After carving out a successful career for himself in the stand-up circuit, John "Rove"
McManus did a stand-up gig on a pilot for a new show on Channel 31 Melbourne called
The Loft Live
. He then got the job of hosting the show from 1997-98.
After shooting the original pilot in April 1999, the show went to air on September
22 of that year. Hosted by Rove along with stand-up cohorts Corinne Grant, Peter Helliar,
and Dave Callan. The show combined comedy sketches with music and special guests.The Program
Various segments throughout the show included Other People's Lives
, Kindy Theatre
, From the Vault
, A Good Place to Pick Up Chicks
, Where Are They Now?
, the ever-popular pranksters Kenny and Daz
, and Words That Sound Better
When Said By Dave
, which came about because Dave was really good at saying the word "trousers".
One particular From the Vault
featured Peter as dance instructor Frank West who
had been credited as the inventor of the Etc-Etc Dance.
Many special guests appeared on the show including Steve Vizard, Alan Brough, Tasma
Walton (from Seven's Blue Heelers
), HG Nelson, and Ray Martin.Final episode
In the big final drama (which went to air November 24) Rove's celebrity senses played up
and this cost his friends their lives. Peter was crushed by a piano, Corinne was covered
in honey and bird seed and attacked by doves, Dave was turned into a vampire and killed
by Rove's 'Stumpcam'.
Then Tonia Todman (who had been referenced to many times during the course of the series)
arrived and was about to shoot Rove when Tasma chucked herself across and took the
bullet instead. Rove then drank a concoction and took his life. Tasma's final line was
I like ice cream
, which, at the time, was one of Rove's catchphrases.Aftermath
Even though the show had been a success, it was axed after ten weeks. The cast of
then moved over to Network Ten and developed a similar show, although with
a greater leaning towards the "tonight show" format. The new show was titled Rove
and first went to air on Network Ten on October 9, 2000.
Dave Callan left after the first series and returned to stand-up. On the final episode for 2005,
Corinne Grant announced she was moving on to other things and not returning for 2006.
In 2003, a 2-disc DVD was released and featured higlights from the 1999 series plus audio
commentary from the cast, over 3?-hrs of special features including sketches in their entirety,
a photo gallery, celebrity references, "hidden" easter eggs and never-before-seen footage
from Channel 31's The Loft Live
amongst other features.