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The Sydney Morning Herald

Talk of the town

Author: Michael Idato
Date: 27/10/2003
Words: 488
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 3
Rebecca Gibney gets to be herself on a new cable chat show, Mars Venus. She talks to Michael Idato.

Rebecca Gibney is a woman with a few things on her mind. She's the host of a new cable talk show, Mars Venus, which will be the flagship of the repackaged women's-interest cable channel W (formerly fx channel), but insists she's not giving up her acting career. She goes straight from shooting the first block of Mars Venus episodes to the set of a new telemovie, Small Claims.

"I think it's just adding another string to my bow," she says. "When you have been around as long as I have, you want to explore [new] things."

Directed by Cherie Nowlan for the Ten Network, Small Claims stars Gibney and former Secret Life of Us star Claudia Karvan. "It's about two women who meet at playgroup," Gibney says. "One is a housewife and mother of three who is running a business, and the other is a no-nonsense cop. It's about their unlikely friendship."

Before then, however, there are a few issues to tackle on Mars Venus, including body image, career versus parenthood and the decline of the "Aussie bloke".

The Mars Venus twist is that Gibney and a panel of high-profile media personalities will debate the issues along gender lines.

"It's a light-hearted, fun look at a range of topics," she says. "Sometimes we're going to get a bit heavy and discuss tough issues, but ultimately it's a chat show where we get the blokes' view versus the women's view on a range of issues, from diets to relationships."

The first program tackles body image. "It's such an issue with men and women and how we present ourselves," Gibney says. "And it ties in a whole range of other issues: the rise of anorexia, bulimia and cosmetic surgery. The show was fascinating to do and it's going to be very topical.

"The Americans have [the talk show] down to a fine art and I don't think we have attempted a show like this one. It will reflect Australian views and attitudes and we have a lively group of panellists who are people we all know, with very strong opinions."

The series will feature regular panellists Prue MacSween and Derryn Hinch and guest appearances by designer Alex Perry, actor Kerry Armstrong, singer Deni Hines, former Big Brother housemate Peter Timbs and footballer Dale Lewis, among others.

Gibney is accustomed to playing roles such as Jane Halifax on Halifax f.p., Ingrid Burton on Stingers and, most recently, Marjorie Glick in the Warner Bros remake of Stephen King's Salem's Lot, but she says has had no problem playing Rebecca Gibney for the first time.

"I haven't watched it back yet but all I can do is be myself," she says. "I'm old enough now not to give a toss."

Foxtel's W channel (formerly fx) launches on Saturday. Mars Venus begins on Wednesday, November 5, at 7.30pm.

 
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