Sunday, 30 November 2008

1978: December 2-8

tvtimes_021278 The Sullivans' amazing Grace...
Actress Lorraine Bayly is made to look considerably older than her 36 years when playing the motherly Grace Sullivan in The Sullivans - with make-up applied to add wrinkles and darken her cheeks, having her hair tied back and wearing loose-fitting dresses.  In fact, when she is not in Grace Sullivan mode, she is barely recognised in public.  But when asked how long we can expect to see Grace on screen: "Well, we are negotiating at the moment and I've signed to continue to next year.  There's a strong possibility that Grace will be there when the war ends in 1945."

...is also TV's golden girl
The Sullivans' Lorraine Bayly (pictured, with co-stars Richard Morgan and Steven Tandy) has become the highest-paid series actress in the history of Australian TV.  The actress, who recently won Best TV Actress at the 1978 Sammy Awards, is not saying exactly what she is being paid but it is reported to be more than $1000 a week.  Meanwhile, the cast of The Sullivans are about to take a four-week break over Christmas and Bayly will also be taking an extended break during  1979 for a trip to Brazil. 

American TV accents ousting the ocker!
A survey of Australian TV commercials has found that almost one in three are using American-accented dialogue.  This compares to around ten per cent of commercials shown on British television.  The study, carried out by the University of Melbourne, showed that the ocker Aussie accent was rarely used in prestige commercials and that, except for big names like Paul Hogan, it was used more in program content rather than commercials.

kerrymcguireBuddha's golden ransom
The telemovie Puzzle, one of a series of telemovies made between Australia's ABC and international Trans-Atlantic Enterprises, was originally to feature American actress Tina Louise.  A last minute withdrawal by Louise saw the role of glamorous Claudine Cunningham played by Australian actress Wendy Hughes.   To screen on ABC this week, Puzzle also features Robert Helpmann, Kerry McGuire (pictured) and US actor James Franciscus.

Briefly:
Colleen Hewett and Michael Aitken played husband and wife in ABC's The Truckies, and now have again been cast as partners for an upcoming guest appearance in Seven's Cop Shop.

Robert Coleby, one of the cast of ABC's new series Patrol Boat, will be joined in one episode by seven-year-old daughter Anja.  The young actress also appeared in an episode of Coleby's previous series Chopper Squad.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
"I would very much like to congratulate anyone who had anything to do with Against The Wind.  It is a great pity that there aren't more shows like it." N Webster, QLD.

"I would like to add my voice to the many praising The Truckies.  With a bit of luck we may have another series.  Our family always enjoys the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas which ABC has occasionally shown, and hope for more." J Williams, VIC.

"As Countdown is primarily for teens and pre-teens, it should be more selective with the film clips chosen to be featured.  One in particular is Deadlock Holiday by 10cc, which in my opinion was very suggestive.  Film clips of this nature should only be shown to mature audiences.  Countdown viewers are at a very impressionable age and could be influenced in the wrong way."  B Baker, SA.

"I would like to congratulate Neil Inall and his excellent team of reporters on Horizon 5.  It is a pleasure to be able, daily, to view this program which is very interesting and informative." H Kerns, QLD.

What's On (December 2-8):
HSV7's summer tennis coverage continues with all-day coverage, from 11.00am to 6.00pm each day, of the women's Federation Cup from Melbourne and the Toyota Women's Classic from Sydney.

ABC has live coverage from Brisbane of the cricket First Test on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 11.55am to 7.00pm.

Wednesday night includes the series final of The Inventors on ABC, with the announcement of the winner of The Inventors Award selected from the 72 who have featured on the show during the year.  Presenting the award will be David Port, son of panelist Leo Port who passed away earlier in the year. Later in the evening, a Holiday special, Bill Peach In China, takes a rare look at life and tourism in China.

The Mike Walsh Show finishes up for 1978, ending its second year at the Nine Network after moving across from the 0-10 Network.

Sunday night movies are Dirty Weekend (HSV7), Goodbye Columbus (GTV9) and The Hornet's Nest (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 2 December 1978.  ABC/ACP

It's Seven in '08

7_tvman With the official ratings season over as of last night, the press releases will no doubt come out from all networks over the next few days - each of them claiming various victories in the hope of being able to capture more of the advertising pie next year - but the overall winner will be the Seven Network for the second year running.

Even when taking out the weeks affected by the Olympic Games, Seven still edges ahead of traditional rival Nine in total people (6pm to midnight), with Seven 28.5 per cent, Nine 27.3, Ten 21.0, ABC 17.4, SBS 5.6.

Nine will claim, however, that it has won in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 age bracket with 28.7 per cent over Seven's 28.0 per cent.  And Ten will claim victory in the 16-39 age group with 29.7 per cent, while Nine got 28.4 and Seven got 26.4.

