaijan06 October 2019Orkhan Fikretoglu
 BelgiumGodzijDankMatthias CoppensvtmDutch16 March 2007
 Canada
 Quebec
Dieu merci!Éric SalvailTVAFrench27 September 2007LinkGaston Lepage
 China谢天谢地你来啦 Cui YongyuanCCTV-1ChineseOctober 2011Link
 Czech RepublicKonečně jsi tadyJosef CardaTV PrimaCzech4 March 2007
 DenmarkGu' ske lov du komMads VangsøTV3Danish30 September 2006LinkSebastian Dorset and Hella Joof, third season Søs Egelind and Sidse Babett Knudsen
 EstoniaJumal tänatud, et sa siin oled!Andrus VaarikKanal 2Estonian6 October 2007Eino Baskin
 FranceEnfin te Voilà !Ariane MassenetComédie+French2013
 GermanyGott sei dank … dass Sie da sind!Knacki DeuserProSiebenGerman30 November 2006
 IndonesiaAkhirnya Datang JugaWinky Wiryawan – Trans TV, Narji 'Cagur' – Trans TV, Olga Syahputra – Trans TV, Boy William – MNCTVTrans TV, MNCTVIndonesian21 October 2007 (Trans TV), 21 May 2011 (MNC TV)LinkDidi Petet – Trans TV, Parto Patrio, Desy Ratnasari – Trans TV, Desy Ratnasari, Jaja Miharja – MNCTV
Ini Dia!Kevin Julio
Surya Dini
NET.10 December 2016LinkDenny Chandra, Dwi Sasono, Ferry Salim, Arie Untung
 IsraelTov ShebataMoni MoshonovArutz 10Hebrew5 June 2007Tomer Sharon
 ItalyGrazie Al Cielo Sei Qui!Leonardo ManeraLa7Italian22 March 2009Link
 LithuaniaAčiū Dievui, atėjaiEgidijus SipavičiusTV3Lithuanian1 September 2007Arkadijus Vinokuras
 NetherlandsGelukkig Je Bent ErCarlo BoszhardRTL 4DutchSeptember 2006Link
 PortugalAinda Bem Que AparecesteVirgílio CasteloRTP1PortugueseOctober 2008LinkNilton
 RussiaСлава Богу, ты пришёл!Mikhail Shats, Igor Vernik (in 2018)STSRussian24 September 2006Andrey Urgant, Sergei Svetlakov(in 2018)
 SpainPor Fin Has LlegadoJosema YusteTVE1Spanish14 September 2007David Fernandez
 SwedenTack Gode GudDavid HelleniusTV4Swedish21 March 2007
 TurkeyBak Hele BakEmre AltuğTRT 1Turkish13 January 2015LinkRasim Öztekin
 United KingdomThank God You're HerePaul MertonITVEnglish12 January 2008Link
 United StatesThank God You're HereDavid Alan GrierNBCEnglish9 April 2007LinkDave Foley
 VietnamƠn giời cậu đây rồi!Xuân Bắc, Trấn Thành (2018), Trường Giang (2018)VTV3Vietnamese11 October 2014Hoài Linh
  • The Australian version entered repeat broadcast on 13 January 2015 on Comedy.[7]
  • The Czech version of the show, "Konečně jsi tady" was first aired on TV Prima on 4 March 2007. The show was later put on hold to change it to better suit the Czech viewers.
  • The Dutch version, "Gelukkig Je Bent Er" broadcast its first episode on RTL 4 in late September 2006, followed by "Gu' ske lov du kom" on Danish TV3 a few days later.
  • The German version, "Gott sei Dank... dass Sie da sind!", piloted in July 2006, premiered on 30 November 2006, in primetime on German channel ProSieben, produced by local Fremantle daughter Grundy LE, but managed only to attract a small audience. It was cancelled after 6 episodes
  • The Russian version of the show, "Slava Bogu, ty prishyol" was first aired on STS channel on 24 September 2006. Five seasons with the last shown in 2010 spring have been produced.[6] The premiere of the updated show was held October 26, 2018 at 22:00
  • The Swedish version, "Tack gode Gud" was first aired on TV4 on 21 March 2007. It follows the same format as the Australian version and regularly uses similar scenarios.
  • The U.S. version was picked up by NBC after a pilot was shot on 9 November 2006, overseen by Rob Sitch, who flew to Los Angeles. It was hosted by American actor and comedian David Alan Grier and judged by Canadian actor and comedian Dave Foley. The program premiered on 9 April 2007[8] with two back-to-back episodes (including the pilot). It followed the Australian format closely, with the additional quirks of the guests swearing they had not seen the sets or costumes at the start of the show, and host Grier appearing in a cameo for one scenario each episode. Though it managed to attract some fairly high-profile guests, including Tom Green, Fran Drescher and Wayne Knight (who appeared twice), NBC announced it had cancelled the show after just seven episodes on 14 May 2007.[9]
  • The UK version premiered on 12 January 2008 on ITV. The show was made by Talkback Thames, a FremantleMedia company. Paul Merton was both the host and also featured in his own scenes.[10][11] Hamish Blake has appeared on the first two episodes of Season 1.

References

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