BIGASK

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

COLIN VICK­ERY

IT’S EASY to get David and Jonathan Dim­bleby mixed up. David, 72, is best known to Aussie TV au­di­ences as the host of re­cent The Seven Ages of Bri­tain. Younger brother Jonathan made his mark with 2008’s Rus­sia with Jonathan Dim­bleby.

Jonathan, 66, also made head­lines when, in 2003, he left his wife of 35 years, Bel Mooney, to care for op­er­atic so­prano Su­san Chilcott, who had breast can­cer. In 2007 he mar­ried Jes­sica Ray and the cou­ple have two chil­dren— Daisy, 3, and Gwen­dolen, 1.

Dim­bleby is back on TV with An African Jour­ney with Jonathan Dim­bleby. What do you want to com­mu­ni­cate to view­ers with An African Jour­ney? Africa is usu­ally seen as a place of dis­as­ter, famine, war, cor­rup­tion and vi­cious dic­ta­tors. That’s not the whole story. I wanted to turn Africa on its head — to show that it’s very di­verse, has an enor­mous amount Fresh look: Jonathan Dim­bleby’s Africa Jour­ney. of en­ergy, tal­ent and drive. It was time for a fresh look. Two things come through in the doco — your love of African mu­sic and the ef­fect that mo­bile phones are hav­ing there . . . Yes to the mu­sic — how can you not dance when you’re in Africa? I hadn’t re­alised how per­va­sive the mo­bile phone is in Africa. It’s be­ing used by peo­ple on low in­comes to trade and move money around. The peo­ple are very en­tre­pre­neur­ial. It’s also hav­ing a huge ef­fect on health. What’s your re­la­tion­ship like with David? Do you talk to him of­ten? Yes. We go sail­ing, have din­ner, run the same char­ity to­gether. Peo­ple think there must be a tremen­dous ri­valry. I think we’re both se­nior cit­i­zens and it would be pa­thetic if there was ri­valry. (That said) I cer­tainly would not have wanted to work for my brother and can’t con­ceive of any cir­cum­stances in which my brother would be will­ing to work for me. You have a cou­ple of young kids. What’s it like be­ing a new fa­ther in your mid-60s? I’ve just taken Daisy to preschool. Jes­sica has just taken Gwen­dolen to her nurs­ery. So I have to work — no re­tire­ment for me, mate. I don’t think one goes into life plan­ning to have chil­dren at the age of 65. Of course you’re aware you’re not 35, how­ever the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are the same and the de­light is the same. Be­cause you’re not com­pet­ing to get to the top of the greasy pole you prob­a­bly get to fo­cus more on the won­der of child­hood. Your do­cos are wildly am­bi­tious. Howdo they come about? In the case of Africa, it was some­thing I wanted to do. I went to the BBC and they com­mis­sioned it. An African Jour­ney with Jonathan Dim­bleby, ABC1, Tues­day, 8.30pm

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