Oprah's Sydney shows underway

Sydney's Macquarie Street has come to a virtual standstill as thousands of people queue to see television's queen of talk shows, Oprah Winfrey, film her two Australian shows today.

Those who managed to get hold of the hottest ticket in town - allocated through a hugely oversubscribed ballot - began waiting to get into the cordoned off Sydney Opera House at first light.

Several people without tickets even slept out overnight at Circular Quay in the hope of securing a distant glimpse of Oprah and the galaxy of stars due to perform at the shows.

"We've come all the way from Perth to see her," said ticket holder Kylie McGrath.

"Somehow we managed to get a ticket through the ballot, so the minute we won I said to my husband, `Book the flights!."'

A small number of standby tickets are also being made available, though show producers have warned those waiting in line for the last-minute allocations that they will be issued depending on space.

Plenty of those waiting are clutching banners or wearing t-shirts professing their love for Oprah.

At least one business is taking advantage of the queues - selling coffee to the waiting hordes.

The queue ran along Macquarie Street all the way to Albert Street.

There appear to be far more women than men waiting.

The first of Oprah's shows is due to be filmed around noon (NZT), the second a few hours later.

"I don't care how long it takes to get in, I just want to see her," said Sydneysider Jess Taylor.

"I think it's just going to be really fascinating seeing such a global phenomenon making her show."

There is a significant police presence at the Opera House, and dozens of media reporters, photographers and camera people.

Diehard Oprah fan, Alan Lett, 65, slept rough in Sydney's Royal Botanical Gardens last night in an effort to see his television idol.

And he doesn't even have a ticket to see her shows.

The pensioner, from Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast, slept on the rock-hard asphalt at the northern end of the gardens, with just a towel and a small pillow for comfort.

"I just put a towel over me, I did have a pillow. It was a bit cold, I might add," he told AAP from his perch alongside the massive queues of ticket holders waiting to get into the Opera House on Tuesday morning.

"I think I'm lucky if I got two hours' sleep."

Clutching a couple of cardboard posters, plastered with pictures of Oprah, and wearing a hat emblazoned with the Australian flag, Mr Lett said he hoped his fanaticism might be noticed by the show producers.

"I only hope some way Oprah finds out about me and I get to meet her," he said.

"She's a beautiful person, so kind. I've been watching her for over 30 years.

"She's the best thing, just about, that's ever come to Australia."

Mr Lett said he tried to get a ticket in the ballot, but gave up hope after hundreds of thousands applied.

- AAP

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