SBS has announced that comedian Tom Ballard, Walkley nominated journalist and presenter on SBS 2’s The Feed Patrick Abboud, and actress and musician Heather Peace will host the 36th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on SBS 2.

The exclusive broadcast will include the best of the spectacular floats and costumes in the parade with commentary from Tom, Pat and Heather as well as a variety of feature reports and interviews with celebrity VIPs and participants involved in the three week Mardi Gras celebration. Highlights include interviews with this year’s Ambassador Courtney Act, and People With Disability Ambassador Steven Ridley. World News Australia’s Anton Enus will also present a special report on local and international news stories from the past year affecting LGBTQI communities.

In the lead up to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, SBS will proudly fly the rainbow flag, presenting a series of LGBTQI programs in celebration of Australia’s iconic cultural event. 

SBS 2’s flagship news and current affairs program The Feed will cover a Mardi Gras focussed story each week. SBS 2 will also feature a collection of LGBTQI film-reviewss including Bi-Curious MeInteriorLeather Bar 3, and Weekend. Saturday nights will continue to remain fierce and feisty with the All Star season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

On the eve of the most fabulous event on the LGBTQI calendar, World Movies will present two film-reviewss that celebrate the joys of queer sexuality from 9.30pm on Friday February 28. Discover the depths of dangerous affairs in the award-winning psychological suspense drama Stranger By The Lake, while a hotel room in the centre of Rome serves as the setting for two young and recently acquainted women to have a physical adventure that touches their very souls inRoom in Rome.

A global beacon of pride and inclusion, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the world’s largest and most-loved LGBTQI celebrations, providing an opportunity to commemorate a universal message of diversity and equal rights.

This will be Mardi Gras in the comfort of your home, with no lines, no crowds, and no taxi queues, captured uniquely on SBS 2. It’s the best seat in the house to experience an exclusive Access All Areas Mardi Gras broadcast like never before.

About Tom Ballard: In 2009 Tom Ballard became the youngest person ever to take out the Melbourne Comedy Festival's best newcomer award. In 2010 he took a seat behind a microphone at triple j as its youngest ever breakfast host. Four years after his comedy festival debut, Tom is now a relative veteran with sold out shows and national tours to his name. He has been seen on The Project, This Week Live, Can Of Worms, Spicks and Specks, Good News Week and the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala. At the end of 2013 after four years of 'Breakfast with Tom and Alex’ (and winning an ARIA), Tom decided to hang up his headphones for a well-earned sleep in and to focus on his first love, stand up. In 2014 Tom will be touring his new show UnAustralian(ish) around Australia starting at The Adelaide Fringe Festival in February followed by seasons in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

About Patrick Abboud: Patrick is a storyteller working across television, radio, online and the arts. Pat currently presents, reports and produces documentary features for The Feed on SBS 2 – a nightly news, technology and culture program which he pitched the initial concept for. In 2013 Pat was nominated for a Walkley award for excellence in journalism (best multi-media storytelling) and reported from The Middle East and Asia. Before joining SBS, Pat was cross media reporter on ABC Triple j’s popular current affairs program HACK. 2014 will see Pat continue his work on The Feed, while also joining the SBS Dateline team of video–journalists reporting international current affairs. He writes a column for SX magazine and the national Gay News Network and has directed numerous arts events at venues across Australia including the Sydney Opera House. He once had a gig of a lifetime traversing the globe working for Lonely Planet. A self-confessed music nut, Pat’s been known to moonlight as a DJ in his spare time.

About Heather Peace: Heather is a British actress and musician who is performing at Mardi Gras this year as part of the show Revolver. Heather is best known for her roles in some of the UK’s biggest shows London’s BurningWaterloo Road and Lip Service a relationship drama about the lives of a group of twenty-something lesbians in Scotland which will screen on SBS 2 in May. Heather released her debut jazz album Fairytales in 2012.

SBS 2 will celebrate the magic of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Sunday March 2 at 8.30pm.

To follow on Twitter connect to: @SBS 2 and @SydneyMardiGras