Sporting an imposing barrister’s robe and wig as he stands on the steps of Melbourne’s Supreme Court, Mark Holden is almost unrecognisable as the flamboyant former Australian Idol judge who coined the catchphrase “Touchdown!”.
But Mark, who once described his persona on the popular TV talent quest as “loony”, couldn’t be more serious about his new career in the courtroom.
Having completed a law degree almost four decades after he began studying for one, the 55-year-old former singer and actor is ready for the spotlight in an entirely different arena – as a barrister.
“I started my law degree in 1971 and dropped out three subjects short of my final year, when I was signed to EMI for my first album,” Mark says.
“I always felt it was unfinished business, and it bothered me.
I like to finish things I start, so I eventually did.
“Then, after Australian Idol ended for me two years ago, I had a year off and met Melbourne barrister William Lye. He encouraged me to become a barrister and became my mentor. Everything lined up, and it became a reality.”
Happily immersing himself in the law, the father of two admits there is a theatrical side to his new line of work.
“That’s a part of it that appeals to me – there is an element of understanding your audience and of personal projection,” Mark says.