The Morrison Government is taking drastic action to turn around growing community concerns about repeated and lengthy lockdowns in the battle against COVID-19 and virulent strains such as the delta variant of the virus.
A senior government insider told me that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had come up with the idea of producing a six-episode TV series about people in lockdown with the first episode already shot.
“You’ve got to admit the guy’s a marketing genius, isn’t he?” the senior source said.
“I mean not only is he Father of the Nation and The Greatest Wartime Leader Australia Might Soon Have, but now he comes up with this gem of an idea.”
The program, titled Lockdown Lodge, is being shot at the PM’s official residence in Canberra and is a cross between a sitcom and reality TV.
Designed to enable the PM and his government to show empathy with those enduring the privations of lockdowns, it’s based on the 1960s hit Hollywood movie The Odd Couple starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon which spun off a hit TV series in the 1970s starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. (pictured)
“The PM thought that throwing together in close quarters two grown men who must endure a lockdown was a fertile field for comedy but could also be used to reach a wide audience with messages about the pandemic and his government’s response,” a TV industry insider told me. “Then he had the brilliant idea of him and Barnaby heading the cast.”
The PM will take on the “Felix Unger” role – playing an uptight, fussy, neat freak – while Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce plays the “Oscar Madison” character – a gruff, hard-drinking, loudmouth slob. (pictured)
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian plays herself as a house guest forced into lockdown but always trying to escape.
I’m told each episode has her using the loo at The Lodge, but always falling off the pedestal and needing to be helped out by the PM.
In the first episode, which is ready to air as soon as a deal can be inked with a local TV network or streaming service, mayhem ensues when Barnaby Joyce misunderstands the PM’s wife Jenny when she asks him if he’d like a sandwich.
Sounds hilarious so it’s understandable that my sources in TV production circles tell me the new program has “Logie” written all over it.