Seven's Packed To The Rafters was the year's most watched series, with a season average of just under 2 million viewers (5 cities, OzTAM), followed by Find My Family and Nine's Underbelly.  The popularity of Underbelly is particularly significant given that the show was banned from screening in Victoria, where the series was set, until much later in the year.  Even then, only five episodes have so far been shown in Victoria.  To have had the series rate so well when essentially the second-largest market in Australia was barred from watching it is no mean feat.  Further down the ladder is Ten's highest rating series for the year, the Australian So You Think You Can Dance? averaging 1.49 million viewers.  ABC's highest rating series was the British drama Doc Martin with 1.32 million, and SBS' most watched series was Top Gear with an average of just under 890,000.

In one-off events, it would be hard to out-rate the Olympic Games with the Opening Ceremony watched by 2.82 million viewers, followed by the AFL Grand Final on 2.49 million and the Australian Open Tennis Men's Final on 2.45 million.

Source: SMH

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Celebrating Mr Grundy

reggrundy The wife of long-time TV producer Reg Grundy (pictured) is arranging an exclusive celebration in his honour, to be held next week at a Sydney hotel.

Grundy turned 85 earlier this year and was also named in the Queen's Birthday honours list for his services to television.

memory10 Joy Chambers, an author and former model, TV game show panelist and actress, married Grundy back in the 1970s and has invited a list of TV stars and back-stagers that helped Grundy become a household name and create an international production empire, with hit shows including Wheel Of Fortune, Sale Of The Century, Pot Of Gold, Neighbours, The Young Doctors, Chopper Squad, Prisoner (pictured), Perfect Match, The Price Is Right, Blankety Blanks, Sons And Daughters, It's A Knockout and The Restless Years.

Grundy also produced US versions of Sale Of The Century and Prisoner and co-produced the 1977 feature ABBA The Movie which followed the pop group's Australian tour.

Some of those believed to be attending next week's celebration include Brian Henderson, Ernie Sigley, Larry Emdur, Alan Jones, TV boss David Leckie and production staff that worked on Grundy's first TV venture Wheel Of Fortune which he hosted back in 1959.

Having dominated Australian television production and expanded the business overseas - with branches in the United States and Europe -  Grundy sold the company to British-based Pearson Television in 1995.  The company is now part of the international Fremantlemedia group, continuing production in Australia with shows including Neighbours, Australian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

After selling his TV production company, Grundy invested in radio as major shareholder in regional network RG Capital before the company was bought out by Macquarie Bank.

Reg Grundy and Joy Chambers now live in Bermuda.

Source: news.com.au

Summer Temptation could be its last

Reports today that Nine's long-running quiz show Temptation is well and truly finished with the show's host Ed Phillips not having his contract renewed by the network.

tonybarbie Beginning in 2005, Temptation was a rework of the long-running Sale Of The Century which ran from 1980 to 2001.  Sale, of course, was itself a rework of the 1970s Great Temptation that ran on the Seven Network from 1970 to 1975 with Tony Barber and Barbie Rogers (pictured).

Towards the end of 2007, Temptation's future appeared to be in doubt when Nine cut it back to four nights a week to accommodate a revival of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire on Monday nights.  Temptation was then 'rested' in favour of the US sitcom Two And A Half Men which has given Nine strong ratings in the 7.00pm timeslot.

temptationNine did eventually put Temptation back into production earlier this year but the batch of episodes were never put to air, instead the network continued to push the Two And A Half Men bandwagon.  With the non-ratings season starting this weekend, Nine has decided to begin to air those remaining Temptation episodes.

A summer showing of Temptation could have given Nine an indication of whether the format is worth continuing into 2009, but instead they've decided to let the show fade out and bid farewell to Phillips.  Viewers will be reluctant to give the show any support over summer now, knowing that it won't be back in the longer term.

Temptation co-host Livinia Nixon appears to be staying on board at Nine as weather presenter on Melbourne's Nine News.

Curiously, Phillips has been let go from Nine just as other news comes out that the network is piloting a new 5.30pm show to lead-in to Nine News, with no presenter formally appointed.  Network identities Karl Stefanovic (Today) and Leila McKinnon will host the pilot of the new show but the network has said that if the show is given the green light then new hosts would be appointed.

Source: news.com.au, news.com.au

Monday, 24 November 2008

Free lovin' among the networks

watchtv2 For most of the time, our free-to-air networks are fighting the battlegrounds of the all-important ratings, defending their territories (ie. audience shares), justifying their existences and, sometimes, sending out smarmy press releases to try and taint or taunt the opposition.

