The Hollowmen

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The Hollowmen
DVD cover
GenreSituation comedy-Drama
Created bySanto Cilauro
Tom Gleisner
Rob Sitch
Directed byRob Sitch
Opening theme"North by North" by The Bats
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes12
Executive producerWorking Dog Productions
ProducersSanto Cilauro
Tom Gleisner
Rob Sitch
Production companyWorking Dog Productions
Original networkABC1
Audio formatStereo
Original release9 July (2008-07-09) –
8 October 2008 (2008-10-08)

The Hollowmen is an Australian television comedy series set in the offices of the Central Policy Unit, a fictional political advisory unit personally set up by the Prime Minister to help him get re-elected. Their brief is long-term vision; to stop worrying about tomorrow's headlines, and focus on next week's.

The Hollowmen was first broadcast on Wednesday, 9 July 2008, on ABC1. Each series comprises six half-hour episodes.[1] On the eve of the first episode's national premiere, the series was approved by the ABC for a second series. The second series was screened right after the first, beginning on 13 September 2008.[2]

The comedy-drama satire is produced by Working Dog Productions, which was also responsible for Frontline, The Panel, Thank God You're Here and Utopia. The music used during the opening credits is an edited instrumental excerpt of the 1987 song "North by North" by New Zealand band The Bats. A special one-off presentation of The Hollowmen was created by Working Dog and played at Parliament House in Canberra on 11 March 2009, in support of the ABC's funding bid for 2009–12.




  • Rob Carlton as Kenny Pratt, advisor to the previous PM
  • Graeme Blundell as Geoff, Party Director
  • Leonie Hemsworth as Dianne, Prime Minister's Secretary
  • Sacha Joseph as Vanmathy, Unit Office
  • Ben Chisholm as Josh, Unit Office
  • Sarah Arthur Young as Sarah, Unit Office Receptionist
  • Phil Pollard as Phil, Prime Minister's Security Guard

The Prime Minister is an unseen character.


Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
169 July 2008 (2008-07-09)27 August 2008 (2008-08-27)
263 September 2008 (2008-09-03)8 October 2008 (2008-10-08)

Series 1 (2008)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Fat Chance"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch9 July 2008 (2008-07-09)
The Central Policy Unit must come up with a meaningful plan to combat obesity in schools in order to keep the Prime Minister's momentum rolling.
22"The Ambassador"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch16 July 2008 (2008-07-16)
A troublesome Senator agrees to leave politics behind if he gets a nice diplomatic posting. But, unfortunately for the Central Policy Unit, Phillip is about to give a speech outlining a plan commissioned by the PM announcing restrictions that mean only the most qualified people are eligible for appointment as ambassadors for the nation.
33"A Time for Talk"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch23 August 2008 (2008-08-23)
When conflict breaks out overseas, the Central Policy Unit must find a way to intervene without hurting the international relationships. Murph quickly finds that there is a lot of talk, but not much action.
44"Rear Vision"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch30 July 2008 (2008-07-30)
The budget lacks an eye-catching "centrepiece" and Tony asks Murph to come up with a last minute policy which will give the PM the visionary public image he wants.
55"Military Matters"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch6 August 2008 (2008-08-06)
After an embarrassing incident at an air force base brings military recruitment into the headlines, the Central Policy Unit must make life in the uniform appealing to Generation Y.
66"A Housing Crisis"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch27 August 2008 (2008-08-27)
A report into the cost of maintaining Kirribilli House comes back to bite Ian. With Phillip in charge, the report looks set to embarrass the PM right before another interest rate rise, unless Murph can figure out a way to lower Kirribilli's price tag and make it less elitist.

