Friday, 29 February 2008

1978: March 4-10

tvtimes_040378 Red-hot plan home and hosed:
ABC's Monday Conference host Bob Moore (that's not him on the cover!)found the only way to tackle Moscow's minus 18 degree temperatures was to wear pantyhose. Moore had embarked on a tour including Canada, USA, Russia, India and Hong Kong to investigate TV news and current affairs programs around the world. But for Moore the more pressing issue was finding the right size of pantyhose, when he admitted to having to resort to a brand called Chubby Chick!

A TV test for lovers:
A special to air on the 0-10 Network during the week will ask men and women how many points out of 100 they would give themselves or their partner. The Australian Sex, Love And Marriage Test would also ask such questions as 'have you ever wished you had not married?' and 'if you found your teenage daughter had lost her virginity, what would your reaction be?'.

TV cameras go shopping for the housewife:
ABC announces plans to get out into suburbia for its new daytime show Lookout. The proposed 13-week series, to air at midday, will feature live broadcasts from shopping centres around Australia with segments aimed at the housewife audience covering topics such as health, cooking, gardening, consumer advice and fitness. Lookout is preparing for a May launch from Sydney's Roselands shopping centre, and is to be hosted by ABC rural affairs reporter Paul Williams.

Julie for Jokes:
Former Naked Vicar Show cast member Julie McGregor is returning to TV to feature in a new six-part sketch comedy series Jokes. The new series, to be produced in Sydney for ABC, is also to feature Noni Hazelhurst, Terry Bader and Chris Heywood.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"I am thankful that my TV set is able to receive Sydney channels now our one and only Newcastle commercial channel, NBN3, has dropped A Current Affair and substituted Willesee At Seven. I found A Current Affair to be much more interesting and more to my taste." T. Grant, NSW.

"We need a further serial continuing the life of Bellbird. I don't know how I'm going to get through 1978 without it. It was the highlight of my day, the best program TV has ever produced." L. Strehling, QLD.

"Recent letters have bemoaned the poor treatment that science-fiction fans receive from TV stations. But little is mentioned of the plight of the horror devotee. On those rare occasions when the channels screen good horror, one is always apprehensive that crucial scenes may have been censored." M. Newton, NSW.

What's On (March 4-10):
The Moomba festival is on in Melbourne, and ATV0 gets in on the fun with live telecasts of the 1978 Birdman Rally and Bathtub Regatta events on Sunday afternoon.

Women's magazine icon Margaret Fulton presents a five-minute prime-time series on ABC, Recipes From The Duchess Of Duke Street, based on recipes from the British drama series screening on Sunday nights.

The sketch comedy series The Naked Vicar Show and the premiere movie The Cars That Ate Paris dominate HSV7's Wednesday night.

Night football makes an appearance with the Friday night AMCO Herald Cup, live from VFL Park, on HSV7, while ABC presents the final episode of the Australian mini-series Loss Of Innocence.

Sunday night's premiere movies are Snowbeast (HSV7), Having Babies (GTV9) and Pocket Money (ATV0), while I Claudius continues on ABC.

Cover: Shaun Cassidy
Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 4-10 March 1978, ABC/ACP

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Monday, 25 February 2008

Your earliest TV memory

What is your earliest TV memory? Was it...

Watching flickering sets in TV store windows?

The Melbourne Olympic Games?

Graham Kennedy on In Melbourne Tonight...

memory03
...or later on Blankety Blanks?


memory04
The Mavis Bramston Show?


memory05
Man on the moon?


memory06


Watching sitcoms like Here's Lucy...


memory07
...The Brady Bunch...


memory08


...or Bewitched?


memory09
Sneaking a peek at Abigail on Number 96 when your parents thought you were asleep?


memory12
The changeover to colour television?


memory10
The women from Wentworth Detention Centre in Prisoner?


memory11
Royal weddings?


memory13
The TV Week Logie Awards?


memory14
'Molly' Meldrum on Countdown?


memory16
Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue on Neighbours?


memory15
The Comedy Company?