But from tonight, a little bit of that fierce rivalry is chipped away, just slightly, with the launch of Freeview

tv_antenna Freeview is an initiative of a collective of networks - ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten, SBS, NBN, WIN, Southern Cross, Prime - as they push to get more viewers to switch from the analogue technology that we've been watching since the 1950s to the digital signals that have been rolling out across the country since 2001. 

In launching Freeview to the public this evening, all participating networks took the rare opportunity to promote the brand in a "roadblock" style - having the same promotion broadcast simultaneously across all networks, including ABC and SBS, at exactly the same time - 6.29pm - essentially capturing everybody watching free-to-air TV at one of the most-watched times of the evening.

The ultimate goal of Freeview is to have everyone switched over to digital in time for when analogue signals start being switched off over the next few years.

Previous attempts by the industry to boost the take-up of digital have been rather low-key and less than motivating.  This was, in some ways, not helped by the tight regulations inflicted by the government on what the commercial networks especially would be allowed to do with digital. 

watchtv3 But now with Freeview, all the free-to-air networks are offering a large-scale uniform branding exercise to broadly promote digital television and the benefits that it has - namely multi-channeling by the networks through both high-definition and standard-definition (allowed from the commercial sector from 2009) and an electronic program guide. 

All up, Freeview promises 15 individual channels, comprising three from each of the five networks - ABC, Seven/Prime/SCTV, Nine/WIN/NBN, Ten/SCTen and SBS - which includes the existing digital channels already available.

Freeview also takes a swipe at subscription television by emphasising the multi-channel option and that once the equipment is purchased there are no ongoing contracts or fees.

The branding exercise will also be extended to the retail of set-top-boxes and digital TV equipment from next year. 

Saturday, 22 November 2008

1978: November 25-December 1

tvtimes_251178 How Georgiou stays a jump ahead
The cops featured in Crawford Productions' police dramas are used to high-speed car chases, but actor John Orcsik (pictured) from Cop Shop is just at home on a horse.  A former bodybuilder and karate student, Orcsik for several years owned and operated a horse riding school in Western Australia: "I gave it away in the end because I was working on my body at the time and as I built myself up I became too heavy for the horses."  Orcsik is glad to be able to include horse-riding as a skill when applying for acting roles, but it has only been called upon in the ABC series Ben Hall and in a guest appearance on Tandarra.

Mark's taste of Hollywood
Returning from the Cannes Film Festival saw pop star and actor Mark Holden make a stop in Hollywood, and three months later he's still there.  Originally planning to visit the US to gather songs for his new album, Holden has ended up with a producer and has been arranging and recording tracks, proposing them to record companies, and also attending an acting school.

Germaine to look us over
Aussie ex-pat Germaine Greer is heading to Australia to make a documentary on Sydney as part of the Canadian-produced series Cities Of The World.  Other cities to be featured in the series include Leningrad, Rome, Stockholm, Berlin, Toronto, Jerusalem, New York and Dublin.  The series, being produced by British-born John McGreevy, is expected to air towards the end of 1979.

tinaarena Tiny talented Tina
According to her mother, 10-year-old Tina Arena (pictured) "had been making singing and chattering noises almost from the day she was born, and when she was two we knew she would have to do something in showbusiness."  The youngster's penchant for singing led to her parents entering her into the Young Talent Time new talent segment.  Tina recalls, "I won the heat and the quarter finals, but I lost the semi-finals.  I wasn't disappointed and I enjoyed myself, but it was a complete surprise when Johnny Young asked if I would join the team. "  The young star is hopeful of an acting career when she is older.

Briefly:
Staff at Melbourne's ATV0 have been amused by the placement of sets for the new series Prisoner.  The replica prison wall, exercise area and vegetable garden are all located next to the channel's administration offices.

harrymichaels Former Number 96 star Harry Michaels (pictured) is celebrating the first anniversary of his weekly daytime variety program Greek Affair which he hosts and produces for the 0-10 Network.  The program is also screened in Cyprus and Michaels is also negotiating to sell the program to the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

ABC sports commentator Norman May has tipped England to win the Australia-England Test Series which starts in Brisbane this week.  Joining May on ABC's summer cricket coverage will be former Test captain Bobby Simpson, Keith Miller and Frank Tyson.

Newly-retired naval officer Commander Alun Evans has joined ABC as an advisor on the new series Patrol Boat.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"ABC has one big weak point.  It does not show good quality full-length movies on a regular basis."  D Irving, NSW.

micromacro "What is wrong with the stations they they spend thousands on such rubbish as Micro Macro (pictured) and Blankety Blanks?  They are an insult to the average person's intelligence.  Do they really think we are so dumb?"  A McCallum, VIC.

"I'd like to see foreign films on TV (with subtitles of course), and every TV station having its own theatrette in town, to take the place of 'news theatres'.  Why shouldn't someone, who has an hour or two to spare, be able to pop into a mini-theatre to pay to watch on a maxi-screen, the program that they could have been watching had they stayed at home."  P Cunningham, NSW.

