Kitty Flanagan and the understated phenomenon that is Fisk

She might not have the slick patter of a Saul Goodman or the court presence of Perry Mason, but Helen Tudor-Fisk is fast joining the pantheon of beloved TV lawyers.

Oct 17, 2022, updated Oct 17, 2022
Kitty Flanagan as Helen Tudor-Fisk in the ABC's award-winning comedy. Photo: ABC TV

Kitty Flanagan as Helen Tudor-Fisk in the ABC's award-winning comedy. Photo: ABC TV

Australian comedian and writer Kitty Flanagan will reprise her role as the baggy-brown-suited suburban solicitor next week when the ABC’s award-winning sitcom Fisk returns for a second season.

The quirky comedy centres on the shifting fortunes of Fisk, a high-flying solicitor who falls from grace in Sydney and finds herself in the low-rent, will-and-probate practice of Gruber & Gruber in suburban Melbourne. Not only did the understated sitcom strike a chord with Australian viewers when it hit our screens last year, it beat a host of big-budget competitors to claim best comedy at the 2022 Series Mania awards in France.

Flanagan says the success of Fisk highlights how much Australian audiences like seeing their own places and stories on television.

“That said, there’s a lot of pressure on to create content strong enough to compete with all the other stuff that’s out there,” she says. “While Australian audiences will always give you a fair go and have a look at an Australian-made show, they won’t stick around if you serve up rubbish.”

Joining Flanagan again at the Gruber & Gruber offices are fellow comics Julia Zemiro, Marty Sheargold and Aaron Chen – along with some favourite “guests” in the form of Glenn Robbins, Stephen Curry, Denise Scott and Marg Downey.

Flanagan told The New Daily it was important for her and writing partner Penny Flanagan – her sister – to get the key cast back together.

“When Penny and I were writing, we knew we had to have certain people back. People like Glenn Robbins and Marg Downey are so easy to write for; they have such incredible comedy instincts and always manage to deliver the lines even better than you heard them in your head.

“Denise Scott had a tiny role as a book club member in season one, but was so funny, we had to write her a bigger role in season two.”

Flanagan says Bessie Holland and Alex Papps were also ensemble cast members who could not be overlooked for this season.

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“Stephen Curry did a pitch-perfect version of an annoying thespian/theatre aficionado… And I adored having Broden Kelly from Aunty Donna join us… because I really love that combination of pure stupidity delivered perfectly straight-faced, which is something he does brilliantly.”

Zemiro, who plays pushy partner Roz Gruber, says that while the series was written by two women, it had a universal appeal.

“We had such amazing feedback from season one. I’ve been in a pub, surrounded by middle-aged men who were quoting lines back at me,” she says.

The adaptable Flanagan – who scored her first Logies win in June with most popular actress – is increasingly referred to as a “national treasure”, a label she hopes to live up to.

“What I hope it means is that my comedy appeals to a broad range of Australians,” Flanagan says.

“My favourite thing is when people tell me that their teenagers or primary-school-age kids watch Fisk. That’s my dream – to amuse people of all ages and demographics.

“With Fisk, we set out to make a show that you could watch without having to send your kids to bed first… No one is getting nude, having sex or kicking anyone’s head in.”

Season two of Fisk premieres nationally on ABC TV and ABC iView on October 26 at 9pm. Season one is available to watch now on iView.

This article was originally published on The New Daily.


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