As a young man, all Axle Whitehead wanted to do when he grew up was follow in the farming footsteps of his ancestors and work with sheep and horses.
But like so many boyhood dreams, they got interrupted along the way and today, instead of mucking out stables in Victoria, he is giving away stacks of money in Poland.
The actor/musician who has had a string of big and small screen parts here and in the US since playing Liam Murphy in Home and Away, is heading up Australia’s newest game show blockbuster The Wall.
Each week the feel-good show, which is recorded in Poland because of the size of the set, which boasts a 4.5 metre “wall”, has millions of dollars on offer.
“The show is about transforming good people’s lives,” said Axle, who is clearly proud of The Wall.
“Without sounding cliche, it really does,” he said.
“Some people may have faced adversity, have a sick child or lost someone, while other people are just good humans who have done amazing things for their communities.
“It is such a captivating show because $12 million is up for grabs and you can see people who win and lose millions in a heartbeat.”
Contestants in The Wall fly from Australia to Poland to record the show.
“It’s simply more cost effective to use the Polish set which is used by production companies throughout east Europe,” said Axle.
There are other “walls” in Los Angeles and France.
In order to conquer The Wall, players need a mix of brains, bravery and blind luck, and even then, there’s no guarantees.
It’s the ultimate game of risk and reward.
The rules are simple: a pair of teammates must try to beat The Wall by answering general knowledge questions. Answer correctly and the balls turn green and fly down The Wall – wherever they land adds money to the team’s winning total.
Get an answer wrong and the balls turn red and the money is deducted from the team’s total.
Axle, who got his name after his brothers had difficulty pronouncing his real name of Alexander, is not new to hosting a show, having been a former Australian Video Hits host between 2004 and 2006 and traveled the world interviewing artists such as Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Oasis and Duran Duran.
For the time being he is happy to split his time between the US and Australia (and Poland, of course), but eventually he would like to spend more time in Australia and buy some farming land near his family in Victoria and get his hands dirty again.
THE WALL can be seen on Channel 7 each Monday and Tuesday at 7.30pm
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