Ryan Shelton as Emidio from True Story With Hamish and Andy.
Ryan Shelton as Emidio from True Story With Hamish and Andy. giovanni lovisetto

True Story back for a second round

REAL life is often stranger than fiction, as Ryan Shelton has discovered. The actor and producer is one of the brains behind the hit new series True Story With Hamish and Andy, which has just been renewed for a second season.

"With all the Gap Year shows, they were a version of what we would do on radio so it wasn't that much of a leap for people to make," Shelton tells Weekend.

"This show was completely different. Luckily when they watched it people liked it, thank goodness."

To ensure genuine reactions, hosts Hamish Blake and Andy Lee weren't privy to the stories before hearing them in the studio. Shelton and producing partner Tim Bartley were responsible for finding and selecting the hilarious and astonishing stories brought to life on the screen.

"We were entrusted with the keys to the kingdom for a couple of months," he says.

"We hoped they (Hamish and Andy) liked the stories and luckily they really did.

"The days we shot them were nerve-racking because we were just hoping these storytellers, who'd never been on television before, would be okay. It was only once we were going that I was like, 'come on guys, laugh'."

The "true comedy'' show returned to our screens this week after a brief mid-season hiatus with an episode filmed in Far North Queensland (to replicate a Balinese resort) and starring Offspring's Kat Stewart.

"We were sitting in a room going 'who could play Tracey? Kat Stewart would be perfect but she's probably busy doing Offspring or a play', but we just asked and she was like 'Yeah, great'," Shelton says.

"We were asking all these amazing actors we didn't really know, like Kat and John Wood, and they said yes."

But the best is yet to come, says Shelton, who portrayed primary school teacher Emidio in episode four.

"Episode seven is about a guy called Phil and it's set in the middle of the Kimberley, so that was fun to recreate ... The production values really go up a notch," he says.

"Then the very final episode of the series is from a guy called Sam. We've kept it until last because it's probably the most shocking out of all of them. There were a lot of conversations that went all the way up to Channel 9, and you'll see why."

True Story With Hamish and Andy airs Tuesdays at 8.40pm on Channel 9.