If you ask any Australian who they think is the most famous person in the country, they’ll almost certainly say Ray Meagher.
Ray’s iconic Home and Away character Alf Stewart is responsible for introducing phrases like “stone the flamin’ crows” and “strewth” into our everyday lexicon, making him a living, breathing Aussie icon.
Despite having played Summer Bay’s most recognisable figure for 34 years, Ray doesn’t consider himself a star.
Ray expresses his surprise and humility at being nominated for the 2022 Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television in an exclusive interview with TV WEEK.
“It felt very amazing, but it was also unexpected.” When I won it 12 years ago, I believed my golden days were ended,” the 77-year-old adds, referring to his Gold Logie award in 2010.
“Even back then, I believed my golden days were finished before I’d even had any!” I don’t think of myself as a Gold Logie nominee. There are always more deserving individuals.”
Ray places his money on fellow Channel Seven personality Sonia Kruger to win the prized award this year.
He laughs, “I love Sonia Kruger, we’re out at the same stable.” “I’m hoping she wins.”
“Let me go one step further and say that even if she didn’t [win], Hamish Blake is one of the kindest individuals on the earth.”
Ray believes that there is nothing but love between him and his colleagues Gold Logie nominees Julia Morris, Tom Gleeson, Karl Stefanovic, and Melissa Leong.
He laughs, “The thing is, it’s hard to detest any of the bastards since they’re all nice individuals.”
While spectators might expect a heated contest between the nominees, Ray says he had the time of his life at the Gold Coast nominations ceremony in May.
“From start to finish, we spent four or five hours together.” “It was just a very relaxing, enjoyable period of time,” he recalls.
“Normally, I despise hair and makeup and pictures and standing still for 400 images and all of that, but spending time with those folks on that day was quite enjoyable.”
Ray says there’s no better time to appreciate the hard work of the besieged Australian TV and film industry than when the Logie Awards return on June 19 after a two-year COVID break.
“I just think people have always slung mud at the Logies, and that’s fine because that’s their perspective.” But it’s just recently become a television institution,” he exclaims.
“It’s a beautiful industry festival in that individuals from all channels, all networks, and all walks of life gather together and catch up with old friends.”
“Newcomers to the business meet a lot of people who aren’t necessarily in their network. It’s going to be a terrific party.”
Regardless of the night’s conclusion, Ray thinks his nomination is a testament to the cast and crew of Home and Away’s hard work.
“It’s not the be all and end all whether you win or lose.” He describes it as “a recognition of everyone’s labour.”
“Without it, I wouldn’t be here.” Whether the winners are justified over time is highly subjective and has little to do with us. What matters is that our work was loved by our audience.”