CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
The ABCs new miniseries Yagan is a masterful dive into a dramatic biopic by Australia’s beloved comic, Chris Lilley.
Lilley, of Summer Heights High and Jonah from Tonga fame, lends his ingenious knack for mimicry and improvisation to his performance as the famed Indigenous freedom fighter.
Lilley and screenwriter Mikey Robbins (Good News Week) have brought their cutting edge satirical vision to what would otherwise be a pretty dower story.
“We decided to use narration as a framing device,” explained Robins, “having Chris play the decapitated head of Yagan in the British museum, relating the story of his rise and fall to a down syndrome Romani traveller boy (also played by Lilley) who has stumbled onto the neglected exhibit.
“Yagan is probably one of the funniest characters I’ve ever played,” boasts Lilley, “he offers me a level of freedom that I could never reach with Jonah or S. Mouse. Certainly a level of freedom that Yagan himself never had.”
Predictably, as with most Lilley productions, different community groups have kicked up a PC stink over the casting of the Aboriginal icon.
“Why Lilley? Why Lilley when we could have had Stephen Curry,” said Senator Nova Peris, “I thought he was contractually obligated to star in every biopic the ABC produces. Having Lilley instead of Curry is just confusing!”
Stephen Curry’s suspicious absence aside, Yagan is a must see mini-series, one that could only be made by the ABC, as made obvious when contrasted with Channel 7’s Mabo starring Mandy McElhinney (aka Rhonda) in the titular role.
‘Yagan’ is master-class television, audiences will be quoting the catchphrase “dat’s Yaganomics, bitch!” for years to come.