Imported Spice: Geri Halliwell. Photo: Getty Images
So, you were once a big international star on the other side of the world, but it’s been a while since the headlining and well-paid gigs have headed your way.
What to do?
Why, a well-paid gig on Australian television looks just the ticket at this time of year.
You are guaranteed to be treated like the star you once were while you’re Down Under because, let’s face it, Australia doesn’t have that many big stars of its own, right?
Because, you know, it’s a cultural wasteland down there, but gee, they have nice beaches.
You will even be able to carry on with the diva antics you were once allowed to get away with when you were, like, really, really, REAAALLLY hot.
And anyway, it’s only Australia, so who really cares what mess you leave behind?
Am I being a little harsh? Perhaps, but when it comes to the importation of foreign ‘‘celebrities’’, Australian television is in the grips of a major trade deficit that reeks of cultural cringe.
In the past couple of years we have seen a conga line of once-were-famous names from other parts of the globe pop up on our small screens on a variety of judging panels and TV shows, including Melanie ‘‘Old Spice’’ Brown, Seal, Brian McFadden, Joel Madden, Ronan Keating, Greg Louganis, David Hasselhoff and the truly saccharine, over-emoting Ricky Martin.
And now we are about to see Dawn French, Geri Halliwell and a big-haired chap named Redfoo, who most of the wider public has never heard of, join them.
There’s even some bloke named Gok Wan flogging frocks on our telly for Target, who is apparently a huge stylist ... in Britain.
Seriously, who are these people?
These celebrities, and Iuse the term loosely, are taking part in the great dash for cash to the antipodes, pocketing huge pay packets, some rumoured to be worth more than $500,000, either to spruik a product or sit and cast judgment on us poor, forgotten and fame-impoverished Aussies.
And as Pauline Hanson would say: they’re taking our jobs.
Surely there are plenty of home-grown celebrities who are in dire need of a pay cheque and have just as much ability as, say, the aforementioned. And off the back of their new-found fame in Australia, these refurbished stars are also signing big product endorsement deals, from Scary Spice doing Weight Watchers commercials to the Madden brothers devouring KFC.
The Mel B experiment paid off for the former Spice Girl.
PS flicked on the telly in Los Angeles last week only to see her guest co-hosting the national breakfast show Today, having had her television credentials improved immeasurably after her stint on the Australian small screen.
Even Brian McFadden, who once endured the scorn of Britain when he left his pop-star wife, Kerry Katona, for his former girlfriend Delta Goodrem, has landed on his feet in Old Blighty.
His latest gig is as an entertainment reporter on British breakfast television.
When Seal first came to Sydney for his gig on The Voice two years ago, PS was quite taken aback by the former singer’s apparent disdain for his new, adopted home – albeit a temporary one.
His comments seemed to indicate that the Australian version of The Voice was somehow less potent than the American version.
A year later he put his foot in it again when he foolishly weighed in on the Madden drug-bust story at the Darling hotel, taking to Twitter to publish a tirade in which he declared: ‘‘Can’t wait to go home’’ and ‘‘Way to respect a guest in your country trash media, way to make us feel welcome. Keep it up. Sure we’ll be back next year. And yes, I say we because it’s just a matter of time before you gun us all down. Hell, you even do it to you’re own @deltagoodrem who’s a national treasure!!’’
A few hours later, Seal issued a public apology for his rant.