/News 03.05.18


Following success on Australia’s national broadcast network ABC, the Create NSW-supported seven-part comedy series, The Letdown, is now available on Netflix worldwide (21 April onwards).

Produced by Giant Dwarf for ABC in Australia and Netflix internationally with funding support from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW, The Letdown is co-written by Sarah Scheller and Alison Bell (who also stars) and was one of six Comedy Showroom pilots which aired last year on ABC TV as part of a joint initiative with Screen Australia.

With the pilot episode receiving the 2016 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award for Best Screenplay in Television, the series continued with the developing friendships and lives of a mother’s group thrown together through the circumstance of timing.

Audrey (Alison Bell) navigates the steep learning curve of motherhood as she deals with sleeplessness, shifting relationship dynamics, her issues with her own mother and her husband’s career ambitions. They say it takes a tribe to raise a child, but these days obliging tribes are hard to come by – so perhaps this unlikely group of women (and one fella) is as good as it gets.

The Letdown also stars Duncan Fellows, Sacha Horler, Leon Ford, Lucy Durack, Celeste Barber, Leah Vandenberg, Xana Tang, Sarah Peirse and Noni Hazlehurst.

Sophia Zachariou, Create NSW Director Sector Investment said,

“Encouraging female voices in comedy is a key focus for Create NSW and we are proud to have supported this important step in Sarah and Alison’s careers.”

We caught up with the pair to ask them about the success of the series and what’s next for The Letdown:


Why do you think The Letdown has played so well with audiences?

Sarah: The international response to The Letdown has been utterly overwhelming. It’s been really interesting to follow the response on social media, as it hasn’t been dominated by any one market.

We seem to be getting a lot of love from America, the UK, Portugal, Japan, the Middle East, it’s just brilliant. We’ve been amazed at how the show has resonated amongst men and women, and also plenty of non-parents.

I’d like to think it’s touching so many people not just because of its universal subject matter, but also the truthfulness we worked so hard at conveying.

Alison: Every idea we wrote into our scripts came from a truth, a real-life experience – something like it happened to one of us, one of our friends, someone we knew.

From there we pushed and pulled the true stories in a comic direction to suit our tone and narrative. But I think this has been key to the show’s relatability.

We hoped the adage “if it’s happened to you, it’s happened to others” would prove true.


Alison Bell and Sarah Scheller working from Charlie’s


Has there been any feedback you weren’t expecting?

Sarah: I wasn’t expecting the humour to be so well-received! We’re often told that the Australian brand of comedy doesn’t translate well across borders, and our experience is the opposite.

Alison: I’m with Sarah, I’ve been surprised that our sense of humour, has been appreciated by viewers from different cultures.


What did you learn in making the series?

Sarah: I think we both learned that writing from a place of truth and authenticity means you can write with conviction. It’s not only easier but it comes across in the performance, and ultimately is what people relate to. Real characters are far more important than plot points or funny stereotypes.

Alison: So much. The learning curve was incredibly steep for us as first-time showrunners. One of the most valuable things we learned is that we could, in fact, make a show. One that people would watch!


And what’s next for The Letdown? Are there plans for more?

Sarah: Yes! We are currently in development with the ABC for a second season.


Catch season one of The Letdown on Netflix internationally today.


Production Credits: The Letdown is a Giant Dwarf production for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with funding from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW. Executive Producer Julian Morrow. Produced by Martin Robertson. ABC Executive Producers Rick Kalowski and Rebecca Anderson. Directed by Trent O’Donnell. Written by Sarah Scheller and Alison Bell.