These amazingly awkward Molly Meldrum interviews have to be seen to be believed
Molly Meldrum’s infamously awkward Countdown interviews are remembered because there’s nothing else quite like them. They’re unpolished to the point of pain, but if there’s anything Australia loves it’s someone who is a bit shit but has a go anyway. Ahead of Channel Seven’s mini-series Molly, do yourself a favour and take a look back on 10 times Molly completely lost the plot.
1. Molly just full blown loses the plot Prince Charles
Nearly 30 years after it took place this interview between Prince Charles and Molly Meldrum remains on the most amazing/cringeworthy things ever shown on TV. It sees a nervous Meldrum stuttering and stumbling and asking for a drink of water before he can go on. He may have interviewed plenty of pop royalty but faced by the real thing Meldrum went to pieces, and the poor guy has been living it down ever since. Watch this with your hands in front of your eyes.
2. Rod Stewart becomes the first of many Molly “hat snatchers”
In the intro Rod Stewart calls the interview that follows “annoyingly serious” after trying to knock Meldrum’s Stetson hat off and calling him “she”. So that went well then.
3. Madonna calls Molly a jerk
Madonna famously had her first number one single anywhere in the world in Australia after Countdown championed ‘Holiday’. Maybe that’s why she let Meldrum get away with so much in their memorable interviews together, as you can see in these outtakes when he tells her off for not doing a promo the way he wants her too. “Molly’s really a jerk,” she finishes.
4. Dr Who and Molly weird each other out
In a tidy bit of cross-promotion the ABC got the star of Doctor Who to appear on Countdown. That bug-eyed stare makes him seem about as out of it as Meldrum was.
5. Elton John becomes Molly’s biggest fan
Elton John was a fixture on Countdown for years, and developed a playful relationship with Meldrum whether wearing oversized hats or throwing a cake in his face. Years later he’d give Meldrum one of his most revealing interviews, and took a moment to call him an institution in Australian music – “a mental institution, but you’re an institution.”
6. Cyndi Lauper is just plain marvellous
Meldrum was often at his best sitting across from characters so colourful they made him seem normal and Cyndi Lauper, showing off the new smile she learnt in Hollywood, is certainly that.
7. Molly just can’t bloody well control AC/DC
Meldrum tried to rein them in like a disapproving schoolteacher (“No, seriously”) but Brian and Angus were not having a bar of it in this AC/DC interview. He had to turn to the other bandmembers to get actual answers to his questions. (Look at all that hair! God, they’re young.)
8. Molly is on point with David Bowie
Meldrum almost managed to sound professional while chatting to Bowie about New York and working with Nile Rodgers, as well as about making the video for ‘Let’s Dance’ in Australia. It’s better than the 1978 Bowie interview on a tennis court where Meldrum wore tiny shorts.
9. Molly (allegedly) gets shit-faced during Countdown’s 100th episode
For the 100th episode of Countdown there was apparently some celebrating being done during the breaks because Meldrum’s slurring got worse and worse as the episode went on until he was asking the guests to hit him in the face. They obliged.
10. Iggy Pop goes full Iggy Pop on Molly