Series 2 (2008)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
71"Shared Interests"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch3 September 2008 (2008-09-03)
A scandal with a Junior Minister and poor fashion sense leads to a "blippy dip" in the PM's public image. Murph handles a government crackdown whilst Tony tackles pin-stripes and French cuffs.
82"Edifice Complex"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch10 September 2008 (2008-09-10)
The PM has recently opened several buildings commissioned by his predecessors, which starts him thinking about his own legacy. Unfortunately for Murph, legacy translates to a massive building somewhere in the parliamentary triangle.
93"Wonder Drug"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch17 September 2008 (2008-09-17)
Pressure mounts on the Government to fund an expensive new pill, despite evidence that it may not be worth funding at all.
104"Vulnerable to Attack"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch24 September 2008 (2008-09-24)
The PM's plans to increase spending on national security run into trouble when the Department starts talking about cost-cutting. Meanwhile the Unit ends up exploiting some eager High School students who have won a trip to Canberra.
115"A Waste of Energy"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch1 October 2008 (2008-10-01)
Global warming is hot on the agenda with the Unit taking up the government's new 'carbon challenge'. But a blindsighted promise to raise emission standards with China may cause some serious problems for international relations.
126"A Quiet January"Rob SitchSanto Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch8 October 2008 (2008-10-08)
The second half of January has no news stories. But a surprise trip for the PM to Antarctica is soon devised to fill this space.

Episode ratings[edit]

The first season premiered at 9:30 pm on Wednesday 9 July 2008. After episode 5, it was removed from schedule due to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The season finale aired at 9:00 pm on Wednesday 27 August.[3]

# Episode No. Airdate Time Ratings
(5 capital cities)
Timeslot rank Overall nightly rank
1.01 Fat Chance 9 July 2008 Wednesday 9:30pm 1,185,000 1st 13th
1.02 The Ambassador 16 July 2008 1,040,000 2nd 16th
1.03 A Time for Talk 23 July 2008 950,000 3rd 18th
1.04 Rear Vision 30 July 2008 996,000 2nd 16th
1.05 Military Matters 6 August 2008 816,000 3rd 24th
1.06 A Housing Crisis 27 August 2008 Wednesday 9:00pm 926,000 2nd 15th
2.01 Shared Interests 3 September 2008 931,000 2nd 17th
2.02 Edifice Complex 10 September 2008 1,044,000 2nd 16th
2.03 Wonder Drug 17 September 2008 941,000 3rd 19th
2.04 Vulnerable to Attack 24 September 2008 906,000 3rd 15th
2.05 A Waste of Energy 1 October 2008 877,000 3rd 16th
2.06 A Quiet January 8 October 2008 931,000 3rd 16th


It was partially inspired by Cilauro's 1996 documentary The Campaign about Paul Keating's failed election. They initially wanted to make a series about an independent politician, but decided that such people didn't really hold much power and wanted the explore the idea that politics is run like a corporation.[4]


Debi Enker from the Sydney Morning Herald described the first episode of The Hollowmen as using "low-key style [and] sandpaper-dry wit" to show the hollowness of the political newscycle.[5]

Opposition leader Tony Abbott used its premiere to criticise the government, claiming that the "Howard government didn't work like that", and that the series would not have made sense under a Liberal government.[6]

It won the 2009 Logie for Most Outstanding Comedy Program.[7][8]


In 2008 the Sydney Morning Herald interviewed political advisors about the accuracy of the show. Political advisors noted that the characters were more cynical and amoral than them and their colleagues, and played to people's prejudices, but a few conceded that they knew people like Rob Sitch's character, Tony. They found that pollsters were portrayed as having too much power in the show, and noted that senior public servants were not as innocent as they were portrayed.

In contrast they found larger themes of media driven policies, "arse-covering" and superficial treatment of complex issues were "remarkably accurate", noting that the Melbourne 2am Lockout laws were a good example.[9]

Home media[edit]

Series 1 and 2 of The Hollowmen is available on DVD as a three disc box set.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Working Dog starts rounding up the Hollowmen". 8 June 2008.
  2. ^ "New Tom Gleisner TV show The Hollowmen a hit unseen". The Daily Telegraph. 9 July 2008.
  3. ^ Knox, David (3 August 2008). "Bumped: The Hollowmen". Retrieved 5 August 2008.
  4. ^ Michael Idato (7 July 2008). "Capital punishment". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  5. ^ Enker, Debi (8 July 2008). "The Hollowmen". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ Dart, Jonathan (11 July 2008). "Hollowmen are Rudd's men:Abbott". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  7. ^ "2009 Logies: The winners". The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 May 2009.
  8. ^ "Hollowmen takes top comedy Logie". ABC News. 3 May 2009.
  9. ^ Fyfe, Melissa; Gordon, Josh (17 August 2008). "Hollow truths". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. ^ "Roadshow Entertainment catalogue listing".

External links[edit]