TV WEEK
16th August 1994

Frontline frontman digs the dirt with Don Burke and mixes it with Molly and Glenn

GARDENING guru Don Burke thought Elle Macpherson was the coup of 1994 for Nine Network show until he snared the ultimate prize — Frontline’s current affairs top gun, Mike Moore.

“We regard Mike Moore as one of the great icons of Australian television and of course to nail him was, well, the office celebrated for a week. It was huge,” Don says.

“Naturally the problem when you do Mike Moore is that there’s nowhere else to go, nobody else to do. I don’t know… we’ll just have to settle for Ray (Martin) or Jana (Wendt) now.

“We’ve got a hit list of all the real biggies, but you don’t ever expect to get the Mike Moores.”

It was a deservedly proud Mike Moore (a.k.a. the D-Generation’s Rob Sitch) who gave Don and his Burke’s Backyard crew the tour of his secret roof-top garden, as they moved their mutual admiration society (Don returns the favor by guest starring on Frontline on Monday, July 11) from one potted plant to the next.

This lofty private paradise is, as the former ABC staffer whose star glitters ever so brightly at his new commercial TV network home explains, his haven from the hectic whirl of current affairs and the inescapable daily rigors of hosting such a phenomenon as Frontline.

“So, this is my solace,” Mike says, “my home away from home, my way of getting away.

“You’re watching the tragedies and disasters of the world go through the autocue machine every night, and to come up here and get back to nature a little is my piece of heaven.

“I think this is a place to have private thoughts.”

Would Mike Moore ever deign to share those private thoughts with his adoring public?

“Well, I suppose the private thought is that you stick to your task and concentrate on what’s important, which is current affairs.

“People say my move to commercial TV was for the money, but you get up here and I’ve got a view of Sydney Harbour and that reminds me that my move wasn’t about money; whereas my old view was of a pizza shop in Cronulla.

“The view may have changed but I haven’t changed and our commitment to the stories hasn’t changed — as long as they involve diets and celulite, we’ll do any story. People say we’re not political. Well wait until they see the story on Melrose Place that we’ve done. It’s a showstopper.”

But back at the office, when Mike throws a cocktail party it’s certainly an affair to remember, as guests such as Ian “Molly” Meldrum, and Glenn Ridge will attest. Mike was the perfect host, that was until the refreshments began to take their toll!

Story: Di Stanley
Pictures: Tony Merrick and Greg Noakes

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