Ian Dickson (TV personality)

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Ian Dickson
Ian "Dicko" Dickson (6719088849).jpg
Born Ian Ross Perrygrove
(1963-03-28) 28 March 1963 (age 54)
Birmingham, West Midlands, England
Residence Queensland, Australia
Other names Ian Dickson, Dicko
Occupation Television and radio personality, producer
Years active 2003 - Present
Known for Australian Idol, The Next Great American Band and Australia's Got Talent
Spouse(s) Melanie Bell
Children Esme Perrygrove
Edie Perrygrove
Website iandickson.com.au

Ian Ross Perrygrove (born 28 March 1963) better known as Ian "Dicko" Dickson is an English Australian television and radio presenter, television producer, music journalist and former record company executive and talent scout. He is best known as a talent judge on Australian Idol, The Next Great American Band and more recently Australia's Got Talent. Dicko spent over twenty years working in the record industry in both the U.K. and Australia, working inside iconic labels such as Creation Records, Sony, A&M and BMG. Dicko has worked with big music acts including Celine Dion, Ozzy Osbourne, Primal Scream and Pearl Jam.

Early Life and Education[edit]

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.[1]

Dickson graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in politics in 1985.[2] He met his wife, Melanie Bell, in Bristol around the same time. His first job in the music industry was as Press and Promotions Manager for Creation Records, and managed bands including The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Felt, Weather Prophets, My Bloody Valentine and Oasis. He also wrote freelance reviews and features as a music journalist for Melody Maker and Record Mirror.

In 1989, he joined Sony Music UK (then CBS Records) as a press officer, managing Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Midnight Oil, Warrant and Michael Bolton. In 1990, he moved to the Epic Records label as a marketing executive working with Pearl Jam, Ozzy Osbourne, Living Colour, Screaming Trees and Celine Dion. He became Director of International for Sony UK in 1993, overseeing global strategies for all Epic and S2 label artists including Jamiroquai, Desree, Reef, Manic Street Preachers and Basia. He moved to A&M Records UK in 1994 as Director of International, looking after acts such as Chris De Burgh, Therapy, Del Amitri, The Bluetones and the Mowax label including DJ Shadow, Money Mark and U.N.C.L.E.[3]

In 2001, he moved to Sydney to take up the position of General Manager of Marketing for Sony BMG Australia, and remained in the role until August 2004.[4]


2003 - 2004: Australian Idol[edit]

In 2003, Dicko took up his best known role, as the "nasty" judge on Australian Idol in the first and second seasons. Alongside Dicko were fellow judges Marcia Hines and Mark Holden. The first series premiered on 27 July 2003 on Network Ten and was an instant ratings hit nationwide. Dicko 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 his tenure he became hugely popular for his candid assessments of Idol's performances based on his expertise and experience within the record industry. He was also Australia's judge at the first World Idol in December 2003.

2005 - 2006: Dicko moves to Seven Network[edit]

Near the end of the 2004 series of Australian Idol, it was announced that Dicko would be leaving the show (and Network Ten) to move to the Seven Network to broaden his interests as a presenter and producer. The move to Seven caused controversy at the time, as the popularity of Idol and Dicko himself were at their peak. In 2005 Dicko's first role at the Seven Network was as host of the second season of reality TV series My Restaurant Rules, where he succeeding previous host Curtis Stone. Also that year Dicko was a contestant Dancing with the Stars where he placed third in the competition.

During this time, Dicko and his business partner and manager, David Wilson, formed Watercooler Media, an independent television production company.

In December 2005, Dicko began his first stint on radio, hosting the morning show on Sydney and Melbourne radio stations Vega 95.3 and Vega 91.5, both part of the Vega radio network.

In 2006, Dicko was the host of Australian Celebrity Survivor on the Seven Network. He was praised by critics for his strong performance as a host.

2007–2009: Dicko's return to Australian Idol and Network Ten[edit]

On 30 November 2006, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Dicko would return to Network Ten in 2007 to become a fourth judge on the fifth season of Australian Idol', rejoining Mark Holden, Marcia Hines and his successor Kyle Sandilands.[5] Season five premiered on 5 August 2007.

That same year Dicko accepted an offer to be a judge on The Next Great American Band on Fox in the U.S. Dicko was scouted by American Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick based on his performance at World Idol four years earlier. Alongside Dicko were fellow judges Sheila E. and John Rzeznik and the series premiered on 19 October 2007. Australian Idol and The Next Great American Band were filmed simultaneously, which meant Dicko traveled back and forth between the U.S. and Australia for his filming duties.

Dicko resumed his judge's role on Australian Idol seasons six and seven in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The series ended on Network Ten in 2009, but is now seen as the original singing competition TV series in Australia. Its success helped pave the way for similar shows like The X Factor, Australia's Got Talent and The Voice.

In January 2008, it was announced that Dicko would be hosting the breakfast radio show on Vega 91.5 alongside comedian Dave O'Neil and former Big Brother runner-up Chrissie Swan, replacing Denise Scott and Shaun Micallef. The breakfast show was titled Dicko, Dave & Chrissie. Chrissie left the show in 2009 and Dicko and Dave continued the show for one more year until its end in 2010.

