Tony Martin's 'cheapest show on TV'

Until his show actually makes it to air, Tony Martin says the guests are hard to come by.

Tony Martin admits he's having a tough time trying to convince some publicists to line-up the big names for his new ABC chat show, A Quiet Word with....

The problem isn't so much to do with Martin himself, as the fact that the show hasn't aired yet. In fact it will only have six episodes, screening sporadically across the next 12 months.

"It's pretty much the cheapest show on television. Two chairs, three cameras, that's it," Martin concedes.

"It's hard to find a time slot for that, but luckily the ABC has this thing called Artscape on Tuesday night, which is kind of floating.

"It's very hard to convince people who are bringing people out to Australia that it's a real show. People like Will Ferrell and Robin Williams have been through town but we can't even get in the queue to interview them.

"I say 'I've got this show ... it's on occasionally on Tuesday nights.' And they look at you and think 'I've never heard of it, are you James Valentine?'

"I think once we get one to air and people can see that it's a real show, then hopefully we'll get some more people."

His first guest is UK comedian Bill Bailey, known for his stand-up and appearances in Black Books.

In a rambling conversation the two tackle Bailey's entire career, from playing the foyer of the Hilton to packing out Wembley Stadium. Martin is a big fan of Bailey's, since just missing one of his early Edinburgh shows in 1991. In the new show the rapport between the two is evident, bantering that Bailey is "comedy's Andre Rieu".

Martin, who has recently been directing episodes of The Librarians for Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler, says he was drawn to the idea of the show after fans kept commending him for his extended interviews on Triple M's Get This.

"I thought I could do a show if I spoke to somebody I was genuinely interested in. Except you can't really do a series that way. You only get 10 people like that coming to Australia a year."

A Quiet Word with... airs 10:05pm Tuesday on ABC1.

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