It was a morning of farewells as two of TV’s golden girls signed off from their respective shows today.
Over at Ten’s The Circle, Denise Drysdale (pictured) announced her retirement – marking the end of a showbusiness career that has spanned more than fifty years.
Starting as a performer in early children’s shows including The Happy Show and The Tarax Show, Drysdale worked her way up to pop music shows such as Uptight, Kommotion and Dig We Must.
Then in the 1970s she became Ernie Sigley’s ‘barrel girl’ on The Ernie Sigley Show, forming an enduring partnership that saw both of them win Gold Logies in 1975, with Drysdale winning a second Gold in 1976.
One of TV’s more versatile performers, she has appeared in dramas such as Division 4, Homicide and Cop Shop, comedies like The Bluestone Boys and The Norman Gunston Show and countless music and variety shows including Countdown, The Penthouse Club, The Daryl Somers Show, The Mike Walsh Show right through to Spicks And Specks.
Living on a farm in Gippsland, in the 1980s she hosted a morning show for local channel GLV8, and later took over from Jacki MacDonald on Nine’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday before being re-united with Sigley to host morning shows In Melbourne Today and In Sydney Today (both shows later merged into Ernie And Denise).
In the ‘90s, Drysdale teamed up with Frankie J. Holden on the revived In Melbourne Tonight before moving to the Seven Network to host her own daytime show, Denise.
Although the show faces tough competition, particularly from The Morning Show on Seven, The Circle this year won a Logie for Most Popular Light Entertainment Program.
Drysdale now looks forward to taking a well-earned break and spending time with her new grandson.
Meanwhile, over at the Nine Network, there was a farewell for Kerri-Anne Kennerley whose morning show comes to an end after nine years on air.
Kennerley was a teenager when she appeared on children’s programs on Queensland television in the 1960s and 1970s. After working overseas for several years she returned to Australia, appearing on the soapie The Restless Years before taking over as co-host on Network Ten’s Good Morning Australia in 1981. It was a role that she made her own for 11 years, outlasting a number of her male on-air colleagues. She later hosted an afternoon show, Monday To Friday, and worked in Sydney radio.
In the mid-1990s, Kennerley took over as host of Nine’s Midday – giving the show a new lease on life after some years of instability. The show wound up in 1998 and after a stint back at the Ten Network on ill-fated shows like Moment Of Truth and Greed she returned to Nine in 2002 to host Mornings With Kerri-Anne, later re-named Kerri-Anne.
The show achieved global fame in 2007 when an interview with a “jet-lagged” John Stamos went viral.
The demise of Kerri-Anne comes after recent speculation about the show’s future, sparked by Kennerley taking leave from the program and with the show featuring a number of guest hosts.
Although the Kerri-Anne program has ended – the ‘summer series’ of best-of segments starts on Monday – Kennerley remains with the Nine Network for future projects.
Nine will replace Kerri-Anne next year with a new show to be hosted by Sonia Kruger, who is coming across after more than a decade with the Seven Network and is best known as the co-host for eleven seasons of Dancing With The Stars.