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Charlie Pickering has left the building

TV Tonight goes behind the scenes as Charlie Pickering says, "It's been an honour."

2014-04-07_2021There were tears, laughter, irreverence, tributes and activated nuts.

Charlie Pickering’s final episode of The Project, after nearly five years at the desk, has aired on TEN, surrounded by family and the Project office staff.

When he was hired as one of five presenters for TEN’s new “news-comedy” mix, Pickering was never supposed to be the host. But his deft, and sometimes passionate, style of juggling humour, news and social issues resonated with the show’s audience.

The show included Charlie-flashbacks and farewells from Kevin Rudd, Joe Hockey, Bob Katter, Fr. Bob Maguire, Karl Stefanovic, plus Project regulars Kitty Flanagan, Steve Vizard, Waleed Aly, Lehmo.

But on the set it was the final segment that loomed large, as staff huddled into the tiny TEN studio bearing gifts to farewell their colleague. The audience had been loaded up with streamers and photographers were ready for the final moments.

Dave Hughes made a surprise appearance at the desk, to farewell his friend.

“I want to say thank you for holding my hand through some incredibly difficult times professionally and personally,” said Bickmore.

“It has been such a joy, thank you for making me laugh like no-one else can. You’ve been such a great friend and I know that we don’t work together five days a week we might actually hang out, which would be awesome.”

On air Pickering thanked to his co-presenters, Steve Price, Peter Helliar and Carrie Bickmore, leaving his penultimate thanks to the only remaining original cast member.

“Carrie you’re simply the most impressive person I’ve ever worked with. I just think that your class, your humility and your strength -they are a wonder to behold on a daily basis and I’ve been lucky to see them up close. You’ve been my trusted friend from day one and the thing I will most most about working on The Project is coming in to work with you everyday,” he said.

While the crew were getting nervous about running overtime, a relaxed Pickering was having none of it. He had the floor and thanked a long line of people in the network, crew, family, cast and audience.

“My biggest thanks of all goes to you for watching. I consider it an absolute privilege to be on air. That you would invite me into your home night after night means the world to me. It’s been an honour being in your television and I look forward to doing it again, before too long.”

2014-04-07_2022When the show had ended Carrie Bickmore had to hold back tears to smile for media cameras, and for a moment there it didn’t look like she was going to make it. It’s a sign that her feelings for her co-star are heartfelt, and the reason The Project audience has loved her rapport with Pickering.

Pickering is set to fly to the US to join his wife Sarah, while the show welcomes Wil Anderson as a guest host this week.

In a sign that his shoes will be hard to fill, TEN has opted not to immediately replace Pickering, with rotating hosts set to include Andrew Rochford, Waleed Aly and guest hosts.

19 Responses

  1. I am still in mourning over Charlie’s departure. It just won’t be the same without him. He was always kept it real and kept the show from becoming pretentious. He was hilarious, smart and had a conscience. After 5 years, I am going to miss watching him every night so very much. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend.

  2. Sorry to see Charlie go. He presented with the perfect mix of humour, wit and intelligence. I hope Ch 10 will look for similar when eventually replacing him – and not go for someone who is just ‘funny’. Do not look too far – Waleed is right there!

  3. A truly dignified, terrific goodbye. Charlie Pickering is all class and his farewell perfectly demonstrated this. His nod to the cast and crew and in particular to the hard work of Craig Campbell, David Mott and Beverly McGarvey can not be underestimated. This show was a huge gamble for the network and the people involved and early on, it looked like it would be cancelled. Thankfully it picked up a loyal audience which remains till this day – in large part because of Pickering’s presence. Well done and good luck!

  4. Lots of respect for Mr Pickering. I initially thought he was just a comedian playing a journo, but when he ripped into Bob Katter and others, he showed a truly passionate side to his work.
    He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and rarely towed a line.
    He will be missed.

  5. Charlies speech was wonderful but wow when he got to Carrie the tears were flowing and I am not one to usually cry at stuff like that. Charlie is unique and I am going to miss him. I hope Carrie stays as she is definitely one of a kind

  6. Just hope whoever eventually replaces him has the same depth, humanity and conscience as Charlie. It just won’t work with a superficial “pretty face” As I have said before, the show has lost its heart and soul. Search well and carefully if you want the show to last.

  7. Damn you Charlie!

    Because of the farewell at the end running over time my PVR cut off the end of the Secrets & Lies final, even though I added 15 min to the end of the setting. I’ll have to wait until Friday now to see the encore of the final.

    Oh yeah it was sad to see you go, you will be missed.

  8. Sad to see him leave. I wish him all the best. I was cautious about the impact his leaving would have on The Project’s future, and seeing an EP also left last night doesn’t exactly instill confidence. Hopefully the News exec and Head of Programming Beverely keeps it going.

  9. Watching from home, the emotion was palpable, especially between Charlie and Carrie. For me Charlie has been an important reason to watch. I don’t know whether it will be as good without him.
    Carrie is such a beautiful human being. Her real and warm spirit are the heart of the program. When she cries, i do too!

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