Ian Dickson (TV personality)

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Ian Dickson
Ian Dickson 2012.jpg
Dickson in 2012
Born Ian Ross Perrygrove
(1963-03-28) 28 March 1963 (age 52)
Birmingham, West Midlands, England
Other names Dicko
Occupation Television presenter
Spouse(s) Melanie Bell
Children Esme Perrygrove
Edie Perrygrove

Ian Ross Perrygrove (28 March 1963) in Birmingham, England) better known as Ian "Dicko" Dickson is an English Australian music industry and television and radio celebrity and personality, and former record company executive. He is best known as a judge on the television shows Australian Idol and The Next Great American Band. Dickson has previously been heard on Classic Rock FM[1] (formerly Vega 91.5fm) (3PTV) breakfast show Dicko & Dave alongside comedian Dave O'Neil.



Dickson is the grandson of former professional footballer Ian Dickson from Dumfries. As well as playing for hometown club Queen of the South, Dickson the footballer also played for Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. It is from his time with Aston Villa that Dickson the footballer set roots in Birmingham, the home city of "Dicko" the music mogul.[2]

Australian Idol[edit]

In the early 1980s, Dickson completed a degree in politics from the University of Nottingham before entering music journalism.[citation needed] He met his wife, Melanie Bell, in Bristol around the same time. She gave him his jump start in the music industry, soon working for several record companies and managing a growing rotation of bands and artists. In 2001, he moved to Sydney to take up the position of General Manager of Marketing for Sony BMG Australia, and in 2003 took up his best known role, as the (supposed) "nasty" judge on Australian Idol in the first and second seasons. He was initially disliked by a large majority of viewers for his insensitive cold attitude (including controversial comments on a female contestant's weight), but towards the end of tenure became hugely popular for his candid assessments of Idol's performances. He was also Australia's judge at the first World Idol in December 2003.

Seven Network[edit]

Near the end of the 2004 series, it was announced he would be leaving Australian Idol (and Network Ten) to take up a job at the Seven Network to broaden his interests as a presenter and producer. His departure came at the height of the show's and his own popularity. His heavy criticism of the show's format wearing thin proved to be true throughout the third season as lackluster ratings and the quality of the overall contestants were enough to support his claims. Critics have also pointed out his replacement shock jock, Kyle Sandilands, whose criticisms of contestants focuses primarily on image and are often seen as cruel as opposed to Dicko's constructive style, as a factor in the show's decline. He began his new career direction by founding his own production company "Watercooler Productions". As a member of the Seven roster, he went on to host the restaurant reality show My Restaurant Rules succeeding previous host Curtis Stone, and appear on the celebrity dancing competition Dancing with the Stars in which he placed third. He returned to the series as a guest judge during the fifth series in which he provided contestants with comments based on "entertainment value".

In April 2006, he appeared as a guest judge on the SBS programme Song for fhe Socceroos[3] and in November 2006 he appeared as a panellist on the ABC's My Favourite Album.

In 2006, he was the host of Celebrity Survivor, the Seven Network's celebrity version of Survivor. His last role for the network saw him praised by critics for his strong performance in what was considered an at best average series.

Return to Idol[edit]

On 30 November 2006, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Dickson would return to Network Ten to become a fourth judge on the 2007 Australian Idol competition, rejoining Mark Holden, Marcia Hines and his successor Kyle Sandilands.[4]

Dickson attributed his return to being tired of the constant displacement of his talent by the Seven Network, the clear improvement of the show's format and high calibre of the fourth season's contestants. He says his role as the harsh but honest judge which endeared him to many was the one he was most comfortable with.

"Look, I loved Australian Idol. Basically, everything I have now would not have happened without Idol. I probably went a bit cold on it last year. This year, I think it's back with a vengeance – I'm actually addicted to it. I did feel a bit jealous at times, looking at the show still going on without me. I left because, I guess, I didn't want to become a pantomime baddie. I didn't want to become too predictable. Plus, I'll be honest; I'm in it for the money as well".

