Darryn Lyons

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For the Scottish footballer, see Darren Lyon.
Darryn Lyons
Mayor of Geelong
Assumed office
26 November 2013
Deputy Bruce Harwood
Michelle Heagney
Preceded by Keith Fagg
Personal details
Born (1965-08-19) 19 August 1965 (age 49)
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party
Residence Geelong
Education Geelong East Technical School
Occupation Paparazzo, entrepreneur, mayor, celebrity

Darryn Lyons (born 19 August 1965) is an Australian media personality, entrepreneur and politician, who rose to prominence in Australia and the United Kingdom as a paparazzo. He entered politics in 2013, when he was elected Mayor of Geelong.

Early life[edit]

Born in Geelong, Victoria, Australia on 19 August 1965, Lyons grew up the youngest of three children in a "cathedral-like" house in Melbourne, designed by his father, who was an architect and the choirmaster of the Aberdeen Street Baptist Church.[1] Lyons's passion for photography started at a young age and he attended East Geelong Tech secondary school, where he was regularly dux of school.[2]

Photography career[edit]

Lyons graduated from Geelong East Technical School, then began work as a professional photographer at the Geelong News and Geelong Advertiser. At the age of 22, he moved to London, where he gained a job at the News of the World after a chance meeting with Rupert Murdoch. Two years later, he left to take a position with the Daily Mail, for whom he provided coverage of the Bosnian War.[3]

In 1993 Lyons founded the picture company Big Pictures, which supplies paparazzi-style photography for news organisations. Big Pictures was run by Melanie Lyons and Kevin Anstey, while Lyons worked as a photographer for the Daily Mail newspaper. During 1996 Darryn Lyons left the Daily Mail to work full-time at Big Pictures alongside Melanie Lyons. He gained widespread media attention when his company sold a photograph to the News of the World, which was used to support a claim that football star David Beckham was having an affair with his personal assistant Rebecca Loos.[4]

In 2012 Big Pictures 21 staff members were made redundant, as the company was placed into administration with significant debts. Lyons subsequently established the Mr Paparazzi Celebrity Deals company and became a shareholder of another firm called BPGG Limited, facilitating the purchase of Big Pictures' assets for £164,000.[5]

Lyons starred in a weekly online show called Mr Paparazzi Show, which was produced by Big Pictures Productions.[6]

Media appearances[edit]

Lyons has frequently appeared on radio and television programmes, including the role of weekly commentator on ITV1’s Alan Titchmarsh show, the Sky News Sunrise program, LK Today, and Australian radio shows Kyle and Jackie O Show and Hughsey and Kate. Lyons has also written for the Geelong Advertiser newspaper and NW Magazine.[7]

He was one of the five "business experts" on the Australian reality television program Dragons' Den, which ended in 2005 after one season, and he was then featured on the Paparazzi show, which focused upon Lyons and Big Pictures.[6]

He appeared in the 2007 reality television show Deadline as a picture editor, alongside editor-in-chief Janet Street-Porter. The show's premise involved 10 celebrities who were required to produce their own celebrity magazine, and Lyons was the high tech camera instructor. On 9 May 2007, Lyons appeared on British television show Through the Keyhole, and during the same year, also appeared on Tycoon, which was produced and developed by Peter Jones.[citation needed]

He also appeared in the Top Gear television show (series 16, episode 2), in which he participated in a double-car race, which was an automotive variant of "The Ashes" — he had control of the throttle and brake pedal, but not the steering wheel. He dyed his hair the colours and pattern of the Australian flag for the event.[8]

In 2011, he became a housemate in the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother 8 on Channel 5, and entered the house on 18 August 2011. Within a few days of entering the Big Brother house, Lyons unveiled his cosmetic "six-pack", which caused a high volume of media coverage for being a "sculpted six pack seemingly implanted atop his generous gut".[9] He eventually finished in sixth place.

In 2012 Lyons was a contestant in Excess Baggage Australia, alongside other celebrities like singer Christine Anu and actor Gabby Millgate. The show was transferred to digital channel GO! shortly after its premiere due to poor ratings. Following the show's completion, it was deemed a failure, with numerous people identifying the contestants as the reason for the lack of success. Media analyst Mark McCraith stated that the celebrities were not famous enough, while marketing executive Steve Allen explained:

We understand why celebrities are put into programs - to draw viewers in because they are well known - but they have to be relevant. Reality shows, especially, require audience engagement to generate water cooler moments. Excess Baggage did not generate this.[10]

Mayor of Geelong[edit]

In 2013 Lyons announced his candidacy for the City of Greater Geelong 2013 mayoral election. He said, "What I learned from my time in the UK is that every election needs a comedy candidate. I've also seen from Tony Abbott's example that the electorate respects a man with great abs".[11] He was declared elected after the distribution of preferences on 25 November 2013, having garnered almost 30 per cent of the first preference votes.[12] Lyons was sworn into office on 26 November 2013, by City of Greater Geelong CEO Stephen Griffin at a Council Meeting held in the Council Chamber at City Hall, Geelong.

As mayor, Lyons has focussed on lobbying for the city, creating publicity and lifting the city's profile in order to attract tourism and investment.[13]

Lyons has advocated for building a cruise ship pier on the Geelong waterfront in order to boost the city's economy with tourism.[14] The pier would also incorporate a convention centre and cultural centre.

Other initiatives introduced by Lyons include improving the city centre by making street parking free on weekends and planting plants in the streets.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Lyons is a member of the Liberal Party of Australia and resides in the Western Beach area of Geelong. His fiancee is Elissa Friday, a former model and a student. He was formerly married to Melanie Whitehead, who left him in 2000.[16] Lyons is a personal friend of Melbourne mayor Robert Doyle, who supported Lyons during his 2013 electoral campaign.[2]


  1. ^ "Caught on camera: Darryn Lyons' London home". The Independent (London). 13 August 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Mandy Squires (1 December 2013). "Meet Geelong's new mayor, Darryn Lyons". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Geelong boy comes to the party", The Age, published 17 April 2004, accessed 4 August 2006.
  4. ^ "Geelong snapper who took a bite of Beckham's image", The Sydney Morning Herald, published 17 April 2004, accessed 4 August 2006
  5. ^ Chris Pleasance (4 December 2013). "Watch out, he'll want YOUR job next! Big Brother contestant Darryn Lyons continues new life as a politician with a photoshoot alongside Australia's prime minister". Mail Online. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Speaker Darryn Lyons - Mr Paparazzi". ICMI. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Darryn Lyons". Touchstone Media Group. Celeb Agents. 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Ashes Part 1: Double Decker Race - Top Gear Series 16 Episode 2 - BBC Two". 
  9. ^ "Big Brother celeb mocked over fake abs". ninemsn. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  10. ^ Colin Vickery (21 March 2012). "Lessons we learned from Excess Baggage". News.com.au. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Royce Millar (13 November 2013). "Old school ties and six packs". The Age. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Dow, Alisha (2013-11-25). "Entrepreneur Darryn Lyons declared Geelong mayor". The Age. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  13. ^ Paul, Margaret (3 March 2014). "Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons makes long list for world mayor competition". ABC News. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Best, Cameron (26 February 2014). "Geelong ups ante for new cruise ship pier to boost tourism jobs". ABC News. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Squires, Mandy (22 November 2014). "Addy reader survey: Community split over Darryn Lyons’ performance as mayor". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  16. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/national/people/the-emperor-of-geelong-20140217-32uom.html "The Emperor of Geelong" GoodWeekend and Sydney Morning Herald, 22 February 2014.

External links[edit]