My earliest memory of TV was watching Sesame Street, always at 8.00am each weekday morning on ABC, though I'm told I was also a fan of Adventure Island. Then I felt so mature when I felt I was old enough to graduate to The Early Bird Show on ATV0. And if I was well-behaved enough I'd have been allowed to 'stay up' to watch Skyways.



Another early TV memory was the arrival of colour TV to our house.


Coming home from school one day in 1977 to find the old black-and-white Philips set moved aside and replaced with a Pye colour TV set. How excitement! Not only was it colour, but it was 'push button' which seemed very modern as everybody else I knew still had the rotary dial tuners. How modern we were???


What is your earliest TV memory?

Saturday, 23 February 2008

1978: February 25-March 3

How the censor shot down Superman:
Australian scriptwriter Trevor Farrant had just spent six months working in the United States on the revived Laugh-In sketch comedy series. Farrant spoke to TV Times about his experiences in working the minefield that is the American network censors - including their outrage over his send-up of the Superman movie featuring the 'world's first siamese-twin superhero', Ralph and Leroy Superman - a pair of mixed-race twins, of which one is gay.

New show for 'discerning rock fans':
ABC announces the launch of a new late-night rock music series Rocturnal. To be produced in Adelaide and hosted by local radio presenter David Woodhall, the new series is intended to fill the gap left by Countdown and other rock shows which are focussed mostly toward teenage viewers.

Dream job for Bunney:
Former Number 96 star Bunney Brooke will appear alongside John Meillon in Palace Of Dreams, the second of ABC's Comedy Playhouse series. "I'm enjoying the prospect of working with John. It's amazing that this will be the first time we've worked together," said Brooke.

War hero's son for Sullivans:
When the producers of The Sullivans decided to write a storyline around World War II hero Reg Saunders, he suggested they use his 24-year-old son Christopher to play the part. Saunders was the first Aborigine to be commissioned as an officer in the armed forces, and was impressed with his son's portrayal of himself in episodes to screen late in March.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"I couldn't believe my ears when first I heard the sacred tune of Waltzing Matilda as the theme for the new Mortein ad. Then it amused me to think that by using the tune for a commercial it put paid to it ever becoming our national anthem." G. Sheen, NSW.

"There should be another TV channel for sport only in the country areas. When cricket Tests and other major sports are played and shown we have no choice of good programs to watch. Could the Government consider letting ABC have another channel for sport only?" F. Edwards, NSW.

"I'd like to complain to GTV9 Melbourne for screening Star Trek at such unreasonable hours. One night it may be shown at 10.30pm, the next at 11.30pm. I know it's up later than usual, but who would stay up until after midnight to watch it?" M. Dring, VIC.

What's on (February 25-March 3):
GTV9's annual telethon for the Yooralla Hospital is on again, starting Saturday morning at 7.00am and continuing through to midnight. Presenters and special guests include Don Lane, Bert Newton, Mike Walsh, Eric Pearce, Marcia Hines, Delilah, Tony Barber, and the stars of The Young Doctors and The Sullivans.

Sunday afternoon sport includes motor racing and cricket on ABC, Davis Cup tennis on HSV7 and Motorcross on ATV0.

The 1978 TV Week Logie Awards are televised on GTV9 on Friday night, hosted by Bert Newton and presented from the Southern Cross Hotel. Special guests include Florence Henderson, Sammy Davis Jnr, Patti Weaver and Mike Farrell.

Sunday night movies are Carry On Up The Jungle (HSV7), Trinity Is Still My Name (GTV9) and A Warm December (ATV0). ABC presents the second episode of the mini-series I Claudius.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 25 February 1978. ABC/ACP
Cover: Kermit the Frog and actress Juliet Prowse

Friday, 15 February 2008

1978: February 18-24

tvtimes_180278 Cover: TV Times' Salute To Hollywood. Celebrating 50 years of 'talkies'.

