Adam Hills reveals why this season of Spicks And Specks means so much to him

‘I’m having a ball.'
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Everywhere he goes, comedian Adam Hills is greeted with a similar question: when are you bringing back Spicks And Specks?

Like a classic, never-say-die rock band, the show – which includes Myf Warhurst and Alan Brough as team captains and Adam as host – clearly has its hardcore fans. And some Spicks devotees are quite surprising.

“I was at Australia House, in London, the year before last, at a luncheon in memory of the Queen, and I was at the table next to [Prime Minister] Anthony Albanese and his partner, Jodie,” Adam, 53, recalls. “The first thing she said was, ‘When are you going to bring back Spicks And Specks?’

“And I made a joke and said, ‘Well, you know, he’s [Anthony] been an answer.’ And she knew the question that we’d asked about DJ Albo. And then he joined in and went, ‘Yes, when are you bringing back the show?’

“So, when you’ve got the prime minister asking when you’re going to bring back the series…”

And while you might think the show appeals to a mostly older audience of music aficionados and some politicians, that’s not true. When he was in Sydney recently, an excited barman, who Adam says must have been about 19, asked him when Spicks would be back.

Spicks and Specks is finally returning.
(Image: Supplied)

“I was like, ‘How do you know Spicks And Specks?’” Adam says. “And he went, ‘Oh, it was the last show I was allowed to watch before going to bed.’ But then I kind of did a calculation and thought, ‘That must be the repeats on ABC Kids.’

“So I’ve realised there’s this whole other generation that grew up on Spicks And Specks – not in 2005, 2006, 2007, but like 2015, ’16 and ’17.”

Spicks initially ran from 2005 to 2011, and was hugely successful, before a series reboot in 2014, with a new line-up, was less successful and subsequently axed after 20 episodes.

Then, starting in 2018, came several reunion specials, this time featuring the core line-up of Adam, Myf and Alan, before the show was officially relaunched in 2021.

Just to give you some idea how big Spicks, and of course, Adam, were during the show’s initial heyday, the program won three TV WEEK Logie Awards, while Adam himself was nominated for the big kahuna – the TV WEEK Gold Logie – six years in a row.

Adam at the 2012 Logies.
(Image: Supplied)

“I remember having a moment at the Logies,” Adam reflects. “I think Hamish [Blake] had won a Gold Logie the same year [2012]I won a Silver Logie. We were walking out, and I can remember saying to him, ‘I think we’re the guys now – we’re the Bert Newton and Graham Kennedy now.’ That was a mad moment.”

And while the show is built around laughs, Adam maintains it’s the music that provides the backbeat.

“I think [musician] Wilbur Wilde was on once and he said we were carrying the torch of Countdown,” Adam recalls. “I really liked that idea that we were where people would come to find new music, and people’s albums would sell better because they sang on [segment] Substitute.

“Both Megan Washington and Sarah Blasko’s albums took off the day after being on Spicks because, you know, they sang a song using the lyrics of a Toyota Corolla handbook. I guess people were thinking, ‘If you can make that sound amazing, then I really want to hear your album!’”

Ever-busy, Adam divides his time between Australia and the UK, where he hosts the successful TV series The Last Leg continues to perform stand-up comedy. Ask him where home is and he’ll quip “QF9”, referring to how much time he spends on planes.

This obviously makes family time – Adam and wife Ali McGregor have two daughters, Beatrice, 14, and Maisie, 10 – challenging at times, especially when he’s on the other side of the world.

“FaceTime is a wonderful thing,” Adam says. “But it’s important for me to make the most of being around my kids when I’m home. But it’s hard.

“Then we get to do great stuff. We’ve taken the kids to [giant UK music festival] Glastonbury for the past two years. I’m a big kid anyway – I don’t have a real job.”

Then there’s Adam’s love of sport. A passionate rugby league fan, the comedian, who was born without a right foot and walks with a prosthesis, played physical disability rugby league for the Warrington Wolves side in the UK – and in 2022, fulfilled a boyhood dream when he represented Australia at the World Cup in England.

However, injury has forced Adam to hang up his boots. Now, he’s into para-standing tennis and this year will travel to Barcelona in Spain for the European Disability Tennis Championships, and then a week later, Turin, Italy.

(Image: Supplied)

“I think, as you probably get into your 50s, you realise there’s not that much time left that you can do mad s**t,” he laughs. 

Adam is as enthusiastic about this season of Spicks (the third in its most recent reboot) as ever – in some ways, more so – as the show’s return to a 30-minute duration is more in line with the show’s original run in the early 2000s.

“It feels like the old Spicks And Specks again,” Adam says with a grin. “I’m having a ball. And what’s most exciting about it is it feels fresh and vibrant and we’re showing off new music again.”

Joining the team captains will be guests such as singer Anthony Callea and funnyman Hamish Blake (of course!), and music acts Lime Cordiale, the DMAs and a bunch of others.

And Anthony Albanese?

“Oh, man, I don’t think we’ve even looked at Albo,” Adam says. “I’m going to go back downstairs to pitch Albo!”

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