What's On (November 25-December 1):
The Seven Network's summer tennis coverage begins with the Queensland Open from Brisbane on Saturday and Sunday, followed by the Federation Cup, the women's equivalent of the Davis Cup, from Monday through to Friday, live from Kooyong in Melbourne.

The Nine Network's usual daytime line-up of US soap operas takes a break for summer, with re-runs of Australian dramas Division Four and Silent Number appearing in the schedule.

ABC's weekly game show Micro Macro moves from Friday nights to Monday at 6.25pm.

The 1978-79 season of World Series Cricket starts on Tuesday with Australia versus the West Indies, telecast live from the Sydney Cricket Ground, on GTV9 from 2.20pm through to 10.30pm.  The following day features Australia versus The World.

On Wednesday night, HSV7 presents a repeat of the one-hour special John Denver In Australia, while ATV0 screens a repeat of the Holiday Survival Test showing viewers how to avoid common accidents over the upcoming holiday period.

The first cricket Test, Australia versus England, starts on Friday with live coverage on ABC from the Brisbane Cricket Ground.  Coverage starts at 11.50am and continues through to 6.30pm.

Friday night sees the final edition of ABC's long-running current affairs program This Day Tonight, ending an almost twelve-year run.

Sunday night movies are Baffled (HSV7), Kotch (GTV9) and an Australian film Squeeze A Flower (ATV0) featuring Rowena Wallace, Jeff Ashby and Barry Crocker.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 25 November 1978.  ABC/ACP

Friday, 21 November 2008

Imparja news signing off

imparja_logo Imparja Television, Australia's last independently-owned regional TV operator, is reported to be closing down its regional news and current affairs unit.

ABC reports that the Alice Springs-based, indigenous-owned broadcaster is closing its local news operations in a round of cost cutting.   Already seven jobs are believed to have been cut with more to follow.

The cutbacks follow the station's recent move into a multi-million dollar complex in Alice Springs and its failed bid to purchase the Nine Network's Darwin station NTD8.  Curiously, the bid to purchase NTD had to include a commitment to maintaining local news and staffing levels in the top end capital.

imparja_newsEarlier this year Imparja made significant changes to its schedule by aligning itself with the Nine Network line-up, adding the Nine Network 'dots' to its logo and scrapping programs sourced from Network Ten.  The station also cancelled its nightly half-hour locally-produced news bulletin, in favour of a relay of National Nine News from Brisbane, and aligned its schedule to Eastern Standard Time instead of Central Standard Time.  Local news was to be provided only via one-minute updates during the evenings and a new weekly program Footprints.

Imparja was launched in 1988 with a commitment to producing and promoting Aboriginal culture.  With the cutbacks to its local news coverage the station's only indigenous-based production now is a weekly children's program although Imparja does provide facilities and transmission capacity to the indigenous broadcaster NITV

Now for around 430,000 viewers located in remote and outback Australia the only local news coverage on television can be found on bite-sized news updates on Southern Cross Seven Central, produced from a newsroom in Canberra, and the news service of the fledgling NITV whose broadcast coverage is limited.

The cancellation of local news by Imparja follows some other regional broadcasters going down a similar path, with Prime and Southern Cross Ten in much of their eastern states coverage areas providing limited news coverage that barely fulfils the guidelines set down by the broadcasting authority.  In contrast, regional networks WIN, NBN, GWN and Southern Cross Television provide more substantial local news coverage with full-scale evening bulletins across their respective regions.

Source: ABC

Saturday, 15 November 2008

1978: November 18-24

tvtimes_181178 Alfred Sandor - Lonely hearts specialist
Alfred Sandor might be the un-romantic Dr Raymond Shaw in The Young Doctors, but in real life he is the ladies man and met his third wife after coming to Australia in 1969.  But in a career that has included appearing in more than 250 TV shows, including daytime soaps, and stage productions in the US before moving to Australia, Sandor (pictured, centre, with TYD co-stars Michael Beecher and Lyn James) doesn't quite know what makes soaps so popular.  "I think it's because there's a lot of lonely people around," he guesses.  "But I've been aghast when doctors have told me they look at the program.  They say they get a good laugh out of the program and enjoy it.  They say what happens would never happen in a real hospital but still enjoy the show."

