Paradise is a sitcom about six 20-somethings who work at ‘Paradise Backpackers’, catering to the low, low budget end of the tourist trade. The series centres around Zac – the charming backpacker receptionist – and his most recent romantic conquest, Irish tourist Lucy. To Zac’s horror Lucy gets a job at the backpackers bar. What do you do when a one-night stand becomes a workmate? Alongside the “will they get together?” storyline of Zac and Lucy, the workmates have to deal with each other and a bizarre array of international guests within the global village that is Paradise Backpackers. From hobbit hole tours to bungy jumps, sheep shearing ‘encounters’ to mud pool hopping, no NZ tourism icon is left untouched in Welcome to Paradise. Paradise! … Yeah right. Directed by Geoff Murphy (Goodbye Pork Pie, UTU, The Quiet Earth)

WELCOME TO PARADISE starts Monday 17th September, 9:30pm, exclusively on PRIME

Gibson Group’s new 13-part sitcom “Paradise” (working title) is now in production.

Directed by Geoff Murphy (Goodbye Pork Pie, Utu), the show is set in a backpackers hostel. The series was inspired by the humorous emails creator Grant Drummond sent to his friends while working in hostels around the world.

The show will screen on PRIME.

Locally produced television comedy is getting a boost thanks to funding decisions made at NZ On Air’s February meeting.

Almost $2.5 million worth of NZ On Air funding was approved for a slew of comedy programmes that will be turning up on screens around the country in coming months.

“The proposals for these programmes were terrific,” NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson said, “and we’re looking forward to seeing the results. There’s an excellent variety of projects and programme makers involved.”

Funding has been allocated to Paradise, a 13-part situation comedy series set in a backpackers hostel run by a zany bunch of twenty-somethings.

“The premise behind Paradise means there will be plenty of potential for some real fun on screen,” said Ms Wrightson. “And as well as that we’re happy to have been able to give the nod to a couple of returning comedy series – Moon TV and Pop! Goes the Weasel.

“Production will begin soon on an eight-part sketch comedy series called Possum Point, which will bring us a special brand of silliness from comedians The Comedy Pilots, and there’s also a stand-up comedy special called AotearoHa, a showcase for some of the best New Zealand comedy talent.

“It’s a very good time for New Zealand comedy at the moment, and it’s great to see the free-to-air networks’ enthusiasm for having new programmes, and those that have already found a ready audience, on their screens,” she said.