Flying the flag
Grant Denyer starts a new tradition on Australia Day
FORGET Paul Hogan, Lara ‘where the bloody hell are ya?’ Bingle, even a horse-riding Hugh Jackman. Grant Denyer’s enthusiasm for Australia Day should be bottled and sent by the crate-load to lure tourists from overseas.
Summing up the perfect way to spend the national holiday, the Family Feud presenter and host of Ten’s Australia Day concert coverage fizzes like champagne on New Year’s Eve.
With a dose of Ted Bullpit from Kingswood Country thrown in for good measure.
“At the end of Australia Day, after you’ve come inside from your barbecues and you’ve played backyard cricket with your wheelie bin as the stumps, you come inside, you pick the bindies out of your feet and you sit down with your family on the couch, or your vinyl beanbag where you leave behind eight layers of skin after you’ve seen a bit of sun, and you watch the concert,” Denyer tells, no sells it, to TV Guide.
Returning to front the festivities, live from the steps of Sydney’s Opera House, Denyer reckons the show and its spectacular setting sells itself.
And he’s not wrong, with a stellar line-up including Tina Arena, Dami Im, Guy Sebastian, Human Nature and The Wiggles all inked to appear. Taking the party far and wide, Gretel Killeen will act as the evening’s ‘rural reporter,’ live from Tamworth; while Kerri-Anne Kennerley will be interviewing the stars behind the scenes.
A traditional ‘welcome to country’ will also be performed by Indigenous dancers from the neighbouring harbour inlet of Barangaroo.
“It’s just a magnificent backdrop,” he says. “A great place for a party. You’ve got some of the biggest names in Australian entertainment who are busting to be a part of it. It’s not a formal part of the day. It’s not an awards ceremony, it’s just a flat-out, big-bang party.”
Normally, Denyer spends the day barefoot on the beach, or hitting the water “in a little tinnie” with friends. But the opportunity to hand in his beach cricket bat and host again was “too cool to turn down”.
“This concert, when it came along was a cool idea and I think it will become Australia’s next big tradition,” he said.
“It’s a little party to back-end what is already a big day for the country. It’s become for Australia Day what Carols is to Christmas.”
Denyer will share the celebrations with his own family, including wife Cheryl and daughters Sailor and Scout, who might not just be there to watch Dad at work.
“Now that The Wiggles have been confirmed, I think I’d be the worst parent in the world if I didn’t take them,” Denyer said.
“So they’ll be there ... trying to keep them awake until the end of the concert will be the difficult thing.”
AUSTRALIA DAY CONCERT
THURSDAY, 7.30PM, TEN
‘‘ It’s become for Australia Day what Carols is to Christmas
Passionate: Grant Denyer will host Ten’s Australia Day concert coverage.