Dame Edna through the ages

Dame Edna through the ages
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
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This clip from The Mike Walsh Show in 1985 takes a look at the various incarnations of Dame Edna Everage over time.

Often appearing on the show to promote a new tour, here she appears after Another Audience with Dame Edna Everage won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for best light entertainment program in 1985.

When she points out a trace of a moustache in a photo of her from the 1950s, the audience is in hysterics – loving the reminder that she is a character played by Barry Humphries.

The clip includes photographs, excerpts of footage from Sixty Minutes (1963) and home-movie footage of Everage when she first went to London in 1969. Together they exemplify one of the biggest reasons behind her success and longevity – her rich backstory.

Through these clips there is a sense that 18 years into her career she is still constantly evolving, from suburban housewife to her apparent Damehood (and now her current self-proclaimed Gigastar status).

As we can see in the early footage of her looking quite drab, her famous bouffant of wisteria hair, diamante-encrusted winged spectacles and couture gowns came about later, in the 1970s and 80s. Her exaggerated lips – clad in dark lipstick – were there from the very beginning.

Humphries (whom she refers to as her 'manager') borrows from his own stuffy childhood in the suburbs of Melbourne to fill out the character of Everage. She epitomises a satirical tug-of-war between his affection and disdain for all things Australian.

Notes by Beth Taylor