Entertainment & Arts

Oprah impresses Sydney during Australia visit

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Media captionOprah films two shows in her final series in Australia

US chat show host Oprah Winfrey has taped two shows for her 25th - and final - series in front of thousands of screaming fans in Sydney, Australia.

The shows were taped next to the city's landmark opera house, re-named the "Oprah House" for the occasion.

She justified Australia spending about $5m (£3m) to bring her there, saying the shows will be worth millions more in tourism publicity.

Oprah also brought over 300 US audience members with her to tour the country.

Four shows in total were taped for what is being billed as Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure.

Filming had to be stopped at one point after a dramatic entrance by Australian actor Hugh Jackman on a zipline running from the opera house went wrong and he ended up with a black eye.

Her eight-day tour has felt like a presidential, papal and royal visit all rolled into one, says the BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney.

The shows will be broadcast in January and are expected to reach millions of people in 145 countries.

It is the first time in the programme's history that shows have been recorded outside the United States.

Oprah's production company has reportedly spent nearly $7m on the Australian trip, in addition to the money offered by the Australian authorities.

'Friendly class'

"I love Australia!" she said to a cheering audience.

"It's so great here, and to the rest of the world watching right now, you've got to come to Australia."

The praise continued: "You're so darn friendly, you must go to friendly class!"

Her trademark giveaways included laptops for the students of a boys' school in a low-income neighbourhood, necklaces of Australian pearls for all 6,000 audience members and a $250,000 cheque for an Australian man with cancer and his family.

Oprah's high-power stars included Australian actor Russell Crowe, the family of the late "crocodile hunter" Steve Irwin and rapper Jay-Z.

Before the Sydney shows were taped, Oprah told journalists her visit would produce a huge amount of publicity for Australia.

"I have named myself an unofficial ambassador for Australia and I have the biggest mouth on earth.

"It is immeasurable what four hours of a love festival about your country, broadcast in 145 countries around the world can do."

But for some Australians, the adulation heaped on Oprah has revived the country's cultural cringe, a sense of national inferiority and a craving for international recognition, says our correspondent.

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