Hello and welcome to my first really big interview for 2022. I’m really excited about this one. Steve Marshall is a veteran game show producers who’s racked up thousands of hours of game show TV across some of the biggest and most recognizable shows in the industry. Steve’s a lovely bloke, and we first met way back in – But no, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll just leave you with the interview and all will be revealed. And now dear reader, read on…
================================SH: Steve Marshall, hello, thank you so much for speaking to me today.
SM: Stephen Hall it’s a pleasure, absolute pleasure. As always.
SM: I’m grateful you brought that up. I was trying to remember who it was. Because I’d been speaking to Jon Olb, the TV director. And he told me you’d won Temptation. I said, “Did he win The Lot? That’s fantastic.” I said to our producer. “We’ve got to get him on the radio show soon,” because I think that episode had just gone to air. We watched it and found out you’d had a bit of luck in your final episode, in that you had a pick of the board and you picked Nathan Foley. He was one of the kids in Hi-5? Is that correct?
SH: That’s right.
SM: And he spun around and gave you the $25, which helped you get over the line. (You can see this moment here, around the 13:30 mark) So when we got you on the radio show, our producer cleverly got Nathan Foley on the line as well. So you got the opportunity to thank him… despite the fact that he had nothing whatsoever to do with it!
SH: That’s right.
SM: But you know, although I say you were lucky to pull that $25…. In all my years of experience, nobody ever won Sale of the Century / Temptation, ever, by being lucky. I mean, if you win seven nights in a row, there’s a lot more to it than luck. Hang on, let’s turn the interview around a bit; did it change your life?
SH: Yes, sir, absolutely! It massively changed my life! And to think, I frittered it all away on a house. (LAUGHS) But the ongoing effects of that event still keep echoing through, right up to this day. Absolutely. It changed everything. I was going out with my wife, but shortly after that, I proposed and she said yes. And then we had our daughter. And so, it was just a great – and very action-packed and joyous – year that year.
SM: I can imagine – what a start to everything!
SH: Yes, it was fantastic. But it was some six years before that – in 1999 – that you and I first met.
SM: That’s right.
SH: We were both working on a show for Fox8 (on cable TV here in Australia) called Sunday Roast, which has since disappeared without a trace.
SM: It’s funny you say that, because I’ve done the sad thing, I’ve tried to hunt it down. I thought for sure there’d be some snippets on YouTube or something, but I think they probably just now live on a digi betacam tape on somebody’s bookshelf somewhere. Just to explain, that was in the early days of Foxtel here in Australia and Jason Stephens – who was in the original D-Generation’s Late Show – started this little production company. And with another guy who was a very good lawyer and negotiator, not necessarily a great producer, he put together a comedy panel show which they sold to Foxtel called Sunday Roast… and you and I crossed paths on that. And it was a fun show to do. There were two teams competing, and we had Pete Rowsthorn as the host and Steve Bedwell and Shane Bourne were the team captains. So, as I always say (and people sometimes forget this) if you want to make a funny show, it helps to have funny people involved. And that was a real good show. I really enjoyed Sunday Roast.
SH: In some ways, it was ahead of its time. It’s a format that’s become so familiar to us now with Spicks and Specks, and Never Mind The Buzzcocks and all those sorts of shows. There are a million English ones and they’re doing really well. I think that was pretty early days for that type of comedy.
SM: Yeah. I remember at the time being a big fan of the English comedian Jeff Green. I’d seen him on a couple of those English panel shows; They Think It’s All Over, and so on. He was coming out for the Melbourne Comedy Festival and I thought, “Gee wouldn’t be great to get Jeff Green on the show?” We managed to track him down. And he did the show! He was – and he still is – one of the great comedians of the world, Jeff.
SH: For sure. Now, I remember that your wife Tania also worked on Sunday Roast, and am I right in thinking that you two originally met at work? Was it on Sale of the Century?
SM: Yep. Tania was the contestant coordinator. It was her job to find contestants, and run auditions all around the country and pick out the best ones, and throw suggestions of people to be contestants on the show each week. And our paths crossed and you know, we weren’t the first – and certainly won’t be the last – to have an office romance. And unsurprisingly…
SH: Eh, it’ll never last! (LAUGHS)
SM: It lasted! (LAUGHS)
And we’ll leave it there for this week, on that cheerful note (and hello Tania, if you’re reading this)! See you back here next week, when Steve discusses the world of commercial TV publicity in the mid-80s, and driving across America from L.A to New York…
Until then, then!