Saturday, 30 June 2007

Suddenly... it's 20 years.......

Hard to believe, but this Sunday 1 July marks the 20th anniversary of the famous Neighbours wedding of Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) and Charlene Ramsay (Kylie Minogue).

The Romeo-and-Juliet-type romance of Scott and Charlene, which essentially brought together the two neighbouring (and sometimes feuding) families in Ramsay Street, was a major drawcard during the show's peak in popularity in the late 1980s. The episode was one of the show's most watched ever - and created a chart-topper with the hit ballad Suddenly, sung by Angry Anderson, played during the wedding.

Though no sooner had the honeymoon ended for the couple, the pair had been offered a house in Brisbane by Charlene's grandfather Dan Ramsay (Syd Conabere). The storyline served as Minogue's exit from the series, with Donovan following later. Though the characters were never seen again in Ramsay Street they were later known to start their own family.

The wedding of Scott and Charlene would also become pivotal in a much later storyline. Almost a decade after the wedding, the Ramsay and Robinson families had once again been feuding and to resolve the conflict Helen Daniels (Anne Haddy) brought out the tape of the wedding to show both families in happier times. The families resolved their feud, and a relieved Helen would drift off to sleep - and peacefully passed away.

Monday, 25 June 2007

"Aunty" turns 75

Next month - 1 July at 8.00pm to be exact - marks the 75th anniversary of the launch of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), the national broadcasting service which took control of twelve existing radio stations around the country.

ABC continued to develop and expand radio services through metropolitan and regional Australia and now at its 75th birthday it can claim five domestic radio networks (Radio National, Local Radio, ABC FM, JJJ and NewsRadio) spanning the entire geography of Australia - available either via AM or FM broadcast, via satellite and some stations also streaming on the internet.

In 1954, ABC was assigned the responsibility to provide the national television service - initially with one television station in each of Sydney and Melbourne in 1956 with the early highlight being the Olympic Games from Melbourne.

ABC later expanded television service to other capital cities and, from the early 1960s, into regional areas. Colour television arrived in 1975, and ABC's first program in the bold new world of colour was the iconic rock program Countdown.

In 1980, ABC began satellite broadcasting to remote areas of Australia via the international satellite Intelsat. Six years later, the satellite service was transferred to the new domestic satellite Aussat.

On ABC's 51st birthday in 1983, the Australian Broadcasting Commission became the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

On New Year's Day 1988, ABC in association with the Nine Network and SBS produced Australia Live - a four-hour presentation to launch the bicentennial of European settlement in Australia.

ABC expanded to 24 hour transmission in 1993, around the same time it launched its own international satellite channel Australia Television, taking the national broadcaster across the Asia-Pacfic region.

Digital television got off to a modest start in 2001, and ABC and the second national broadcaster SBS are the only networks initially allowed to offer multi-channel services on the digital platform. ABC initially launched two digital channels, ABC Kids and Fly TV in 2002 but were later shut-down due to budget limitations. In 2005, ABC made a renewed entry into multi-channel television with the launch of ABC2 - providing a mix of original and time-shifted content from the main ABC channel.

ABC has launched its 75th birthday website and is definetly worth a look. It includes audio and video clips of historic moments of ABC radio and television.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Jim Robinson 'spotted' in UK Channel 4 promo

Despite his growing profile as an actor in the United States with roles in some of the country's most popular series, Alan Dale still can't quite shake off the stigma of being 'Jim Robinson' in the veteran Aussie soap Neighbours - a role which he departed almost fifteen years ago. So much is he still associated with the character in the United Kingdom that Dale now appears in the latest series of station promos for UK commercial network Channel 4.

In the promo which debuted earlier this week during the launch of the latest series of Big Brother, Dale is discussing his acting career in a mock interview, only to be interrupted by an Aussie fan recognising him as Jim Robinson.

The promo is among a series of tongue-in-cheek advertisements for the channel featuring a number of faces familiar to British viewers.

Dale, a former New Zealander who became known in Australia for his role in the soap The Young Doctors, was part of the original cast of Neighbours when it began on the Seven Network in 1985 and continued through the series' halcyon days heralded by young co-stars Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue. He left the series in 1993 and with his wife Tracey, a former Miss Australia and television presenter, went to the United States where he scored roles in series such as The OC, Lost, 24 and Ugly Betty.

Full story: Media Guardian
(Picture: Network Ten, 1990)