Former Australian tennis champion Todd Woodbridge won 83 doubles titles, including 16 men’s Grand Slams, a further six mixed doubles and holds the record for the most doubles titles won by any player in history.
Retiring from professional tennis in 2005 he has kept his connection to the game working as a sports commentator.
Now Todd has begun a new era in his career as host of Channel Nine’s latest game show Tipping Point Australia which has hit the screens airing Monday to Friday at 4pm.
Adapted from the mammoth UK hit; Australia is now home to the only other Tipping Point machine in the world.
Have a Go News flew to Melbourne to go exclusively behind the scenes on set, experience the thrill of the show and speak to Todd.
He told me that the opportunity to host the show stemmed from Covid.
“During Covid I started to do some segments on the travel/lifestyle program Postcards here in Victoria.
“I always wanted to do some of those things on television and because I couldn’t travel interstate it gave me a chance to show a different side of myself.
“Postcards gave me a chance to chat with people and have the rapport I like to have with them. That shone through and because of that it gave the execs the opportunity to see me in a different light.”
When the opportunity came up to audition for the Australian version of Tipping Point, Todd says of course there were other people who auditioned and were screen tested but they said they liked what he was delivering and that gave him the chance to have a go.
Tipping Point Australia replaces the long running Hot Seat hosted by Eddie McGuire; I asked Todd is he going to be the new Eddie?
“Well of things that I was told very early on, when I started to work in TV and sports broadcasting; Bruce McAvaney was the man and some of the advice I got was ‘don’t try to be Bruce, be who you are’.
“The same applies in a game show – Eddie’s success comes from his personality, what he brings, his work ethic, there are things you can watch and learn from.
“In this show I am more of me and that hopefully comes across to the audience and to my contestants.”
After being a part of the audience, I found the Australian version pacier and the contestants not only have to be knowledgeable, they need to have lady luck on their side; I was on the edge of my seat with suspense throughout the show.
The other point of difference is audience participation, we Aussies really get behind the contestants and as a host I found Todd very warm and friendly with everyone on set, with this more relaxed side of his personality really coming to the fore.
“I like to meet the contestants and spend a little bit of time with them before we go on.
“Tipping Point Australia is about interaction, being with people, the human feelings and emotions. We’ve had tears of joys, tears of sadness – the emotional endings to this show are really fantastic to work on – every single episode has a different feel to it because of that.
“I think that’s what is going to make sure this show really enjoyable to watch,” said Todd.
“Yes, it’s a game show, it’s about quiz, it’s about knowledge, but there is a real element of luck and there is an emotional connection to every contestant.”
“I know there is a big fan base which came about because of lock downs – it’s a mesmerising addictive type of watch this one – we’ve given it a little bit of jazz at the end, compared to the British show.
“It’s not just about quiz, it’s got layers, and this is reality television with a really nice thread of human emotion which is not fake.
“This show is a little bit like sport, in the end it’s a win or lose, and we all take a chance.
“I get an adrenaline kick and I am invested with every contestant, and I want them to go home with the money,” said Todd.
Game shows are always a lot more fun to watch when we see contestants from our home state competing.
Western Australians are in for a treat when well-known radio presenter from 6IX’s classic breakfast team, Nat Foster joins the show on February 27.
Nat said she is a big fan of the UK version of Tipping Point and when the opportunity to be a contestant came up, she jumped at the chance.
“It’s a lot different from sitting on the couch in your underwear shouting at the television; when you are on the actual show the pressure is well and truly on,” said Nat.
“I was nervous about looking like an idiot and I didn’t want to be the first person to go out. I got the star wobble when I saw Todd – all the bright lights and the fact all of sudden I had to wear a proper bra and full makeup and hair and I am not used to that working in radio,” she said laughing.
Nat said Todd has taken to the job of host like a duck to water and Todd told me that Nat was a brilliant contestant who brings a lot of fun for viewers to her episode.
Nat said there was a lot to take in being a contestant on the show, it wasn’t all about the quiz knowledge.
“Take into account the buzzer – so even though I knew loads of the answers – I just wasn’t quick enough and that was a bit of an issue for me, and I don’t think we put enough effort and thought to be people on the buzzer and then lady luck has a go with the counters,” she said.
One of the really fun parts to the show is the audience interaction with the contestants.
“I am not a shrinking violet and the audience were behind me cheering and I thought I don’t even care if I get the answers right, I just want people cheering for me,” said Nat.
“If you want to hear more of me listen to 6IX classic breakfast with me Nat and Westo every weekday morning between 5.30 and 9am on 6IX and don’t forget to watch me on Tuesday February 27 at 4pm.”
Whatever her success we know it’ll be a lot of fun watching Nat.
Todd told me he hopes that everyone at home enjoys Tipping Point Australia as much as he has enjoyed hosting the show and looks forward to welcoming more West Aussie contestants to the show.
Tipping Point Australia airs Monday to Friday at 4pm in Western Australia on Channel 9 and is available to watch on 9 NOW.