|Mayor of Geelong|
26 November 2013 – 16 April 2016
|Preceded by||Keith Fagg|
|Succeeded by||(Administrator appointed)|
19 August 1965 |
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
|Political party||Liberal Party|
|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 held the position of Mayor of Geelong from 2013 to 2016.
Born in Geelong, Victoria, Australia on 19 August 1965, Lyons grew up the youngest of three children in the suburb of Herne Hill, and later Leopold. His father was an architect and the choirmaster of the Aberdeen Street Baptist Church, and designed the family's "cathedral-like" house. Lyons's passion for photography started at a young age, and he attended Geelong East Technical School, where he was regularly dux of school.
After completing his schooling, Lyons 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.
In 1993, Lyons founded the picture company Big Pictures, which supplied paparazzi-style photography for news organisations. Big Pictures was run by his wife 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.
On the night of the fatal car crash involving Princess Diana in 1997, Big Pictures received photographs from its Paris agent Laurent Sola of Diana's final moments. Lyons still own these photos which have never been published, and has stated that he never would sell them. Lyons gave evidence at the 2007 inquest into Diana's death.
Big Pictures also ran a Mr Paparazzi website and YouTube channel from 2007 to 2013, featuring celebrity news, photos and videos
In 2012, Big Pictures was placed into administration after facing financial difficulties, with all staff members of the company being made redundant. 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. Big Pictures went into liquidation in 2013, owing more than £82,000 to photographers and picture agencies.
In 2013, Lyons announced plans to launch an online celebrity stock photographic agency called Celebstock, however these plans did not eventuate.
Lyons has frequently appeared on radio and television programmes, including the Sky News Sunrise programme, LK Today, Australian radio shows Kyle and Jackie O Show and Hughsey and Kate, and a role as a weekly commentator on ITV1’s Alan Titchmarsh Show. Lyons has also written for the Geelong Advertiser newspaper and NW magazine.
He also became a housemate in the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5, entering the house in 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". He eventually finished in sixth place.
In 2012, Lyons was a contestant in the Australian show Excess Baggage. 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.
Mayor of Geelong
In 2013, Lyons announced his candidacy for the City of Greater Geelong 2013 mayoral election. At the start of the election he was quoted as saying "As I have learnt from my time in the UK every election needs a comedy candidate and also as I've seen from Tony Abbott's example the electorate respects a man with great abs". Despite this he then campaigned heavily for the position with a "presidential-style mayoral campaign", including having a plane tow a banner across the sky in the city. He was declared elected after the distribution of preferences on 25 November 2013; Lyons garnered almost 30 per cent of the first preference votes, more than double the primary votes than the second-placed candidate. Lyons was sworn into office on 26 November 2013.
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.
Lyons has advocated for building a cruise ship pier on the Geelong waterfront in order to boost the city's economy with tourism. The pier would also incorporate a convention centre and cultural centre.
On 16 April 2016, the Victorian Government dismissed Lyons along with the rest of the Greater Geelong City Council, following a Commission of Inquiry which found that the council is riven with conflict, unable to manage Geelong's economic challenges, has dysfunctional leadership and has a culture of bullying. The government appointed administrators to run the council until council elections are held in 2017.
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. Lyons is a personal friend of Melbourne mayor Robert Doyle, who supported Lyons during his 2013 electoral campaign. Lyons has acknowledged drug abuse, binge drinking and heavy gambling during his life abroad.
- Grant Broadcasters Digital & New Media. "Darryn Lyons". 93.9 Bay FM. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Caught on camera: Darryn Lyons' London home". The Independent. London. 13 August 2008.
- Mandy Squires (1 December 2013). "Meet Geelong's new mayor, Darryn Lyons". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Geelong boy comes to the party", The Age, published 17 April 2004, accessed 4 August 2006.
- "Geelong snapper who took a bite of Beckham's image", The Sydney Morning Herald, published 17 April 2004, accessed 4 August 2006
- Lawson, Valerie (29 February 2008). "Geelong photographer to give evidence at Diana inquest". The Age. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Sweney, Mark (22 November 2008). "Sienna Miller settles with Big Pictures". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Dowell, Ben (17 March 2009). "Lily Allen given legal protection from paparazzi harassment". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Dyer, Clare (8 March 2008). "JK Rowling wins ban on photos of her son". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Adams, Stephen (15 May 2008). "Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant get £58,000 damages over photographs". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "About Us". Mr Paparazzi. Archived from the original on 25 August 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- O'Carroll, Lisa (5 October 2012). "Big Pictures paparazzi agency goes into administration after 20 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- 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.
- Halliday, Josh (17 January 2013). "Big Pictures goes into liquidation". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Dundas, Greg (12 June 2014). "Mayor silent on pay row". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Darryn Lyons". Celeb Agents. Touchstone Media Group. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Darryn Lyons - Mr Paparazzi". ICMI. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Weaver, Iain. "Weaver's Week 2007-07-08". UKGameshows. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "The Ashes Part 1: Double Decker Race - Top Gear Series 16 Episode 2 - BBC Two".
- "Big Brother celeb mocked over fake abs". ninemsn. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- Colin Vickery (21 March 2012). "Lessons we learned from Excess Baggage". News.com.au. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Dow, Alisha (2013-11-25). "Entrepreneur Darryn Lyons declared Geelong mayor". The Age. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
- "Councillors". City of Greater Geelong. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Paul, Margaret (3 March 2014). "Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons makes long list for world mayor competition". ABC News. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- Best, Cameron (26 February 2014). "Geelong ups ante for new cruise ship pier to boost tourism jobs". ABC News. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- Squires, Mandy (22 November 2014). "Addy reader survey: Community split over Darryn Lyons' performance as mayor". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- Local Government (Greater Geelong City Council) Act 2016 (Vic) s 2
- "Dismissal Of Greater Geelong City Council". Premier of Victoria. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- "Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Greater Geelong City Council". State Government of Victoria. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- "Geelong Council officially sacked, elections to be held in 2017, as bill passes Parliament". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- 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.
- Masanauskas, John (26 November 2013). "Mohawk Mayor of Geelong Darryn Lyons admits he abused drugs but vows to revitalise the town". Herald Sun. Retrieved 15 May 2015.