Joining Spicks and Specks in 2014
I cannot even begin to explain the level of anticipation I have for 2014. Mostly due to how excited I am to begin my new job as Team Captain on Spicks and Specks. Working with Josh Earl and Ella Hooper these last couple of months has been a truly joyous experience.
From the very first audition we did together as a team, I felt that there was something special about this combination, which is a peculiar thing to say when I am one third of it, but I really do believe that there is an indefinable frisson that exists between us. I don’t think that I am, in any way, more suited to this job than any of the many talented people who auditioned for this role, but there is something almost magical about the way Josh, Ella and I clicked into place on that first day. I feel that it is the team, not any of the individuals, that shone during those many auditions, and that is why the producers of Spicks and Specks have put their faith in us. I know how ridiculous this sounds, but it is what I felt, in that moment, as we played that first round of Know Your Product, and I have felt it all the way through our workshops and pilots and our first episode together. I really hope you all enjoy watching it as much as we enjoy doing it.
None of this would be happening, of course, without the solid foundation that Adam Hills, Alan Brough and Myf Warhurst built during those first seven years. As a huge fan of Doctor Who for most of my life, I know how difficult the transition from one cast to another can be on your favourite show. Josh, Ella and I have an insurmountable task ahead of us. Speaking for myself alone, I don’t like it when people suggest I am ‘replacing’ Alan Brough or Myf Warhurst. They are, both of them, irreplaceable. Yes, I am sitting in Myf’s old chair, which has had to have some industrial reinforcement to contain my hefty frame. Yes, I am doing a job that they did for seven wonderful series. Yes, I am banging a buzzer and answering curly questions. I just could never hope to replace them. What I can do, however, is maintain their spirit of generosity.
Being a guest on the original Spicks and Specks was always brilliant fun, due in no small part to the generous and ebullient welcome I would get from Adam, Alan and Myf. They were the epitome of grace. Making a television show in front of a live studio audience is a nerve-wracking experience; no matter how much live performance you have done in the past, nothing can prepare you for the terrifying pace and anxious hilarity of making this show. Adam, Alan and Myf always made it seem so effortless, and that was due in no small part to just how generous they were as performers and individuals. They made all of their guests feel special, and we were able to turn in great performances, sometimes under the most difficult of circumstances. I still remember how beautiful and compassionate the whole cast were the night I was performing the closer of the show, my now ubiquitous Australian Idol impression. I was nervous about singing in front of an audience, and on television, even if it was comedy singing. More tragically, our family dog Angus, who'd been part of my life since I was a teenager, was gravely ill and had been booked in to be euthanised the next morning. There was a moment in that episode when I genuinely started crying during my teammate Colleen Hewitt’s version of Wind Beneath My Wings. I overplayed it to make it look like comedy tears, but I was genuinely very raw that night; the Spicks and Specks team, with their warmth and their selfless ability to make everybody feel welcome, made me feel that everything would be alright.
What I hope to do in my time as a Team Captain on this beloved and iconic program, is pay forward the kindness, generosity and warmth that was always shown to me by Adam Hills, Alan Brough and Myf Warhurst. I know that my experiences as a guest on this program were not unique to me. Everybody who ever sat alongside that trio of performers knows just how much fun they were, how nurturing and encouraging they were, and how professional and poised they were. Television production is a chaotic and cacophonous beast, and the trio at the head of Spicks and Specks always weathered that storm with remarkable aplomb and comforting confidence.
I never think of myself replacing anybody on Spicks and Specks, what I am doing is safeguarding a spirit of generosity. Hopefully I can give to our many guests what was given to me so many times – a warm welcome. I would also like to extend this to you watching at home. It may not be exactly the same show you remember, but it will be the fun you remember.