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Hero image for Double Booking

Double Booking

Television (Full Length) – 1998

The Writer's Perspective

Double Booking was an odd thing to make. It was commissioned by TVNZ as part of a series of comedy pilots. The problem was that they had to be: (a) a pilot for a comedy series and (b) a standalone piece of television. This is not the easiest thing in the world to achieve in 23 minutes (or thereabouts) of screen time. Suffice to say, of all the comedy pilots made and screened, none went on to become a series. And back to the drawing board we all went, all over again.

But Double Booking was fun to make. It really was pretty much a bunch of friends, with bugger all money to spend, who got together to go out and make something. Kevin Smith got to play best mates with his real-life best mate, Geoffrey Dolan; Willy de Wit and Dean Butler, from Funny Business days, got hauled back on screen again; Geeling Ng was brought out of her post-Gloss retirement; and Peter Elliott was persuaded to do possibly the strangest cameo of his acting career. 

It was made. It was screened. It got lost in another round of journalists writing ‘why can't we make comedy in New Zealand?' stories. And then it won an award — Best Comedy Script. I can still remember the surprise in Lucy Lawless' voice as she opened the envelope and read out the name Double Booking

I've still got a huge soft spot for this little blip on the screen on New Zealand television.

And, call me biased if you must, but I still reckon there was a bloody good series that could have followed this pilot that wasn't a pilot.

James Griffin has created or co-created a run of successful New Zealand television shows, including Outrageous FortuneThe Almighty Johnsons, and 800 Words. He also worked on soap satire Serial Killers and madcap comedy Diplomatic Immunity.