Australian film critic royalty Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton are set to take a break from their popular movie review show At The Movies, with comedian Judith Lucy and Radio National film critic Jason Di Rosso tipped to fill their chairs.
Topic critics to take a break
Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton will take time off to allow what could be auditions for their successors.
The move is seen by insiders as a possible audition for the pair as long-term successors to the popcorn-flecked thrones.
The three-week holiday, said to be occurring in the next few weeks, mirrors a similar break taken by Pomeranz and Stratton last year when a series of interview-based shows covered their absence.
Known universally as "Margaret and David", the pair are held in the highest esteem by both film-goers and the Australian film industry.
"Margaret and David epitomise the intelligent discussion of movies for Australia. We love hearing them agree and disagree and sharing their knowledge and passion with us," said Sandra Levy, now CEO of the Australian Film Television and Radio School who is still proud to have poached Pomeranz and Stratton from SBS in 2004 as the then ABC Director of Television.
"I think Australians value them highly. That's why they're known as Margaret and David. It's a terrifically privileged familiarity."
The pair spoke to Fairfax Media in February of the possibility of retirement. Pomeranz committed to "definitely see this year out", while Stratton saw himself in the chair "this year and next year", but also spoke of working through to the 30th anniversary of the show in 2016.
Though unwilling to confirm Lucy and Di Rosso as replacements, an ABC spokesperson confirmed on Friday that Pomeranz and Stratton would continue as hosts for At The Movies in 2014.
Lucy has hosted Judith Lucy's Spiritual Journey for the ABC in the past, as well as appearing in Agony Aunts and The Agony of Life. The broadcaster also recently announced that she will host a show looking at the role of women in modern Australia entitled Judith Lucy is All Woman next year. Though not a film critic by trade, she did appear on the 25th anniversary show of At The Movies in 2011, that also saw Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush briefly take the chairs.
Di Rosso is a film critic for the ABC on Radio National, as well as host of the weekly film show The Final Cut and a co-presenter on The List, both on Radio National.
Levy, who has worked with Di Rosso at AFTRS, feels that the pair have "very, very tough chairs to fill. At the same time it'd be really sad not to have a weekly show that celebrates movies".
I don't want the ABC not to have a movie show if Margaret and David decide they're not going to do it anymore
"I don't want the ABC not to have a movie show if Margaret and David decide they're not going to do it anymore," she said.
Correction: A previous version of this story referred incorrectly to Margaret Pomeranz as Margaret Pomerantz.