Julia Zemiro is taking a trip down memory lane. The well-trodden idiom is her launching point for new ABC1 series Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, which has nothing to do with pizza or midwifery.
The five-part series will see the RocKwiz host take some of Australia’s favourite comedians back to the places they grew up.
Carl Barron, Noeline Brown, John Safran, Alan Brough and Shane Jacobson will show Zemiro their childhood family homes and venture through the surrounding neighbourhoods, all the way to the school gate, reliving formative moments, talking about life, love and achievement.
“I’m very interested in why people do what they do and why they are who they are, and childhood and education are a big part of what makes people tick,” she says.
“I sort of feel like at 18 you’ve kind of become who you’re going to be. But my mum would disagree. She reckons she didn’t want to be who she was at 18 and set about strategically changing it. You can watch this show and make up your own mind.”
Produced by Zemiro and Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder, the company behind Enough Rope, Go Back to Where You Came From and the Gruen stable, Home Delivery is a bit of a dream gig for the quirky presenter and actor.
“We were chatting about interview shows and I said ‘I would love to interview people but I wonder if we could do it on location somewhere else. I don’t want to be in a studio because I lose energy when I sit down’. All my jobs I’m standing half the time,” she says.
“We threw around a few ideas and then came up with ‘Well what if I took them back to their childhood home and then have a bit of a wander around their neighbourhood’.
“The first episode has just been confirmed. It will be Alan Brough from Spicks and Specks and, of course, lucky for us he is from New Zealand. So we went to Hawera which is where he was born and grew up and then to New Plymouth, which is where he had to go for boarding school.
“All the stuff that he talked about is still there. The little hall where he used to do drama, his primary school, his high school, his home, everything is still there.
“Noeline Brown is in Stanmore so to walk through Stanmore in Sydney, which is an inner-west suburb, to get her telling me what it was like to be there in the 30s and 40s during the war and just after the war, it’s a beautiful thing. That’s my parents’ era and I think it will be a lot of viewers’ parents’ era.”
Despite traipsing Australia and New Zealand filming for the show, Zemiro laments that there were no trips to WA.
“Judith Lucy would have been good, she would have been perfect but she’s too busy,” she says. “Any excuse to go to WA is great.”
Zemiro is hoping the show will be a success so she is able to make the same journey her interview subjects have made.
“If this show goes well, I’d love to be able to choose my own interviewer and get them to take me through my childhood,” says Zemiro, who was born in France and moved to Sydney when she was 2 1/2 growing up above a restaurant.
“My dad ran the restaurant and my mum was teaching high school by day and helping my dad by night and it was kind of nice knowing your parents were downstairs and you were upstairs, and so you felt safe and you knew what was going on.
“I used to walk to school and the Australian primary school that I went to had three French classes in it. It had a mini French primary school in it. We would speak English in the playground and then in class everything was in French.”
It’s been a busy year for Zemiro, who says a 12th season of music quiz show RocKwiz has just been confirmed. On Sunday she will appear in the ABC1 telemovie An Accidental Soldier, which was filmed in WA last year, as a French single mother and nosy neighbour.
Dramatic acting roles are not something audiences will associate with Zemiro, who actually trained as an actor after high school.
“RocKwiz has opened all of the doors in terms of exposure, so people think you’re a host and that’s it,” she explains. “I’ve always wanted to act; it’s more if you get asked. Hopefully people will start seeing me in that light.”
Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery starts on Wednesday at 9.05pm on ABC1.