Denise Drysdale

Denise Anne Christina Drysdale (born 5 December 1948)[2] is an Australian twice-awarded Gold Logie winning television presenter, variety entertainer, actress, singer, dancer and comedian. She is often affectionately known as Ding Dong, a nickname invented by fellow performer Ernie Sigley.[3] She is currently a co-host of the morning show Studio 10.

Denise Drysdale
Drysdale at the 2016 Logie Awards at the Crown Palladium
Denice Anne Christina Drysdale[1]

(1948-12-05) 5 December 1948
Moorabbin, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
ResidenceGold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Other namesDing Dong
  • Television presenter
  • variety entertainer
  • actress
  • singer
  • dancer
  • comedian
Years active1951–present
EmployerNetwork 10
Known forStudio 10
Awards2x Gold Logie

Early life


Born in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin, Drysdale and her family moved to Port Melbourne when she was three and a half, where her parents ran the Fountain Inn Hotel. They lived there for eleven years, during which time Drysdale attended Kilbride Ladies Convent, South Melbourne.

Career beginnings

Drysdale's career began soon after the move to Port Melbourne. Referring to the (then) regulations for public bars to cease serving alcohol at 6pm, she observed:

"During that time it was the 6 o'clock swill, and Mum didn't want her little girl seeing all that drinking, so she sent me to dancing, to May Downs. May Downs was an amazing woman. She taught us 150% is what you gave in any performance, or don't bother. And of course, that's got me into strife over the years."[3]

By the age of six, Drysdale had won a number of dancing competitions.[4][5]

At about ten years of age, she began her television career with GTV9 in Melbourne, working in the junior ballet on the Tarax Show. She was later sacked when she gained weight and developed breasts.

"We'd been there about a year and a bit, and on the holidays I had put on weight, but not much, and as you know, if you put someone in a nice tutu, they don't have bosoms – they have very flat chests. Pete Smith always said, "You grew boobs, they had to get rid of you." They couldn't do it today. And I've suffered to this day. I still stand on the scales six times a day to check whether I've put on half a pound or a pound."[3]

Photographed at the time by a Channel Nine photographer, Drysdale went on to win the annual Girl of the Year Award with Everybody's in 1964.

At age seventeen, Drysdale joined the new show Kommotion as a go-go girl,[3] becoming Melbourne's first go-go dancer.[6]

Drysdale was invited to tour Australia with Ray Brown & The Whispers. She was then offered a recording contract and appeared in 26 episodes of the ABC's Dig We Must.


In the 1960s, Drysdale appeared as a dancer on In Melbourne Tonight. In 1966, she performed on the GO! show, and was voted third most popular female vocalist by the readers of Go set.[7] This popularity led to an invitation to perform for the troops in Vietnam[8] for three weeks in 1967, along with Patti Newton, the Strangers, and Doug Owen.[3] In 1969, she went to the Far East to entertain American troops.

In 1974, she became Ernie Sigley's barrel girl on The Ernie Sigley Show. It was here she gained the nickname Ding Dong. In 1975, Drysdale and Sigley released a single "Paula" as a duet, which reached #1 on the charts,[9][10] Later that year she won the TV Week Gold Logie for the Most Popular Female Personality on Australian TV,[11] and won her second Gold Logie the following year.[12] In the same period, she also won consecutive Silver Logies.

Drysdale has appeared on numerous television shows, including The Norman Gunston Show, Celebrity Squares, Young Talent Time, Countdown, Division 4, Homicide, Bellbird and Celebrity Name Game. She has also worked in regional television in Victoria including guest appearances on BTV-6 Ballarat and hosting a morning magazine show on GLV-8 in the 1980s. As an actress, she has appeared in the movies The Last of the Knucklemen, Snapshot, and Blowing Hot and Cold.

On stage, she has appeared in plays and musicals, including Salad Days, Grease, The Barry Crocker Show, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Hello, Dolly! in 1994. She also spent two years in Sydney appearing on television shows Weekend Magazine and Beauty and the Beast.