The search is over:
Producers of the upcoming mini-series Against The Wind have cast the lead female character for the 13-part epic. Irish-born Mary Larkin was chosen after auditions were held in Australia and England. TV Times reports that production of the $1 million series is now in early stages in Sydney and nearby Gosford, with producers working hard to gather or have made replicas of items from the 18th century to be used in the production.

Benny Hill's Aussie show for UK:
The Australian-made special from British comedian Benny Hill is to be shown in the UK later in the year. The special, produced at a cost of $100,000 for the 0-10 Network, had been shown to executives of Thames TV who were "very complimentary" about the show.

Back to TV for Ross D:
Former pop TV host Ross D Wylie has been appointed as the new host of ATV0's late-night Friday and Saturday movies, replacing late-night pioneer Hal Todd who had moved to a management role at the station. "The first thing I want to do is improve the standard of the movies and make sure they will all be in colour," said the former Uptight host.

"If I had a million...":
TV Times asked some of TV's most popular personalities: What would do with a million? The Sullivans' Lorraine Bayly wanted to travel and to buy a zoo, and build a luxury old folks home. Former Number 96 star Pat McDonald would offer a large amount of it to research into children's diseases, and to set up a trust fund for the local entertainment industry. Johnny Young wanted to travel around Australia, while newsreader Roger Climpson very sensibly planned to invest it.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"I wish to complain about the science-fiction shows on TVT6 Hobart. Late last year I received information that the second series of Space 1999 was to be shown, but lately there has been no sign of it. Instead, they put on Fantastic Journey, which is quite absurd." Leonard, TAS.

"I would like to thank the channels for their sports coverage and mediocre films during the day. Now I have time to do things in my home and garden, plus play records and cassettes and read." J. Skinn, SA.

"Johnny Farnham again showed his class and versatility with his great performances on both the special It's Just Another New Year's Eve and at the Carols By Candlelight event. Farnham is the greatest entertainer Australia has ever produced." D. Bell, VIC.

What's On (February 18-24):
ABC
's Four Corners with Caroline Jones returns for another year on Saturday night, while Ernie Sigley appeared alongside
Mary Hardy as guest co-host on HSV7's Penthouse '78.

The then Governor-General of Australia, Sir Zelman Cowen, opens the 31st Federal Parliament - televised live on ABC on Tuesday afternoon.

GTV9's Wednesday night movie is the 'modified TV version' of the British comedy Percy - described by TV Times ever-so-quaintly as the story of "Edwin Anthony, recipient of the most sensual transplant ever".

ATV0 presents a three-hour US documentary Life Goes To The Movies, tracing the history of how movies depicted American life from the 1930s through to the 1970s.

Sunday night movies are They Only Kill Their Masters (HSV7), Ash Wednesday (GTV9) and Doc (ATV0). ABC presents the premiere episode of the British mini-series I Claudius.

Source: TV Times, 18 February 1978 (Melbourne edition). ABC/ACP

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Andrew Harwood

Sydney radio presenter Andrew Harwood has died in a Sydney hospital from a severe asthma attack. He was 62.

More recently a presenter on radio stations 2UE and 2GB, Harwood will also be remembered for TV work as host of 1970s versions of quiz shows Jeopardy and It's Academic, as well as guest appearances on The Paul Hogan Show and voice-over announcer at ATN7. In the 1980s, Harwood appeared It Could Be You and Good Morning Sydney, and hosted quiz show Class Of '82.


The son of former Beauty And The Beast panellist Ena Harwood, Harwood is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Source:
Sydney Morning Herald, TV Tonight
Picture: TV Week, 18 December 1982

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Something's in the air, again

The revamp of ABC2, while promising a range of new content, also appears to be bringing one or two titles out of the vaults.

Starting Monday 11 February, ABC2 will be commencing a re-run of the rural soap-drama Something In The Air, which originally ran on ABC between January 2000 and May 2002.


A production of Simpson Le Mesurier, Something In The Air was set in the small rural town of Emu Springs with most of the drama centred around a local radio station 3ES, operating from a disused railway station. Both the rural setting and its timeslot, 6.30pm weeknights as lead-in to the 7.00pm ABC News, inevitably drew comparisons to 'Aunty' ABC's former long-running series Bellbird which ran from 1967 to 1977 in a similar timeslot.

