This is Your Life
Surprises, celebrities and a shiny new package, This is Your Life just got a glam makeover with Deborra-Lee Furness as the guest of honour.
This is Your Life just got a glam makeover.
No more relatives walking out from behind hokey red curtains in a quiet studio.
This is Your Life is now a shared experience, no longer confined to just the invitee list. And why shouldn’t it be? With surprises, celebrities and a shiny new package, the audience seems happy to be part of the evening with guest of honour: Deborra-Lee Furness.
In The Palms showroom at Crown Casino there’s a full house of adoring fans, a huge stage, accompanied by an orchestra and a very snazzy opening credit sequence with stars glowing from the sides of skyscrapers.
New host Eddie McGuire has set up a sting as a filmed sequence in a Sydney hotel, aided by Hugh Jackman ahead of his visit on The Oprah Winfrey Show. As Jackman helps with the set-up he admits, “I’m more nervous than when I hosted the Oscars.”
Furness is gobsmacked when she realises the surprise and spies that red book. It’s a genuine moment.
The main event in Melbourne was obviously filmed much later -Hugh Jackman even sports a bandage on his eye to prove it.
A nervous Furness, conceding she is control freak, steels herself for the cavalcade of guests.
First up is a gushing Sigrid Thornton, commending her “generosity of spirit.” She is followed by Simone Buchanan, Casting agent Susie Maizels, Producer Mark Pennell, Tim Costello, Kerry Armstrong and Peter Phelps who says, “There’s no-one I don’t know who doesn’t want to be with Deborra-Lee.”
Others appear via video messages: Jerry Seinfeld says, “This woman has a lot of energy and I dont!”; Nicole Kidman: “They asked me to recount an anecdote”; John Clarke: “If things don’t work out with Hugh I’m only a phone call away”; plus Naomi Watts, Jacqueline McKenzie, Wendi Murdoch, Maureen Lipman and more.
Her mother also appears as does a high school friend from decades ago. The latter is a classic “Do you recognise this voice?” moment. Deborra-Lee has no idea. Even after she appears on stage you kind of get the feeling she still has no idea.
There are clips from her career including Prisoner, Correlli, Hallifax F.P., SeaChange, Shame, Jindabyne, Beautiful, and Blessed.
Her career also included the ground-breaking 1970s female current affairs show No Man’s Land, plus Glass Babies, The Flying Doctors, Fire, Angel Baby, A Matter of Convenience, and US roles alongside Elliott Gould, Brian Dennehy, Sam Shephard and Christian Bale.
An issue close to Furness’ heart, adoption, is also featured.
And there is a sentimental musical tribute with some top showbiz stars. Won’t spoil the surprise.
This is Your Life is Nine getting its mojo back. It is classic Channel Nine in spirit -grand, warm-hearted entertainment, that harks back to the kind of specials Ray Martin used to do with Michael Crawford. Sure the anecdotes are brief, Eddie “Everywhere” is even divisive to many television viewers, but this is a slickly produced package with its heart in the right place.
This is Your Life airs 8:30pm Monday on Nine.