Gone: Strictly Speaking

ABC has wasted no time in removing Strictly Speaking from its schedule after dismal figures last night.

It pulled just 390,000 at 8pm down from its 715,000 lead in from The 7:30 Report. It sure didn’t help The Librarians which had to rebuild to 595,000 at 8:30pm.

From next week it will be replaced by extra episodes of Stephen Fry’s Qi (Series 2, Episode 8).

Stephen Fry is joined by guests Alan Davies, Jo Brand, Fred McAulay and Rich Hall to discuss bees, barnacles and basketball.

ABC hasn’t had a good run with Strictly Speaking, an awkwardly-staged public speaking show hosted by Andrew Hansen. Episodes that are airing were filmed some 12 months ago.

Qi will now be screening twice a week:

9:30pm Tuesdays
8:00pm Wednesdays


  1. For all those interested, ABC themselves have uploaded videos from this show. Funny enough when the ads came on television to be a contestant I applied was knocked back.



  2. What a shame Strictly Speaking has been axed. How disappointing for those of us who looked forward to it …plus so unfair for the contestants as well.
    It was novel, interesting and quirky ….and it was Australian!
    Let’s hope that the ABC has the sense to air SS during the summer or on ABC 2.

  3. I’m very disappointed. Not your usual TV show, but public speaking is relevant to most people at some time in their lives. Anyway, I thought the ABC was all about “not your usual”. Imagine Aunty giving in to ratings pressure.
    Since it’s all been filmed why not still put it on the website and the fans can download it?

  4. What a tragic shame! We had been getting together with friends for “strictly speaking” dinner parties … hopefully the ABC will re-consider and return this very fine show to our telly’s very soon!

  5. It’s a matter of opinion whether the show was ‘awkward’ or not. Personally, I thought it was the best thing we’d seen on the ABC for a long time and I feel very annoyed by its axing. What about the Finals?

  6. I am very disappointed that the show has been axed.
    The ABC is founded on broadcasting shows which are a little different
    from the mainstream shows that are available on commercial television.
    Strictly Speaking I think was a show that had great potential!!
    I hope they give it another run maybe on a different time slot.

  7. I watched the first episode and thought it was an interesting idea. It wasn’t earth shattering by any stretch of the imagination – but new, interesting and a little bit different to the other stuff that’s going around on the box at the moment. I thought the ABC was supposed to be about giving Aussie shows that are a little different and a little interesting a run on the telly. I’m disappointed to see it go – and would happily tune to ABC2 late at night to see the rest of the run.

  8. I enjoyed the show and thought it was well worth running- definately worth trying. I’m furious it’s been pulled especially as there has been no message to viewers. Appallling! I’ve written to the ABC to ask what’s going on; received an ‘answer’ that it will take 4 weeks! until they can send me a reply. Oh dear!

    (I don’t mind Stephen Fry and co., but really 2 nights in a row – that is bad!) It suggests the ABC has a preference for ‘safe’ English shows over new Aussie stuff. Who makes these terrible decisions? I’ve asked but I still have no idea and the ABC has gone quiet, Hansen airbrushed out of the tv guide…I am strictly speechless!

  9. Anna and Gerd Wolse

    we are Taylor’s Grandparents and we are disgusted at the ABC for axing this Programme after waiting so long.

    It is a terrible thing to do to the contestants and their supporters.

  10. Beverley Sampford

    I am disappointed that this great new idea was not allowed to build an audience. Of course something different takes time but the positive approach taken by the excellent judges meant that over time this could have become a much higher rated show. There was the potential for a broad appeal – especially in the younger age brackets – as a whole range of people saw living examples of the diversity of ways of engaging an audience. Perhaps it needs a new timeslot but surely given the usual over-Christmas holiday junk there is room for a show that was unusual and different.
    PS I love QI but do not need a twice weekly dose and it was sad (and disrespectful to the audience that had tuned in) that the change was made without warning. My tele guide still advertised it as on!