Quest winner's dilemma
Should a 14-year-old musical prodigy finish her schooling, or go overseas to study with the world's leading teachers?  That is the question facing the family of pianist Marilyn Meier, the viewers' top choice in the finals of ABC's Quest '78.  Meier's parents are also prepared to sell up their orchard in Camden NSW, and take the family to the US or Europe to give their daughter a chance at an international music career.

ruthcracknell Ruth's happy behind the times
Actress Ruth Cracknell (pictured) admits she isn't a seventies person.  She happily claims that her time was back in the Edwardian era, back before World War I.  "Given a chance I would have loved to have lived then, in Edwardian England."  Currently in rehearsals for an upcoming stage production of Bedroom Farce, Cracknell has also been working on a new ABC series Golden Soak for screening next year.  But like most actresses, she is frustrated by the lack of solid roles for women in films and television.  "Most writers - not all - are men and they write purely from a male viewpoint.  The time is right now, for stories about women through women's eyes."

Briefly:
This year's Sydney Opera House New Year's Eve concert, starring Sherbet, is to be telecast by TEN10 Sydney and ATV0 Melbourne, with the possibility of other 0-10 Network stations taking the program.  The concert is also expected to be relayed via satellite for screening in Japan.

During the recent Miss Australia telecast, co-host Annette Allison was so excited at fellow Queenslander Anne Sneddon winning the title that she waved her arms in joy and knocked over floor manager Gary Rhodes off the podium.

Roy Hampson, whose morning hosting on ATV0 has taken a break this year, is due to return to the channel in the new year.

Actor John Dommett has returned to Australia after an extended break in the United Kingdom, and is to return to his former role in The Young Doctors in January.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"I have been watching The Truckies ever since the show started.  In short I love The Truckies.  I know quite a few gear jerkers (truck drivers) because I own a flipflop (CB radio).  They swear just as much, they work just as much and booze just as much.  I'm sure The Truckies will be a boomer of it goes overseas."  J. Blackshaw, NSW.

"I would like to express my appreciation to ABC for the Tickled Pink series.  The plays I saw were refreshing, both for their comedy and production.  Usually I'm not a fan of Australian shows because of their boredom.  Tickled Pink was so vivid, the cast so professional and general production outstanding."  J. Couani, NSW.

"I was delighted to see during the Sammys an award going to one of this country's most talented actors, George Mallaby.  His role in Cop Shop as the stern desk-bound station chief is played to perfection."  R. Bruce, NSW.

What's On (November 18-24):
GTV9
's telecast of the Australian Open Golf Championships continues on the weekend with eight hours coverage on both Saturday and Sunday.

mickiedestoop On Saturday, ATV0 devotes much of the day to the Nerve Deafness Telethon.  The telethon starts at 9.00am with hosts Steve Raymond and Mickie de Stoop (pictured) and continues through to 6.00pm.  At 6.30pm, Young Talent Time presents a special telethon edition with live performances and acknowledging of donations.  Then later, at 8.30pm, the telethon's evening segment is hosted by Peter Couchman through to the telethon's close at 11.45pm.

ABC's Sunday night 7.00pm news is cut to ten minutes, and the magazine program Weekend Magazine is given the night off, to make room for a 50-minute documentary Vietnam Today.  Presented by Tony Joyce, the special captures the realities of everyday life for the average Vietnamese in the new Vietnam.

GTV9's Family Feud moves from its regular 5.00pm timeslot to 7.00pm weeknights for the summer, replacing The Sullivans.

On Monday night, ABC presents O'se Shalom, a 90-minute documentary analysing and explaining the Jewish faith, including rituals, family life, marriage, diet and worship.  Presenting the program is Sydney rabbi Raymond Apple and This Day Tonight host Sonia Humphrey.

Sunday night movies are Point Blank (HSV7), Our Man Flint (GTV9) and The Seventh Dawn (ATV0).  All are repeats.  Later in the evening, GTV9 presents the movie classic Sorry Wrong Number, and HSV7 screens The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.

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

Friday, 14 November 2008

Pat the Rat is back

1984cover This weekend marks the return of Where Are They Now? on the Seven Network and headlining the return episode is a reunion of cast members from the '80s soap Sons And Daughters.

Included in the reunion will be Rowena Wallace - whose on-screen 'Pat the Rat' persona was pivotal to much of the series and earned Wallace a TV Week Gold Logie in 1985 - joined by fellow cast members Peter Phelps, Ally Fowler, Tom Richards, Ian Rawlings and Belinda Giblin.

After the glory of winning the Gold Logie in 1985, Wallace has been in and out of the spotlight ever since - but not always for the right reasons. In 2005, Wallace was facing a 20-year jail term for falsely claiming $30,000 in Centrelink benefits, during a time she was living in a commission house and suffering depression.

Wallace's return to the spotlight came in the unlikely form of reality show Celebrity Overhaul (think The Bigger Loser for celebrities) later followed by a role in the perennial soap Neighbours.

The Where Are They Now? reunion of Sons And Daughters cast members comes after the show has staged similar reunions for cast members of Prisoner, Number 96, The Young Doctors and Hey Dad.

