A humble suburban library takes on a whole new meaning in TV3’s brand new comedy satire, The Librarians, premiering Friday, July 25th at 10pm on TV3.
The series centres on the trials and tribulations of Frances O’Brien (Robyn Butler), a devout Catholic and head librarian at the Middleton Interactive Learning Centre.
Frances’ life unravels when she is forced to employ her ex-best friend, Christine Grimwood (Roz Hammond) – now facing criminal charges – as the Children’s Librarian. Suddenly long buried feelings that Frances has suppressed since she last saw Christine 19 years ago rush at her like a truck. She must do all she can to contain her menacing past and concentrate on the biggest event of the Library calendar year – Book Week.
The brainchild of actors/writers Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope – who are married in real life – the show revolves around the fictional Middleton Interactive Learning Centre and the cross-section of society which inhabits it.
According to The Librarians co-producer and director Wayne Hope, the public library is one of the few remaining free spaces in our communities.
“It’s one of the last places you can go to now where you get heating or cooling and a copy of the newspaper for nothing, so naturally it attracts every freak under the sun,” Hope says. “Whatever walk of life they’re from, they’re all in there on a level pegging.”
While the idea for the show initially came from Butler, the library setting was inspired by Hope’s regular visits to the St Kilda Public Library in Melbourne.
“We were going there with our young daughter a lot for story time, which is basically an hour of relief for very anxious young parents,” he says. “It jumped out at us, ‘gee there’s a lot of very interesting people here’.”
“In our local area we’re right among the Jewish community of Balaclava, there’s housing commission homes, the gentrified portion of St Kilda, plus the constant stream of druggies there for a bit of a nap, so there is this great cross-section of people.”
The cross-section of characters who work at the Middleton Interactive Learning Centre library is similarly broad, there’s the mail thief serving community service (Bob Franklin), a paraplegic (Heidi Arena) and the terrible poet (Stephen Ballantyne).
Hope, who portrays Terry, Frances’s hapless and under-the-thumb husband, says the variety of distinct people at a library make it ripe for comedy material.
“Any place you’re told to be serious and quiet goes against the grain, and induces a response that can be comedy gold,” he says.
And The Librarians is certainly comedy gold. Make sure not to miss the new dark comedy which will make borrowing a book never seem the same again when The Librarians premieres Friday, July 25th at 10pm on TV3.