Monday, 27 April 2009

More news is good news?

ten_newsat6 Network Ten have, for many years, stretched the boundaries of news presentation in this country.  They were the first network with a one-hour evening news in the ‘70s.  They adopted the American style of heavily-populated news desks and casual interaction between presenters.  They tried, albeit briefly, to have a three-newsreader format in Sydney and Melbourne.  They were the first network to break the 6.00pm news barrier – with NEW10 in Perth in 1988, and then the whole network going ‘first at five’ in 1992. 

And, today, there are reports that Ten is considering expanding its one-hour 5.00pm news bulletin to 90 minutes, putting it up against Seven News and Nine News.  If the move goes ahead, is the first time since 1991 that all three networks will have news at 6.00pm. 

The move is, apparently, to save the network millions of dollars it is paying each year for trotting out re-runs of The Simpsons at 6.00pm, by utilising resources it is already paying for.   And given that Ten usually wins the 5.00pm hour in the ratings – despite the high-profile game show contest being fought between Seven and Nine at 5.30pm – it is hoped that this audience will flow over to 6.00pm and may also increase the profile of Neighbours, which struggles at 6.30pm.

Since the report appeared in this morning’s press, Network Ten has since denied the suggestion that it is going through with this change to its news format, although they have conceded that pilot bulletins in the expanded format were trialled.

ten_newslogo The issue raises the question, though, do we need three versions of news at 6.00pm?  In a market where we only have three commercial channels, would it not be better to offer an alternative to the two networks already offering news at that time?  On the other hand, Ten has tried to offer alternatives at 6.00pm for many years now – Hinch, Studs, Jeopardy!, Level 23, Echo Point, Battle Of The Sexes, and many, many re-runs of The Simpsons, just to name a few – and none have really clocked up decent ratings.

There is no denying that Ten needs to do something with its 6.00pm timeslot, but is more news the answer?

Source: Daily Telegraph, Brisbane Times

Saturday, 25 April 2009

1979: April 28-May 4

tvtimes_280479 Hogan’s Heroines
Delvene Delaney
’s absence from The Paul Hogan Show this year has led to a lucky break for two female beauties from vastly different backgrounds.  Karen Pini, from Western Australia, rose to fame as a runner-up in the Miss World contest of 1976 and later appeared as a nude centrefold in the first edition of Australian Playboy magazine.  Pini is now pursuing an acting career with The Paul Hogan Show as well as a role in The Young DoctorsSue McIntosh had worked in television in the United Kingdom, as an actress and presenter, before coming to Australia where (as Sue Donovan) she became best known as the host of ABC’s Adventure Island as well as appearances in The Graham Kennedy Show, The Don Lane Show and The Mike Walsh Show, as well as hosting GTV9’s You Me And Education.

Quest winner to study in US
Marilyn Meier
, the 14-year-old viewers’ choice in ABC’s Quest ‘78 talent series, has decided to follow her dream and study in the US.  The young performer is to study with four or five months tuition with Bela Siki, Professor of Music at the University of Washington. Ms Meier will also attend a six-week summer school at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada after winning a $1000 scholarship to the school. 

tanyahalesworth Tanya’s back to bridge the gap
Tanya Halesworth (pictured), one of ABC’s first female TV presenters in the ‘50s and later host of the Nine Network’s all-female current affairs program No Man’s Land, is returning to the national broadcaster to host Sunday Spectrum, a two-and-a-half hour arts and entertainment program featuring documentaries, concerts and local material.  The first edition of Sunday Spectrum will also include an interview with ACTU president Bob Hawke, who will be the first in a series of interviews with well-known Australians to discuss the books that have had the most influence on their lives.  Sunday Spectrum starts on ABC in mid-May.

Dr Susan’s prescription for living
Judy Lynne, Dr Susan Richards in The Young Doctors, is making a 30-minute pilot for what she hopes will be picked up for a 26-episode series.  The new program, Live Life, looks at various leisure activities and to inspire people to make more active use of their spare time.  The pilot, which is being made with the support of the Nine Network, is the result of twelve months’ research and planning.  The network is to decide in May if the pilot will be expanded into a series.

Olga Davis, one of the hosts of ATV0’s Grecian Scene, has just returned from Greece where she was gathering material and interviewing Greek performers.  The program, which screens every Saturday on ATV0, is also shown in Greece and in some Arab countries.

Actor Terry Donovan, who has been touring Australia to promote the movie The Money Makers, has signed up to replace George Mallaby in Cop Shop.  Donovan will start work on the series later in the year.

dorrieevans Even though Number 96 ended production over a year ago, Pat McDonald is still finding it hard to shake off the Dorrie Evans (pictured) persona she portrayed for over five years: “I did realise at the time that it would take a long time for people to forget her completely, but I didn’t think she would still be alive in people’s minds to the extent that she is today.  I’m constantly amazed by it.  I have a feeling I will have to play a few very dramatic, completely different roles on TV before people will let me move on.”

