VIDEO: TOPICS - Doing it for the girls

YOU know the suspicion, the unease, that you'll meet a childhood hero and not know what to say?

Topics experienced something like that yesterday when we bumped into a pair of idols. In, erm, puppet form.

Beloved Golden Girls characters Blanche and Sophia were kicking back at Newcastle's Clarendon Hotel.

Blanche, the southern belle played by the late Rue McClanahan (and puppeteered by Ali Kennedy-Scott), is etched into our memories from after-school re-runs.

"Whay hello," she drawled yesterday, sprawled across the bar. We blushed. So many conflicting emotions.

Sophia, once played by Estelle Getty, now puppeteered by Martelle Hammer and perched on a stool at the Clarendon, eyed us off.

"Do I have teeth in?" she asked, brusquely. She did.

The pair squabbled fiercely in The Golden Girls but have put all that aside to star in the theatre show Thank You for Being a Friend.

The show comes to the Civic Theatre on Friday, June 21. During its run so far, the actors have had to pause often for mid-show standing ovations. You can buy tickets at Ticketek, on 4929 1977.

Meanwhile, you can watch a video of Blanche and Sophia (and Topics) belting out the Golden Girls theme at

Ball boy with attitude

IF you watched Origin last night, you might have noticed the slick work of the ball boys. Or perhaps you didn't. That's how you know it was slick.

One lad working the sidelines was Nathan Eveleigh, 14, a Newcastle Knights ball boy picked to do the job for his state.

Nathan plays prop for Waratah Mayfield, and got the nod for Origin after impressing coaches with his attitude at a training camp.

"I'll be trying to get the ball back as quickly as possible so three million fans aren't wondering what's holding up the game," he said a few hours before kick-off.

Topics has always wondered how the ball gets returned after it lands in the crowd. Nathan said it's the ball boys' job to stand and wait for spectators to throw it back, which they're normally pretty good about. But he conceded that Origin fans might crave souvenirs.

"Hopefully they're not too much drunker than normal," Nathan said.

Fitz feels fame heat

FOR a moment, Joel Fitzgibbon knew what it was like to be Justin Bieber.

The Hunter MP has 32 years on the Canadian heart-throb and occupies a lower rung on iTunes, but that didn't stop a Canberra press conference descending into Fitz fever. Mr Fitzgibbon accidentally gatecrashed opposition MP Scott Morrison, who was holding a doorstop with reporters outside Parliament House yesterday morning.

All he did was walk past.

The reporters turned tail on Mr Morrison - like he'd have you believe asylum seekers will shun Australia under the Coalition - and clattered after Mr Fitzgibbon.

The buzz was caused by the MP's earlier mischief on Sunrise, where he'd told host David Koch, "Hang on Kochie, I just brought a manual with me. I'll see what it says. It says I should say 'polls come and go, but the only poll that matters is on election day'."

Nudge. Wink.

Disappointed by Mr Fitzgibbon, who quipped "nice to be popular" and got in a car, the reporters trudged back over to Mr Morrison, who they'd left hanging mid-answer. Awkward!

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