Tearful finale as The Circle bows out in style

It was an emotional day on the set of The Circle today, their final show after 2.5 years, while TEN chose to retain the low-rating Breakfast.

Denise Drysdale and Chrissie Swan returned to join Gorgi Coghlan and Yumi Stynes, Chrissie joining on the same day as her second child’s 1st birthday.

They were joined by Colin Lane and Meshel Laurie, plus a host of regulars including Indira Naidoo, George McEncroe, Marc Fennell, Richard Clune, Andrew McClellan and more.

But it was producer Pam Barnes, the force behind the show, that many reserved their tributes for. A tearful Barnes said, “This is the best job I have ever had.” Peppers Resorts threw in a 5 night holiday for her.

Denise Drysdale admitted that when Barnes first approached her about being on a new morning show called The Circle, she thought it was for her to do the advertorials. She was shocked that at 63, she actually wanted her as one of the hosts.

The show opened with Rhonda Burchmore, accompanied by John Foreman, singing ‘Cry Me A River.’ Foreman criticised the decision to axe the show, noting  that for TEN “Monday will be the first day in more than 20 years that we haven’t had an Australian made chat show in this time, and more than 20 years since this studio began.”

it will be the first time in more than 20 years that an Australian-made chat show won’t air in this timeslot.”

He added that Pam Barnes “should be getting a gold watch and a speech at the Christmas party but instead has been given a week to pack up her desk and I think that is shocking.”

But it was the usually ‘choir boy’ musical director John Foreman who damned management over the cancellation, pointing out that from Monday: “it will be the first time in more than 20 years that an Australian-made chat show won’t air in this timeslot.”

Yumi Stynes admitted that on the day they all first met “I hadn’t had a root for two years!” and added, “We’ve got a whole lot more shit to come today!”

She threw to an advertorial with: “Do we really need to do this? Another bloody advertorial?! Ah yes, it wouldn’t be The Circle without Pat Panetta!”

With a straight face (but a twinkle in her eye) Gorgi said: “I’m really going to miss those advertorials!”

In the last hour of the show, the crew keep walking on to the set and removing items one by one so that the set is looking more and more empty!

Yumi: “Are they striking our set or are they stealing our set?”
Gorgi: “Check on E-Bay tomorrow I guess!”

At one stage Denise Drysdale even grabbed a hammer to help destroy the set. Ahh, live telly.

Emails were read out from fans and celebs – even the US ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey L. Bleich wrote: “May The Circle be unbroken.. and great shows like yours continue to be made.”

The team threw to Natarsha Belling (spelling?) for the final hour news break. Belling started to read the Olympic headlines, then threw her script in the air and said “You know what? Forget about the news, because today is really important for all of you guys … ” and then thanked them all personally, with a special mention for Barnes. “Forget about your alleged TV talents Pam, you are responsible for keeping me on the dance floor until 4am at this year’s Logies!”

Belling then danced in the Sydney news studio while Colin Lane danced in the Melbourne studio to “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” before Belling also shed a tear as the team said goodbye to her for the last time.

Yumi thanked all the crew (as they appeared on camera) and made the point that most of them were now out of a job.

Chrissie Swan thanked all the men on the crew for “not pressing charges.”

Gorgi Coghlan told viewers to write “a massive petition for us to come back in 2013 with a kick-arse prime-time, once a week show…”

In the penultimate segment everyone was in hysterics with Andrew McLelland with his collection of weird clips and photos from the internet. Chrissie was worried she would “wet herself.”

The show ended with an almost empty studio and Grinspoon’s Phil Jameson playing guitar as Coghlan sang, followed by all cast and crew gathered in an empty studio as Pam Barnes gave a final teary farewell,  Barnes made a dignified speech, but struggled to shield her hurt at management’s decision.

Then the picture cut to colour bars, a test pattern and tv static.

Whether management were unhappy with the show’s on-air comments is unclear, but TEN has already removed The Circle from its website show list and erased the show from its iPhone application. Quick work….

Following the show, the team headed to a wrap lunch where around 30 – 50 people who have lost their jobs, celebrated their run.

More YouTube clips here




  1. @steve sydney, apparently sponsors have not deserted Breakfast as they did The Circle.

    Having worked on a similar, advertorial style show, the pressure is on, not only to pay for itself but to make a profit. This year, two of The Circles stronger performers left and were not replaced, it had new competition from CH9 plus a poorly handled ‘mishap’.

    I don’t think you can compare the two shows in financial terms. Performance terms, yes The Circle wins hands down. Both are poor raters. But somehow Breakfast has managed to stay above water…. for now.

  2. David… part from the (Project) and (ABC News Breakfast) there is no other live national programs coming out of Melbourne these days. It seems over the years the local industry has dried up and Sydney is observing everything. 7 and 9 in Melbourne have become outposts with only local news bulletins on offer. There is some great talent in this great city… that should have a platform to perform.

  3. Ten Melbourne would just have a news studio just like 7 and 9 do now. The larger studio for the circle project and before the game would be closed

  4. Surely they won’t completely close down the Melbourne studio,will they? It’s a worry if it happens.It just goes to show how much the landscape of television is changing.

  5. When ten moved to there current melbourne studios in the 90’s it was a joke of a tv studio compared to what 7 and 9 had in Melbourne. Now a days it is bigger than 7and 9. So the thinking it will be closed is probably on the money!!

  6. The only credit I will give Ten is for allowing The Circle to have such a fantastic finale. It was a great tribute to a show that was left without support since Breakfast started. Great to see Chrissie and Denise back on the couch. I predict Breakfast will also be gone by the end of the year (unless Paul Henry goes). And my big prediction The Project will be moved to Sydney and Before The Game will be axed. That studio (with The Circle) that hosted those 3 shows will be closed.

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