|Thank God You're Here|
|Created by||Working Dog Productions|
|Presented by||Shane Bourne (2006–2009) |
Celia Pacquola (2023–)
|Judges||Tom Gleisner (2006–2009)|
|Voices of||Danny O'Grady (2023–)|
|Opening theme||"Come Anytime" by Hoodoo Gurus|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||49 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Santo Cilauro|
|Running time||60 minutes (including commercials)|
|Production company||Working Dog Productions|
|Release||5 April 2006 –|
26 September 2007
|Release||29 April –|
8 July 2009
|Release||2 August 2023 –|
Thank God You're Here is an Australian television improvised comedy program created by Working Dog Productions, which premiered on Network Ten on 5 April 2006, and aired for the first three and fifth seasons and on the Seven Network for the fourth series.
Each episode involves performers walking through a door into an unknown situation, greeted by the line "Thank God you're here!". They then had to improvise their way through the scene. At the end of each episode a winner was announced. It was the most successful new show in Australia of 2006, attracting an average of 1.7 million viewers after the first few episodes.
The show was originally hosted by Shane Bourne and judged by Tom Gleisner. After a fourteen year hiatus, it was revived for a fifth series, hosted by Celia Pacquola and featuring a guest judge each episode. The format is sold for recreation in a number of countries.
The show was renewed for a sixth season at the 2023 Channel 10 upfronts.
Each contestant is dressed in appropriate costume, has some brief banter with the host, and is then invited to "walk through the blue door" onto a hidden set. They are greeted by the ensemble cast, in character, with the line "Thank God you're here!", and must then attempt to improvise their role in the scene. Typically they will be asked in-character questions by the ensemble cast and challenged to provide information about the scene, including the names of characters or objects.
At least twice during each episode (to cover set-up and costuming for the live audience), footage is shown of each of the four participants performing a challenge, often on location, which was filmed earlier in the week. These include a commentary booth where the contestants have to comment on an unfamiliar subject, an office where they are being interviewed or interrogated (by police, customs officials, etc.), showing customers things for sale (cars, boats, pianos, houses, etc.), or advertisements (e.g. slimming products, housing developments, etc.). The other characters in these scenes are generally played by members of the ensemble cast. The third series also introduced an additional segment in which Gleisner highlights a "real life" Thank God You're Here-style situation, such as the infamous Guy Goma BBC interview and frequently, that of politicians forced to improvise answers under pressure.
Finally, when all the contestants have played in a scene by themselves, all four enter a final scene together for the "all-in group challenge". At the end of the show, the judge declares a winner; this choice is entirely at the judge's discretion, and is largely arbitrary. Honorable and dishonorable mentions are also given, usually to contestants who do not win so that the judge can comment on their performances. The winner receives a trophy in the shape of the programme's blue door logo.
There are variations on the standard setup: occasionally the greeting will be slightly changed to better suit the setting (e.g. "Thank the gods you're here!" for a scene featuring Vikings or "Thank God you're alive" in a scene featuring a car accident), and often an alternative entrance will be built into the set. These are often used for comic effect, as in the aforementioned car accident scenario where the contestant (Matthew Newton) climbed through the back of the set and emerged from the door of a wrecked car embedded in the wall of a second-storey flat.
First revived series
The fourth season introduced a different segment, where Gleisner points out that he believes an Australian cricket player is able to endorse anything, and presents a falsified advertisement where a retired Australian cricketer (Damien Fleming) attempts to endorse an also falsified company of a completely random field (such as a French restaurant or sewage processing plant). Running gags in these segments include the cricketer comparing selecting such a company with his medium pace bowling, the use of "jargon" which actually is completely made-up, comparing the reliability (or other value) with his own bowling style, and a man named "Steve" who is called upon to agree with this previous statement ("bit like my bowling, eh, Steve?")
Second revived series
Since series 5, the format of the show has been tweaked slightly as the performers no longer participate in any "during in the week" scenes, which were in previous seasons filmed on-location with the ensemble cast. In addition, the role of judge which was originated by Tom Gleisner, is now fulfilled by a rotating special guest judge each week, whose remarks after each performance are more brief.
Although their parts are thoroughly scripted, the actors who interact with the guest stars in each scenario are drawn from an ensemble of experienced improvisational actors.
Improvisation experience is preferred so that the cast can react appropriately and immediately to the improvisations of the guest stars, though in most cases this improvisation is limited. This ensemble was also used in many of the mid-week assignments, fulfilling the roles of customers or members of the public with whom the guests must interact in a real-life setting.