  11. Jane Robertson

    I am very disappointed that Strictly Speaking has been withdrawn without any warning, I was enjoying it and not because I knew anyone, but because it was different and interesting and over time people would have given it a chance if encouraged. I did feel uncomfortable at the beginning as I have a real fear of public speaking myself and this may be some of the problem given it is the one greatest fear most people have, which could be some of the problem.

    I didn’t watch the first run of the Gruen Transfer because my husband didn’t like Wil Anderson, and when we did start watching it with some persuasion from myself, he gradually came round, and it then became more widely popular and we both now look forward this program.
    When the new Summer Heights or whatever it is called is on we both turn to another channel now is on as we hate it, even if popular, neither of us can stand the protagonist.
    Often the numbers are low for a new program, and QI, though i it enjoy very much, but at that early time slot it seems to me not suitable, and once a week is really quite enough, Stephen Fry is great but over exposure of anyone however good leaves me turning channels.

  12. I was hugely disappointed to find that “Strictly Speaking” had been removed from air, with no warning, on Wednesday 3rd November. I suffered through (yawn!) “Q.I.” ;a poor replacement of the entertaining, informative and Local “Strictly Speaking”. I won’t be watching again. What a shame the viewers were not given a chance to give their views on the axing of the show! How disappointing for the the contestants, and like me, the viewers who have been let down by poor and ill advised decision making on behalf of the ABC.

  13. Shame, shame, shame. There were two speakers I really wanted to see – Bill Stuth and Sam Almaliki. Can the episodes still be put up onto the website so we can view them there?

  14. Spokesperson N = Mary-Jane fan group

    This is a real let-down. The ABC has just lost one of the most original and entertaining shows it has ever aired. Here at the Mary-Jane fan group, we still can’t quite believe that this came a week before our favourite contestant was on the show!

  15. I do not believe that the ABC would pull a programme half way through. You say that it was not getting a good audience – perhaps a little promotion would have been good! So many people are held back by their inability to speak in front of an audience – I know as I was one of them – and this programme gave some good feedback to empower people. For goodness sake let it run through to the final for those of us who did enjoy it, and for the sake of the contestants who would be feeling so demoralised by the actions of the ABC.

  16. It was with real disappointment that I read that the show has been axed. As a Toastmaster we have been promoting the show (especially as one of our members made it to the final heats) and his heat was to be aired next week. I know that the ratings were a little low, but please at least let the season run to the finish, so that we can see the final outcome..

  17. Shame on the ABC!!! My son Taylor along with Mary-Jane were to have their heat air next week . After all this time and constantly reminding supportive friends and family to watch the long awaited show they now find themselves unplugged. You cannot imagine the disappointment they are feeling. These brave and passionate contestants put themselves out there and frankly deserve much better. The show was a contest after all and contestants and viewers deserve an outcome. TV isn’t real but the contestants are – let the contest continue.

  18. The public should have the choice to view or not..not have it taken from them. The contestants (I am one) deserve a fair go. As a semi finlist I am very disappointed in ABC’s decision, but at least my heat went to air! Bad luck and a slap in the face for the other 12. Maybe rating figures weren’t high, but it was a unique concept and perhaps should not have been debuted during Commonwealth Games and against a show like The Block.. I think you underestimate the show’s appeal. The audience of school students, debating associations, Toastmasters, teachers and many others were loyal viewers and I believe were committed to seeing it through to the final .Please make an announcement, reschedule it or not..but don’t keep us hoping and guessing amymore

  19. I am very disappointed to find out the show has been axed. I was looking forward to watching. A lot of my friends have told me how much they have enjoyed it! Yes very disappointing. Come on ABC bring it back!!!

  20. Was extremely disappointed not to see Strcitly Speaking on last night and to hear of its axing. Surely a poll before taking it off would have helped? What about the outcome of the contest and paying respect to all the contestants. Come o ABC, listen to these comments and bring it back – whatever time – we still have recording devices!

  21. It is disappointing a positive TV show like Strictly Speaking that had the potential to empower our communication skills in life generally – not just public speaking – has been pulled by the ABC.

  22. I completely agree with Mary Jane. My daughter was supposed to be on the show next week, and she was devastated when we found out that she wasn’t going to be on. I told her mother, and we all felt terrible for her. They need to restart the show and perhaps schedule it in a different time slot so that we can at least live te series though to the end.

