She’s our Delvene Delaney by Andrea Kellett

Nikki Osborne relaxes on the deck of her stunning McCrae home overlooking Port Phillip Bay. It’s a far cry from the film set in Brisbane where the actress spent eight weeks filming a television series about to air on Channel 7, called ‘Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story’.

Nikki is a mother of two, an actress, a comedian, a Peninsula local and one of the lead characters in the new Channel 7 series, which airs Sunday, February 12, and Sunday, February 19, at 8.30pm on Channel 7 (in two parts). She plays Delvine Delaney, the beauty pageant winner who found fame on Australian television in the 1970s, became a cast member of ‘The Paul Hogan Show’ and later a co-presenter on the quiz show ‘Sale of the Century’.

It’s a dream role for Nikki, who bears a remarkable likeness to Delvine. “When I heard about the role I just went ‘please’,” she says. “I love Delvine. I’ve been nicknamed Delvine in comedy shows I’ve worked on in the past. She and I had pretty similar careers, working in comedy and television.”

‘Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story’ tells the story of Paul Hogan - the almost accidental supernova of raw comedic talent who exploded onto Australia’s entertainment scene and then the world. He was a Sydney Harbour Bridge rigger with five kids who entered a TV talent contest, became a household name and an Oscar-nominated star.

Embraced by Australians as ‘Hoges’, he is joined on his journey by lifelong friend, producer and sidekick John ‘Strop’ Cornell. Together they make Australians laugh then proud as one of the most successful tourism campaigns in history sells Aussie hospitality to the world. This, along with the success of ‘Crocodile Dundee’, cements Hogan’s legacy. ‘Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story’ explores the factors that shaped this success, his family life, his two great loves, divorce and his struggle with life in the public eye.

Nikki’s career includes a role in Oscar-winning director Peter Bogdanovich’s US telemovie ‘The Mystery of Natalie Wood’ and appearances in award-winning television dramas such as ‘Rush’ and the Bryce Courtenay mini-series ‘Jessica’. It is in comedy, however, where she really made her presence felt. Her improvisational talents were uncovered when she hosted the live interactive game show ‘Quizmania’. Mick Molloy invited Nikki into the cast of his comedy series ‘The Nation’ and numerous guest spots on panel shows, breakfast radio and pilots followed.

Nikki battled a gruelling round of auditions to secure the role of Delvine then spent eight weeks away from her family during filming. Her boys Will, 8, and Teddy, 4, have interesting thoughts on mum’s upcoming television role. “Will’s little girlfriends at school are far more into what mummy does that he is!” she laughs. “And Teddy is worried I’m going to get stuck in the TV!

Nikki and her husband moved from Hampton to the “Ninch” seven years ago. “My husband wanted land and I wanted water so we travelled south until we found something that had both,” she says. As for juggling parenthood, a Peninsula lifestyle and a soaring career, Nikki is pretty relaxed. “Having an apartment in town would be a good crash pad but once you’ve had a taste of the ‘Ninch’ you don’t go back,” she laughs.

Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story’ -  Sunday, February 12, and Sunday, February 19, 8.30pm on Channel 7.