THE BIG ASK STUART MACGILL Stuart MacGill Uncorked
SPIN bowler-turned TV host Stuart MacGill was stumped when nominated for this year’s Logie for Most Popular New Male Talent. Although his wife Rachel Friend had bagged the Popular Actress award for her role in Neighbours 18 years ago, it felt bizarre to MacGill to be up against the likes of Home and Away spunk Lincoln Lewis. Following his retirement from Test cricket, an injured MacGill launches a second series of the program that led to his Logie nomination— Stuart MacGill Uncorked. How did it feel to be nominated for a Logie? I think people worked out that it was kind of stupid to give a greying older guy best newcomer! I am not sure how it happened because we’re on pay-TV and the free-to-air channels have the coverage advantage over me and I was surprised to get the nomination. But I am very, very pleased that people are enjoying the show. What’s your reaction to viewers calling you a wine connoisseur? I would cringe at being called an expert because I am not that at all. I think I am taking advantage of the fact that I have a bit of a thick skin so I ask the stupid questions that we all want answered about wine. Lots of these questions I have asked before during my winery travels and forget the answers. So I hope the program’s informative and I am demystifying this whole thing, the lingo and just saying it in normal terms. What can viewers expect from this series? This is introducing winemakers from all over the country and showing that they are not bow tie-wearing freaks, they are normal down-to-earth people who in a lot of cases are farmers. It seems funny that just because they grow grapes people believe they are more high and mighty then us. That’s strange because they aren’t like that at all. What have you discovered about winemakers while filming the series? It just brings home that these guys work really hard, long hours and operate heavy machinery. It’s a pretty tough environment to be working in and it’s a competitive market because there are loads of producers with an international profile. Where does your wine appreciation come from? In a stupid way it came about because I didn’t drink beer and didn’t have my first beer until I was 30. I love that you have wine with friends, with music and with food. You consume it quite often in a nice environment, you rarely do it in a freezing cold room with no chairs. It’s done with mates in a pleasant environment and just has a good vibe which makes you feel welcome. How does playing a Test in front of thousands compare to hosting a TV series? In the series it’s just me, the camera and the camera guy, but when you are playing a sport you feel the numbers watching you. If you are playing against India like these guys (the Australian cricket team) have done recently, there could be a billion people watching you. It’s pressure. Do you wish you were on tour with the Australian cricket team at the moment? I am feeling extremely jealous. I would love to be in India and playing. They have been copping a bit of flak but for two of these guys they are playing their first Test and it’s the most exciting thing ever. We should be celebrating that. In the entire history of Australian Test cricket just over 400 people have played and these guys are in a select group.