Listen: Katrina Roe chats to indigenous screen icon Ernie Dingo about his latest TV show.
There was a time when Ernie Dingo was one of just a few Indigenous actors making it big in Australia.
Now, he considers himself more of an old guy, hidden in a crowd of young indigenous faces who are rising to prominence—and he loves it. Chatting to Hope 103.2’s Katrina Roe, Ernie said he was proud of today’s crew of young talent.
“Having a network that is basically national and indigenous television (NITV), I’m just lost in the crowd at the moment, which is good,” he said. “I’m the white-haired bearded one, saying ‘remember me?’ It’s great! There’s a lot of kids up front now working in film, television and behind the scenes as well.”
New Show Takes Time with Aussie Characters
First rising to fame as Paul Hogan’s offsider in Crocodile Dundee II in 1988, Ernie has become best known in more recent years for his roles in TV shows like The Great Outdoors and Heartland as well as the Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae alongside Jessica Mauboy.
His latest offering is a travel show on NITV, Going Places With Ernie. The series showcases iconic Australian locations through the eyes of the country’s traditional owners.
“On the Great Outdoors we worried about the attention spans—you’d have to have something bright and new every 30 seconds,” he said. “On Going Places, I spend about 10 minutes with each person on the show. Which gives them a chance to have a bit of reflection, get to know them a bit better.
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“I’m forever chatting with people…we talk about the weather and the family and my producer is like, ‘We need to shoot this before the sun sets!’ I love yarning with people about their passion.”
‘So Many Beautiful Hidden Treasures…’
Ernie said some of the highlights of the show were meeting people with unique vocations.
“The toxicologist in the first episode was as mad as a cut snake,” he said. “He’s hyper all the time but he’s a lovely bloke and he just wants people to understand that there are these things on the reef, and how to appreciate them and avoid them.
“Then we went to Uluru, and the Sails Hotel, an indigenous hotel. They train a lot of indigenous kids from all around the country in hospitality. It’s great to go to a hotel in the desert and see indigenous faces.
“And the last episode will be in Kakadu. There’s a young lady who comes out from Birmingham, England, she does a lot of photography…we shot some ancient art.
“It’s such a beautiful island continent and there’s so many beautiful hidden treasures right under your nose.”
Going Places With Ernie airs 7:30pm Sunday nights on NITV.