In 1989, Drysdale joined Ernie Sigley to host In Melbourne Today, and in 1991 began a Sydney version of the show In Sydney Today.[13] The two programs later merged to a single program: Ernie And Denise. Also in 1989, she was asked to fill in on Hey Hey it's Saturday[14] due to Jacki McDonald being ill and subsequently leaving. Drysdale stayed with the show for over a year before leaving due to ongoing rumours of a feud between her and host Daryl Somers. Over the years both have denied such rumours.[15] In 1992, Drysdale returned to host an episode of Hey Hey It's Saturday in Somers' absence. She also returned for one of the reunion shows in 2009.[16]

In the late 1990s Drysdale appeared in the reboot of IMT on the Nine Network.

In 1998, she joined the Seven Network to present her own show for the first time,[17] called Denise. This program lasted four seasons.

In 2005, Channel 9 chose Drysdale as one of the 50 most important people on television for the last 50 years.[18]

In 2008, she released an album entitled What A Wonderful World. The album contains a remake of the single "Hey Paula". The new version features Mark Trevorrow.

On 7 October 2009 she made an appearance in the second of the Hey Hey It's Saturday reunion specials.

In 2010, Drysdale joined Network Ten's new morning show The Circle alongside Yumi Stynes, Chrissie Swan and Gorgi Coghlan as host. She remained on the show for two seasons, leaving at the end of the 2011 season. She reappeared as a special guest on the final episode in 2013.

Drysdale regularly performed around Australia on the club circuit, often with her television partner, Ernie Sigley.[19]

It was announced Drysdale would join as permanent co-host of Studio 10 in 2016 after appearing as a regular fill-in presenter, sharing the position with Ita Buttrose.[20]

In June 2018, Drysdale joined the cast of Neighbours as Nance Sluggett. She made her first appearance on 3 October 2018.[21]

Awards and honours

Drysdale has won two Gold Logie awards for Most Popular Female personality on Australian television.[11][12]

In January 2008, Drysdale was awarded the 'Australia Day Citizen of the Year' award by Baw Baw Shire.[22]

In 1998, as part of Melbourne's Moomba Festival, Drysdale was crowned Moomba Monarch.[23]

In 2018, Drysdale was honoured by Australia Post with her portrait featuring on a special collection of post stamps issued as part of "The Legends of Television" series.[24]

Personal life

Drysdale has two children.[3]


  1. Studio 10 - 26 April 2018
  2. "Today's Birthdays". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 5 December 1993. p. 8. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  3. "Talking Heads". ABC. 1 May 2006. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  4. Australian Speakers Bureau Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2011-1-8
  5. "They're dancing in South street". Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957). 8 September 1956. p. 7. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  6. Denise Drysdale on Life, Love and the Universe Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. McIntyre, Iain (2006). Tomorrow is Today: Australia in the Psychedelic Era, 1966-1970. Wakefield Press. p. 13. ISBN 9781862546974.
  8. "Red China Bases to far for Air War". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 28 October 1967. p. 4. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  9. Billboard. 87. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 8 February 1975. p. 38. ISSN 0006-2510.
  10. Warden, Ian (19 February 1981). "The celebration was amazingly sneerproof". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). p. 15. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  11. "Logies for Ernie and Ding Dong". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 8 March 1975. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  12. "Schoolgirl steals Logie show". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 13 March 1976. p. 3. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  13. Wallace, Mark (11 February 1991). "It wasn't the best of mornings for the host of 'GMA'". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). p. 9. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  14. "Behind the scenes of Hey Hey its Saturday". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 3 July 1989. p. 21. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  15. Knox, David (7 March 2007). "Denise on Daryl". TV Tonight. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  16. Butler, Dianne (2 October 2009). "Hey Hey It's Saturday reunion proves interminable". Courier mail. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  17. Bonner, Frances (2003). Ordinary Television: Analyzing Popular TV. SAGE Publications. p. 70. ISBN 9780803975705.
  18. "Denise Drysdale". Celebrity Speakers. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  19. Full circle | The Daily Telegraph 24 September 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2013
  20. Willis, Charlotte (17 November 2015). "Denise Drysdale joins Studio 10: New host to replace Ita Buttrose three days a week". Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  21. Kilkelly, Daniel (24 September 2018). "Neighbours' Gary Canning gets blackmailed by mischievous newcomer Nance Sluggett". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  22. "Denise Drysdale receives Baw Baw Shire 2008 Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award". Baw Baw Shire. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  23. "Monarch History". Moomba. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  24. Manning, James (19 January 2018). "New Australia Post stamps feature Ding Dong, KAK, Ray Martin, Daryl Somers and Bert". Mediaweek. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
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