The following are regular ensemble cast members who have appeared on the show:
- Amy Ruffle (series 5–)
- Andrew Bayly (series 1–4)
- Barney Pollock (series 5–)
- Ben Anderson (series 2–4)
- Ben Russell (series 5–)
- Carlo Ritchie (series 5–)
- Daniel Cordeaux (series 1–4)
- Ed Kavalee (series 1–4, series 5 as ensemble director)
- Heidi Arena
- Isabella Dunwill (series 2)
- Jake Lonergan (series 5–)
- Jason Geary (series 5–)
- Macie Daniel (series 5–)
- Nicola Parry
- Pedro Cooray (series 5–)
- Rebekah Foord (series 1–3)
- Riley Nottingham (series 5–)
- Roz Hammond (series 3–4)
- Simon Dowling (series 1–4)
- Simon Russell (series 2–4)
- Tiana Hogben (series 5–)
Several special guests have also appeared, either playing themselves or as part of the ensemble cast for a scene. Special guests have included Damien Fleming, Dan O'Connor, Melissa Tkautz Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Kate Ceberano, Alan Fletcher, Kimberley Davies, Matt Welsh, Mark Holden, Ryan Moloney, Simon Burke, Greg Evans, Nikki Webster, Mick Molloy, Todd McKenney, Poh Ling Yeow, Grant Denyer, Miguel Maestre and The Veronicas. Other guests including Jane Hall, Andy Lee and Don Burke have appeared as mock presenters in the locational challenges.
|Season 1||10||5 April 2006||7 June 2006||Shane Bourne||Network Ten|
|Season 2||6 September 2006||8 November 2006|
|Season 3||11||11 July 2007||26 September 2007|
|Season 4||10||29 April 2009||8 July 2009||Seven Network|
|Season 5||8||2 August 2023||27 September 2023||Celia Pacquola||Network 10|
Host Shane Bourne and judge Tom Gleisner appeared on Rove Live on 11 April 2006, to promote the show after the first episode had screened. After an interview with Rove McManus, they participated in a game McManus called Where The Bloody Hell Have You Been, a play on words of the Australian tourism campaign, "So Where The Bloody Hell Are You?". In this game they had to perform, without preparation, a situation involving a funeral, and the reading of an improvised eulogy, following exactly the same format as Thank God You're Here.
In the second season, new music was also used in addition to the main themes:
In the third season, more new music was used in addition to the main themes:
- "Everlasting" by Horsell Common
- "Beautiful Disguise" by Tokenview
Production and broadcast schedule
First Network Ten iteration (2006–2007)
The second series of the show ran from 6 September to 8 November 2006, at a 7:30 pm AEST timeslot. The ratings for the second season place the show in the top three shows watched in Australia boosting the ratings of follow-up show House on the network and placing the show up with ratings juggernaut Border Security: Australia's Front Line which broadcasts on the Seven Network. Thank God You're Here received an average of two million viewers every week. For the last episode of 2006 (8 November), had received ratings of 1.85 million viewers nationally.
The first episode of Series Three was filmed on 21 June 2007. Guests for this episode included Stephen Curry, Josh Lawson, Peter Helliar and Cal Wilson. Series Three had begun at the same 7:30 pm time slot on Wednesday 11 July 2007.
Seven Network iteration (2009)
In late 2008, it was announced that a revival of the show would be made which would air on the Seven Network instead of Network Ten. With Global Television Studios in Nunawading getting ready to shut down, Series 4 started filming at Melbourne Showgrounds in Flemington, in the shed normally used as the Poultry Pavilion. With the move from Nunawading also came a move from Global to Cutting Edge as the broadcast provider. Shooting started on Thursday 19 March 2009, in front of a live studio audience of 500 people. At the recording of episode 2 on 26 March, Tom Gleisner told the audience they could not find an available studio big enough for all their sets and large studio audience, so started looking at other types of venues, and found what they needed at the showgrounds. Portable buildings were set up outside the pavilion for use as offices, dressing rooms and other production amenities. Another vacant pavilion was used to house the audience before taping. The new venue was an issue for audio, as there was no soundproofing, so the nearby railway line often interfered with scenes, and Gleisner remarked that if it had rained, they would have been "stuffed".
Second Network Ten iteration (2023–)
In April 2023, Network Ten confirmed that a fifth series had been commissioned as a second revival of the show. Celia Pacquola was announced as the host and it was revealed that the series would feature guest judges, a new ensemble cast and special guests. The second revival was also filmed at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||10||5 April 2006||7 June 2006||Network Ten||1,729,000||#2|
|2||10||6 September 2006||8 November 2006||1,773,000||#1|
|3||11||11 July 2007||26 September 2007||1,860,000||#2|
|4||10||29 April 2009||8 July 2009||Seven Network||1,516,000||#1|
|5||8||2 August 2023||27 September 2023||Network 10||TBA||TBA|
- Most Outstanding Comedy Program Logie, 2007
- Most Popular Light Entertainment Program Logie, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 (nominated)
All series of the show have been released on DVD in Australia. Season 1 was released on 8 November 2006, Season 2 was released on 23 August 2007, Season 3 was released on 28 November 2007 and Season 4 was released on 5 November 2009.
|Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series One|
|Set details||Special features|
|8 November 2006|
|Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series Two|
|Set details||Special features|
No special features are included.
|23 August 2007|
|Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series Three|
|Set details||Special features|
No special features are included.
|28 November 2007|
|Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series One, Two & Three|
|Set details||Special features|
As per Series One release.
|28 November 2007|
|Thank God You're Here — The Complete Series Four|
|Set details||Special features|
Uncut, extended scenarios from during the week.
|5 November 2009|
In early December 2009, the "Thank God You're Here" board game was released. It contains 70 different scenarios which can be acted out in the home, in a similar format to the show. The board game is being distributed in selected stores only, including What's New.
The format has been sold to Fremantle for worldwide distribution and has subsequently been sold for creation in 18 countries including the United States. International versions are required to use the same sketch premises used on the original Australian version and if one wants to alter one of their episodes in some way, such as taping a Christmas-themed episode, they must go through Fremantle for permission to do so.
|Australia (original version)||Thank God You're Here||Shane Bourne (2006–2009), Celia Pacquola (2023–)||Network Ten, Seven Network||English||5 April 2006, 2 August 2023 (Network Ten), 29 April 2009 (Seven Network)||Tom Gleisner (2006–2009)|
|Armenia||3 պատ (3 Walls)||Garik Papoyan, Felix Khachatryan||Armenia TV||Armenian||2009–2010|
|Azerbaijan||Haradasan bu vaxtacan?||Turane Huseynli||İctimai Television||Azerbaijani||6 October 2019||Orkhan Fikretoglu (2019-2020) |
Vado Korovin (2021-2022)
|Belgium||GodzijDank||Matthias Coppens||vtm||Dutch||16 March 2007|
|Dieu merci!||Éric Salvail||TVA||French||27 September 2007||Gaston Lepage|
|China||谢天谢地你来啦||Cui Yongyuan||CCTV-1||Chinese||October 2011|
|Czech Republic||Konečně jsi tady||Josef Carda||TV Prima||Czech||4 March 2007|
|Denmark||Gu' ske lov du kom||Mads Vangsø||TV3||Danish||30 September 2006||Sebastian Dorset and Hella Joof, Søs Egelind and Sidse Babett Knudsen (Series 3)|
|Estonia||Jumal tänatud, et sa siin oled!||Andrus Vaarik||Kanal 2||Estonian||6 October 2007||Eino Baskin|
|France||Enfin te Voilà !||Ariane Massenet||Comédie+||French||2013|
|Germany||Gott sei dank … dass Sie da sind!||Knacki Deuser||ProSieben||German||30 November 2006|
|Indonesia||Akhirnya Datang Juga||Winky Wiryawan, Narji, Olga Syahputra;
Boy William, Indra Bekti
|Trans TV, MNCTV||Indonesian||21 October 2007 (Trans TV), 21 May 2011 (MNC TV)||Trans TV: Didi Petet, Parto Patrio, Desy Ratnasari; MNCTV: Desy Ratnasari, Jaja Miharja|
|Ini Dia!||Kevin Julio, Surya Insomnia||NET.||10 December 2016||Denny Chandra, Dwi Sasono, Ferry Salim, Arie Untung|
|Israel||Tov Shebata||Moni Moshonov||Arutz 10||Hebrew||5 June 2007||Tomer Sharon|
|Italy||Grazie Al Cielo Sei Qui!||Leonardo Manera||La7||Italian||22 March 2009|
|Lithuania||Ačiū Dievui, atėjai||Egidijus Sipavičius||TV3||Lithuanian||1 September 2007||Arkadijus Vinokuras|
|Mongolia||Бурхны авралаар чи ирлээ||Turbat Barhuu||Edutainment TV||Mongolian||3 May 2020||P.Erdenezaan, Ch.Delgertsetseg|
|Netherlands||Gelukkig Je Bent Er||Carlo Boszhard||RTL 4||Dutch||September 2006|
|Portugal||Ainda Bem Que Apareceste||Virgílio Castelo||RTP1||Portuguese||October 2008||Nilton|
|Russia||Слава Богу, ты пришёл!||Mikhail Shats, Igor Vernik (2018)||STS||Russian||24 September 2006||Andrey Urgant, Sergei Svetlakov (2018)|
|Spain||Por Fin Has Llegado||Josema Yuste||TVE1||Spanish||14 September 2007||David Fernandez|
|Sweden||Tack Gode Gud||David Hellenius||TV4||Swedish||21 March 2007|
|Turkey||Bak Hele Bak||Emre Altuğ||TRT 1||Turkish||13 January 2015||Rasim Öztekin|
|United Kingdom||Thank God You're Here||Paul Merton||ITV 1||English||12 January 2008|
|United States||Thank God You're Here||David Alan Grier||NBC||English||9 April 2007||Dave Foley|
|Vietnam||Ơn giời cậu đây rồi!||Xuân Bắc (2014 - 2020), Trấn Thành (2014 - 2020, some episodes), Trường Giang (2018, some episodes), Đại Nghĩa (2022)||VTV3||Vietnamese||11 October 2014||Hoài Linh (2014 - 2018) |
None (2019 - 2022)
- The original Australian version entered repeat broadcast on 13 January 2015 on Foxtel's Comedy Channel.
