In Australia: Wednesdays, 9.10pm, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired
Comedy is a funny thing. Some of it transfers around the world very well. The less dialogue the better usually - Mr Bean pratfalling is the same in any language - but the delights of Cheers, Modern Family and Blackadder work in pretty much any country you care to think of, either in English or dubbed.
Satire, on the other hand, is a much trickier prospect. By its very nature, it's targetting something that it expects the audience to know about already so they can think about it in a new light. It'll use cultural references that it shares with the viewer to raise a laugh at the same time.
All of which is a slightly pretentious way of saying that I didn't get a lot of The Ex-PM. But that's not necessarily the show's fault. Nor does it mean it's hilarious for Australians.
Shaun Micallef is one of Australia's most familiar and celebrated performers, having appeared in TV comedy shows, usually as himself or a version of himself, since the 1980s. Chances are, though, unless you've been to Australia or are Australian, you won't have heard of him, despite Channel 4 (or maybe it was BBC Two) having picked up one of his shows a decade or two ago. I think. I seem to remember seeing it anyway.
These days he's most famous (in Australia) for his comedy news programme Shaun Micallef's Mad As Hell, which has aired on ABC since 2012 but which is the latest in a series of programmes bearing his name (eg Shaun Micallef's World Around Him, The Micallef Program, Micallef Tonight, Shaun Micallef's New Year's Rave).
But he's an all-round performer. He appeared in SBS's 60s action TV show and movie parody Danger 5 for example, and if you cast your mind back to Ten's Mr and Mrs Murder, he played one half of a husband-and-wife crime scene-cleaning team who solved mysteries together.
I didn't really like Mr and Mrs Murder. Neither, to be fair, did most of Australia, judging by the ratings. However, I was told after the fact by TV-literate Australians of my acquaintance that a lot of what Micallef was doing was playing on a shared history of performance with his co-star Kat Stewart in another show, Newstopia.
See what I mean? Sometimes, you need to be in on the joke and the cultural references to really get comedy.
All of which is an even longer way of saying that Shaun Micallef has a new comedy series called The Ex-PM in which he plays Andrew Dugdale, the retired third-longest serving prime minister of Australia. And that I didn't get a lot of the jokes but that doesn't mean it's not funny, if you know what the jokes are referencing. I think.