/assets/images/headerlogos/TVWEEK-logo.svg
Celeb News

EXCLUSIVE: Rove McManus, Grant Denyer and more of TV's biggest names remember Bert Newton

Fond words flow for a man who helped along many a career.

By Tamara Cullen
Bert Newton was undoubtedly one of the most successful and beloved stars to ever grace Australian television screens, and his legacy will go down in history.
His presence in the entertainment industry touched hundreds of Aussie celebrities, and his spirited personality was a constant source of support.
On October 30, the 83-year-old TV legend sadly passed away following months of ill health.
Now, some of the industry's biggest names have opened up to TV WEEK about the profound impact Bert had on their careers and lives.

Rove McManus

Rove says it meant a lot for Bert to take him under his wing. (Image: Nine)
As a young stand-up comic, Rove McManus found an unexpected hero in Bert Newton.
"I'd spend the morning just watching Bert free-form through his show Good Morning Australia and it was just magic to watch," Rove, 47, says.
"I loved his style of performance and the way he could connect with people through the screen, so it was certainly a style that influenced what I did [in presenting]."
It became a mutual admiration and Rove found himself invited to be on Good Morning Australia himself.
"Bert was always very busy, but he would find time for a talk beforehand and then again after your segment had finished," he recalls.
Rove says it meant a lot for Bert to take him under his wing, but it was when he began his self-titled show on Network 10 in 2000 that he saw just how far his friend and mentor would go to help.
"Bert agreed to be a guest on my first show on Channel 10 and when he came out, he just gave everything!" the three-time Gold Logie winner says.

Kerri-Anne Kennerley

Kerri-Anne said Bert was also very generous to her as he juggled his TV and stage commitments. (Image: Instagram)
With a "real Aussie sense of humour" and a wit quicker than almost anyone, Bert was, in Kerri-Anne Kennerley's eyes, perfect for television.
"There aren't many people like that," TV personality Kerri-Anne, 68, says. "He was able to get every nuance out of what he was doing and nothing threw him.
"At a time when we didn't have safety nets, it was almost like he was looking for things that didn't go to plan, because they were the funniest and not contrived. He could really make them shine."
Kerri-Anne points out that Bert was also very generous to her as he juggled his TV and stage commitments.
"In the '90s, Bert had his morning show [Good Morning Australia] and came to Sydney to rehearse for the production of Beauty And The Beast. I was asked to fill in for him for six weeks in Melbourne," she says.
"When I arrived, there was a bottle of champagne in the dressing room and a note from him saying, 'Enjoy yourself and have a fabulous time.' And that was Bert. He will be missed."

Grant Denyer

As a child, Grant Denyer loved that "every time Bert walked out onto the screen, you knew something fun was going to happen". (Image: TV WEEK)
As a child, Grant Denyer loved that "every time Bert walked out onto the screen, you knew something fun was going to happen".
Years later, the man he idolised gave him the confidence to believe he could chase a similar dream.
"I was kicking around as a cadet at Channel 10 in 2001, doing those "cat-up-a tree" stories and I bumped into him in the hallway," Grant, 44, tells TV WEEK.
"He had no reason to talk to me, but he said, 'Young man, I think you're doing a great job. I think you've got a lot of talent and you'll go a long way.'
"When Bert stopped to tell me that, I felt 10 feet tall. And, for the first time in my life I thought, 'Well, maybe I am good at something!'
"Those words gave me the confidence to build the career I have today. I don't think he ever knew how he changed my career – and certainly my confidence."
And when Grant won his Gold Logie in 2018, Bert was there again.
"He gave me a hug and said, 'I'm so proud of you – welcome to the club!' It was like God welcoming you to television heaven!"

Scott Cam

Scott Cam said receiving a phone call from Bert was the highlight of his career. (Image: TV WEEK)
Making the transition from carpenter to TV presenter wasn't exactly something Scott Cam had planned for.
In fact, the Gold Logie Award-winning host of The Block admits that for the first few months as host of Backyard Blitz in 2000, he kept his day job just in case it didn't work out – until a surprise phone call changed everything.
"I loved Bert – it was always a treat when I was growing up to be able to stay up and watch The Don Lane Show," Scott, 58, tells TV WEEK. "Bert's Wheel was the best part.
"Around 21 years ago, I was driving in my ute and my in-car phone rang. A lady asked: 'Is that Scott Cam? I have Bert Newton on the line.'
"I didn't believe it, but the next thing I hear is, 'Hello, Scott – it's Bert Newton here.' He said he'd watched the show the night before and he thought I'd done well and should keep up the good work.
"I had to pull over, I nearly crashed the car," Scott recalls. "I couldn't believe I was talking to him and that he was being so encouraging.
"To receive that call from the great Bert Newton was the highlight of my TV career… and it happened in the first three months!"

Tracy Grimshaw

Tracy Grimshaw's father appeared briefly on Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton's variety show In Melbourne Tonight. (Image: TV WEEK)
For most Australians, Bert came into their homes via the TV. But for Tracy Grimshaw, he was actually there!
It happened when she was very young and her father was roped into modelling some shirts on Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton's variety show In Melbourne Tonight.
The same night, Tracy's cousin Arthur, who was a representative for the Mattel toy company at the time, had bought a spot on the show and saw her father.
"Arthur told my dad he should bring home one of the toys – a little red plastic horse on wheels – for me," the long-time host of A Current Affair tells TV WEEK.
"Bert somehow found out that my father was going to have to carry the horse all the way to the station after his spot to catch the train home to Greensborough.
"He told him if he wanted to wait until the end of the show, he'd drive him home – how nice is that?"

read more from

/assets/images/headerlogos/TVWEEK-logo.svg