Sue McIntosh Presents:

Olivia Newton-John

Review taken from Only Olivia newsletter July/Aug 2001

This interview was filmed for Renaissance Television, which is a Melbourne, Australian channel aimed at the senior market - although they class senior as over-45. The interview was recorded when Olivia was in Melbourne in April during a break in filming for her Showtime TV movie.

Sue and Olivia have known each other since the 60s and are clearly good friends. During the interview it was obvious they'd had some private discussions about some of the topics raised, most notably Bill Clinton owning some of Olivia's records. They also giggled at fun times together in London in the swinging-sixties (ed - we can only guess!).

Olivia dressed in blue jeans t-shirt and blouse and bare feet, looked very relaxed and happy curled up on the sofa next to Sue. They spoke about Olivia's amazing year 2000 including her invitation to sing for the Pope. Olivia got the call on Tuesday for a Thursday performance; she couldn't turn it down and took Chloe and Patrick. This was the first time during a televised interview that Olivia has explicitly mentioned her "boyfriend" Patrick by name.

After a 15 hour flight, a reporter at the airport told Olivia that the Pope wasn't going to be at the concert after all! Sure enough he didn't make it (due to his ill health) but Olivia, Chloe and Patrick had an audience with the Pope the next day. In the end this worked out better as they got to visit the Vatican.

Olivia was excited to meet the Pope, describing what she thought to herself on his entrance: "I said Oh My God it's the Pope" after realizing what she'd just said in the interview she laughed and added, "My God - I don't think I said that! I said yes it's the Pope." Even though she isn't a Catholic Olivia has a lot of respect for what the Pope stands for - goodness and spirituality. Chloe on the other hand was very nervous, her grandmother (on Matt's side) is Polish/Italian and a Catholic, she'd spoken to Chloe about it. Chloe got very emotional when the Pope laid hands on her and gave her the rosary.

Sue and Olivia also talked about the charity benefit with the Clintons where Olivia sang. President Clinton gave a speech during which he said he owned Olivia's records. (ed - during the event Bill Clinton thanked Olivia for performing and referred to the album cover where she was coming out of the water).

Olivia spoke about the early days in London including the time she and Pat Farrar sang in Raymond's Revue bar in London - oblivious to the fact that it was a strip joint! Olivia can recall the year she moved to the USA as "being after the Eurovision in 1974" - obviously her experience at the Eurovision Song Contest in England remains in memory as one of the lows in the career (ed - horrible dress and poor song).

Discussion moved onto Olivia's concern with the planet and her worries about the effect that we're having on it. She caught herself moving into the negative saying: "I don't want to go there. This is a happy show." Interestingly, Chloe is a vegetarian inheriting Olivia's love of animals. Olivia's breast cancer is referred to but more in the context of her album Gaia which came out of it. Olivia mentioned that it's still not released in the USA because at the time there wasn't the market for it and she couldn't get it released in the way she wanted. She hopes it'll be released at the end of this year, maybe as part of the box set or greatest hits package.

Olivia praised her own mother for letting her do her own thing and realizes that she must do the same with Chloe. "I can be there to help her and guide her but she knows what's right and what's wrong for her." Olivia's mum let her move into a London apartment with three other girls at 17 and tour Europe by train with Pat with just 50. When Sue refers to letting their own daughters do such things they both scream with half-mock worry

The interview lasted about half an hour and Olivia was more relaxed and open than usual due in no small part to her friendship and trust for the interviewer. It was also good that Sue McIntosh covered new ground and approached some "old" subjects in a new way. Let's hope this interview is sold around the world!


Initial airdate: May 23 2001
Initial broadcaster: Renaissance TV
Country of production: AU
Duration: 25 mins
Type: Interview

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