Richard O’Brien of The Rocky Horror Picture Show fame is once again hosting local genealogy show The DNA Detectives. He tells Sarah Nealon about his affection for the show.
The return of the local series The DNA Detectives.
Delving into your ancestral roots can be a time-consuming and costly exercise.
But if you’re lucky enough to appear on The DNA Detectives, there is a team of experts who will research your genealogy for you.
This time around the show’s subjects include 800 Words actors Erik Thomson and Jonny Brugh rugby great John Kirwan, musicians Stan Walker and Anika Moa, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
As in season one, the charming and delightfully theatrical Richard O’Brien, who describes himself as an “unashamed, unapologetic Darwinist”, is the show’s host.
O’Brien, whose biggest claim to fame was co-writing and starring in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is reluctant to reveal too much about the new season but he clearly enjoys being part of it.
“The show doesn’t shout at you or try to play teacher or pretend excitement and enthusiasm where there is none,” he says. “I think it’s a just a nice gentle journey with some nice people.”
Born 75 years ago in England, O’Brien moved to Tauranga with his family when he was 10 years old.
At age 22, he departed our shores for the UK where he became involved in musical theatre.
He finally returned in 2013 and married his third wife, Sabrina Graf.
The couple live in the Bay of Plenty.
“I intended to move back to New Zealand the year I left in ’64,” says O’Brien. “There was no doubt that I would be returning. But you know John Lennon said life’s what happens while you’re making other plans. The only thing preventing me from returning slightly earlier than I did was the fact that my little daughter, who is now in her mid-20s, was too young.
“I said, ‘I do intend to go back to New Zealand but I’m not going to go until you’re absolutely safe and secure and you’re happy with that decision’.
“So when she met her husband and she was happy and got a little place of her own and she was secure, then I decided to come back.”
O’Brien, who has three children, has had a long career in the arts but is picky with the projects he does these days.
“I won’t do anything unless I really want to do it,” he says. “Whatever reason that makes me want to do it is my own personal journey.
“I don’t take jobs simply to be in work. I’m a very lazy person. I won’t get out of bed for just anything.”