The series featured experienced performers Anne Phelan (Bellbird, Prisoner, Neighbours), Ray Barrett, Kate Fitzpatrick, Frankie J Holden and Roger Oakley (Home And Away), joined by younger cast members including Danielle Carter (Richmond Hill, Neighbours), Ulli Birve, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor and Sullivan Stapleton. Eric Bana, formerly of comedy series Full Frontal and movie Chopper, was part of the original cast but was released from his contract when Hollywood starting calling. Bana's role was taken over by Vince Colosimo.



Despite ABC's best intentions when the series debuted, and modest though promising ratings for the series, things turned sour when new ABC chief Jonathan Shier was appointed, and drama chief Sue Masters, who had commissioned the series, consequently departed. The program was moved from its weeknight timeslot to a one-hour block on Saturday evenings where it never really struck up a rapport with viewers. It was later reinstated to the weeknight timeslot but instead slotted in at 6.00pm putting up against the news services on the Seven and Nine networks.

As a result, Something In The Air quietly wound up in mid-2002.


Something In The Air
. Weeknights 7.30pm (from 11 February). ABC2

Picture: TV Week, 15 January 2000
Sources: IMDB, Australian Television Information Archive, Super Aussie Soaps

1978: February 11-17

Cover: Charlie's Angels (Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd)

Mike's game for TDT job:
TV Times reports that Mike Minehan, former host of A Current Affair and the game show $30,000 Treasure Hunt, has taken on the job as host of the Victorian edition of ABC's This Day Tonight. Minehan takes on the role as replacement for Peter Couchman who has moved to commercial TV, hosting ATV0's late-night Peter Couchman Tonight.

History is repeating for Lynn:
Former Number 96 actress Lynn Rainbow has been named to play the part of Louisa Wiltshire in the upcoming Seven Network epic Against The Wind. Rainbow said so far she knows little of the character, but for the Sydney-based actress it would mean lots of trips to Victoria for location filming.

'Sometimes, my head is like a plate of scrambled eggs':
Caroline Jones is a well-known face on TV and also very busy one, in 1978 as host of ABC's iconic Four Corners as well as presenting a morning radio show for ABC radio 2BL in Sydney. As well as her ABC commitments, Jones is also deputy chairman of the National Film Board of Review. An average work day starts at 6.30am and some days does not end until after 11.00pm.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"My grateful thanks to ABC for the wonderful series Bellbird and to the many actors and actresses who made the show. It was such a pleasure to watch a show such as this without sex and violence." R. E. Foster, VIC.

"I am complaining about two programs I had the misfortune to experience recently - Days Of Our Lives and The Young And The Restless. These shows, depicting neurotic women and male misfits, and designed for transmission to the same variety of people, made me sick to the core." B. R. Bartlett, NSW.

"(TV Times columnist) F. C. Kennedy's views on The Sullivans must be endorsed. The show had the opportunity to be an Australian counterpart to the fine British drama A Family At War but has been ruined by its apparent desire to extend its life as long as possible, and a pandering to square-eye values." M. Jennings, VIC.

What's On (February 11-17):
HSV7's long-running variety show Penthouse returns for its ninth year with Mary Hardy being joined by guest host Jimmy Hannan. Guests on the Saturday night show include Judy Conneli, Julie McKenna, Bartholomew John and Paul O'Gorman. Also includes live coverage of the trots from Moonee Valley, and Tattslotto draw number 284. The show follows a repeat of a one-hour Paul Hogan special made in London.

GTV9 has reinstated its solid afternoon lineup of Days Of Our Lives, The Young And The Restless and General Hospital for the new ratings year.

Friday night sees the premiere of Australian-made drama series Loss Of Innocence on ABC, set in Sydney in the 1930s.

Sunday night's first-run movies are Revenge For A Rape (HSV7), Gunfight At The OK Corral (GTV9) and the Australian-made Walkabout (ATV0). The British mini-series Elizabeth R finally comes to a conclusion on ABC.

