Myf looks at the nice side of life
We've seen her get undressed under a desk with Pete Murray, meet her idol Tim Finn, imitate Cher's warble with the help of a vocoder, choose Patrick Swayze in a game of Who Would You Do? and get all hot and flustered sitting next to Guy Pearce.
For the past seven years, Myf Warhurst over-shared with charm on the ABC's music quiz show Spicks and Specks, and now she's the star of a six-part series called, simply, Nice.
"It's about the things we embraced growing up." - Myf Warhurst
''It's an idea that's been hatching in my head for years,'' Warhurst says from England, where she's enjoying the last weeks of a four-month overseas holiday. ''It's about the things we embraced growing up, about looking back and realising maybe those things aren't so great now but, at the time, they played a part in shaping who we are.''
Each thirty minute episode is a personal look at the music, food, photography, art, fashion and design that featured in Warhurst's childhood growing up in the 1980s in the Victorian town of Donald. Back then her pop idol was Paul Gray from Wa Wa Nee, Sunday nights were all about Countdown and recording her favourite songs on a tape deck, and a fancy dinner could mean only one thing: the local Chinese restaurant.
In the first episode, Warhurst explores her love of the duet. After interviewing MSO conductor Richard Gill about why certain types of music can have such an emotional impact, the former radio host and Age columnist interviews Kenny Rogers in Atlanta about that chart-topping duet with Dolly Parton. ''I was so excited that I got to meet Country Kenny! I'd spent my childhood listening to these songs, and then it happened.'' The ''it'' is a moving moment when Warhurst and Rogers lock eyes and break out into a version of Islands in the Stream. It's not pitch-perfect, but it's emotionally charged.
In episode two, Warhurst and MasterChef's Matt Preston take a look at how sex sold everything from Flake chocolate bars and Big M to the Chiko Roll - which leads Warhurst to track down one of the original Chiko Roll poster girls who graced just about every fish-and-chip shop in the country. The episode closes with a slightly reluctant Warhurst re-creating the shot, including short shorts. Another wish fulfilled.
Though Nice has a broad appeal (broader if you embrace your inner dag), it's clearly an opportunity for Warhurst to live out her teenage fantasies. ''Now I'm going to have to find a new way to get a rush. Doing all these things has let me shut a door on the past. When I was on Spicks and Specks, sitting next to certain people, I'd think, 'If only I could have told my 13-year-old self that this would happen.'''
Nice also includes a series of re-creations that capture significant moments in Warhurst's young life, including a rage-fuelled diary entry about missing out on seeing Wa Wa Nee perform at the local Blue Light Disco. It begins: ''I hate mum, I hate mum, I hate mum'', and ends with ''Go suck eggs, you squares!''
''All those moments are true, unfortunately. Mum found my original Judy Blume diary when they packed up their house. She thought it was hilarious and I have to say it's absolute gold.''
Warhurst doesn't look uncomfortable in the spotlight but she admits that after working for so long as a team with Spicks' host Adam Hills and regular guest Alan Brough, it took her a while to feel comfortable taking centre-stage alone. ''Initially I wondered if people would be interested, but I think they're universal stories that everyone can relate to.''
While Warhurst has been on holiday she's been working on a book, but beyond that, the next stage of her career is a blank page - or is it? ''After spending so much time in the UK, this place is screaming for a version of Nice. It's the home of bubble-gum pop: Stock, Aitken and Waterman; Rick Astley. Maybe now's the time for us to embrace all those things.'' If anyone can convince us to revisit that, it's Warhurst.
Myf Warhurst's Nice is on Wednesday, June 13, at 8pm on ABC1.
From: The Age