- The Czech version of the show, "Konečně jsi tady" was first aired on TV Prima on 4 March 2007. The show was later put on hold to change it to better suit the Czech viewers.
- The Dutch version, "Gelukkig Je Bent Er" broadcast its first episode on RTL 4 in late September 2006, followed by "Gu' ske lov du kom" on Danish TV3 a few days later.
- The German version, "Gott sei Dank... dass Sie da sind!", piloted in July 2006, premiered on 30 November 2006, in primetime on German channel ProSieben, produced by local Fremantle daughter Grundy LE, but managed only to attract a small audience. It was cancelled after 6 episodes.
- The Russian version of the show, "Slava Bogu, ty prishyol" was first aired on STS channel on 24 September 2006. Five seasons with the last shown in 2010 spring have been produced. The premiere of the updated show was held 26 October 2018 at 22:00
- The Swedish version, "Tack gode Gud" was first aired on TV4 on 21 March 2007. It follows the same format as the Australian version and regularly uses similar scenarios.
- The American version was picked up by NBC after a pilot was shot on 9 November 2006, overseen by Rob Sitch, who flew to Los Angeles. It was hosted by American actor and comedian David Alan Grier and judged by Canadian actor and comedian Dave Foley. The program premiered on 9 April 2007 with two back-to-back episodes (including the pilot). It followed the Australian format closely, with the additional quirks of the guests swearing they had not seen the sets or costumes at the start of the show, and host Grier appearing in a cameo for one scenario each episode. Though it managed to attract some fairly high-profile guests, including Tom Green, Fran Drescher and Wayne Knight (who appeared twice), NBC announced it had cancelled the show after just seven episodes on 14 May 2007.
- The British version premiered on 12 January 2008 on ITV. The show was made by Talkback Thames, a FremantleMedia company. Paul Merton was both the host and also featured in his own scenes. Hamish Blake appeared on the first two episodes.
- The Vietnamese version from season 6 on does not have a true judge – the hosts also takes charge of pressing the buzzer to end the scene. Instead, audiences in the studio are the ones who makes the decision by voting for contestants after each of the scenes has finished.
- Knox, David (22 November 2007). "Iconic TEN studios to go". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
- Knox, David (25 July 2023). "Guest judges for Thank God revival". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
- "Australian Television: Thank God You're Here: episode guide".
- Seven Network, Seven Network Ratings Report for Wednesday, 8 November 2006, Seven Network, 9 November 2006, URL last accessed on 18 November 2006. Archived 27 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Knox, David (2 April 2023). "Thank God You're Here returning to 10". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 April 2023.
- Knox, David (1 August 2023). "Thank God You're Here: "It's a show about bullshit"". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
- "Top-rating Australian comedy series on television, 2004–2009". Screen Australia. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Pritchard, Tahlia (15 June 2020). "Network 10 has made 'Thank God You're Here' available to stream and, well, thank god". Punkee. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
- Bucklow, Andrew (29 June 2020). "Real reason Thank God You're Here ended". Noosa News. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
- "US commissions Thank God You're Here". Nine News. 18 January 2007. Archived from the original on 19 March 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- "Thank God You're Here". AustralianTelevision.net. Australian Television Information Archive. 7 April 2006. Retrieved 14 September 2023.
- @FOXTEL_Help (6 January 2015). "@Foxtel Is Thank God You're Here on @ComedyChannel on Jan 13 brand new or just subscription premiere eps? It's listed as premiere online" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Breaking News - NBC's New Improv Comedy Series 'Thank God You'Re Here' --Television's Most Dangerous New Comedy Challenge -- Premieres Monday, April 9 and April 16 Before Resuming in Regular Day and Time on Wednesdays Beginning April 18 (8-9 P.M.) - TheFutonCritic.com".
- "News — Paul Merton plans ITV improv show". British Sitcom Guide. Retrieved 27 July 2007.
- "News — ITV reveals 2008 comedy line-up". British Sitcom Guide. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2007.