Mythbusters written in Tewantin


EXPLODING toilets aside, one of the biggest urban myths surrounding SBS television phenomenon MythBusters is that it is an all-American cult classic.

But you don't need the amazing special effects prowess of American show presenters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman to blast this fantastic furphy out of the water.

All you have to do is talk with Anthony Griffis ? the man who writes many of the episodes which have attracted weekly Australian audiences approaching one million people ? from his Tewantin home.

Anthony ? a former Beyond 2000 television presenter ? will tell you that Mythbusters is very much the product of Australian ingenuity and the finished product is put together in Sydney.

His friend Peter Rees of Aussie company Beyond Productions is the brainchild behind the weird and wonderful stunts that go into debunking some of the more fanciful popular culture claims which have gained a life of their own.

"When Peter approached me to write for the show I thought it was a stroke of genius ? it was a simple idea that combines some science with pop culture," Anthony said.

Producer Peter had worked with the show hosts before and thought this was worthy of their talents.

"Adam and Jamie are two special effects guys who have worked for films like the Matrix ? give them 24 hours and they can build anything," he said.

Including, it seems, a cult following that has seen the show become a number one rater for SBS, which only South Park and soccer's World Cup could rival.

Anthony lives the sort of life that many stressed Sydney executives would consider an urban myth.

He and talented partner Paula Bycroft, who used to be his Beyond 2000 producer and now produces Escape with ET for Andrew Ettinghausen, live with their three-year-old son in a slice of paradise.

To earn a quid, the in-demand television scriptwriter watches hours of footage of Adam and Jamie doing their stuff and from that planned mayhem crafts a compelling script with the voiceover links that make it hang together.

He flies to Sydney only for the final production.

Both Anthony and Paula have written books, but television pays better.

However, Anthony is not on the open market for what he sees as some pretty odious TV productions.

"Both Paula and I have been approached to work for reality television including Big Brother, but I would prefer to be flipping burgers than doing that," he said.

The way Mythbusters is going gangbusters with a fourth season about to get underway, Anthony will be not slaving over a greasy-spoon griddle anytime soon.

"It's become a real phenomenon ? I've just come from the gym and there were two guys there talking about last night's show," he said.

Anthony said a shark special he wrote for Adam and Jamie will air in a couple of weeks on commercial television. The special captured the essence of Mythbuster's inspired "out there, going boldly where no-one has gone before" feel.

"They wanted to see if you punched a shark under water, would really go away ? so they have Buster (their crash test dummy) fitted up with a special punching machine underwater with a shark," he said.

Certainly Anthony would not try anything like this at home on Laguna Bay. He's too busy tuning his singing voice up for a rock gig at Peregian and preparing for an exhibition of his abstract paintings in Sydney.

Paula described Anthony as a Renaissance man who is all thumbs.

"I can't drive a nail straight," Anthony admitted.

"If I had a year to come up with the stuff Adam and Jamie whip up I could never do it."