WatchMe's new season launches today, launching a host of new stars and shows. Chris Schulz meets some of the stars behind the binge-worthy new line up.

INTERN

Ellie Harwood has had her face plastered over buses and billboards, and starred in a viral video that's had millions of views.

But nothing prepared her for having to fake a coffee overdose in front of her NZME workmates.

"I was lying on the ground, like, 'What am I doing?'," the 24-year-old says, laughing.

Ellie Harwood in a scene from WatchMe's new show, Producer.
Ellie Harwood in a scene from WatchMe's new show, Producer.

That scene, filmed in front of NZME's in-house coffee shop during work hours, is one of the highlights of Intern, a new series debuting on WatchMe on Tuesday.

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The six-part show sees Harwood, 24, playing a surreal version of herself having a series of shockers as an intern at radio station ZM, where she works in real life as an online producer.

In the episodes, Harwood gets fake bullied by ZM's morning crew Fletch, Vaughan and Megan, befriends an evil barista then overdoses on coffee.

It was the caffeine overdose episode - in which she freaks out in front of workmates who were just trying to buy their daily brew - that she found the hardest to film.

"I felt like such a dick," she says. "There were so many takes where I'm grabbing coffee cups, mocaccino, cappuccino ... I do drink coffee, but I don't drink as many as that character."





Harwood started acting as a child but gave it up when she went to university. Before she started work at ZM, she starred in a promotional campaign for the station that saw her face on buses and billboards.

But lately, she's been getting back into acting, working with local YouTubers Viva La Dirt League for the past year, and scoring a viral hit with their series Bored in which she plays a character called "Gamer Girl".

The hit, which has an estimated 10 million views, sees Harwood playing a gaming noob who goes psycho having her first turn at a virtual reality machine.

Thanks to her regular appearance on VLDL's video series, Harwood has acquired a few fans. Not that she understands their passion.

"I'm not a real fangirl of anything so when I see fans doing that ... and saying really nice things about me, I don't understand it because I don't have the same kind of fangirl thing they have."

She doesn't even play games.

"It's so funny that it went viral because I do not play virtual reality. I do not game. I don't know anything about gaming," she says.

But filming Intern - the full series was shot in one week this year - has reignited her passion for acting.

"It was kind of like a dream," she says. "I've had a lot of people come up to me and say they love them."

Then she laughs: "I should probably get an agent so I can start getting paid properly."

WAIHEKE REPUBLIQUE

Ella Becroft was quietly enjoying her first pregnancy.

Suddenly, she was in charge of a rebellion.

"You're the president of Waiheke Island," her character Tammy is told in the opening episode of Waiheke Republique. "The next in line."

Ella Becroft in Waiheke Republique, a new show coming to WatchMe.
Ella Becroft in Waiheke Republique, a new show coming to WatchMe.

Becroft's new WatchMe show, which begins on Tuesday, follows what happens to Tammy after that surprise announcement.

She's in charge of spearheading a revolt as the Auckland tourist destination attempts to forge its own identity away from New Zealand's biggest city.

Tammy gets a surprise call-up to the role after innocently signing a piece of paper years earlier during a politics lecture at university.

"She just signs something but it makes her the next in line, the successor," says Becroft.

But things soon start going awry as she takes control of a ragtag bunch of "old school" Waiheke Islanders.

"She doesn't have any connection to them. She doesn't know what she's doing, and the others don't really know what they're doing," Becroft says, laughing.

A scene from Waiheke Republique, WatchMe's new show.
A scene from Waiheke Republique, WatchMe's new show.

The actress has a string of credits to her name, including TV comedy Coverband and Amazon Prime's recent docudrama American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story.

But, just like Tammy's introduction to Waiheke Island, Becroft had a similarly quickfire induction into Waiheke Republique.

After getting a random call from director Florence Nobel, with whom she'd worked on an ad, Becroft found herself playing Tammy in front of a camera just days later.





They shot all six episodes of the series in just four days.

"It was insanely fast. I got the lines a few days before, and there were a lot of lines. I had to learn them really fast and we shot really fast," she says.

"Some days it was pouring with rain. It was pretty insane, but it was also really fun."

And Becroft has one surprising fact to admit: the team didn't visit Waiheke Island once during filming.

"We went over on a boat and shot one scene [but] I never even really went to Waiheke. We shot all of the stuff here in Auckland, then they got pickups and landscapes on Waiheke ... I'm sure it will pass."

So, what will Waiheke Island residents have to say about the show?

"I don't know," she says as a puzzled look crosses her face. "It's a little nerve-wracking because we shot it so fast ... Hopefully it will go down well."

ALSO ON WATCHME...

Fletch, Vaughan and Megan in Tinder Nightmares.
Fletch, Vaughan and Megan in Tinder Nightmares.

Tinder Nightmares:

Chronicling dodgy encounters through dating app Tinder has been a staple for ZM's morning crew since 2013. Now, the best worst dates as told by Fletch, Vaughan and Megan fans have been turned into animations for the series

Tinder Nightmares

. Bad breath, body odour, bloody hands and innappropriate use of one's fingers - anyone who's swiped right and lived to regret it will find plenty to enjoy here. It may make you, as Smith does in episode one, fall off your chair.





Rowan Bettjeman stars in Berry: Voice-Over Artist Extraordinaire, WatchMe's new series.
Rowan Bettjeman stars in Berry: Voice-Over Artist Extraordinaire, WatchMe's new series.

Berry: Voice-over Artist Extraordinare:

What do you do if you're a voice actor working on a kids' show that's chock-full of sexually explicit innuendo? Do you speak up, say something about the dodgy lines and risk your job? Or do you take the money and run? That's the choice faced by Berry in

Voice-over Artist Extraordinare,

which follows a broke voice actor who accepts a job working on a particularly dodgy script.





In the Field:

You might have seen

The Daily Show,

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

and

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

But you haven't seen

In the Field.

The comical Kiwi weekly news wrap is fronted by Kura Forrester and when it promises she's "In the Field", she's literally in a field, reporting on the week's news.

In the Field

promises to "push the boundaries and say what we've all been thinking".

Kura Forrester stars in In The Field, coming to WatchMe.
Kura Forrester stars in In The Field, coming to WatchMe.

LOWDOWN

Who:

Ellie Harwood and Ella Becroft

What:

WatchMe's new season, debuting from Tuesday

Where and when: