A host of opportunities
Carols tops a busy year for former Home and Away star Kate Ritchie, writes Erica Thompson
CO-HOSTING Carols in the Domain for the second consecutive year was the last thing Kate Ritchie expected to be doing this Christmas.
Not only was the former Home and Away star a former employee of the station which televises Carols, she was also busy working on a show for a rival network.
‘‘I must say I didn’t expect to be asked to do it again,’’ Ritchie says of the gig on Channel 7.
‘‘I couldn’t wait to get on board last year because I thought it would be my first and last opportunity and I thought it was a nice way to finish up because everything was coming to an end (at Seven) with my 20 years on Home and Away.
‘‘So I was really flattered when I got the phone call this year.
‘‘I thought they would have forgotten about me by now,’’ she says with a laugh.
Performers at this year’s event include Delta Goodrem and her fiance Brian McFadden, Shannon Noll, Guy Sebastian, country singer Melinda Schneider and the Wiggles.
Ritchie, who co-hosts with Grant Denyer, has fond memories of attending the event as a child ‘‘and sitting on the lawn with the family’’.
‘‘I guess in some ways it’s like a little girl’s dream to then be up there in the pretty frock being part of it.’’
It’s not the only opportunity Ritchie has had to play dress-up. She recently filmed a spot in the highly anticipated prequel to Channel 9’s hit mobster series Underbelly.
Ritchie plays Judi Kane — the wife of slain 1970s standover man Les Kane— and her role required an elaborate ’70s wardrobe.
‘‘It’s very exciting and really nice to be back on a TV set,’’ the two- time Gold Logie winner says. ‘‘Though I do look more like my mother than I ever have.’’
Despite the dark transformation, Ritchie insists it’s not a means to exorcise her Home and Away character, Sally Fletcher, once and for all.
‘‘I actually don’t want to look like I’m trying to turn my back on something that was such a big part of my life,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s important for me to try new things to challenge me and to stretch me in areas that I haven’t worked before, but I’m certainly not trying to go out and shock people or anything like that.’’
RCarols in the Domain, G Channel 7, Saturday, 8.30pm Christmas spectacular Duration: 2 hours ITCHIE joined Nova’s Merrick and Rosso breakfast radio show at the start of the year and getting used to the early-morning wake-up calls for her radio role has been tough.
‘‘The alarm clock is being thrown into the ocean,’’ she says with a laugh. ‘‘I have quite a few hours under my belt now and I really feel as though I’ve settled in so it will be nice to start fresh (in 2009) and feel I’m not the new girl any more.
‘‘It’s been really rewarding, scary at times, but also really rewarding.
‘‘They’ve (Merrick and Rosso) been my greatest mates this year. They’ve held my hand through what’s been the biggest transition of my life, so they will forever remain great friends, not just work colleagues.’’