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Ian "Dicko" Dickson (born 28 March 1963 as Ian Ross Perrygrove in Birminghammarker, Englandmarker) is an Australian music industry and television personality. He is best known as a judge on the television shows Australian Idol and The Next Great American Band. Dickson is also an Australian morning radio personality, currently heard on Vega 91.5fm (3PTV) breakfast show Dicko, Dave & Chrissie alongside comedian Dave O'Neil and former Big Brother runner up Chrissie Swan.


Ian Dickson, music mogul, is the grandson of former professional footballer Ian Dickson from Dumfriesmarker. As well as playing for home town 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.

Australian Idol

In the early 1980s, Dickson completed a degree in politics from the University of Nottinghammarker before entering music journalism. He met his wife, Melanie Bell, in Bristolmarker 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 Sydneymarker 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 Australians 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.

Role with Seven

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 and in November 2006 he appeared as a panelist on the ABCmarker'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 a weak series.

Return to Idol

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.

Dickson has 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.

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 4 years earlier.

Vega FM

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 is titled Dicko, Dave & Chrissie.

Personal life

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, two daughters Esme and Edie Perrygrove, and three cats..

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 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.

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:


  1. Article on Ian Dickson, music mogul, on the official Queen of the South website

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