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Family

The Topp Twins on facing their first Christmas without their beloved dad

''Mum's going to feature big in Christmas this year,'' says Lynda. ''It's important we're all there with her.''

By Kelly Bertrand
The Topp Twins have a special Christmas present for the nation's mums and dads: a few minutes of peace and quiet!
Well, that's the aim anyway, as Dames Jools and Lynda get set to grace our screens once again alongside a fellow slice of Kiwiana, the beloved Goodnight Kiwi of TV days past.
The twins are part of a bevy of New Zealand's finest entertainers and broadcasters who have brought the little kiwi and his cute cat back to life with the new TVNZ OnDemand series Goodnight Kiwi, which features celebrities reading kids' books to the nation's children.
"We were honoured to be asked," Lynda (61) tells the Weekly.
"We remember the Goodnight Kiwi. We felt very grown up indeed when we were allowed to stay up to see it. It meant the end of the television transition – can you even imagine that now?"
"I hope we send some kids to sleep for some tired parents," adds Jools with a laugh.
"It's our Christmas service for the country – you always need to help out when you can!"
Christmas is a special time for the Topp family, although this year will sadly be a little different from the farmyard festivities of the past.
It will be the first time Lynda, Jools, their brother Bruce and mum Jean will be without their dad and husband Peter, who passed away three months ago.
"It's a bit sad, really," says Jools.
"So there'll be a little time to remember him, and just have fun with our mother. She's a good old sort, she's a disco queen from way back!"
"Mum's going to feature big in Christmas this year," Lynda adds.
"It's important we're all there with her, and it'll be a nice end to the year to hang out with her."
And what a 2019 it's been for our favourite country-singing siblings, who are enjoying the spoils of their new titles after being made dames in late 2018.
"People still just refer to us as Lynda and Jools though," says Lynda.
"It's very nice to be dames, but we're still us. We're quite honoured to be dames, and every now and then it's handy. We get invited to flash functions – I think people like having dames at their parties!"
Jools shrugs. "We're still just a couple of old farm girls though, let's face it!"
Still, their new titles meant absolutely nothing when it came time to join forces with the famous kiwi and his pet cat.
"That's the great thing about kids, they don't care who you are," says Lynda, laughing.
"They just want a story!"
The twins will be reading aloud Granny McFlitter: A Country Yarn by Heather Haylock, a great farmyard tale featuring strong women and an A&P show.
"So, perfect for us!" says Lynda.
"Yeah, we even re-wrote bits of it," adds Jools.
"We got hold of the author and she said, 'Go right ahead.' It's such a great idea, and so much fun to do. No one could say no."
Of course, the old clips of Goodnight Kiwi that used to play at the end of programming on TV1 and TV2 are about as famously Kiwi as the Topp Twins themselves – but Lynda does have a bugbear about the poor cat.
"I feel like the cat's been ignored," she says.
"He's always been there along with the kiwi, but no one's ever said goodnight to the cat. I'm going, 'What about the bloody cat?' He doesn't even have a name."
The sisters feel passionate about getting the nation's youth reading.
The cause became personal in the last year, with Lynda celebrating being a step-grandmother to one-year-old Lyric Willow.
"It's very exciting," she says.
"I hang out with her and read books with her quite a lot. For some reason she calls me Gigi. Maybe she thinks I'm a horse."
Almost all their commitments are wrapped up for the year, bar a concert for the inmates of Wiri's women's prison.
"We just felt it would be a nice thing to do," explains Lynda.
"Jools and I don't judge people, and we just thought it would be a bit of a moment to go and do a Christmas show for the wa-hine."
Over the holiday period, the whole family will come together at Lynda and her partner Donna's new place in Methven.
As for next year, if Goodnight Kiwi gets renewed, the twins have a few ideas.
"We decided to just do this one as ourselves," says Lynda.
"We did think about reading it as Camp Mother and Camp Leader – but there's always next time! We've got five sets of characters standing by and ready to go!"

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