Clown and anchor
ROVE’S only resident female insists the show is no boys’ club. Carrie Bickmore puts proper breeding down to her good treatment from host Rove McManus and troupe of merry men including Peter Helliar, Dave Hughes and Ryan Shelton.
‘‘They’re the most respectful group of guys underneath their boyishness,’’ Bickmore says, skinny cappuccino in hand at a Northcote cafe. ‘‘They’ve all had good mothers I think. ‘‘Having said that, I can give it to them just as much as they can give it back to me.’’
Rove has returned for its 10th year with few changes — just some tweaks and a new set reflecting a move from South Melbourne to a bigger studio in Elsternwick.
But the chat show’s first double-digit birthday doesn’t mean it’s all grown up.
Bickmore vows her Carrie at the News Desk segment will stay as irreverent as ever, especially now that she’s less prudish about what’s on the auto-cue.
The satirical bulletin has been known to skirt the border of good taste.
For one gag last year about the Fromelles archeological dig, Bickmore read: ‘‘What could be more Australian than a bunch of diggers digging up some Diggers?’’
She praises Rove’s writers, despite not always being happy with items penned for her.
‘‘I have the final say if I’m uncomfortable about something,’’ she says. ‘‘When I started I was horrified by lots of the lines I had to read. I told them, ‘I can’t read this’ or, ‘My family’s not going to like this’.
‘‘But now nothing surprises me. It’s been a long time since I’ve not said something the writers have done.
‘‘I had trouble even saying words like d---head or testicles, and now I say them all the time. There is still a filter, though, and certain lines I won’t cross.
‘‘There are no topics that are off limits, but there are some things you just can’t laugh at even if you find them funny behind closed doors.’’
Bickmore, who also reads the news weekdays on Nova’s breakfast radio show, admits that being the only non-comedian on Rove has caused her some angst.
‘‘I often wonder whether people think of me as a comedian when I’m not,’’ she says.
‘‘I wonder if the perception is . . . that I’m a not-funny comedian. I’d rather be known as a news chick who can say something entertaining.
‘‘That’s something within myself that I’ve had to believe in and go, ‘No, you don’t need to match these guys’.
‘‘I need to be who I am and let their comedy shine and bounce off me rather than come back with a one-liner to match them.’’
Working six days a week doesn’t faze the 28-year-old. Her husband of three years, Greg Lange, who is ‘‘going great’’ since being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2001, mostly cares for the couple’s 16-month-old son Oliver.
She rejects the yummy mummy tag and considers herself an average working mother.
‘‘A lot goes into looking good on a Sunday night (for Rove)— I have great hair and makeup girls and great Aussie designers who dress me. They put a lot of work in,’’ she says. ‘‘There’s certainly a pressure on women on TV to look good that men don’t have.’’
She didn’t fret about her post-baby weight and puts her slim frame down to a hectic schedule rather than hours spent working out.
‘‘I was quite sick after I had Ollie,’’ she says. ‘‘I had a stressful first few months and lost weight quickly without even caring or realising.
‘‘I’m sure some women think I spend hours at the gym. I don’t. I’ve stopped judging women on TV and stopped judging myself.’’
Carrie on: Carrie Bickmore is a fixture behind the Rove newsdesk. HOLLYWOOD starlet Anne Hathaway provided Carrie Bickmore with her most awkward moment on
‘‘I asked her a question and it didn’t come out the way I meant,’’ Bickmore says. ‘‘She was the face of a make-up brand, and I was asking her about the pressure to always look good.
‘‘I asked if she felt she had to wear make-up all the time or could she just leave the house looking feral.
‘‘She said, ‘Do I look feral?’ and the audience went ‘boooo’. It all went horribly wrong. Backstage I said I didn’t mean it that way and she was totally fine.’’