Source: TV Tonight, Sunday, Celebrity Overhaul
Related: '80s soap icon back for another run

Where Are They Now?, Sunday 16 November 7.30pm, Seven*
* Melbourne. Other areas/affiliates check local guide

Monday, 10 November 2008

1978: November 11-17

tvtimes_111178 A little bit of what John fancies
Although he's been an actor since the age of 11, John Meillon (pictured, with Stuart Wagstaff) has never been a walk-on, say-a-few-words, walk-off-again actor... a bit player. But that will change with a role in Bit Part, one of the series of plays featured in ABC's Stuart Wagstaff's World Playhouse. "This play is quite funny really. It's a sort of joke in the industry, 'Hello, you're finally playing a bit part'," he told TV Times. The veteran actor had declined offers for bit parts in the past, instead choosing the maintain a certain level in the roles he's accepted: "If you want to - with all due respect - be in things like The Restless Years, The Young Doctors and those Crawford things, if you want to do that, well, there is work. But to me the quality work has always been with ABC. My maxim has always been quality over quantity."

More of Parkinson's lore!
British TV interviewer Michael Parkinson is due to come to Australia in early 1979 to record a series of shows for ABC. Parkinson's Saturday night series has been a British favourite for seven years and has been screening on ABC since earlier this year. It's also been revealed that Parkinson was offered the chance to host the Nine Network's upcoming current affairs program 60 Minutes but declined as it meant permanently relocating to Australia.

daveallenby Happy Dave is here to stay
British comedian Dave Allenby (pictured) first came to Australia in 1970 to compere the Beach Boys concert tour. The sunshine and opportunities for future work was enough to lure him back permanently. Now settled with his family in Australia, Allenby is also settled in as host of the 0-10 Network's new game show Perfect Match, where husband and wife contestants are asked questions about each other: "The format is just right. It's relaxed and I can crack gags and ad-lib as much as I like."

Briefly:
The cast of Cop Shop celebrated the show's 100th episode with a special lunch courtesy of the Seven Network, while Nine's The Young Doctors has just taped its 500th episode.

saturdayshow_2 An album of Irish songs released by The Saturday Show's John MacNally (pictured with co-star Suzanne Steele) has sold more than 120,000 copies, with a single due to be released in time for Christmas and a second album next year.

A five-part documentary series China - The Human Face has been made by Film Australia, breaking the long-standing ban on Western film crews entering the nation. The documentary is expected to screen early in 1979.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"I hope that ABC can sell The Truckies overseas. People should understand that Australian truckies' long hauls are not like those in smaller countries. I have been married to a truckie for over 27 years and we all wait to see who the next program will remind us of." B. Longhurst, NSW.

"Why doesn't ABC screen some Elvis Presley movies? When Elvis died only capital city stations showed his movies. But country people who simply receive ABC would like to see his movies too." E. Eames, QLD.

What's On (November 11-17):
11 November is Remembrance Day, and HSV7 takes time out for two minutes silence at 11.00am, while GTV9 presents a special to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Remembrance Day.

On Saturday, ATV0 presents the last day's events of the VRC Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Australian series Glenview High returns to HSV7 on Saturday night for screening over the summer months.

GTV9 launches a summer mid-evening edition of National Nine News, screening weeknights at 9.30pm and read by Peter Hitchener.

On Thursday, GTV9 begins four days' coverage of the Australian Open Golf Championships, live from Sydney - with four hours of coverage on each of Thursday and Friday, but interrupted by The Mike Walsh Show and US soaps Days Of Our Lives and The Young And The Restless.

The Brisbane-based Orton's Old Time Music Hall, hosted by Paul Sharratt, begins on GTV9 on Friday night.

Sunday night movies are Love's Dark Ride (HSV7), My Father's House (GTV9) and Up The Sandbox (ATV0).

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

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Bob McGready

bobmcgready Bob McGready, one of the pioneer presenters in the early days of regional television, has died at the age of 85.

Born in Ireland, McGready came to Australia in the late-'40s after war service with the Royal Navy.

After working for Sydney newspaper Truth and later in advertising, McGready moved to radio station 2GZ Orange as a news editor and, while there, hired a young breakfast announcer named John Laws.

With the advent of regional television in the '60s, McGready devised a comedy program called Grocer And Madam for local station CBN8.  The program then evolved into a quiz program, Jackpot Quiz, which ran for over a decade.  As well as presenting the program locally in Orange, McGready also travelled to Canberra, Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane to present local versions of the same program.  As with many regional TV programs of that era, there is not much archived or recorded in history about Jackpot Quiz.  However, a rare clip of the program, which appears to be from McGready's final edition of Jackpot Quiz at CBN8, now appears on YouTube:

Twenty years ago, McGready moved to the Byron Bay district in NSW and became involved in community radio at local station BAYFM, and from 1993 presented a Saturday morning music program until only two years ago.

