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TV & Radio

Nov 21, 2012

A new Clarke and Dawn: 7.30's Chaser play falls flat

The Chaser's Chas Licciardello was tapped by the ABC's 7.30 to replace the much-loved Clarke and Dawe segment. Does this mean the end for the comedy duo?


The ABC’s 7.30 program is pressing ahead with plans to scrap the iconic Clarke and Dawe comedy segment and replace the long-standing double act with younger talent.

7.30 recently approached Chaser comedian Chas Licciardello to present a regular satire segment next year, dumping John Clarke and Bryan Dawe from the Thursday night slot. According to ABC sources, the mock interview format would have been scrapped and replaced with material similar to Licciardello’s work on ABC News 24 show Planet America and The Chaser’s Hamster Wheel. Crikey understands a salary offer was made to the comedian.

But it appears Licciardello — best known for entering a restricted APEC security zone dressed as Osama bin Laden in 2007 — wasn’t keen to fill the duo’s sizeable shoes. 7.30 executive producer Sally Neighbour told Crikey this morning: “I can categorically rule out any suggestion that Chas Licciardello will be doing anything with 7.30 next year.” She did not deny, however, that Licciardello was offered the gig.

Crikey revealed last month senior ABC staffers were angling to axe Clarke and Dawe, who have been a fixture on the public broadcaster for the past 11 years. Although the duo has an extremely loyal fan base, some within Aunty believe the segment has reached its use-by date.

EP Sally Neighbour has been widely praised for making 7.30 more energetic since joining in February, with more breaking news, investigative reporting and edgier stories that appeal to younger viewers. As Neighbour recently told Crikey‘s The Power Index:

“We’re really keen to attract a younger audience … There were a lot of stories that 7.30 would have done in the past that we don’t do now. We do very few feature stories. We don’t do filler stories. We don’t do soft stories unless they’ve got a very strong human interest appeal.”

Last month Neighbour said: “Clarke and Dawe have a current contract with the ABC for the 2012 calendar year. There have been no negotiations yet regarding 2013.”

She says she has had no further discussions with the pair since then.

Comedy blog Tumbleweeds recently noted with some alarm that, unlike in recent years, there is no Clarke and Dawe DVD scheduled for Christmas this year.

The pair, who could not be reached for comment, joined the 7.30 Report in 2000 following eight years at A Current Affair and previous stints on 3AW and ABC Radio. The pair marked 25 years performing together this year. Earlier this year Clarke told TV Tonight‘s David Knox that “it’s a gorgeous thing that we do. We love doing it every week, we’ve never got sick of it.”


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22 thoughts on “A new Clarke and Dawn: 7.30‘s Chaser play falls flat

  1. Mark from Melbourne

    I for one would be very sorry to see Clark and Dawes go but I have to confess I tend to watch it on the web rather than sit through the 730 report…

    Why couldn’t they still do it for ABC and it gets published on the web?

  2. paddy

    Still finding it strange that the ABC would axe such an iconic duo as Clarke & Dawe. In search of a younger demographic, they trash their major audience? Weird.

  3. jennatilz mckrackin

    Chas is very clever to reject the role as he would get the blame for Clarke and Dawes removal (despite it being a decision of Sally Neighbour.)

    It is 730’s loss however, the chaser boys, especially Chas and Andrew Hanson are at the cutting edge of satire in this country and they are comedic geniuses. The older audience may not be receiving of Chas’s genius due to some overstepping in the past in relation to darker subjects.

    The chaser boys have destroyed large sections of news ltd, TV and radio this season with their biting satire and comedy in the Hamster wheel and they deserve every opportunity afforded to them (as long as they dont have there independence interfered with), especially as our politics is infiltrated by vested interests, propaganda and American style dumbing down.

  4. klewso

    Some within Aunty may have reached their use-by-date – but it’s not Clarke & Dawe.

  5. Cyndi

    That the Chaser boys are seen by some as “at the cutting edge of satire in this country” speaks volumes about the distinct lack of cutting edge satire in this country.

  6. David R

    I also think Clarke and Dawes have passed their use-by date. The Chaser would be an excellent replacement.

