Lilley put the Ja’mie wig back on two years later for 2007’s featured three characters played by Lilley: Ja’mie, Mr G, and disruptive 14-year-old Jonah Takalua, the motherless son of Tongan immigrants and, as his teachers and father would call him, a bit of a pain in the arse.
Though the title would have suited him, Jonah Takalua didn’t appear in 2011’s mockumentary series , but both Ja’mie and Jonah are now the subject of their own six-part spin-offs, co-produced by HBO and the BBC.
Funnily enough, Elida Brereton, the woman who plays principal Margaret Murray, was still working as a school principal while the series was filmed and broadcast, and remembers her real-life students spouting the show’s lines back to her the day after it aired.
Lilley spoke to Pacific Islander families and interviewed groups of Tongan and Fijian school-age boys, as well as to their teachers.The way he tells it, he’s never experienced anything but warmth and good humour from the Pacific Islander communities about his representation of Jonah and his family.“A master of human observation” is Australian comedian Steve Vizard’s description of Lilley, and it’s one that's hard to argue with.To create his characters, observe is exactly what Lilley did, and he started close to home.He's had more stick from redheads, he says, for breathing new life into Aussie insult 'Ranga' (short for Orangutan).
All Lilley’s research aims to place his ridiculous characters in a real world, which is why he uses supporting characters who aren’t actors, but the real thing.from screening on the channel over concerns that the show perpetuates negative stereotypes of Pacific people.The Australian television series, written by and starring comedian Chris Lilley, follows the life of a rebellious 14-year-old Australian schoolboy of Tongan descent who was originally introduced in Lilley’s 2007 series “This means that as a leading Indigenous broadcaster we have a responsibility to present all cultures with a degree of respect and aroha not least those of our Pacific Whanaunga.” The Whanaunga are an Indigenous group of the Coromandel Peninsula.A sixteen year old Queen Bee, a disruptive Tongan teen, a juvenile offenders’ officer in her sixties, feckless teenage twins, a flamboyant drama teacher, a pushy Japanese mother…Chris Lilley puts on a wig, an outfit (and sometimes, a controversial bit of face paint) and becomes them all.It’s about finding “the rhythm of reality”, according to Lilley.