The Diary
Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: Holt keen to tackle Ellis

Hayley Holt says she is quite competitive and plans to take on Marc Ellis at his own game. Photo / Getty Images
Hayley Holt says she is quite competitive and plans to take on Marc Ellis at his own game. Photo / Getty Images

More FM counting on sports presenter to boost its breakfast show

You may know her as the glamorous presenter on the Sky Sports show The Crowd Goes Wild, but Hayley Holt is expanding her repertoire into radio.

Holt will join More FM's breakfast show alongside Marc Ellis and Stu Tolan from January, replacing Amber Peebles.

"I love the atmosphere of radio as a medium," Holt told The Diary. "You forget that you're talking and you can have a laugh and give a bit of stick," she said.

That ability to not pander to anyone is what More FM wants to capitalise on. "Hayley is grounded and down-to earth, and she has a quick wit and will keep Marc on his toes," said the station's programme director Ande Macpherson.

"She'll bring the best out of Marc. He has a tendency to let his mind wander if he gets bored, but she'll keep him on his toes."

Holt admits her competitive streak may land her in some hot water with Ellis, who's no stranger to stunts. "I want to play Marc at his own game. I'm going to stick up for the girls. But I am quite competitive and if a challenge is laid, I like to go head to head."

Peebles' contract came up and she decided to pursue an unnamed TV project. Holt will also retain her TV gig on Sky. "Amber has done an amazing job ... but I don't think I'm as controlled," Holt said.

It's that freshness and spontaneity that More FM is counting on from Holt to increase the show's success.

Back in commentary box?
Martin Crowe may be returning to cricket commentary at Sky Sport. Crowe, who was was diagnosed last month with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, told The Diary a decision on whether he will join the network's commentary team is likely to be made today. "There is nothing to report at the moment. I'll be able to tell you on Monday." Asked about his executive producer role in Sky's sports department, Crowe said yesterday: "Meetings are being held tomorrow ... I'm just focusing on my health. I'm boxing on."

Prince Charming's return
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive tomorrow, and if their Queen's Diamond Jubilee sojourn is anything to go by so far (eating Tim Tams, talking Pidgin and playing cricket), we can expect some warm-hearted moments. Their brief stroll in Lower Queen St on Monday to Queens Wharf with the mayor and mayoress should be a relaxed affair as far as pacing a walkabout goes. Len Brown, no stranger to chest beating and breaking into song, is anything but pretentious.

So too, the Prince of Wales. I met him some years ago when I was involved, in my PR capacity, with the New Zealand arm of his charity, The Prince's Trust. We held a fundraising luncheon at a Viaduct venue and I recall certain society names - one of whom has skedaddled to Sydney - practically offering body organs just to be seated within a whiff of the next in line to the throne.

I also remember the long list of meticulous rules and requirements issued by Clarence House and the constant menial changes made, I presumed, at His behest. But the man I met was utterly charismatic and easygoing. Talk about Prince Charming!

Charles was down-to-earth, unaffected and as unpretentious as I expect any royal can be. I recall lashes being batted (mine) and some gentle ribbing being offered (his) and an enjoyable day of frivolity. Whereas his brother, Andrew, whom I've also met, brings new meaning to pompous.

Service for brilliant lawyer
A who's-who of the legal fraternity will pay their respects at Wellington's St Paul's Cathedral this morning during the funeral of Greg King, who passed away suddenly last week. Friends, associates and family members will remember a brilliant lawyer and a compassionate family man. The service, which has restricted media access, will be followed by a family gathering and a private cremation ceremony.

Henry causes anxiety
He filmed a self-deprecating clip for MediaWorks' new-season launch this week from his breakfast desk in Australia, but insiders say Paul Henry's ties to the Kiwi company is not a laughing matter.

Sources close to Henry told The Diary his MediaWorks contract is "ambiguous" and jumping ship to TVNZ to front Close Up 2 is "definitely likely" if his Network Ten show gets canned. But well-placed MediaWorks insiders told The Diary this week that they won't roll over lightly and a contractual relationship stands.

Much is at stake. TV3 may be enjoying the afterglow of their news and currents affairs haul at the recent TV awards, but their coveted 7pm show was conspicuously absent from the list of winners. Campbell Live will be anxiously waiting for news about their rival show as it prepares for a facelift. Going up against Henry each night will be one option MediaWorks will be keen to avoid.

MediaWorks boss Sussan Turner and company lawyer Clare Bradley did not return calls.

- NZ Herald

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