  7. JMNO

    I like Clarke and Dawe and don’t think they have passed their use-by date. Of course the ABC could have short satire segments on two nights and use both groups

  8. Mr Pajama Pudding

    “Mr Scott, thanks for joining us”
    “But I’m not joining you Brian – I’m boning you”
    “Hasnt Sally already done that?”
    “Maybe she has boned you already, but I’m now boning you even further. It’s an age thing Brian”
    “An age thing?”
    That’s exactly right Brian – you and John are from the Brilliant Satire Age, whereas we need new blood from the Cheap Shots At Easy Targets Age”
    “There’s plenty of blood there?”.
    “Oh yes, one might say ‘buckets of New Blood’ there, Brian. It’s raining New Blood there”
    “It sounds like you might want to talk with the producers of True Blood?”
    “Well, that might be true ‘prima facie’ (as we say in the business Brian), but I have a problem with vampires, witches, werewolves and shifters – they just arent funny. Whereas I get plenty of excellent satire from my local church service. Every time I attend – it’s hilarious! So I think we might look in that area for new comedy blood. I mean, I wont tell Sally to do that directly – it’s just kind of understood around here that some things make me happy and other things make me unhappy”
    “And everyone wants you to be happy?
    “Well, everyone here wants that, Brian, yes”
    “It’s implicit?”
    “That’s a beautiful word Brian. Implicit…..it’s a much nicer word than explicit, for example”
    “Mr Scott, thanks for your time”
    “Well, enjoy it while you can Brian, you wont be getting any more time from me….give my best regards to John and dont forget to burn your bridges on your way out”

  9. Mr Pajama Pudding

    Breaking news – The ABC has announced the satirical duo Clarke & Dawe will be replaced by the hilarious duo Abbott and Pell.

  10. Matthew Libbis

    the enormous penis looking for a friday night funny man?

  11. Mike Smith

    THe 7:30 Report reached its use-by date a decade ago, C&D were the only thing keeping it alive. Drop the 7:30 report and put C&D on Youtube or abc.net.

  12. paddy

    In late breaking news: Mr Pajama Pudding has just got the Thursday night gig on ABC 7.30.
    Mr Mark Scott is reported to be clapping unhappily.

  13. ianjohnno1

    Between this and the Tasmania thing I think it’s the Ultimo Mafia that need boning.

  14. zut alors

    The Chaser is ‘at the cutting edge of satire in this country’?! Good grief.

    I’ve watched only two of the latest Chaser series but had to pull the plug before the shows ended – so much mindless violent slapstick, guns, exploding bodies, blood galore et al. The scripts seem to rely more on gory special effects than on wit.

    The only amusing bits were the excerpts of the Ten Network breakfast twit, Henry – but they needed no embellishment, Henry stood on his own as hilarious material without any input from The Chaser team.

    Clarke and Dawe are a class act and continue to elicit laughter. What makes the executive producer and other boffins think that a younger demographic would bother with 7.30 just because of three minutes of Licciardello?

  15. tinman_au

    7:30 is starting to get a Today Tonight feel about it, and axing Clarke and Dawe is just another straw on the camels back as far as I’m concerned :/

  16. klewso

    Chaser vs C&D? = “Slapstick vs Satire”.

  17. Edward James

    Clark and Dawe even more priceless when they have been ditched by new management. Edward James

  18. AR

    Let us not forget that C&D went to NINE for a brief period and failed utterly to mesh with its audience’s room temperature IQ.
    If Chaser is cutting edge then it is a very blunt implement indeed, which is probably why it appeals (if indeed it does – any evidence of that, y’know facts’n’figures stuff, like?)to those edjakaterised (if it could be so described)after the 70/80s, no inklng or awareness of subtle nuance, allusion, metaphor or mimicry.

  19. iggy648

    How about a “First Dagg on the Moon” segment?

  20. zut alors

    There’s little value in 7.30 these days. If they break a sufficiently big story it will re-appear on Lateline the same evening. Otherwise there are the online transcripts and videos should we miss anything.

    Lateline’s Emma Alberici is an excellent interviewer with a direct, but not aggressive, manner. Jones and Alberici are examples of intelligence at work.


    So ace reporter/journalist/Executive Producer Sally Neighbour has learned the art of not answering the question asked.
    I wonder if she is training for a career in politics – politics external to the ABC, that is.

  22. iggy648

    Alright then, a “First Dagg on the Moon” column in Crikey?


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