Thank God for Shane

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Shane Bourne wasn't sure how neatly he could transition from City Homicide back to his hosting role of Thank God You're Here after an 18-month hiatus.

"I thought 'I will have lost it' because I'm in this world-weary character with dead bodies everywhere," he said. "But it was just like going to a party. It wasn't work. It was like a relief in one sense, although the work schedule is pretty tight."

Accepted as both dramatic actor and comedic performer by audiences, Bourne knows he is in an enviable position. He says Working Dog's improvisation hit has kicked up a notch on Channel Seven.

"The bar does go up every year in terms of sets, the people you use and the risks you take. I think the guys thought 'if we take a year off we can actually crank it up a bit further'. I don't think they'd do it unless they thought they could do that. And as far as I can see that's exactly what's happening."

Despite the popularity of City Homicide, the show didn't manage to crack any Logie nominations. Bourne says he thinks the show has "sneaked under the radar" and was upstaged by new competition.

"We were first out of the blocks with drama with 1.6 million all year and it went up at the end. I suppose the shininess of Underbelly has kind of taken the focus away. It hasn't taken the audience away, but it's kind of taken the focus away.

"And also Packed to the Rafters has done so exceedingly well and it's a much warmer, fuzzier show. I've got to say when I first saw it I was a little bit sceptical. I thought 'I'm looking at an ad!' That's the feeling I had. I thought they'd shot a drama in the form of a commercial. At any point they could turn to the camera and pick up a packet of Corn Flakes!"

But he admits he was won over by a return visit.

"The characters are totally believable, the stories are interesting and believable and very happy the audience has gone for it. They do go for something that has substance."

Thankfully they go for comedy as well.

Thank God You're Here airs 7:30pm Wednesdays on Seven.

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