A game girl

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So find­ing her­self back on TV, af­ter a few years try­ing to es­tab­lish her­self as an adult per­former, she has sur­prised her­self by jump­ing heartily into the role of crash test dummy for Knock­out.

This bub­bly, self-con­fessed klutz, could not be more per­fect for the job.

‘‘ When you see the set, it’s so colour­ful and just like Hi-5, I get to play dress-ups again.’’

With the Malaysian au­di­ence of Knock­out filled with ex-pat Aus­tralian schoolkids, Robin­son was in­stantly recog­nised as the Charli they had grown up with.

‘‘ Some of these kids, who are grown up with kids of their own now, groan, must look at me and think, ‘ Wow, Charli, you just don’t change’.’’

While she left the Hi-5 fam­ily three years ago af­ter 10 years of ex­haust­ing tour­ing, her re­turn to TV, she says, has been sur­pris­ingly easy.

‘‘ I didn’t re­alise how much I missed TV un­til I hit the set. I felt like it was com­ing home.

‘‘ In front of a (ra­dio) mi­cro­phone I still al­ways feel ner­vous. But put a cam­era on me and it’s al­most like I ex­hale. It’s cer­tainly more com­fort­able.’’

Still, the quirky na­ture of the show doesn’t mean com­fort equals bor­ing.

With four teams com­pet­ing in crazy con­tests – from wacky water sports, to en­durance tests and ob­sta­cle cour­ses – there was never a dull mo­ment when the re­turn se­ries was filmed in six break­neck days (or rather nights, with film­ing sched­uled in the evenings to avoid the ex­tremes of the trop­i­cal Asian heat).

While Mce­wan and Nel­son keep to the rel­a­tive safety of the commentary box high up in the grand­stand, Robin­son gets down and dirty on the side­lines and pool deck with the con­tes­tants.

In the first sea­son, four state-based teams will bat­tle it out for the ti­tle, win­ning money for their or­gan­i­sa­tions: Queens­land life­savers, Vic­to­rian fire­fight­ers, NSW am­bu­lance of­fi­cers and a com­bined Team Mac­cas, rais­ing funds for Ron­ald Mc­don­ald house.

And if you think this is all just for laughs, Robin­son says the play­ers took it se­ri­ously.

‘‘ In the Malaysian heat, it took com­pe­ti­tion to an­other level. I re­ally thought I was part of the Olympics or some­thing — sweat pour­ing ev­ery­where, all these se­ri­ous ath­letes and, of course, HG Nel­son, an ab­so­lute leg­end.’’

A lit­tle starstruck by one half of Aus­tralia’s beloved com­edy duo, Roy & HG, she says: ‘‘ I found my­self, even when were sit­ting down for break­fast, I’d just start star­ing at him.

‘‘ Even when he talked about what his ho­tel room was like and, when it rained, con­den­sa­tion af­ter his air­con­di­tion­ing broke down, I felt like the luck­i­est per­son in the world wit­ness­ing a one-man com­edy show.

‘‘ He will make this show. His Olympics commentary was le­gendary.

‘‘ It’s him to a tee.’’ It’s A Knock­out Chan­nel 10, Sun­day 7.30pm

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