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The ABC will launch a new satire show, based on the Brisbane Broncos, later this year.
Benny’s Boys is a six-part series examining the dramas at Red Hill the Broncos try to win their first premiership since 2006.
Veteran comic Shaun Micallef – who plays Broncos coach Wayne Bennett as well as writing and directing the show – said it examines Brisbane’s inability to win anything despite regular advantages.
“Bennett’s team has it all: prime time TV slots, massive home town support (featuring a record number of extras, paid in Mad as Hell boxsets), an Origin-heavy team, help from the referees, but they can’t get over the line. I thought it’d be fun to take a satirical look at why the Broncos have failed for so long,” Micallef said. “Bennett is a frustrated Basil Fawlty-esque character, constantly undermined by the incompetence around him.”
Rob Carlton plays NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.
“Todd tries his hardest to give Benny every conceivable advantage, but the Broncos players can’t follow through. The pair finish each episode incredibly frustrated. It’s comedy gold,” Carlton said.
Other cast members include Sammy J as a fictional NRL referee who desperately tries to please Benny, and Rob Sitch as Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy, who delights in regularly belting Brisbane at Lang Park.
“I loved playing the villain,’ Sitch said. “So much fun, especially when Bellamy blows up in the coaches box or in a presser.”
Francis Greenslade – a Micallef regular – plays the Courier-Mail editor, whose mission is to get the Broncos on the front and back pages of their paper every day, while battling the evil Sydney journalists jealous of the Broncos’ success.
“The biggest challenge is how the keep the Broncos relevant while we celebrate another Queensland Origin whitewash, the Broncos enter another post-Origin slump and nearly blow a top four spot,” Greenslade said.
In a surprise casting move, Allan Langer plays himself.
“Alfie was super keen. He even ran out water bottles to all the actors during filming,” Micallef said.
The show’s not all laughs, with a dramatic subplot about the real identity of Darius Boyd’s (played by Josh Lawson) real father.
“The scene where Wayne and Darius find out the paternity test results is genuinely moving television,” Micallef said. “I’d be shocked if we didn’t win a Logie next year.”
Benny’s Boys airs Wednesday nights from September.
The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only. Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass