First published on 21 Aug 2012. Updated on 23 Aug 2012.
Nude photos of politicians. Footy players in the closet. Old ladies marrying cats. Truth is stranger than fiction and Lowdown is back to prove it, plumbing the depths of celebrity journalism with a brilliant new series of scurrilous media misadventures.
“It’s the final days of the Fourth Estate – online is eating print and shock and awe are the only angles worth spinning… time for a dysfunctional journo with bad grammar and a nose for news to shine,” says Lowdown’s co-creator-writer-star Adam Zwar.
Drawn from Zwar’s own exploits as a showbiz hack, series two goes deeper into Lowdown’s characters and the maelstrom engulfing the Sunday Sun newspaper, where morals are falling as fast as circulation while tabloid farce hits an all-time high.
“Journos are overworked, badly paid and often in a state of arrested development,” Zwar reckons, none more than his alter-ego on the show, hapless hack Alex Burchill. “I pitch Alex somewhere between Larry Sanders and Get Smart. He’s good at his job but the nature of that job means karma punishes him straight away – and often.”
Zwar wants Lowdown to graduate from ‘cult’ to ‘hit’, a leap Wilfred – the SBS show he co-created in 2007– made last year in the US (with Elijah Wood in Zwar’s role). “I don’t care about not being in it, I’m just grateful it’s taken on a new life elsewhere,” says Zwar of the crossover hit. “Same goes for Lowdown. We want it to get the biggest audience it can.”
Sharp scripts, surreal twists and cool cameos – Matt Preston as a detective, Brett Tucker as a gay footballer, a nude Steve Bastoni – should deliver this. And the regular cast return with renewed “bounce” too: Kym Gyngell, as the Sun’s reptilian editor; gourmet photographer Bob (Paul Denny); bad quack divorcee Dr James (Dailan Evans), crazed PR Julia Zemiro and stop-the-presses strumpet Rita (Beth Buchanan).
Best of all, Geoffrey Rush returns as Lowdown’s brilliantly bonkers Narrator. “Geoffrey jets in from massive fil -sets to grace us with his amazing stories, mellifluous voice and other-worldly comedic touch,” laughs Zwar. “He says what he loves most about Lowdown is that it never declares itself a comedy.”
In a delicious irony, Rupert Murdoch launched his own Sunday Sun in the UK just days after Lowdown’s debut drew raves on BBC4. It brought a tear to the eye of Zwar’s father, Desmond, an ex-Fleet Street scooper and biographer of Rupert’s father, Sir Keith. “Dad points out the scenes where I forget my tape recorder or don’t wait for a dial tone,” grins Zwar. “He’s a harsh critic… but hey, the halcyon days are over.”
Lowdown screens on ABC1 at 9.30pm from Thu Sep 6.