Host­ing role goes down well

Chrissie Swan says be­ing the host of is a good fit, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

WHEN Chan­nel 10’s dis­cus­sion­panel pro­gram Can of Worms de­buted last year, it seemed to be the pas­sion project of for­mer Aus­tralian Idol judge and Celebrity Ap­pren­tice win­ner Ian ‘‘Dicko’’ Dick­son, who de­vel­oped the con­cept and hosted the show.

How­ever, when some re­tool­ing of the show was re­quired, Dicko found he wasn’t suited to the host­ing role and stood aside.

A va­ri­ety of names were cir­cu­lated as a re­place­ment, from The Project’s Char­lie Pick­er­ing to Break­fast’s Paul Henry. But when Chrissie Swan was named as host, there was a col­lec­tive, ‘‘of course’’ from view­ers na­tion­wide.

The show seems a per­fect fit for the for­mer mem­ber of the late, lamented The Circle morn­ing pro­gram, with her warmth and in­tel­li­gence serv­ing as a strong foun­da­tion for its wide-rang­ing ar­eas of dis­cus­sion and de­bate. And Swan cer­tainly feels right at home help­ing steer the con­ver­sa­tion. Were you a viewer of

first sea­son, back when Dicko was host­ing?

I did watch it – I caught about half the sea­son and what I saw I liked. It was on a bit late for me, with other com­mit­ments, but I caught it when I could. When you came on board as host, how did you view your role? As mod­er­a­tor? Fa­cil­i­ta­tor? The match that ig­nites the tin­der­box?

I think you’re right when you say mod­er­a­tor and fa­cil­i­ta­tor. I’m not a con­tro­ver­sial per­son, so I don’t think my role will ever be that of firestarter. The guests we have are so in­ter­est­ing and the ques­tions so in­ter­est­ing that my role is just to make sure we get as much di­a­logue go­ing as we can, hav­ing these clever peo­ple talk about fas­ci­nat­ing things. I don’t feel like I have one chro­mo­some of con­tro­versy in me. You’re hardly a rab­ble-rouser, but you seem forth­right when it comes to say­ing what’s on your mind.

You know, you read things about your­self – I some­times see I’m pitched as that kind of per­son and for me it feels like it couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth. But I sup­pose peo­ple have their opin­ions I don’t even know about forth­right. I’m very com­fort­able in my role on ra­dio and tele­vi­sion when it comes to com­mu­ni­cat­ing with peo­ple, so maybe that comes across. I’m con­fi­dent. Af­ter leav­ing to fo­cus on break­fast ra­dio and fam­ily com­mit­ments, what did you have to con­sider when think­ing about a re­turn to tele­vi­sion?

I go with my gut feel­ing a lot, and over the past few months there have been lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties. Even when I thought some­thing sounded good, if my gut feel­ing was ‘I might make an idiot of my­self’ or ‘I don’t think I’m up for this’ or ‘I’m not ready for it’, I’ve al­ways knocked it back. Can of Worms seemed to me a mea­sured risk. I’d never been in that role on my own be­fore but I thought I’d spo­ken to a lot of a peo­ple dur­ing my time on The Circle so I felt match-fit, I felt 80 per cent ready and the do­ing-it-on-my-own part was re­ally the only risk. I’ll never do some­thing if I think it’s go­ing to em­bar­rass me or peo­ple around me. A TV show is such a group ef­fort. It can look like it’s just the per­son or peo­ple on cam­era but there are dozens of in­cred­i­bly hard-work­ing and pas­sion­ate peo­ple be­hind the scenes, so I wouldn’t want to be the face of some­thing and let down the peo­ple who are work­ing seven times harder than me. Did your time on you in good stead for the

gig? Ob­vi­ously there’s a bit more fluff on The Circle but es­sen­tially it boils down to the same thing: it’s about com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it’s about peo­ple talk­ing. I was asked when I first started if there was any guest that I wouldn’t be able to stomach and I told them, ‘ab­so­lutely not’. There is no one I’ve

hold come across I couldn’t stand, so I told them to go for it. That’s pretty ad­mirable, ac­tu­ally.

I don’t see the point. Ev­ery­one has an opin­ion and the right to ex­press it. What I re­ally like is there are peo­ple on the show you may have never heard of be­fore – Can of Worms doesn’t bring out the usual sus­pects. Of­ten you’ll find guests on var­i­ous shows tend be the same faces, whereas we’ll bring out peo­ple you may not have heard of much. And the way the show is struc­tured means ev­ery­one gets their crack at speak­ing their piece. Has it been a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence?

That’s one big rea­son I took it on. I love this ca­reer but I also love learn­ing new things, and Can of Worms has been fan­tas­tic in that re­spect. I hope it con­tin­ues. I’m not 100 per cent sure when we’ll hear if that’s go­ing to hap­pen. I do know the net­work is very happy. Tak­ing a leap of faith like this is al­ways scary, but it’s turned out very well.

Mon­days, 8.30pm, Ten, Ten SC.

host Chrissie Swan

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