The funeral service for Bob McGready, who in 2001 proudly claimed to be Australia's oldest radio broadcaster, was held at the Byron Bay Community Centre which is home to BAYFM.

Source: Byron Shire News
YouTube: FrozenDoberman

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Ten News knocked Out Of The Blue

memory16 There is a new weeknight soapie coming to Australian TV - something of a rarity these days apart from Neighbours (pictured) and Home And Away which have been plugging away since the 1980s - but, like those two soapie stalwarts in their earlier days, there are some quirks surrounding this new show.

Out Of The Blue was commissioned by BBC1 to fill the gap left by Neighbours when rival network Five picked up the series for local broadcast.  But despite Out Of The Blue being made by the Brits, it was actually produced in Australia.  Sort of an attempt to fight Neighbours' defection to Five with a fresh-faced sun-drenched Aussie soap, and seeing as our own networks haven't created anything of that sort for a while BBC decided to make their own. 

However, the viewers didn't really take to Out Of The Blue when it debuted in the UK earlier this year.  As a result, the series was bumped from the mainstream BBC1 to the alternative BBC2 where ratings have continued to dive.

outoftheblueNow it's been announced that Five, the network whose Neighbours purchase prompted Out Of The Blue (pictured) in the first place, has picked up all 130 episodes of the series and will re-screen it on their multi-channel, Fiver, in the new year.  If the show can attract a new following on the more youth-focused Fiver, as opposed to the more conservative BBC, then it may potentially pave the way for production of a second series.  And if it does that, it would be very reminiscent of our own Neighbours being axed by Seven after one season, to be revived by Network Ten.

But before Five snapped up the show, Network Ten has had eyes on the show for screening here.  The network has a few (pardon the pun) idle timeslots at present, not least the 6.00pm to 7.30pm bracket, and a new locally-based soap would also give them additional points to fulfilling their local drama quota and, if slotted into the early evenings, might also renew some viewer interest in Neighbours.

Curiously, news from Ten is that it does indeed plan to show Out Of The Blue in a weeknight timeslot.

10.30pm.

A strange choice of timeslot given the series appears to have been made with a daytime/early-evening audience in mind given its BBC timeslots.  It's also an odd choice in that it bumps Ten's late night news, after eighteen years, to 11.00pm.

sandrasully Ten News had dutifully held the 10.30pm (or thereabouts) timeslot for the network since the early-'90s, when the first Gulf War erupted and Ten had the resources of news giant CNN behind it.  Ten Second Edition News (not to be confused as being Ten-Second Edition News!) was first with Eric Walters at the helm, then Anne Fulwood, then Sandra Sully (pictured) since 1996.  Despite Ten's normal lightweight news position against Seven and Nine, it has fought off late-night news bulletins from both networks.  Even though Nightline was axed from Nine only recently, it had long ago been bumped from the 10.30pm to a later hour to avoid competition with Ten.

It is a curious move to put in an untested series into that timeslot at the expense of the one program that has worked there for many years - and at the moment Ten has very few consistent performers in its schedule.  And when it comes to news, viewers don't like change, they like stability and consistency.  So, even though Ten News is only being moved thirty minutes later, that is enough for a lot of viewers to decide to give the news a miss and head to bed.  It might also see ABC1's Lateline pick up a few new viewers as well.

Out Of The Blue. Premieres Monday 17 November, 10.30pm.  Ten.

Source: TVRage, TVTonight

Sunday, 2 November 2008

1978: November 4-10

tvtimes_041178 Their Restless Years
Three of The Restless Years' more 'senior' cast members were asked by TV Times to recall some of their own 'restless years'.  June Salter (pictured, bottom right) recalled hiding her smoking habit from her parents, "when I finally had the courage to tell mum 'I'm 23 and I'm going to smoke in front of you from now on,' she replied 'I don't see why not, you've been doing it behind my back since you were 17."  John Hamblin admitted to being a bit of a loner and spending a lot time bird-watching: "not the two-legged variety, the feathery kind.  Birds, history and castles were my passions." But at the age of 20 he was seduced by a woman 15 years his senior, changing his whole attitude to life.  Jill Forster said in her younger years she was "all those terrible things: Head prefect, school captain, very bookish.  Probably because I was an only child."  She later had a string of failed romances from the time she was 17, "I was always a romantic in search of the great love."

