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David Tench Tonight

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5.8/10 TV

Starring  Host David Tench
Original network  Network Ten
Final episode date  25 December 2006
Language  English
2.5/10 IMDb

Created by  Zapruder's Other Films
Country of origin  Australia
First episode date  17 August 2006
Program creator  Andrew Denton
Genres  Talk show, Comedy
David Tench Tonight David Tench Tonight CJZ
No. of episodes  15 of 26 (as of 23 November 2006) (list of episodes)
Running time  30 minutes per episode (inc. commercials)
Nominations  AACTA Award for Best Performance in a Television Comedy, AACTA Award for Best Television Comedy Series
Similar  Enough Rope With Andrew D, Hungry Beast, The Gruen Transfer, CNNNN, Good News Week

David Tench Tonight was a short-lived television talk show created for Network Ten in Australia. The series featured David Tench, an animated fictional character, as host. The name "Tench" is a partial anagram created from the name Channel Ten. The actor behind the digital Tench was Australian actor Drew Forsythe.


David Tench Tonight David Tench Interview with Drew Forsythe who played the talk show host

Tench conducted interviews with various "celebrities" including Jimmy Barnes, Meat Loaf, Toni Collette, Nelly Furtado, Johnny Knoxville and future Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The 2006 season finale (episode 15) was shown on 23 November 2006. A Christmas special aired on 25 December 2006 at 10:30pm. On 5 April 2007, the show was axed.

David Tench Tonight David Tench Tonight Wikipedia


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Tench was rendered and animated in real-time using motion capture technology. The guests were therefore able to see him and respond to him in real-time.

David Tench Tonight David Tench Tonight Spirits Dancing

Radio host Mick Molloy, who was a guest on the 11 October 2006 episode, clarified on his radio show Tough Love that the David Tench desk had no-one behind it and the guest spoke to a television setup behind the desk to "interact" with Tench.


The character of Tench was conceived by Andrew Denton and technically designed by Australian visual effects company Animal Logic. Animal Logic used the VICON MX40 technology to create David Tench.

The concept of an animated talk show host was not entirely new. Hand-drawn animation was used to bring Space Ghost to life in the 1994 talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast. An earlier similar gimmick was used in the British talk and music video show The Max Talking Headroom Show, featuring Max Headroom. Max, however, was not computer-generated but was realised by a clever mixture of prosthetic costuming and video effects, and was also able to interact with his guests.

Viral marketing

Before the program's airing, Network Ten used viral marketing to create publicity for the then unestablished show and character. Publicity included small-spot television advertisements with David Tench quotes written for the show, accompanied by the simple tagline, "finally, someone real on television."

A large amount of general interest was generated with seemingly minimal effort. However, this method of marketing was criticised by some as a cheap stunt to fool people's better judgement.

Revelation and premiere

During the finale of Big Brother 2006 on 31 July 2006, Network Ten had revealed Tench as an animated talk show host with an "American accent". However, he often had a cultivated Australian accent that vacillated into a transatlantic accent.

The 30-minute premiere episode aired on Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 8.30pm (AEST).

The show then moved to a new timeslot - Thursdays at 9.30pm AEST. The timeslot switch was promoted as a change to accommodate a new (in the network's words) "naught[ier]" content shift for the program, although based on the steady decline of viewing figures, it is easily visible that this is a change based on an attempt to reclaim audience share in the preceding timeslot.

The studio audience was made up of the general public who attended the show's taping.

Public opinion and media regarding David Tench

  • On the morning of the first episode, The West Australian newspaper compared Tench's appearance to Liam Bartlett, who had recently left Perth radio to join 60 Minutes.
  • eBroadcast reported that the ratings for the first show averaged 1.162 million viewers to be number 10 on the most-watched list but was behind new shows that premiered the same night including Celebrity Survivor.
  • The City Weekly (a Sydney publication) discussed in its 24 August 2006 print edition how Channel Ten tried to pass off a promotion for David Tench Tonight as a "legitimate" news item during its 5pm main news bulletin.
  • David Tench was interviewed by Flip Shelton in the Herald Sun regarding his background and return from the United States to host David Tench Tonight (despite the obvious fictitious nature of both the character and the identity outside the character).
  • The Daily Telegraph has discussed Drew Forsythe, the voice behind David Tench, and how he goes about "playing" Tench via motion-capture technology.
  • The Australian newspaper (via news.com.au) reports that Andrew Denton and Anita Jacoby are in Europe pitching David Tench to television networks at the MIPCOM television sales conference - the article also reports that Network Ten originally committed to a 26-episode run merely to make the series' development viable. The article also discussed the poor ratings of late.
  • The Daily Telegraph reported that The Wiggles endured a "lashing" in a then-upcoming episode (19 October 2006) and may not want to return for a second interview.
  • Cancellation

    Andrew Denton was interviewed by the Daily Telegraph on 5 April 2007 and confirmed that David Tench Tonight was axed by Network Ten.

    The program's website is no longer online.


  • A Tench Thought - A thought by Tench.
  • Return Fire - David Tench reads a letter or two from viewers and respond controversially.
  • For Legal Reasons - Tench says some controversial things that his lawyers and celebrities' lawyers tell him to apologise for.
  • You Got Me, Dave - A prediction if a celebrity came on the show; most notably, calling Germaine Greer a revolting old reptile for insulting Steve Irwin.
  • Last Burst of Tench - Tench would finish with a brief, controversial statement.
  • References

    David Tench Tonight Wikipedia