2010 - 2011: Dicko opens a Can of Worms[edit]

Since 2005 Dicko and his business partner and manager, David Wilson, had been developing a new TV series talk show. The series placed three celebrities before a live studio audience where they were asked tricky moral questions such as, "Is it okay to monitor your children online?" or "Is it okay to dress up a Hitler at a fancy dress party?". The celebrities had to answer yes or no to the questions with no in-between. The idea for the show was pitched to TV networks several times throughout 2005-2009, and each time the show was rejected. In 2010 Dicko and David partnered with TV producer and presenter Andrew Denton to co-produce the show. It was then re-pitched to Network Ten, where Dicko acted as a host in the meeting and the executives played the celebrity contestants. The show was bought within that pitch meeting and would then be called Can of Worms.

The first series premiered on 4 July 2011 on Network Ten with Dicko and Meshel Laurie as hosts. "The Australian public have had my opinion for eight years and it's time for me to shut up. To be honest, I'm sick of what I think, so I'm sure the public is too," said Dicko of hosting the show.[6] At the end of the first series Dicko elected not to return as a host of subsequent series but remained as an executive producer.[7] Can of Worms lasted two more seasons with Chrissie Swan and Dan Illic as hosts and ended in 2014.

2012 - 2014: Dicko wins The Celebrity Apprentice Australia and returns to radio[edit]

After leaving his hosting duties on Can of Worms at the end of 2011, Dicko joined the cast of the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, which premiered on the Nine Network on 18 April 2012. Dicko made through to the final two celebrities, and was announced the winner of the series in the final episode that saw a tearful Dicko gracefully split his earnings with runner-up Nathan Joliffee. Dicko won AUD$204,253 to his nominated charity The Australian Children's Music Foundation. The soft-sided Dicko seen during the series and the final was in contrast to his persona as the hard-as-nails judge on Australian Idol.

After winning The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, Dicko took a some time away from the media spotlight and returned to Europe to spend time with his family. Upon his return to Australia, Dicko announced he would be returning to radio in 2013 as the breakfast host on Sydney talkback AM radio station 2UE alongside 2UE police reporter Sarah Morice.[8] In 2014 Dicko and Morice moved to the 12pm-3pm shift hosting their show Afternoons with Dicko & Sarah. The show came to an end at the end of 2014.

2015 - Onwards: Dicko's return to the judges' chair and First Contact[edit]

In July 2015 Dicko played Widow Twanky in Bonnie Lythgoe's stage production of Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp at the State Theatre in Sydney, Australia. Jessica Rowe and Beau Ryan also appeared in the production.

On 28 October 2015, it was announced that Dicko would be one of the four new judges on the Nine Network's new Australia's Got Talent.[9] The series aired in on 1 February 2016 with Dicko as a judge alongside Kelly Osbourne, Sophie Monk and Eddie Perfect.

Dicko next appears on TV screens in the second season of the Logie-winning TV series First Contact on SBS. The series follows six well known Australians as they spend twenty-eight days living in various Indigenous communities across Australia, challenging their preconceptions of Australia's own Indigenous people. The series will premiere on Tuesday 29 November 2016 on SBS.[10]

Personal life[edit]

On Australia Day, (26 January), 2007, Dicko 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 and American Idol counterpart Simon Cowell, going back to their days working together in the British music industry. It was Cowell who convinced Dicko to take the role as the "villain judge", despite Dicko'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.[11]

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

Dicko is a Western Sydney Wanderers supporter. He previously supported Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC. He is also an atheist.[13]

Dicko currently lives on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.


  1. ^ Article on Ian Dickson (footballer) and Ian Dickson (music mogul), on the official Queen of the South website
  2. ^ "Episode 40". Spicks and Specks. ABC. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Ian Dicko Dickson". Enhance Entertainment. Enhance Entertainment Pty Ltd. 
  4. ^ "Ian Dickson Biography". IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  5. ^ Idato, Michael (30 November 2006). "Dicko ready to return to Idol ranks". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 May 2007. 
  6. ^ http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/dicko-set-to-launch-new-chat-style-panel-show-can-of-worms/story-e6frfmyi-1226083632140
  7. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/dicko-sacks-himself-as-can-of-worms-host-20111220-1p3d2.html
  8. ^ http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/ues-new-breakfast-pair-ian-dicko-dickson-and-sarah-morice-take-on-alan-jones/story-e6frewz0-1226557740106
  9. ^ http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2015/10/nine-upfronts-2016-nine-goes-hd-new-lifestyle-channel-and-daryl-somers-returns.html
  10. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/david-oldfield-former-one-nation-hardman-to-lead-celebrity-first-contact-20161009-gryhjd.html
  11. ^ "Interview with Ian "Dicko" Dickson". FHM. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  12. ^ Cohen, Janine (19 February 2007). "Battling the Booze". Four Corners. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  13. ^ "I have developed a spirituality which I suppose you could call metaphysics or science of mind - nothing to do with Scientology, I hasten to add. It's something that was developed by a guy called Ernest Holmes, and it's about the law of the universe, the law of attraction. It's all that stuff that's been popular on The Secret but there's far more to it than that. I'm an atheist but I've got a spirituality I can fall back on. I don't like religion because I see it as a bureaucracy of faith and I've never really been big on bureaucracy." Ian Dickson interviewed by Bridget McManus, 'Back to where he once belonged', The Age (Australia), August 2, 2007 (accessed May 22, 2008).

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