Free-to-air station Channel 4, fresh off of their widely-regarded successful host nation coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London (England), have offered one of their most critically-acclaimed presenters from the event a chance to return to their screens for the next year, with Australian stand-up comedian Adam Hills agreeing an exclusive 1-year deal with the broadcaster.
Hills, a 42-year-old from Sydney who is most notable in his home country for appearances on ABC1 shows Spicks and Specks and Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight (along with presenting coverage of the 2008 Paralympic Games for the network), will now be seen on plenty of UK screens, with his Paralympics show The Last Leg being given an unusual renewal away from the international sporting event.
The end-of-day show (named after the presenter’s prosthetic leg) ran for 10 episodes covering all but two days of action during the Paralympics, serving as an ‘alternative highlights show’ featuring a mix of analysis, sporting guests and features, discussion, and controversial segment ‘#IsItOK’, which allowed viewers to tweet in questions on disability ettiquite.
While the details of the renewed show are currently unclear (whether it will be based on news, disability sport, or a chat show (amongst other potential formats)), it is confirmed that Hills will be joined by his English Paralympics co-presenters in the form of Josh Widdecombe (a stand-up comedian), and Alex Brooker (a sports journalist discovered through Channel 4’s Paralympics-inspired disabled presenter talent search).
While few who watched the show would begrudge the trio a chance at teaming up again on a similar programme, it may be considered an odd move to use the same title as the Paralympics programming, although Channel 4 may be hoping on brand recognition to give the renewed series a strong push-start when it airs its Christmas special and a full season in 2013.
Channel 4’s ‘Entertainment Commissioning Editor’ Syeda Irtizaali said of the developments: “We knew The Last Leg was something special and we were in no doubt we wanted to keep the show’s spirit of open and frank debate alive. We are working on a number of great ideas that will help push the show forward from its Paralympic origins into a broad, intelligent and entertaining series. I’m hugely looking forward to working again with Adam, Alex and Josh.”
Hills summarised the arrangement, stating: “The Paralympics is one of my favourite events in the world. When Channel 4 offered me the chance to cover it with The Last Leg, I jumped at it. It’s not often you get the chance to do something you absolutely love, that people seem to connect with. I thought The Last Leg was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m over the moon to think that we can do it all again.”
In addition to the main show they signed him up for, Channel 4 will also hold rights to air an Adam Hills stand-up tour performance (filmed last December in London), and consultation with him on ideas for new shows. Seemingly a direct continuation of the show seen at the Paralympics, will The Last Leg manage to forge a successful reputation away from the event it was founded for?