Source: TV Times, 11 February 1978
(Melbourne edition). ABC/ACP

Friday, 8 February 2008

ABC. Redefining Television

From today at midday, ABC has 'redefined television' with the relaunch of its two TV channels in conjunction with promotion of their online TV.

Now, the traditional ABC channel - broadcasting on analogue and standard definition digital - is ABC1 with the slogan 'It begins with 1'. The second channel - on digital - is still ABC2, and both channels have had a revamp to give them a complementary image rather than being treated almost as separate entities in the past.

Both ABC1 and ABC2 are offering a range of new programs this year. ABC2 will also be offering more new content than before, as well as time-shifted programming from ABC1.

For all you need to know about ABC1 and ABC2, including promo reels and on-air station identifications, check the
ABC website.

More of ABC1 and ABC2 at idents.tv, TV Tonight, What's On The Tube, ABC (unofficial) Blog


YouTube video: MoeVideos

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Ray Martin quits Nine

After thirty years, three current affairs programs, five TV Week Gold Logies, and any number of special events, carols, election nights and celebrity interviews - Ray Martin has left the Nine Network just days before he was due to return for the new year co-hosting Sunday.

Nine chief David Gyngell said he and Martin agreed it was the right time to move on:
"I have the utmost respect for Ray and count him as a friend so we have reached this decision totally amicably. Ray Martin has made an enormous contribution at Nine, and indeed to public broadcasting in this country. His legacy is there for all to see. There's almost nothing he hasn't done here with his trademark style and great quality. But it's time for a change for him, and now for us.”
Martin said it was time for new challenges:
“Nine has given me the chance to go to some amazing places, meet a lot of famous people, and tell some yarns that make you laugh and make you cry. (But) it’s time to walk down a few other roads and take a few risks again – in and out of television. I’m certainly not retiring.”
Martin joined Nine in 1978, after ten years at ABC, as a founding member of the 60 Minutes team (pictured) alongside Ian Leslie and George Negus. The program launched in February 1979. In 1985, Martin traded in the long overseas trips for daytime stardom as the new king of daytime TV, hosting The Midday Show for nine years. In 1994, Martin moved to the early evenings as host of A Current Affair for four years, and then returned to the program again in 2003.

In 2006, Martin presented an exclusive interview with Terri Irwin, following the death of husband Steve.

Last year, Martin took on the role of co-host of Sunday amid reports that he was wanting to leave Nine after it declined to offer him a prime-time talk show. Sunday is due to return this weekend in the earlier 7.30am timeslot - its first timeslot change in its 26 year history - up against the Seven Network's popular Weekend Sunrise.


Source: Nine Network (press release)

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

ABC1: It happens this Friday



ABC Director of Television Kim Dalton has announced today at a media launch in Sydney that the revamp of its main channel to ABC1 will happen at midday this Friday.

The new ABC1 logo was meant to be kept under wraps until Friday's launch but was leaked to the internet ten days ago, and published in The Australian newspaper last week with the revelation that ABC's iconic lissajous curve logo was to be ditched - a change quickly denied by Mr Dalton.

In launching the new look to ABC1, Mr Dalton announced a new drama series The Cut featuring former Blue Heelers actor and TV Week Gold Logie winner John Wood, and a comedy series Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own Adventure from comic team The Chaser.

A new interview program Q&A will be hosted by Lateline presenter Tony Jones, and there will also be a four-part documentary series The Howard Years.

The revamp of ABC's main channel to ABC1 will also coincide with a revamp of the digital channel ABC2 which Mr Dalton says will carry an emphasis on original arts programming, as well as launching new programs including a current affairs program Hackfest as a spin-off of the JJJ drive-time program Hack.

Source: Herald Sun
YouTube videos: Idents.tv

Monday, 4 February 2008

It's Logie voting.. with a new twist

It is that time of year again - voting has opened for the TV Week Logie Awards, but this year there's a new twist to proceedings.

