I think of Ella Hooper as my TV sister. She has a new album out this week, her first solo venture, and it would be great if you bought a copy. She is such a prodigious talent, and an absolutely delightful human being. The album is called In Tongues and features the singles Haxan, Low High and The Red Shoes. It has been getting a lot of airplay on ABC digital station Double J, and nobody deserves more success than my beautiful TV sister, the radiant Ella Hooper.
I do wonder sometimes if my presence on Spicks and Specks is turning the whole thing quite camp. This week we have Lucy Durack, star of mega-musicals Wicked and Legally Blonde, Squared Division choreographer Ashley Evans, who has just choreographed a Vegas residency for Britney Spears, and uber-camp comedian Meshel Laurie. Thankfully we have the marriage-obsessed Luke McGregor to balance things out...
Lucy is the most wonderfully upbeat human alive, and you can see how she was cast as the ebullient Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, and the sugary-sweet Galinda in Wicked. She was also, recently, the Queen of Moomba with Bert Newton.
Another amazing episode. I got to sit with the incredible Martha Davis from The Motels. Her voice was an integral part of my life growing up in the 80s. After the show we went out for several drinks, and she told me some fascinating (and unfortunately unrepeatable) stories about Molly Meldrum, Madonna and David Fincher (one of his earliest directing jobs was the video for 'Shame' by The Motels) among many others.
Also on my team was the frenetic Frank Woodley, while Ella was joined by Luke McGregor and Teddy Tahu Rhodes.
If you haven't seen Teddy perform, you haven't lived. His deep baritone voice can actually vibrate the seat you're sitting in. Going to see him perform in South Pacific was like watching a musical while sitting on the washing machine during the spin cycle. He's a great sport and a lovely man, and he's roughly the same size as Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Teddy will next be seen in The King and I.
You haven't accidentally stepped into one of those wacky Comedy World Cup things, although you'd be forgiven for believing that. Ella is joined by frequent Spicks and Specks guest, Irish comedian Jason Byrne, and his countryman, singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey. I was joined by British comic Joe Lycett and the return of an opera singer who, like Jason, has been on this show many times, Antoinette Halloran.
Ladies, crack open a bottle of bubbly and rip the wrapper off a packet of Tim Tams, because this one is for you. The smouldering sexiness of Dan Sultan and the boisterous charm of Ben Mingay. As well as two of the funniest women in showbiz, Gen Fricker and Denise Drysdale.
I was so excited to be working with Ding Dong again. We've been on this show together before, when we did a 60s special in season 5 with Brian Cadd and the late Ian Turpie. You can get it on DVD from the ABC Shop! Denise and I also appeared together on Tractor Monkeys and Celebrity Splash.
I was in stitches during this episode. My team featured adorable country singer Ashleigh Dallas and one of this country's smartest comedians, Tom Ballard. Ella was joined by perennial favourite Dave O'Neil and Peter Oxley, from Dave's favourite band of all time, The Sunnyboys.
This week we have one of my absolute comedy idols, and a frequent guest at The Shelf, the hysterical Tony Martin is on my team. We're joined by Kate Miller-Heidke, who is about to release her crowd-funded album O, Vertigo. I've heard an advance copy, and it is brilliant. Great pop, with those unmistakable acrobatic vocals. There are some fascinating collaborations on this album as well, including Megan Washington and Drapht. A particular highlight for me was Share Your Air featuring Passenger.
Josh Davis aka DJ Shadow is one of the most influential figures in music. His 1996 debut album Endtroducing... is in the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's first completely sampled album.
Ricki-Lee is one of my totes besties, and the force behind such huge hits as Raining Diamonds, Do It Like That and the international club sensation Can't Touch It (as featured on the Sex and the City 2 Soundtrack and trailer)
This week Josh, Ella and I are joined by Dave O'Neil, who has been on the show more than any of us, South African born and now New Zealand based comedian Urzila Carlson, entertainment journalist Nadia Salemme, and legend of Aussie Rock, Sean Kelly from The Models. Also featured on the show are musicians Tjupurru and Efiq Zulfiqar.
I was quite excited to meet Sean Kelly, because I was a bit of a fan of The Models back in the day. When Kate Ceberano was their back up singer and drummer Barton Price had an uber-mullet. Sean confessed to us on the set that he didn't remember much of what happened in the 80s with bands like INXS, but he is pretty sure there weren't quite so many topless women wandering around, as there seemed to be in the Never Tear Us Apart mini-series.