Tears of joy for Rhonda on SBS series

Showbiz doyenne Rhonda Burchmore was overwhelmed by the discoveries on Who Do You Think You Are? with family secrets and mysteries revealed.

Producers on Who Do You Think You Are? had approached showbiz doyenne Rhonda Burchmore a number of times but finally she admits to being intrigued to hear what they had found.

In the SBS series, Burchmore learns about her maternal grandfather who abandoned her mother as a child, and is thrilled to discover a performer in her family.

“It’s the most emotional roller coaster,” she tells TV Tonight.

“In (my mum’s) albums and pictures my grandfather’s head was always cut out of the picture. I was always told it was like mentioning ‘Voldemort’ in our home. We weren’t allowed to talk about Tommy. All we heard was he was a very bad man and an alcoholic and all of these things.

“So to actually put a face to that person was quite extraordinary… and to find he’d suffered PTSD from being on the front line.”

Burchmore was even greeted by a previously unknown aunt.

“When that person comes up to me and says, ‘Hi, I am your auntie,’ I went, ‘Who were you?’ I mean, the whole thing was so intense.”

On her father’s side, she finds an intriguing guardian angel, who came to the rescue of her widowed great grandmother and her 11 children and discovers a fascinating entrepreneur who amassed a fortune.

“I had no idea, but on my dad’s side, his great great grandfather was the first naturopath, as we call them now,” she continues.

“He made all these millions and millions of pounds, and my grandfather was written into the will. I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never heard about this, maybe I’ll put my toe in there and see what I can get!’

“He ended up leaving a huge legacy to the people of Sydney.

“You kind of go, ‘Wow, why didn’t I ever know about these people?’ I’m just so glad I did the program. I mean I thought the jungle (on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here) was pretty intense, but this one you don’t know what you’re doing from day to day and where you’re gonna go, who you’re gonna meet and what you’re gonna find out.

“They came to my home here in Melbourne and they said, ‘You’ve got half an hour to pack your bag, you’re on a plane!'”

If the tears come, as they so often do in the SBS series, Burchmore says they were a genuine reaction to the emotion of it all.

“I was just so tired and there was so much information, so the tears from my end are completely genuine. If I do cry at the end, it’s happiness actually … it was tears of joy in terms of finding out about what these people went through.

“And maybe just a little regret that my mum didn’t know her dad… but now it can be passed on to my daughter which is really wonderful.”

Meanwhile Burchmore is about to treat the boards once more, featuring in burlesque show Cabaret De Paris, alongside French can-can dancers, aerial pole artistry, circus performers and illusionists.

“When I was young, I always wanted to be one of those girls in the Moulin Rouge and because of my obvious height I went for the musical theatre route rather than just the leggy dance thing. I’m so glad I did, because I’m more than just a dancer,” says Burchmore.

“I have an absolute ball with this show because I can not only do French songs, I’m kind of like the glue of the whole program.

“I get to put on feathers and I do a very cheeky striptease. It’s kind of tailor-made for me, but it’s all a bit tongue in cheek.

“I can’t really speak a word of French, but it’s very flamboyant and I bring a sense of comedy and performance to it.”

Cabaret De Paris 7.30pm Friday 19 & Saturday 20 May, Palms at Crown, Melbourne.
*Note: is a Burlesque Topless Revue show, some aspects may offend – viewer discretion advised

Who Do You Think You Are? 7:30pm Tuesday May 23 on SBS.

5 Responses

  1. Who Do You Think You Are? is a truly fabulous format, I could see this working on the commercial free-to-air networks if SBS ever let it go.

    1. People can look good at any age if they choose too. As for her legs she does have other appealing assets like her talent, versatility, singing ability so that begs the question which is more important.

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