Canberra politics often seems beyond satire. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Working Dog’s TV show Utopia has more than once foreshadowed reality in its hilarious depictions of life in a federal authority.
Rob Sitch, Utopia’s co-writer and star, says he’s had no need to draw on covert leaks and insights from bureaucrats for material. “90+% of what we find is sitting in front of everybody. It’s on the front pages.” And he’s had plenty of feedback from insiders to confirm the program hits the spot.
Sitch, who relishes political satire, originally studied medicine before becoming one of Australia’s best-loved creatives and performers. Asked about his jump from doctoring to the world of entertainment, he tells The Conversation it was “a hobby that got out of hand”.
Twenty years on from directing the iconic film The Castle, Sitch bemoans the trend in Hollywood that has seen it become too reactive to demographics and economics. He says the government should consider a boost for our own film industry. “Something gets added to the culture when an Australian film pops out.”
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra