Zan Rowe and Charlie Pickering return to host the ABC's New Year's Eve broadcast from the Sydney Opera House boardwalk.
Zan Rowe and Charlie Pickering return to host the ABC's New Year's Eve broadcast from the Sydney Opera House boardwalk. JARED LEIBOWITZ

Host trusts Aunty's NYE show will go on

HELPING the nation ring in a new year, and in this case a new decade, is one of the best jobs on television, Charlie Pickering says.

The comedian turned TV presenter returns with Zan Rowe to helm the ABC's mammoth four-hour New Year's Eve show broadcast live from the Sydney Opera House board walk.

"With Clive James passing away a few weeks ago, it got me thinking about was when I was a kid watching him do his new year specials," he tells The Guide.

"I remember watching him as a kid thinking 'I wish I could do that one day'.

"People like to criticise the NYE broadcast but I think the ABC have got it right now. I'm doing live TV for 4.5 hours, so it's a pretty long night but it's pretty easy because I'm introducing such a great show. We're at the Opera House overlooking the Harbour Bridge and we have all this incredible music. It's a pretty sweet gig."

This year's line-up includes Kate Miller-Heidke, Vika and Linda Bull, Grinspoon's Phil Jamieson, pop singer Angie Hart, Mojo Juju, Adrian Eagle and Casey Donovan.

Casey Donovan performing during the ABC's 2018 New Year's Eve concert.
Casey Donovan performing during the ABC's 2018 New Year's Eve concert. JARED LEIBOWITZ

"Casey did the show last year and she was just a force of nature," Pickering says. "Her tribute to Aretha Franklin was amazing. I'm so excited she is back to ring in the new year.

"And then there's the fact that we're doing the best music of all of the decades because it's the end of the decade. We're covering the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, 2000s and 2010s, and in there is some of the best music you'll ever hear. I will say I was asked to consult on what Hall & Oates song should be performed."

The ABC will also run an appeal with the Red Cross on the night to raise money for those affected by the recent bushfires.

Pickering won't be drawn into the debate about whether the world-famous fireworks display should be cancelled because of the extreme fire conditions in and around Sydney.

The City of Sydney has confirmed it doesn't plan to cancel the fireworks, instead using the globally televised event to encourage donations to a bushfire appeal.

"I have no firm views, and I trust smarter people than me are making the decisions," he says.

It's been a big year for Pickering with one of his comedy idols, Judith Lucy, joining his satire news show The Weekly.

Adam Briggs, Judith Lucy, Charlie Pickering and Tom Gleeson feature in the end-of-year special The Yearly with Charlie Pickering.
Adam Briggs, Judith Lucy, Charlie Pickering and Tom Gleeson feature in the end-of-year special The Yearly with Charlie Pickering. Supplied

"Judith joining The Weekly is enormous not just for the show but me personally," he says.

"I've been doing comedy for over 20 years and I've always been so intimidated by her. I've never seen anyone just absolutely destroy on stage like Judith. The fact that she agreed to do The Weekly I still can't believe it.

"There was a promo we filmed where I was dressed as Jon Snow (from Game of Thrones) and she was the Mother of Dragons. It was a moment where I was standing there going 'I can't believe we're doing this'."

The ABC's New Year's Eve coverage starts Tuesday at 8.30pm.