Telethon 2023 favourite moments: Ant Middleton gets slimed, Shirvo does the splits and Nicolas Cage donates

Clare RigdenThe West Australian
What an incredible 26 hours of Telethon it was. So many highlights — so much fun! Here are our favourite moments from the action-packed live broadcast.
Camera IconWhat an incredible 26 hours of Telethon it was. So many highlights — so much fun! Here are our favourite moments from the action-packed live broadcast. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

From Matt Shirvington doing the splits live on TV, to Marcia Hines’ disco extravaganza, Charlie Albone’s rollerskating Ken-ergy and Ant Middleton’s slimey comeuppance, Telethon 2023 truly delivered.

And it seemed everyone was prepared to join in the fun — even Hollywood A-lister Nicolas Cage rang the Telethon NRMA Insurance call centre, pledging $5000 towards the tally.

We take a look at the 14 best moments from Telethon 2023’s action-packed live broadcast.

1. Charlie Albone and Karen Ledbury as Barbie and Ken

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This was the performance we never knew we needed!

Better Homes star Albone had big Ken-ergy as he took to the stage in fluoro pink, accompanied by Ledbury, who, it turns out, is a dab hand on the old rollerskates.

They made it look so easy!

2. Ben O’Shea as Famous Sharron!

Telethon 2023 - Matt Tinney, Famous Sharron and Ben O'Shea (dressed as Famous Sharron)
Camera IconFamous Sharron and Ben O'Shea (dressed as Famous Sharron). We love to see it! Credit: Supplied/Seven Network

What’s better than one Famous Sharon? Two Famous Sharrons!

The West Live’s very own Ben O’Shea joined the Perth performer for a hilarious co-hosting stint, finishing up with a final challenge in which he transformed to become “as famous as Famous Sharron”.

Suits him!

3. Matt Fuller rides high

Over 21 years, Matt Fuller has raised an astonishing $2 million for Telethon, riding up a storm each year to raise money for the charity.

This year was his final time, but he wants his legacy to live on.

“I had a conversation with one of our sponsors yesterday and he said, ‘Matt, what am I going to do next year?’. I said ‘ We don’t have to ride a bike to give’.

“You can use that money to help the kids of WA — it’s not about raising profiles, it’s about raising funds for the kids.”

4. Andy Donaldson’s swim

Andy Donaldson, with Premier Roger Cook and former Freo Dockers star David Mundy, arriving at Leighton Beach to a guard of honour (Nippers). Andy has swum from Rotto to Leighton to raise money for Telethon. The three will run to Mosman Bay. Picture: Philip Gostelow /The West Australian
Camera IconAndy Donaldson, with Premier Roger Cook and former Freo Dockers star David Mundy, arriving at Leighton Beach to a guard of honour (Nippers). Credit: Philip Gostelow/The West Australian

Ultramarathon swimmer Andy Donaldson’s epic swim from Rottnest to Victoria Quay surely has to rate as one of Telethon’s best moments. We loved following his progress and seeing how many whales were along for the ride during his swim.

There’s only one word to describe what he achieved: epic.

5. Ant Middleton gets slimed

Ant Middleton copped a face full of slime.
Camera IconAnt Middleton copped a face full of slime. Credit: Ant Middleton/Instagram

We’re guessing this year’s crop of SAS Australia recruits would have liked to be the ones to drop a bucket of green slime in the face of the harsh ex-Royal Marine.

Thankfully he took it in his stride.

6. Emma Memma wows the crowd

Telethon 2023 Day 2 at RAC Arena
Emma Memma performs on stage on Sunday morning.
Camera IconEmma Memma performs on stage on Sunday morning. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Everyone’s favourite former Yellow Wiggle Emma Watkins, now performing as Emma Memma, graced the Telethon 2023 panel and stage, wowing audience members of all ages with her fun and inclusive performance.

The best bit? The hearing-impaired were able to join in as well thanks to her signing abilities and the on-screen sign language expert.

7. Whiz Kids for the win!

Six Telethon celebrities took to the court to face a team of Whiz Kids in a game of wheelchair basketball at Streamer’s All Abilities precinct.

West Coast premiership player Mark LeCras, Wildcats legends Andrew Vlahov and Shawn Redhage, Adam Rowland and Matt Evans from Home and Away, and Sunrise’s Katie Brown slowly worked their way into the game.

But it was the Whiz Kids who emerged victorious, with young Henry Byles stealing the show as MVP.

8. Shirvo does the splits

No one told us Sunrise host Matt Shirvington had gymnastic abilities as well as prowess on the running track.

We were in stitches as he took to the stage dressed as Tom Cruise in Risky Business for a lip-sync challenge, dropping to the floor and doing the splits as part of his hilarious performance.

More please, Shirvo!

9. Dr Harry lip-syncs up a storm

Dr Harry Cooper’s incredible lip-syncing performance of Great Balls of Fire cemented his place as our fave good sport. What a champ! Extra points for that hilarious wig and spangly shirt.

10. Ryan Daniels gets first pie

It’s a Telethon tradition — but who would be first to cop a pie in the face this year?

Turns out that privilege went to 7NEWS sports presenter Ryan Daniels, who fell victim to the notorious pie thrower at precisely 8.49pm on Saturday night.

Larry Emdur’s face said it all.

Ever the good sport, Daniels simply laughed it off.

11. Adam Rowland goes shirtless

Home and Away stars are contractually required to take their shirts off for Telethon — it’s the law.

Well, it’s not, but Adam Rowland was only too happy to oblige. And we weren’t complaining! “It’s for the kids, right?” he pointed out. And who are we to argue?

12. Marcia’s disco extravaganza

News. Telethon 2023. Singer Marcia Hines openms Telethon 2023 at the RAC Arena.
Camera IconMarcia Hines opened Telethon 2023 at the RAC Arena. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

A packed RAC Arena erupted in rapturous applause as soul diva and bona fide national treasure Marcia Hines took to the stage with a powerful rendition of Disco Inferno.

Hines will join judges Amy Shark and Kyle Sandilands when Australian Idol returns to screens in 2024.

13. Phil Burton’s glorious pink suit

He won this year’s Dancing With the Stars, and clearly Human Nature’s Phil Burton picked up a few fashion pointers during his time on the show.

He donned a truly sensational bright pink suit for his Telethon opening performance, knocking it out of the park with an incredible rendition of the Isley Brothers’ Shout.

14. Nicolas Cage gives big

He may not have made it up for Telethon, but Hollywood superstar Nicholas Cage handed over a personal donation of $5000, which was announced by Rick Ardon on Sunday afternoon.

“I’d love to be with you right now but I am filming down south,” Cage said in an aired recording of his call to the Telethon NRMA Insurance call centre.

“I’d like to ask you to please donate to Telethon and help some children, maybe save some children’s lives.”

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