She asks the questions: Leigh Sales at the 7.30 desk. Photo: ABCShe made headlines earlier this month when she told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, “I ask the questions on this program”.
But, when it came to ranking her favourite interviews of this year, the short exchange with Mr Turnbull did not make Leigh Sales’ list.
The 7.30 host has revealed her top nine interviews for 2015 and, despite politicians being quite frequent guests on the program, not one made the cut.
Instead, Sales chose to highlight a diverse range of interview subjects.
“I tend to get more pleasure from interviewing non-celebrities,” Sales wrote, introducing the countdown.
“They are not jaded by the experience of having been interviewed thousands of times and are often thrilled at the chance to talk publicly about something they love.”
Seven of the chosen interviews were with Australians – from jockey Michelle Payne after her Melbourne Cup win to comedian Tim Minchin on bringing his Olivier-winning musical Matilda from the West End to Sydney.
And, while one Hollywood actor did make the list it was – shockingly – not Leonardo DiCaprio, who she interviewed on last night’s program. Star Wars’ Harrison Ford, instead, received the honour.
Sales said some of the interviews stood out because she felt she had “TV chemistry” with her subject.
“It’s not very often that the second I start an interview with somebody, I can tell we have great chemistry and it’s going to be lovely TV,” she wrote of her chat with Fairfax columnist David Astle in May.
“This was one of those. It’s an absolute delight when it happens because I immediately relax and feel like I can be myself and just have a conversation, instead of an ‘interview’.”
Sales has been the host of the ABC’s nightly television current affairs program 7.30, since 2011.
Here’s the list:
9. ANU astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker on the New Horizons probe reaching Pluto
8. Former military commander Major General John Cantwell on leadership
7. North Queensland Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston on winning the NRL grand final
6. Fairfax columnist and crossword maker David Astle on the expansion of the Scrabble dictionary
5. Harvard professor Atul Gawande on end-of-life care
4. Comedian and musician Tim Minchin on his musical Matilda’s Australian premiere
3. Star Wars actor Harrison Ford on the series’ revival
2. Jockey Michelle Payne and her brother and strapper Stevie Payne on winning the Melbourne Cup
1. Former National Gallery of Australia director Betty Churcher on dying and her love of art, in her final weeks of life
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