Michael Veitch (born 29 November 1962 in Melbourne) is an Australian author, actor and broadcaster, best known for his roles on the sketch comedy television shows The D-Generation, Fast Forward and Full Frontal, as well as for his books on World War II aviation, marine science and travel.
Life and career
Veitch emerged from the University of Melbourne (where he completed an arts degree) sketch comedy and revue tradition. After seeing a performance of a Melbourne University Revue, producers from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 1985 commissioned The D-Generation, a half-hour weekly sketch comedy series. Its immediate success resulted in a second season in 1987. Veitch performed a wide variety of characters over both seasons of the show which eventually cemented itself among the annals of Australian comedy. Veitch then went on to write and perform in the long-running sketch comedy shows Fast Forward and Full Frontal on the Seven Network between 1989 and 1995.
As one of the lead performers, Veitch became known for his many skillful impersonations and characterisations of current personalities, movie and TV icons such as Sonny (Skippy parody), Clive Robertson and Clive James as well as creating a stable of original characters, particularly Wayne, the colourful airline steward which he created and performed alongside Steve Vizard.
In 2005, Veitch made a short-lived return to sketch comedy in Let Loose Live. Prior to the show's debut, Veitch had said in an interview with the Melbourne Age that "I think that there is a hunger for comedy. We need something to hold the mirror up and look at the familiar in a different way. So much of the world is presented to us as a kind of impervious block of information, and what satire does is say well, actually, no, you don't have to look at everything the way that society wants you to look at it."
From 2006 to 2009, Veitch presented ABC Television's flagship arts magazine program, Sunday Arts; ironically, this was one of the roles which he had performed in parody a decade before on Fast Forward.
Hailing from a family of journalists, Veitch pursued a lifelong interest in the aviation of the Second World War wrote Flak – True stories from the men who flew in World War II published in 2006 by Pan Macmillan and later, Fly: True stories of courage and adventure from the airmen of World War II published by Penguin Australia in August 2008. A third book, The Forgotten Islands, exploring the lesser-known islands of Bass Strait, was published by Penguin Australia in August 2011. In 2015, Veitch wrote Southern Surveyor, a book about the CSIRO's Marine National Facility's research vessel.
Also in 2015, Veitch produced a third volume of Second World War airman stories, Heroes of the Skies, published by Penguin Books. In July 2016, he released 44 Days – 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia through Hachette Australia. This work explores the six-week period in early 1942 when a single squadron of RAAF airmen defended Port Moresby against the ascendant Japanese. His seventh book, detailing the ordeal of an Australian airmen fighting with the French Resistance in 1944, was released by Hachette in late 2017.
In 2010, Veitch moved to Hobart, Tasmania, to host afternoons on 936 ABC Hobart local ABC radio. At the beginning of 2012, he began hosting the evening program across Tasmania. Later that year, he left ABC local radio to commence working with a theatre production, with his final broadcast occurring on 20 September 2012.
In 2003, Veitch played one of the lead roles in the Australian production of the musical The Full Monty, based on the 1997 film. In 2004, he starred in the musical comedy It's a Dad Thing which toured nationally.
In 2009, Veitch played the lead role of Molly Meldrum in the Melbourne musical comedy Countdown, a tribute to the iconic Countdown TV show of the 1970s and '80s. Veitch was praised for his performance, one reviewer remarking (of the show's return in 2011), "renowned Australian actor Michael Veitch brings the role of Molly Meldrum to life – his portrayal is nothing short of outstanding. One would be forgiven for thinking that Meldrum himself was back on stage. Veitch’s imitation skills are flawless and his comic timing is second to none."
In 2014 and 2015, Veitch toured Australia in Flak – True stories from the men who flew in World War Two, a one-man stage version of his aviation books, in which he performs, in character, several of the men whose war stories he uncovered in his books Flak and Fly. This production is ongoing, with more performances due for 2017/18.
Veitch has a daughter who for several years edited the Australian literary publication Meanjin, and two sons.
Selected television and film roles
- The D-Generation (1986–1987)
- The D-Generation (Channel 7 Specials) (1988–1989)
- Fast Forward (1989–1992)
- Bligh (1992)
- Full Frontal (1993–1994)
- Stark (1993)
- Jimeoin (1995)
- Halifax f.p. (1995) – 1 episode
- Blue Heelers (1996, 2003) – 2 episodes
- Mercury (1996)
- IMT (1996)
- Eric (1997)
- Ocean Girl (1997)
- Something in the Air (2000) – 3 episodes
- Pizza (2000, 2003) – 2 episodes
- Shock Jock (2001–2002)
- McLeod's Daughters (2002) – 2 episodes
- Comedy Inc (2003)
- Stingers (2004) – 1 episode
- Let Loose Live (2005)
- The Extra (2005)
- Sunday Arts (2006–2009) (presenter)
- Dogstar (2007, 2011) (voice)
- City Homicide (2010) – 1 episode
- Best Kept Secret (2012) – short film
- Open Slather (2015)
- Veitch, Michael (2008) . Flak. Sydney, New South Wales: Pan Macmillan Australia. ISBN 978-0-330-42408-0. OCLC 224762224.
- —— (2009) . Fly. Camberwell, Victoria: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-301194-1. OCLC 301793193.
- —— (2011). The Forgotten Islands. Camberwell, Victoria: Penguin Group Australia. ISBN 978-0-67-007181-4.
- —— (2015). Heroes of the Skies. Melbourne, Victoria: Penquin Group Australia. ISBN 978-0-67-007825-7.
- —— (2015). Southern Surveyor. Clayton South, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 978-1-48-630264-2.
- —— (2016). 44 Days. Sydney, NSW: Hatchette Australia. ISBN 978-0-73-363363-8.
- —— (2017). Barney Greatrex : From bomber command to the French Resistance : the stirring story of an Australian hero. Alex Lloyd and Angus Hordern (researchers). Hachette Australia. ISBN 978-0-7336-3723-0.
- —— (2018). Hell Ship – The true story of the plague ship Ticonderoga, one of the most calamitous voyages in Australian history. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-76063-084-3., also presented as a one-person play
- —— (2019). Turning Point – The Battle for Milne Bay 1942, Japan's first Land Defeat in World War II. Hachette Australia. ISBN 978-0-7336-4055-1.
- Wood, Leonie Funny Business
- "Wit or lose". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "The Tribal Mind". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "All right on the night". The Age. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Aunty keeps axe out for arts show". heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Sunday Arts gravitates to online". tvtonight.com.au. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Laugh in for comic giants". news.com.au. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Flak!!". abc.net.au. 10 August 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Fly: Michael Veitch". abc.net.au. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- Morris, Linda (2 October 2011). "My island tome". Retrieved 19 April 2017 – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Southern Surveyor: Stories from Onboard Australia's Ocean Research Vessel". Australasian Science. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- Barlass, Tim (16 August 2015). "Heroes of the Skies by Michael Veitch records the last World War II pilots". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Author Q&A: 44 days – an RAAF squadron's fight for Australia". insidehistory.com.au. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- Jennifer Crawley, Radio host to sign off, The Mercury, 18 July 2012
- "Full Monty cast reveal almost all". The Age. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Mercurio's naked ambition hits stage". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Bub Hub Newsletter July 2004". bubhub.com.au. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Son of a Veitch, is it Molly?". heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)