BIGASK

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch - BY HOLLY BYRNES

DIG­GING through the dusty vaults of the ABC has proved manna from heaven for self-con­fessed daggy dancer and owner of a dodgy hair­cut in the 1980s, Mer­rick Watts.

Mak­ing fun with archival facts and footage is at the heart of Trac­tor Mon­keys, the new game show where Watts can let out his in­ner Larry Em­dur. From ra­dio, to act­ing, now host­ing a TVgame show, you are the quintessen­tial multi-me­dia player, Mr Watts. I pre­fer to think of my­self as a me­dia whore, but it’s just worked out the way it has. Trac­tor Mon­keys is a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent from what I have done. It’s a quiz show on the ABC but it’s some­thing I have al­ways wanted to do. So your in­ner Larry Em­dur has been bust­ing to come out? Ab­so­lutely. I love game shows, they’re pop­u­lar for a rea­son and when this one came up it seemed like the per­fect fit. Many will see sim­i­lar­i­ties with (UK se­ries) QI and The Chaser’s ver­sion of The Un­be­liev­able Truth. What was the ap­peal of this for­mat for you? I love nos­tal­gia. When I look back at pic­tures of my­self in, say, the ’80s and you go, ‘I can’t be­lieve at the time, I thought that was not only ac­cept­able but down­right cool.’ This show is like look­ing at the coun­try’s hair cut 20 years ago. This is your first time host­ing a project on your own, not part of the dou­ble act many know you from on ra­dio as Mer­rick and Rosso (Tim Ross). Why now? I wanted to do some­thing on my own to see how I’d go. Much was made about your split with Rosso. Howare thingsnowand what were your rea­sons for part­ing? We saw our­selves as in­di­vid­u­als and started as in­di­vid­u­als. We’ve both gone on to do dif­fer­ent things and forged sep­a­rate ca­reers and in terms of what I’m do­ing, I’m the hap­pi­est I have been in a long time. I am­work­ing with great peo­ple and stoked with the jobs I’ve been asked to do. Rosso al­ways said the day will come (the duo) would come to an end. It was some­thing I had never thought about. We had done ev­ery­thing we wanted to do and could do to­gether. It’s all ami­ca­ble, we just don’t do the same things. We’ve al­ways been very dif­fer­ent peo­ple, just with the same sense of hu­mour. You’ve tried your hand at a bit of act­ing. Any more roles on the hori­zon? I have never done lessons, I was just lucky to get started with the guys from Work­ing Dog (on ABC po­lit­i­cal satire The Hol­low­men). I told them I don’t know how to act and they said don’t worry. If any­thing they taught me how not to act. Af­ter (re­cent ap­pear­ances), I think I’ve been type­cast as a corpse. But I like act­ing, it’s great fun. Trac­tor Mon­keys, ABC1, tonight, 8.30pm

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