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Travel Guides’ Denise Scott reveals the terrifying hitchhiking experience that changed her life

'I screamed for my life!'
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When she was a young woman, Denise Scott went hitchhiking on her own around France. She had a rule not to get into a car with two men in it. But one day, she broke it. And that’s when things got scary.

“They drove off the main road and down this bush road,” Denise remembers.

“They were trying to tell me they were going to do some electrical work or something. And I kept saying, ‘But I don’t want to go with you. Please let me out.’ And they didn’t.”

Denise says the scary experience has affected the rest of her risk-taking life.

Eventually, at the end of the long road, the men stopped the vehicle.

“I got out of the car,” she says. “There was no-one around. It was so scary. I screamed and screamed, but they just stood there, looking at me.

“Then, they got out their electrical tools and started fixing the overhead wire. But they knew! They must have known they were terrifying me.”

Denise says she got into “so many” dangerous situations before she gave up hitchhiking.

“What was I thinking?” she muses. “Maybe I had a death wish.”

Denise had the opportunity to show she had serious acting skills when she scored the role of Trish Gross in drama Winners & Losers.

But the much-loved stand-up comedian has always taken chances.

When she was in her twenties, and working as a high school teacher, she was nearly killed in a head-on car crash.

That near-miss led to her decision to give up teaching and pursue the much riskier career of performing.

She’s been doing comedy for three decades now, but admits being up on stage still stresses her out.

“It doesn’t get easier,” the 62-year-old tells TV WEEK. “You do get better, hopefully. But it’s still very stressful.”

It’s also exhausting. A run of comedy shows with Judith Lucy at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year left the entertainer feeling “stuffed”.

“The older I get, the more effort it takes,” she explains.

“You haven’t got the same hunger for fame as when you were young. You haven’t got that fuel.”

What’s next for Denise? Pick up the latest issue of TV WEEK for the full interview. On sale now!

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