For the first time in its 50 year history, you don't need to buy a copy of TV Week to have your vote. As well as the magazine publishing the traditional voting coupon, you can now place your vote online without having to enter a registration code from the printed magazine.

The change to voting answers criticisms that voting was limited only to buyers of TV Week which in more recent times has had a more narrowed focus on younger readers which may have swayed voting toward certain programs, therefore not providing a true picture of what is really 'most popular'.


The final list of nominees for both the public voted awards, as well as the industry-voted 'most outstanding' categories, will be announced on 7 April. The eight Gold Logie nominees announced will then be in the 'Race for Gold' as the public will then be able to vote the winner of the Gold Logie via 1900 or SMS right up until the night of the
TV Week Logie Awards on Sunday 4 May.

The
TV Week Logie Awards will be held at the Crown Entertainment Complex and televised on the Nine Network.

Source:
TV Week
Picture: Denise Drysdale and Norman Gunston (Garry McDonald), winners of the TV Week Gold Logie awards in 1976

Sunday, 3 February 2008

YouTube: Girls Next Door



Found on YouTube, a sketch from the D-Generation's The Late Show that I'd always remembered fondly and even now viewing it so many years later still raises laughs.

Teen pop groups are a pretty easy target for sketch comedy but there is still plenty to like about The Late Show's mockumentary-styled sketch on a group 'Girls Next Door', featuring Tamara (Jane Kennedy), Melanie (Judith Lucy) and Gwen*, and a guest appearance by the band's manager Glenn Wheatley.

The sketch went to air on ABC on Saturday 11 September 1993.


YouTube video:
l00pes
Additional information: The Late Show (unofficial website)
* guest star, uncredited. Who knows who played Gwen?

Imparja says ta-ta to Ten

Central Australian TV viewers will now lose a few regular programs from their schedules with the Alice Springs-based Imparja Television now aligning itself solely to the Nine Network for its national programs.



For almost the last decade, Imparja has had program supply from both the Nine and Ten networks. Prior to the aggregation of Imparja's service area with Queensland-based Seven Central, Imparja was able to 'cherry pick' programs from all three commercial networks.

Imparja has decided that it was costing too much money to have dual affiliation status, even though it gave them access to programming from two networks, they only have one channel to use it on so a lot of content that was being paid for wasn't going to air.


The change means that viewers in Imparja's coverage area will not have access to Ten programs such as
Neighbours, So You Think You Can Dance, House, Rove, The Biggest Loser and Big Brother. Significantly, for AFL supporters, the change will also mean that Network Ten's AFL coverage will also be missing from local screens. This could be a blow for viewers in the Northern Territory and South Australia where AFL has a strong following, though Imparja claims that most of its viewers reside in Queensland which, being NRL territory, means the loss will be less felt. It also puts into doubt access to the AFL Grand Final every second year, as Imparja's rival Seven Central will relay this year's telecast from the Seven Network but may not have access when it's Ten's turn next year.

In aligning itself to Nine's program, Imparja is now structuring its schedule in line with the eastern states' timezone whereas in the past it had scheduled according to Central Standard Time.


Imparja is also said to be increasing its news capacity using the savings made by not paying for Ten's affiliation, but curiously has used this change to program structure as an opportunity to axe its nightly Alice Springs-based news bulletin and replace it with
National Nine News fed from Brisbane. The local news component will now be comprised of 10 one-minute daily updates, and a new weekly current affairs program.

Imparja CEO
Alistair Feehan said that losing access to Network Ten programs was regrettable but was hopeful that a third commercial outlet will be licenced to the region in coming years, enabling access to Ten Network programs. However it may also be possible for rival Seven Central to instead take on a dual Seven/Ten program affiliation as its sister station Southern Cross Television in Darwin had already done after the Darwin-based NTD8 dropped its Nine/Ten schedule to a solely Nine-based lineup.

