Dolly DiamondOne of Melbourne’s most celebrated cabaret stars leaves the stage behind to fill our TV screens with her dazzling new show, Dolly Diamond.

The creation of cabaret performer Michael Dalton, the eponymous host plans to fill a variety-shaped hole in Australian television and bring a bit of class back to the viewing schedule.

Diamond told the Star Observer that her years as a performer and her contacts in the industry made a variety show the logical choice for a format.

“It’s a chance to be naughty on the telly and to do what I do, which is variety really, to entertain an audience live in the venue, for them to be laughing at what you’re doing and hopefully to translate that onto television,” she said.

Although it goes to air this weekend, Diamond has been recording Dolly Diamond for the last five weeks in front of a live studio audience at the Eureka Hotel in Richmond, making for an unpredictable experience.

“When you have people on you don’t know what they’re going to be like,” said Diamond.

“I don’t necessarily lull people into a false sense of security, but they feel like they can sit down on the sofa and have an intimate chat, and we almost forget the cameras are even there… I like to make people laugh, I don’t like to leave people wounded,” Diamond said.

The show has attracted an impressive line-up of local and international guests, including acclaimed singer Silvie Paladino, and gay US bishop Gene Robinson, who turned up one evening to be in the audience.

“He [Robinson] was brilliant…it was just lovely to have someone who’d been so well spoken on Q&A be at my late show audience,” said Diamond.

With two shows left to film, Diamond is now splitting her time between preparing to film and editing the shows about to air.

“It is really exciting, but it’s a bit boring as well, there’s no audience when you edit,” she said.

“But having seen episode one edited, it’s worthwhile. Apparently when you put that hard yakka in it does pay off. I must remember that.”

Dolly Diamond airs Saturday, 15 June on Channel 31 at 10pm. The last two shows will be filmed live at the Eureka Hotel on June 14 and 21. Go to www.greentix.com.au

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