Denise Drysdale on her terms
Veteran performer Denise Drysdale loves to give audiences a laugh, and as she tells TV Tonight, she's returning to live television on her terms.
She’s loved far and wide as a veteran performer who is unequivocally Australian, and as a performer whose honesty is downright endearing.
Denise Drysdale returns to daily television as the voice of experience on TEN’s new morning show The Circle.
‘Ding Dong’, as she is affectionately known, is synonymous with morning TV, having co-hosted In Melbourne Today / In Sydney Today (later retitled as Ernie and Denise) for Nine and three years fronting Denise for Seven. That’s on top of her extensive television career notable for In Melbourne Tonight, The Ernie Sigley Show and Hey Hey It’s Saturday.
Last year she criss-crossed Australia, performing nearly 100 live shows. She told TV Tonight the secret to being an entertainment industry survivor was her work ethic of “no job too big, no job too small.”
“I do corporate, stand-up, morning shows, a show with a piano player, a show with a band, I work with Marcie Jones, Denis Walter, I do fashion parades, MC-ing for corporate. Because I do everything that’s why I’ve lasted. They can throw me in anywhere. I am so lucky to have what I have,” she says.
For The Circle, she will be joined by Yumi Stynes, Chrissie Swan and Gorgi Coghlan. Drysdale insists she is returning to the grind of daily television on her own terms.
“I don’t mean that to sound a bit pompous but after the initial month I’m only going to be doing two days a week. That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to do 5 days a week because I live in a beautiful home in the country with my dogs, and I don’t want to be away from them.”
Luring her from her country home wasn’t easy, particularly for an early morning, live TV gig.
“The traffic’s shocking,” she says. “It’s either roadworks or an accident. So I will go down, stay two nights and go back in the afternoon. So I can still do a bit of other work as well, which has been booked. I’ve given them all the dates of other bookings that I’ve got.”
The four women on the show, to be joined by a fifth guest, promise to be discussing a range of topics including entertainment, news and topical issues.
“And what’s happening in the world. I know there’s too much violence in Australia. Especially in the city. I can’t believe things that are happening. It’s just ignorance of other people. The underlying thing with these kids is not intolerance, it’s because they don’t understand where they’ve come from or their cultures.
“If they did they wouldn’t be hating them they’d be thinking ‘Gee how lucky are they to be living in this wonderful country.'”
Conversation will be contrasted by the team all presenting advertorials, which form the revenue of the morning show genre.
“I’m happy to do those,” says Drysdale. “We’re trying to do them live which makes them more credible and more interesting I think, than the ones that are pre-recorded. Some of them are pre-recorded because they’re impossible to do in a live situation but that’s what we’re trying to do.
“They’re the people that pay our bills.”
Under producer Pam Barnes, who worked with Drysdale as far back as the 1970s, the advertorials are expected to take a lighter, entertaining tone. ‘Ding Dong’ insists they will be funny if she has anything to do with them, drawing parallels with classic live ads done by her old co-star, Graham Kennedy.
“We’ll get the dog in. My little Maltese is going to do a couple of rehearsal shows to see if he can come and be on the show every now and then,” she laughs.
But ‘Ollie’ won’t be peeing on any studio floors.
“I hope not! I’ve taught him better than that!”
When asked with similarities to another famous female chat show, The View, Drysdale’s honesty again reminds us why she is so well-loved.
“It’s sort of like The View. I can’t say it’s not because I can see the similarities. But theirs isn’t interactive with the audience and they’re different type of girls,” she admits.
“I don’t know, I suppose I’m supposed to say ‘No, it’s not like The View,’ but we’ll just wait and see!
“We had a day doing publicity all day last week and the girls and I just laughed. So I think if that’s what we can do we’ll be fine.”
The Circle premieres 10am Tuesday February 9th on TEN.