50 Interviews– An over-the-top personality

18 October 2011

Written by: Erdem Koc

Interviewer: Andrew Denton
Interview Subject: Steve Irwin
Program: Enough Rope, ABC TV
Broadcast Date:  6 October 2003

Watch the rest of the interview here: part two, part three, part four and part five.

Self-confessed wildlife warrior, the late Steve Irwin, admitted he was sharing information he wouldn’t usually when he spoke to Andrew Denton on ABC television in 2003.

In this interview, Irwin said: ‘My wife’s going to kill me when I tell you this, but I’ll tell you ’cause it’s this kind of show. (Denton) just sucks it out of you, doesn’t he?’ The comments highlights Denton’s fine interviewing skills, and how he is able to draw personal information from his talent to help the audience learn more about the individual.

Irwin explains how after his own wedding in 1992, he was unable to on the same day ‘consummate the marriage’ with his wife Terri.

‘I sat there and ate a steak instead,’ he says.

Humorous and informative responses like this are in the interview, which was made a success by Denton’s manner and curious nature.

Denton’s open body language, and seemingly relaxed persona, engaged Irwin as if the two were having a personal chat.

Denton maintained eye contact with his guest and regularly nodded to indicate he was prepared to see where the interview would go. Consequently, this led Irwin to openly talk about his family, childhood, lifestyle, hard times, and much more. It also prompted Irwin to occasionally get out of his chair and pretend he was working with an animal.

It’s tactics like these which Denton used to highlight what he referred to as Irwin’s ‘over-the-top personality’. The pair at times bantered with each other, and they seemed to keep the audience engaged.

The interview now provides us with lasting memories of Irwin, who died from a stingray wound in September, 2006.

Jackson Saunders is a first-year student in the Bachelor of Sports Journalism at La Trobe University.