Ray Martin makes a return to the 6.30pm timeslot in a couple of weeks – but it’s not on A Current Affair, the show that he hosted for many years, but rather as a guest on ABC’s Talking Heads.
Martin talks candidly to host Peter Thompson about his early childhood life – a life of poverty and upheaval as he and his mother were on the run from a drunken, violent father.
Although the teenage Martin had dreams of playing cricket for Australia or becoming a history teacher, his life took a different turn when he got a job at the ABC in Western Australia in 1968 and became its New York correspondent in 1969:
“I love history and I devour it now. I just can’t get enough of it but I also want to see history being made rather than report on the way it used to be 200 years ago… I think journalism allowed me to go to places and see history being made.”
For ten years Martin had a life of relative anonymity as the New York foreign correspondent for the ABC but his profile suddenly became a lot more public when he became one of the founding members of the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes (pictured) when it launched in 1979.
Six years of travelling the world for 60 Minutes then led to a more stable life when he took over from Mike Walsh as host of Nine’s midday timeslot in 1985. Midday With Ray Martin was a ratings hit for the normally-quiet lunchtime slot and scored Martin his first TV Week Gold Logie in 1987. He would go on to win another four Gold Logies during the ‘90s.
In 1994, Martin made the move back to prime-time as host of A Current Affair, a position that he held for five years and then returned in 2003 for a few more.
In almost thirty years of service to the Nine Network, Martin also became the network’s special events host – including Carols By Candlelight, federal and state elections, prime-time interview specials, including the last public interview with legendary cricketer Don Bradman, TV Week Logie Awards presentations and the Australian bi-centennial special, Australia Live.
Martin has been married to wife Dianne for over 40 years and they have two children.
“I can’t believe this fortunate life I’ve had,” he says.
Talking Heads with guest Ray Martin. Monday 16 August, 6.30pm. ABC1