This also comes after a controversial rant he made just months before in which he described his then former co-judge Mark Holden as "mind-numbingly stupid and erratic" and his successor Kyle Sandilands as "a bit of a loud-mouth jerk". He concluded by labelling the treatment of the winner of the second season, the last winner under his employment, Casey Donovan as a "horrible disaster" alluding to her short-lived success and being the first Idol to be dropped from Sony BMG.[5]

This has since reignited his well publicized feud with his co-judge with Holden accusing Dickson of once again using the show until he finds another vehicle for success, naming Dickson's recent venture that will see him judging on a new American program, Fox network's The Next Great American Band. Dickson has countered these claims by accusing Holden of doing the very same by creating an on-air character and confirming Holden's intentions of forging an acting career.

Dickson is a judge, alongside Sheila E. and John Rzeznik, on The Next Great American Band, which premiered in fall 2007 to dismally low ratings. He will continue his role on Australian Idol concurrently, flying back and forth between the United States and Australia. He was scouted by American Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick based on his performance at World Idol four years earlier.

Celebrity Apprentice Australia[edit]

In May 2012, Dicko was the winner of Celebrity Apprentice AU. Dickson won the final of the Nine Network show after producing a music video, which was judged only mildly superior to one created by Nathan Jolliffe, to get the nod from host/boss Mark Bouris. The soft-sided Dickson seen during the series and the final was in contrast to his persona as the hard-as-nails judge on Australian Idol.

Australia's Got Talent[edit]

On 28 October 2015, it was announced that Dicko would be 1 of the 4 new judges on Australia's Got Talent for its eighth season.[6]

Other work[edit]

In December 2005, Dicko hosted the morning show on Sydney and Melbourne radio stations Vega 95.3 and Vega 91.5 both part of the Vega radio network. In January 2008, it was announced that Dicko would be presenting breakfast on Vega 91.5fm alongside comedian Dave O'Neil and former Big Brother runner up Chrissie Swan replacing Denise Scott and Shaun Micallef who had been with the station from its inception. The breakfast show was titled Dicko, Dave & Chrissie. Dicko and Dave were axed from Classic Rock 91.5fm on 15 July 2010.

Dicko hosted the Australian football (soccer) show Hyundai Matchday Saturday, for three weeks while the regular host was away at the US Open.[7] In September 2012 he Filled In on 2UE in Sydney for Murray Olds and Murray Wilton. In 2013, Dickson became the permanent host for 2UE Breakfast alongside 2UE police reporter Sarah Morice. In 2014 Dickson and Morice then moved to the 12pm-3pm shift hosting their show "Afternoons with Dicko & Sarah/".[8] Dickson left 2UE after the show was axed in June 2014.[9]

Personal life[edit]

On Australia Day, (26 January), 2007, Dickson became an Australian citizen. He has lived in Australia for over five years with his wife, Melanie Bell and two daughters Esme and Edie Perrygrove. He is good friends with his Pop Idol/American Idol counterpart Simon Cowell, going back to their days working together in the British music industry. It was Cowell who convinced Dickson to take the role as the "villain judge", despite Dickson's reservations given that he was relatively new to his adopted homeland and wanted to settle at a gradual pace. Cowell guaranteed immediate money and fame as incentives.[10]

On an episode of the ABC Australian news program Four Corners broadcast on 19 February 2007, Dickson went public and discussed his problems with alcohol. The program followed how he attempted to give up alcohol altogether, however several weeks in Dickson broke from his attempt at abstinence. During the program he admitted that he was an alcoholic:

Dickson is a Western Sydney Wanderers supporter. He previously supported Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Curtis Stone
My Restaurant Rules

February 2005 – May 2005
Succeeded by
program ceased
Preceded by
Holly Brisley & Mark Hodge
Dancing with the Stars (Australia) third place contestant
Season 3 (Late 2005 with Leanne Bampton)
Succeeded by
Toby Allen & Leanne Bampton
Preceded by
Lincoln Howes
Australian Survivor

Succeeded by
Preceded by
program started
Can of Worms

Succeeded by
Chrissie Swan