  23. hey Taylor!
    Can you believe they axed the show a week before our Andy Warhol 15 minutes?! Now, it’s only going to be memory. I still say you cheat at paper, scissors, rock…..

  24. I support the comments of Mary Jane, I am a contestant in what was meant to be next weeks show. I think it’s pretty frustrating for viewers who have watched the show not to be able to see the final outcome……..

  25. Marise Laybutt

    Why did you axe Strictly Speaking without notice? It was informative, non political and Australian. Members of the local Toastmasters Club were enthusiastic watchers. To replace it with yet another foreign programme is beyond comprehension. Why not present it in “off” time, so we can tape it?

  26. We enjoyed Strictly Speaking and are sorry it’s been dumped.
    We liked andrew’s amusing way of hosting the program and hope he’s got a brass hide and is not too hurt by the comments of those who didn’t like it, or his presentation.

  27. My husband and I really enjoyed this show . We were really disappointed learn it was not screening tonight. Please let it be rescheduled for another time slot. The viewers need to see it through to the final.

  28. Andrew Hansen is so supercilious and snide, he really didn’t carry the show well.
    He is very irritating.
    It would have made for Much more interesting TV if all the contestants were made to do the same impromptu.

  29. Wow, really rare for the ABC to remove a show from its run – very rare. I worked there for two decades, and even when expensive shows were failing – like The Last Resort or Raw FM – they were not pulled from the schedule. I saw a few minutes of one ep of this, and wasn’t really hooked.

  30. @Tasmanian de√il, maybe season 2, episode 7 is classified M and cannot be shown in that time slot? Hopefully it will air the following Tuesday. I assume any skipped Christmas specials will get a run in December.

  31. Didn’t watch this, but have always found Andrew Hansen to be the most hit-and-miss member of the Chaser team. His Chaser-produced, self-written radio series The Blow Parade (which aired on Triple J earlier this year) was absolutely awful. Totally devoid of laughs.

  32. the abc didnt really have much choice… 400k in prime time sort of indicates theres a lack of public interest in it so its within rights for them to change its timeslot.

    hopefully the new timeslot for it is around 1am or perhaps 4am

  33. Michael Conner

    I’m a massive fan of Andrew Hansen so tuned in to watch not really knowing what the show was about.

    I couldn’t make it through the first episode.

    Hopefully he will be back on something in the future that will use his many many talents.

  34. Tasmanian de√il

    I didn’t intend to watch Strictly Speaking, but I got hooked into it. Too bad about the figures, I guess it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

    QI should be a good replacement, but why are they skipping an episode? It seems that every time a show gets put in a new time slot an episode always ends up being skipped. The S1 Christmas special was skipped too, which doesn’t make sense as the S7 Christmas special wasn’t.

  35. Sad for Fr. Bob (a champion man if ever here was one), but that’s my only lament.
    Hurrah for more QI – easily the funniest and most informative show on the idiot box!
    That said, I think Stephen Fry is being over-exposed, shades of Ramsey, Masterchef and Eddie Everywhere here.

  36. I agree. Its rare for teh ABC to pull the plug on any program, but it wasn’t the best program on TV, but QI is a great, smart, intelligent but also very funny show. I always learn something new from QI, so more QI the better.

  37. Was never interested in Strictly Speaking. However, not even Stephen Fry – who otherwise is fabulous in every way – or his terrific guests – can save QI. Bad enough that it’s on once a week, let alone twice.

    Run QI on Wednesdays at 8.00pm, and schedule The Graham Norton show on Tuesday night instead of burying it late on Friday nights on ABC1. (I acknowledge they would need to fill the next couple of Wednesdays until Norton is available).

  38. Not sure Andrew Hansen was the right choice of host for this. I can’t see his normal audience enjoying a public speaking competition, and the those that would enjoy it were possibly put off by the idea of him as host before giving it a go.

  39. Shame! I found this not the worst option on the box last night. Oh well! ABC to pull the plug so easily.mmm Seems like they have a case of seven-itis.

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