Funny man Duncan Fellows follows ‘The Letdown’ with ‘Fam Time’

Duncan Fellows and Alison Bell.

Fans of ABC TV’s The Letdown who enjoy watching Duncan Fellows as Jeremy, partner and foil of Alison Bell’s oft-stressed Audrey, can look forward to his next series Fam Time.

Fellows is playing John, aka ‘Handy Andy’, second husband of Michala Banas’ Belinda Box, matriarch of a dysfunctional blended family in the Seven Studios’ narrative comedy.

Created by Michael Horrocks and scripted by Erica Harrison and Jack Yabsley, the sitcom features Benson Jack Anthony as Belinda’s son Rylan, Karina Banno as her step-daughter Tahnee, Chloe De Los Santos as her adopted half-Filipino daughter Cherry, Rhonda Burchmore as grandma Viv and Tainui Tukiwaho as handyman Bill.

While everyone else in the family is obsessed with the online world, Handy Andy prefers fixing and inventing things, although he’s not very good at either.

There are some similarities between the two characters. “Neither is the sharpest tool in the shed,” Fellows tells IF. “Handy Andy is madly in love with his wife. He’s not an alpha male, more of a beta male.”

Relishing his first opportunity to work with Banas and Anthony, he says she is ultra-professional and he wears a variety of costumes so well the actor could fit in in any era.

He had a table read with Burchmore – a “force of nature” – and looks forward to shooting his first scenes with her this week.

Fellows did not set out to be an actor until he was 14 and a mate’s mum, who was involved with the State Drama Ensemble, suggested he join it. Bitten by the acting bug, he did a BA in performance at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean.

He made his TV debut in the third season of the SBS comedy Life Support, taking over the role of Todd – a youthful version of Handy Andy – from Brendan Cowell.

For much of his career he was a jobbing actor with roles in Home and Away, All Saints, Laid, A Moody Christmas and Secret City. Fortunately he has a bread and butter job as the voice and face of 7Mate since the channel’s inception eight years ago.

Landing the role of Jeremy in The Letdown in 2017 has been a game changer. He was asked to audition by McGregor Casting’s Kirsty McGregor and Stevie Ray. Co-creators Bell and Sarah Scheller were there and they clicked instantly. “We laughed out heads off in the room,” he says. “Their scripts are so real, the characters sounding exactly the way we sound.”

When he first saw the script for the episode that went to air last week, he had a fleeting moment of panic as Jeremy strips off and takes a “selfie” of his penis to send to Audrey and mistakenly shares it with Audrey’s mother Verity (Sarah Peirse). “I had to step out of my comfort zone,” he says.

Netflix bought the Giant Dwarf-produced series directed by Trent O’Donnell. Fellows has had fan mail from Canada, Germany, the UK and Korea. One admirer in the UK has offered him a lifetime supply of curry if he ever gets there.

Later this year he will star in the Sydney stage production of The Underpants, Steve Martin’s satire adapted from a classic German play about a conservative couple whose calm existence is shattered when the wife’s bloomers fall down in public while watching the King’s parade, directed by Anthony Gooley at the Seymour Centre.