Source:
Imparja
YouTube video: WATelevision

Saturday, 2 February 2008

1978: February 4-10

Cover Story: Inside the Game Show business:
TV Times talks to producer Reg Grundy, the radio game show host of the 1950s that went on to head a TV production empire worth around $6 million (in 1978 dollars) turnover a year. Famous for taking US game show formats and franchising them for local audiences, Grundy had launched over 50 game show titles since he launched Wheel Of Fortune in 1959. Despite his longevity in the game show business, his latest venture, the top-rating Blankety Blanks almost never got to air after being offered and refused by the other networks but eventually picked up by the 0-10 Network where it became a huge ratings hit (Cover photo: Noelene Brown and Ugly Dave Gray, two of the resident panellists on Blankety Blanks)


The Year's New Shows:
TV Times' preview of new shows for 1978 was already covered in our blog post on New Year's Day. New shows to launch during the year included drama series Catspaw, Twenty Good Years and Truckies - all on ABC. ABC also promises a new series of Marcia Hines Music and an Australian version of the British quiz Mastermind.

The Seven Network was preparing an Australian version of the British comedy Father Dear Father, and Nine had announced a series of Australian-made telemovies. Heading the 0-10 Network's new season line-up was the action drama Chopper Squad.

Sammy Davis for Don Lane show:
Entertainer Sammy Davis Jnr is reportedly to be planning a trip to Australia to appear on Nine's The Don Lane Show. Don Lane is a fan of Davis and had arranged the visit while staying with him at his Nevada property. Meanwhile, The Don Lane Show is about to launch its 1978 season and producer Peter Faiman is promising changes to the show including a $1 million revamp of the show's studio and as many as 15 international celebrity appearances via satellite over the first few months of the year.

Wind of a new career:
Rock star Jon English is announced as heading the lineup for the upcoming Seven Network/Pegasus Productions mini-series Against The Wind, about to commence production. English is signed up to play convict Jonathon Garrett in the historical drama that has a $1 million budget for 13 episodes. English's only prior acting experience was as a rock star involved in a murder case in the police drama Homicide.

Price rise:
TV Times announced that "increased production and paper costs have regretably caused us to raise the cover price of TV Times from 30 to 40 cents. It is our first price rise in two-and-a-half years".

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"Blankety Blanks' panel spends most of its time sniggering at (Graham Kennedy's) lavatory wall innuendos. Most of us ceased to be impressed by this daring wit at the age of 10." T.Martin, VIC.

"At least five times in the last month, TV Times has printed one thing and a TV station has shown another. If the stations tell TV Times their programs for the week, then they should stick to it and not change it whenever they feel like it." M.Turnbull, VIC.

"I would like to thank ABC for that brilliant English comedy Are You Being Served? and the repeat of the Rush series. In these days of endless movie repeats, excessive sports broadcasts and mediocre American cop dramas, programs of historical value and entertainment quality such as Rush, Are You Being Served?, Warship, South Riding and The Pallisers have become all too few and far between." S.Cass, NSW

What's On (February 4-10):
The Don Lane Show (GTV9) returns for its fourth year, up against ATV0's new Monday-to-Thursday night variety show Peter Couchman Tonight.

On Wednesday night ABC launches a new music series The Real Thing hosted by radio identity Ron E Sparx. The first show includes appearances by Little River Band, Radio Birdman, Renee Geyer and Dragon. On the weekend, Countdown is still continuing its review of the top 100 albums of 1977.

After-school TV programming is mostly dominated by imported product with Sesame Street, The Partridge Family, The Flintstones, Get Smart, Nanny And The Professor, Family Affair and My Friend Flicka shown across the networks. The only local content to be found between 4.00pm and 6.00pm is Play School (ABC) and GTV9's Cartoon Corner which only served to introduce US cartoon series Valley Of The Dinosaurs and Josie And The Pussycats.

Sunday night movies for the week are Trader Horn (HSV7), Charlie's Angels feature in Angels In Paradise (GTV9) and ATV0 screens The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean. All are TV premieres. Following the movie on ATV0 is the current affairs/interview program Firing Line with Maxwell Grant, Alan Ramsey, Mickie de Stoop and Jeremy Cornford.

Source: TV Times, 4 February 1978 (Melbourne edition) ABC/ACP