The stars of a new online mockumentary about wine have found the perfect shooting location in Mudgee’s vineyards.
With a cast and crew drawn from ABC programs such as The Chaser and Gruen Planet, Plonk follows The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and Plonk co-creators Nathan Earl and Josh Tyler as versions of themselves attempting haplessly to make a show about wine in Mudgee, the Hunter, Canberra and Orange.
The series’ creators found such a variety of great locations in Mudgee that they decided to extend their stay and spend a whole week shooting around the town.
“It’s got so much going for it - great locations, great infrastructure, great town,” said one of the series’ stars and creators, Nathan Earl.
Plonk brings the third film crew to the region in three months, following Rebecca Gibney’s The Killing Field shooting in Gulgong in November and independent thriller Crushed shooting at Burrundulla in December.
Mr Earl said Mudgee was big enough to provide different types of locations and small enough that the community would get behind a production and support it.
He said he would definitely be telling his Sydney colleagues to bring their next shoot to Mudgee.
Shooting began on Friday night with the final scene of the series, a cocktail party at Tim and Sarah Ferris’ Vinegrove vineyard where the stars of the series screen their show-within-a-show, also titled Plonk.
The team worked into the early hours of Saturday morning with a team of extras drawn from Mudgee and Gulgong,
Plonk will remain in Mudgee till Thursday, getting a wine education from David Lowe at Lowe Wines, singing with Johnny Furlong of the Small Winemakers Centre, flying with Balloons Aloft and visiting Thistle Hill, Roth’s Wine Bar and High Valley.
Mr Earl, who comes from the Hunter, and Mr Tyler, from the Barossa, pitched the idea for the show to Destination NSW, which provided the bulk of the project’s funding but has given the team all the creative freedom they need.
Mr Earl said the series was a new way of showcasing the state’s wine regions - instead of a pretty girl in a linen dress strolling through a vineyard in soft focus, the series shares the industry’s eccentric characters and the fun of a vineyard adventure.
The program has even attracted support from industry professionals, and Mr Earl said nobody had yet refused to play a cameo, from Mudgee’s winemakers to Hunter Valley veterans Bruce Tyrrell and Andrew Thomas and celebrities such as Matt Moran.
Producer Georgie Lewin said without feeling that they were being schooled, people would learn a little about wine by seeing the show’s characters struggle to pronounce the variety Gewurztraminer or hearing in passing about the rise of screw-top caps.
After six years working on the cynical satire of The Chaser, Mr Earl said Plonk was quite a gentle comedy with a certain warmth and joy about it.
The five episodes of Plonk will go online on Facebook and Youtube in February.
Later, 10-minute edits of the episodes will screen on Qantas domestic flights and Channel Ten will air a one-hour version of the full story.