Matty McLean had a showstopping surprise for Polly “PJ” Harding ahead of their first show, leaving Harding too stunned to speak.
To mark the first day of The Hits Drive show with Matty and PJ yesterday, McLean organised a lively welcome for his new co-host — a performance by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band.
“We’ve got our first show at 3 o’clock today and PJ’s having lunch but I thought we better surprise her,” he says in a video posted to the show’s Instagram account. “What better way to do that than with the Royal Marines Corp of Drums.”
The band begin playing while McLean waits for Harding to return from lunch and as soon as he sees her, the former Breakfast star runs over to her with his arms up shouting “I got you a band!” resulting in a shocked-looking Harding gasping and covering her mouth with her hand.
“No, I can’t,” she laughs looking at her new co-workers watching on from the levels above. “Did you do this?” she asks McLean, who grins telling her, “Yeah, I thought we better start off with a bang.”
It was announced in November last year that the dynamic duo and long-time friends would take over the show.
Speaking to the Herald ahead of their first show, Harding — who has had a hugely successful radio career — admitted it was a relatively easy decision for her to return to air.
Since leaving the Melboune-based show she co-hosted with Jase Hawkins, KIIS FM Jase and PJ breakfast show, in 2018, the 33-year-old has welcomed her first child into the world, started planning her wedding to her fiancé Beej Campbell, and seemingly become a regular fill-in host at ZM, which she confessed was the catalyst for taking on the The Hits Drive co-hosting role.
“I obviously filled in a couple of times back on ZM last year and each time I did that, I started chatting with myself going ‘Why am I not doing this anymore?’” she explains. “I realised that I’d taken the break I needed. I’d come back. I kind of put down my roots that I was craving so much when I was away that made me leave my job in the first place and I kind of got to this position where I was like, ‘I’m still only like 33, I’ve got a lot of radio and a lot of stuff like this that I still really want to do’.”
When the opportunity was presented to her to co-host The Hits Drive, Harding says she initially ummed and ahhed about taking the role, but once the seed was planted in her head, it kept growing to the point where she couldn’t ignore it.
“It really did feel like the right timing for me and I just got really excited about it,” she says.
As for McLean, his decision to join the show meant saying goodbye to TVNZ’s Breakfast, a show he had been a part of for seven years, and a company he had called home for more than 16, but he knows it was the right decision.
“I got this call to ask if I would ever consider coming over to The Hits and once I started to learn a little bit more about the show and the fact that it was with PJ, I just thought, ‘man, if there was ever a time where it felt right to take that leap of faith, like this is it, 100 per cent.’ And, I’m so glad I did. Honestly, I haven’t looked back.” He quickly adds, “and I mean that with no disrespect.”
Listen to The Hits Drive with Matty and PJ every Mon-Fri from 3pm-7pm on air and on iHeartRadio.
This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.
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