Our Sally hits the jackpot!
Former Young Talent Time cast member Sally Boyden has just returned from Hollywood where she completed a role in the movie Little Dragons, and is now to return to the US to star in the Mary Poppins-type film The Adventures Of Holly Hobby.  The young star, now set to become the highest paid Australian child performer to date, is also contracted to appear in a thirteen-part TV series based on the telemovie Lassie The New Beginning

mollymeldrum TV's reluctant prince of pop
Countdown's Ian 'Molly' Meldrum (pictured, interviewing HRH Prince Charles on Countdown's 100th episode) can't sing, dance or act, admits that he isn't the most articulate speaker, and hates being on camera.  Despite this he is one of Australian TV's most influential personalities.  "I never wanted to work in front of the camera - in fact, all I ever wanted to do was to be a record producer and a journalist," he told TV Times. "If I had my way I wouldn't be on screen at all."  Meldrum's TV career started miming pop songs on ATV0's Kommotion and later presenting a weekly segment on Uptight, a program which Meldrum describes as "the best thing ever to happen in Australian pop.  It was the forerunner to everything."  After working in London and the US, Meldrum reluctantly returned to TV in 1973 to present a rock report on a Saturday morning program for HSV7, and then the following year was involved in a trial run for a new pop music show for ABC called Countdown.  But despite hosting one of the most popular TV shows in the country and earning what he calls a "comfortable" wage, Meldrum still says he's hopeless with money, forgetting to pay a string of parking fines and, after a recent burglary, realised he'd also forgotten to renew his insurance, "I have an accountant to look after my interests now."

bernardking Briefly:
Cast members of The Restless Years made a guest appearance on the 1000th episode of Bernard King's (pictured) morning TV show King's Kitchen, to screen next month on the 0-10 Network and on STW9 Perth. 

Cast and crew associated with the new 0-10 Network series Prisoner have been banned from speaking to the press.

TV Times reporter Joanna Parsons was involved in a plot to lure actor Ron Frazer into a fake interview which would be 'interrupted' by Roger Climpson claiming "Ron Frazer, This Is Your Life!"

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"What is going on?  We have one variety show in Adelaide, The Ernie Sigley Show, apart from the eastern imports.  Is this all Adelaide can offer?  Compared to The Don Lane Show and Mike Walsh, the Ernie Sigley show is dead.  Poor old Ernie, I think it is time he gave it away before it gives him away."  G. Culbertson, SA.

"Having only one channel here, ABC, we are forced to watch with disgust, episodes of The Truckies.  I feel The Truckies is a slur on hard-working and responsible truck drivers and makes them look like morons."  N. Ford, NT.

johnwood "I think The Truckies is thoroughly entertaining and John Wood (pictured), who plays Stokey, is one of my favourite Australian actors."  G. Wallenda, WA.

"I wish to complain about a program on our local TV station, a special The Battle Of Eureka Stockade, rated A.  It was on at 5pm and this is a time that young children are watching television.  I thought it would be a good educational program, but with words like 'bastards', 'slut', 'rip your guts out' and so on, it was not very educational."  E. O'Connor, QLD.

What's On (November 4-10):
The 0-10 Network has secured the rights to televising the events of the VRC Melbourne Cup Carnival for the first time.  Saturday's coverage starts with a Cup Carnival Breakfast, held at the ATV0 studios and hosted by Michael Williamson, followed by Derby Day coverage from Flemington.  On Tuesday, ATV0 presents eight hours of Melbourne Cup Day coverage, starting at 9.00am with a Melbourne Cup Day Preview, then at 11.00am Michael Schildberger hosts six hours of Melbourne Cup coverage, with races called by Clem Dimsey.  Thirteen cameras will be placed around Flemington Racecourse to capture the day's events including fashion displays.  ATV0 then returns to Flemington for Oaks Day on Thursday.

The non-ratings season is now evident with some regular shows having finished up or moved to alternative timeslots and some lesser-known replacements filling in. 

theyoungdoctors GTV9's The Young Doctors (pictured) has been moved to 8.30pm two nights a week, with its usual 6.00pm timeslot filled by repeats of the US comedy Nanny And The Professor.  And filling the gap left by The Daryl And Ossie Show, which finished on ATV0 last week, is an American game show All Star Anything Goes, featuring teams representing various US sitcoms and dramas including Eight Is Enough, The Brady Bunch, The Jeffersons and The WaltonsATV0's The Peter Couchman Show has been replaced by late-night movies, and British series Coronation Street is returned to GTV9, screening Monday and Tuesday nights.

micromacro Despite the exodus of some programs for the summer, regular programs including Cop Shop, The Sullivans, The Don Lane Show, The Mike Walsh Show, The Steve Raymond Show, Blankety Blanks, The Restless Years, Willesee At Seven, Countdown, The Inventors, Micro Macro (pictured) and This Day Tonight are still in the schedule.

Sunday night movies are the Australian film The Night Nurse (HSV7), Rosetti And Ryan (GTV9) and Assault On A Queen (ATV0), while ABC presents the Australian Opera production of  Fra Diavolo.

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