‘I didn’t think good it was TV’
Dan MacPherson breaks his silence on Mark Holden’s Dancing With The Stars train wreck
THEY say you should steer clear of working with kids and animals in live television. DancingWith
theStars host Daniel MacPherson might add 60-year-old clowns to the list.
MacPherson hasn’t weighed in on “Bobo-gate” (Mark Holden’s term for the outlandish performance in which he menaced judges in a halfhearted dance routine) until now.
“I’ve kind of kept my mouth shut and done my job,” MacPherson says. “I guess I was just disappointed. I didn’t think it was good television. I’ve never had anybody in a live situation deliberately make fun of each of the judges, rub themselves up against me while spitting in my face, and pushing up against me. Then threatening to sue the network, all in the space of about 45 seconds. So it certainly kept me on my toes.”
At 34, having spent half his life on our screens, experience helped MacPherson stay the course as Holden’s antics became increasingly strange.
“I was hopefully taking it in my stride and trying to work out what we were doing next, which is how I roll,” he says.
“If you want to divide an audience, fantastic. That was obviously Mark’s MO from day one. I think he was more interested in column inches than he was about dance steps. But if it was a stunt to get ratings, it didn’t work.”
Now in its 14th season, DWTS has an audience of roughly one million – give or take a couple of hundred thousand – year in, year out.
It is, MacPherson says, “bombproof”. He is yet to commit to an eighth season (“we’ll get through this one first”) but may return next year.
Based in LA with long-term girlfriend Zoe Ventoura, he is putting all his energy into cracking Hollywood. Having worked long stints in
Neighbours, TheBill and City Homicide, film projects appeal because they’re a shorter commitment.
Earlier this year, he finished filming sci-fi flick Infini, in which he headlines, with co-stars Luke Ford and Luke Hemsworth.
“It’s kind of like we know we’ve got this ace up our sleeves, but we’ve got to wait for it,” he says.
“That’s the big one I’m waiting for people to see, because it was a complete departure for me. My first lead. And my first all-American character, cast and accent.”
For two years, MacPherson has split his time between Australia and the US. Stateside, he enjoys the obscurity of being just another actor in the audition process.
“I’ve come second like, five times,” he says. ”You’ve got to stay resilient in times like that.”
In LA, he and Ventoura get back to basics with acting classes.
“It forces you to work a lot harder. Everybody does it, whether you’re a big star or someone who’s just moved there. [Zoe has] worked alongside John Cusack, she’s worked with Harvey Keitel, she’s shot a comedy pilot back here in Oz. She’s doing well.”
MacPherson has built a reputation as an athlete, competing at an elite level in ironman competitions around the world. Having ticked his bucket list of races, he’s now taking a step back from competing.
“I now want to put all that energy into my career,” he says.
Ironically, work may lead him to gain some of the weight he worked hard to lose as a teen.
“In Infini I was in the gym a lot. For TheCup, I lost 12kg to play a jockey. There’s a movie next year that I might have to put that amount of weight on for. If that happens, I’d love to do it, it’s right up my alley.”
DANCING WITH THE STARS
TUESDAY, 7.30PM, SEVEN
Clowning about: Left, Mark Holden’s infamous DWTS performance left much to be desired for co-host Daniel MacPherson.