30th May 1998
IT’s been nearly eight years, but Geoffrey Robertson, QC, is back to bemuse, enthuse and confuse Australians with his latest Hypothetical. Geoffrey now lives in London with his wife, author Kathy Lette, and their two young children. This latest offering is titled Send In The Clones, and the panel features Cheryl Kernot, Amanda Vanstone, Bryce Courtenay and Lisa McCune.
TV WEEK: Your last Hypothetical in Australia was in 1990. What happened in the recess.
GEOFFREY: That last show went to number nine in the top viewing list, just ahead of Neighbours. Since then I’ve been doing Hypotheticals in London for the BBC, and I did one a year or two ago in New Zealand, which had extraordinary results – they abandoned knighthoods, as a result of the show.
TVW: In Australia, the show has moved from the ABC to the Seven Network. How has the switch gone?
GEOFFREY: Commercial TV has been a bit more of a challenge because the audience is different. And there is the difficulty of working out how to edit to deal with commercial breaks. But it was also quite nostalgic, because I grew up near where they were building Seven’s Sydney studios. I used to take time off school as a boy to go watch Jack Davey and John Dease. I was aged about nine and I was witnessing the beginning of Australian television. So it was like returning to a part of my past walking back into the studios to film this Hypothetical.
TVW: Is spontaneity the key to the success of the show?
GEOFFREY: There should not be any kind of rehearsal. Obviously the panellists know in general terms what it is about. I very rarely meet the panellists, other than shaking their hand five minutes before they go on stage so I can remember their faces. I’m sure, if they knew the questions, they would go awav and swot, and come up with some pat answer that would be boring and stilted. I think it works much better totally spontaneously.
TVW: Do you find this style of debate spills over into your daily life?
GEOFFREY: We don’t fall into our “characters” over the breakfast table. We’re too busy getting the kids off to school. One day some one might offer us a TV show entitled something like Sparring Partners.
TVW: Lisa McCune was in your latest panel. How did she perform?
GEOFFREY: At one point she was a step ahead of me! I was impressed by Lisa. She has a very natural intelligence.
TVW: Hypothetically … science has reached the stage where it’s ready to clone a human being. Would vou agree to be the first human to be cloned?
GEOFFREY: I think cloning human beings is certainly going to be on the cards. What I want people to think about as a result of this Hypothetical is that there may be some justifications of cloning, but they certainly don’t include the vanity factor. Having a clone for vanity is just not on.
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