Vegemite and meat pies: Tony Armstrong unpacks all kinds of ‘stuff’ on ABC show
Logie winner and ABC fan favourite Tony Armstrong has bagged his own show, and it’s right up his alley.
Armstrong, 33, a former Australian Rules footballer turned popular sports presenter for ABC News Breakfast, is host of Great Australian Stuff, one of a number of upcoming shows on the national broadcaster.
“We will be asking why we took some of these things to heart [Vegemite, Sherrins] and why other stuff got parked [there was a car called the Zeta],” he says, munching on a meat pie in a trailer for the show.
History of ‘stuff’
In the four-part series that starts on April 11, Armstrong digs deep into the ABC archives and reminds us of what we loved and loathed about our cultural and linguistic history.
Where did that post-World War II expression “have a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down” start, and why was it always directed at women?
What was it with cask wine, chiko rolls, Speedos and stubbies?
And why do we still love Vegemite, the meat pie, the Hills hoist, one-day cricket and footy?
Social commentators and TV personalities like Benjamin Law, Nazeem Hussain, Jenny Kee, Nornie Bero, Kevin Kropinyeri, Richard Glover and Jean Kittson give Armstrong their spin on these products, inventions, foods and fashion.
Armstrong appears to enjoy every minute. He juggles Granny Smith apples, chews on Vegemite toast, gives a nod to the boomerang and sips an iced chocolate.
All in the name of a history lesson and good entertainment … and, of course, a natural progression for his second television gig away from sport.
The loveable larrikin
Armstrong, a proud Aboriginal man of Barranbinya descent and former host of NITV’s Yokayi Footy, is no stranger to sticking up for people and causes when it matters.
He made headlines regarding the reality of racism in the AFL, and appeared on The Project calling out mining magnate Gina Rinehart for not speaking out against her father Lang Hancock’s shocking views on Indigenous Australians.
He received sickening emails and the matter was referred to police by the ABC.
He’s also a joy on our screens for celebrating the good stuff.
He famously celebrated the Socceroos’ qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup by waving his scarf around madly, and the moment went viral.
“The two things that people know me the best for are probably for me f—ing losing the plot,” said Armstrong in a podcast with music duo Peking Duck.
“After the soccer … I just did everything wrong from a journalistic standpoint. I just started screaming. And then I stopped broadcasting because I went chasing my mum’s scarf.”
The other moment, Armstrong said, was when he accidentally said “bulging d–k” instead of “bulging disc” when discussing a cricket player’s injury on air.
Despite these moments, Armstrong won the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent at the 62nd TV Week Logie Awards last year.
He thanked his mother, the “old cheese” and ABC producers for giving him a chance, and the National Indigenous Radio Service for sealing his fate as the first Indigenous play-by-play caller on commercial radio.
“If I hadn’t started calling .. . I wouldn’t have ended up here at the ABC,” he said.
What else is new?
Meanwhile, the ABC sitcom made famous by Ruth Cracknell and Garry McDonald throughout the 1980s, Mother and Son, is getting a reboot.
Stand-up comedian Denise Scott will play the ageing, fragile Maggie to son Arthur, now played by Matt Okine, introducing a multicultural angle with Arthur now from a migrant background.
Other ABC shows include the new season of Utopia by Working Dog and starring Rob Sitch. Season five will no doubt be set inside the offices of the Nation Building Authority once again where they develop and promote infrastructure projects that never materialise.
Drama favourite, The Newsreader, starring Anna Torv (The Last of Us) is also back. And there is a drama series set in Tasmania, Bay of Fires, and House of Gods by Osamah Sami from Ali’s Wedding.
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