Kirsten Drys­dale

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - CELEBRITY -

A new show aims to pro­tect con­sumers and have fun along the way, writes Anooska Tucker-Evans. THE CHECK­OUT Thurs­day, 8pm,

LIFE has come full cir­cle for ABC TV pre­sen­ter Kirsten Drys­dale.

As a teenager, the star of Hun­gry Beast and The Gruen Trans­fer had a part-time job man­ning the reg­is­ter at her lo­cal Tar­get store in Mackay. Now the 28-year-old finds her­self again be­hind the check­out – but, thank­fully, one of a dif­fer­ent kind.

The Check­out is ABC’s lat­est con­sumer af­fairs se­ries, which aims to iden­tify ways Aus­tralians are be­ing taken ad­van­tage of, ma­nip­u­lated and ripped off and help them make smarter spend­ing choices.

‘‘All th­ese years of work ex­pe­ri­ence and I’m back to where I started,’’ Drys­dale jokes. ‘‘My par­ents are very happy about this check­out job though.’’

The se­ries from The Chaser’s pro­duc­tion com­pany Gi­ant Dwarf and Cordell Jig­saw Zapruder tack­les ev­ery­thing from con­sumer rights to con­sumer be­hav­iour and psychology.

While the topic may seem a lit­tle dull, Drys­dale says the team, in­clud­ing The Chaser’s Ju­lian Mor­row and Craig Reu­cas­sel, has been work­ing hard to en­sure it is any­thing but.

‘‘That is one of the big­gest chal­lenges of the show,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s def­i­nitely a fac­tual pro­gram but be­cause we’re try­ing to make it en­ter­tain­ing we will be a lit­tle bit cheeky and, where we can, have a bit of fun.

‘‘ The Chaser guys ob­vi­ously have the com­edy edge to bring to things and then we’re work­ing with some really great direc­tors and graph­ics peo­ple who’ll come up with a way that will make it vis­ually en­gag­ing.’’

While Drys­dale in­sists au­di­ences will be en­ter­tained by the end re­sult, she says get­ting there has been, at times, a long and te­dious process.

The bane of her ex­is­tence in re­cent weeks has been tack­ling the new Telco Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Code – all 164 pages of leg­isla­tive jar­gon – that aims to help peo­ple when se­lect­ing mo­bile phone plans.

‘‘That’s a mas­sive chal­lenge be­cause you just hear that and it’s so bor­ing that you just kind of want to switch off im­me­di­ately,’’ she says. ‘‘We kind of made a rule that I’m not al­lowed to even call that story the Telco Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Code.’’

Also test­ing her men­tal strength is a story about su­per­foods.

‘‘I’m lit­er­ally read­ing sci­en­tific pa­pers and that’s quite te­dious so you’ve just got to pull out the bits that are in­ter­est­ing and you can think of a way to make it en­gag­ing for the au­di­ence. That’s al­ways a great hook to get into the drier stuff that is im­por­tant but isn’t nec­es­sar­ily as sexy.’’

While Drys­dale ad­mits she has, at times, felt like bang­ing her head against a brick wall with all the bu­reau­cratic jar­gon, she says some ben­e­fit has come from the process.

‘‘I feel like I’m re­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion quite well,’’ she says, with a laugh.

‘‘It’s ac­tu­ally a bit sad that I can go, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s page 29 of the TCP Code out of the 164 pages’. But, hopefully, I will have for­got­ten that in a month be­cause I’ll be read­ing some kind of other bor­ing piece of leg­is­la­tion to re­place it.’’

The ul­ti­mate re­ward though, Drys­dale says, will be hav­ing the view­ers em­brace the show and even par­tic­i­pat­ing in it by con­tribut­ing their own com­plaints and tips through the show’s web­site.

‘‘We’ve found new an­gles to things, we’ve found new in­for­ma­tion, we’ve found quite fun ways of pre­sent­ing it and I hope it’s some­thing the au­di­ence find en­ter­tain­ing.’’

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