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I’m glad The Goodies are back on ABC.  It’s a really good show; the three stars are brilliant comedians and writers, the show is always hilarious and it’s on at a reasonable time.” S. Carrington, NSW.

“In episode four of Anna Karenina on ABC, Count Vronsky’s horse fell at the last jump of a steeplechase.  Was the mare he was riding really destroyed?”  A. Moores, NSW.  (Editor’s reply: “nyet”)

“I and many others think Doctor Who is about as thrilling as the tenth rerun of Days Of Our Lives.  This is typical of British shows, especially on ABC.” D. Johns, QLD.

What’s On (April 28-May 4):
Weekend sport includes the finals of the World Tournament Hockey, live from Perth, and the 1979 Australian Sports Sedans, from Sydney’s Oran Park, live on ABCABC and HSV7 have Saturday night replays of highlights from the day’s VFL matches.  On Sunday afternoon, Melbourne and Richmond clash in the Commodore Cup, live from Moorabbin, on HSV7.

deniswalter Singer Denis Walter (pictured) is a guest star on this week’s Young Talent Time (ATV0, Saturday).  Later in the evening, Lucky Starr, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Terry Donovan, Cheetah and Dave Allenby are some of the guest stars on HSV7’s Saturday Night Live.

The first batch of multicultural programs compiled by the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) are shown on ABC over three hours on Sunday morning.

In this week’s Marque: 100 Years Of Motoring (ABC, Thursday), Peter Wherrett looks at the Mini and the front-engine, front-wheel-drive cars that it has since inspired.  Then he compares GM’s Corvair with the early Volkswagens.

HSV7 launches a new weekly children’s show, Stax, promising a new approach to television where children, aged 7 to 13, provide the ideas for the show and present them.  The program is produced for HSV7 by Bob Weis and new company Open Channel.

Sunday night movies: Breakout (HSV7), Paper Tiger (GTV9), Airport 1975 (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 28 April 1979.  ABC/ACP

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

One, Two, Three for ABC

abc_2001 Twelve months on, last year’s 2020 Summit has bore little fruit although the Government has made two decisions based on the discussions conducted over the two-day event.

One of those decisions is to approve funding for ABC to establish a television channel specifically for children.

The new channel, tentatively ABC3, will include a mix of in-house and private sector production – and promises that 50 per cent of all programming will be Australian.

Programs will cover all genres including drama, animation and documentaries. ABC’s director of television Kim Dalton said that the broadcaster will announce more details of the channel over the coming weeks and months.

go99 The announcement of the new ABC channel comes after Network Ten has launched its 24-hour high-definition channel OneHD and SBS has announced plans to relaunch its World News Channel as SBS2. The Nine Network has not made any formal announcement, though it is suggested that their new digital channel may be an entertainment channel called GO!99.

That leaves Seven still to make any hint as to what its multi-channel plans are beyond its existing part-time channel 7HD – when almost two months ago, network chief David Leckie teased the press with a statement that an announcement was imminent.

Source: ABC, TV Tonight, NineMSN

Monday, 20 April 2009

Bill Collins joins Logies’ Hall of Fame

billcollins TV Week has announced Bill Collins as the 26th inductee into the TV Week Logies Awards’ Hall of Fame.

For over forty years, Collins has shared his passion for movies with many thousands of magazine readers and TV viewers.  Formerly a lecturer at the Sydney Teachers’ College, Collins began presenting movie reviews on ABC’s afternoon program, Roundabout, in the early ‘60s. 

From 1963, Collins started writing movie reviews for TV Times magazine and later moved to commercial television to review and introduce movies – first at TCN9 and then at ATN7 Sydney, where he also presented movie reviews on the Sunday night news!

billcollins_2By the early ‘80s, Collins had moved across to Network Ten where his movie presentations, with passionate and often unscripted reviews that were almost as epic as the movie titles he was presenting, became a long-running staple of Saturday night television across the country.   As well as The Golden Years Of Hollywood, there was The Bill Collins’ Picture Show, and many midday and weekend movie matinee presentations for Network Ten.  Also during the ‘80s, Collins reviewed movies for TV Week and his weekly column, You Asked For It, ran for several years.

In the mid-‘90s, the advent of pay-TV saw classic movies appearing less and less on free-to-air TV – so it was inevitable that Collins would move The Golden Years Of Hollywood to Foxtel where it currently appears on the Fox Classics channel.

Logiehand The TV Week Logies’ Hall of Fame was introduced in 1984 to recognise the achievements of those who have made significant contribution to the Australian television industry.  The first recipient was legendary TV producer Hector Crawford.  Over the years, the Hall of Fame has welcomed actors and actresses, producers, executives, presenters and even programs that have made extended contributions to television.

Bill Collins will be inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame at this year’s awards presentation on Sunday 3 May.

Source: ABC, TV Week

Saturday, 18 April 2009

1979: April 21-27

tvtimes_210479 Busted!  Linda Stoner’s day in a real cop shop
Cop Shop newcomer Lynda Stoner (pictured, with co-star Gil Tucker) spent a day at Melbourne’s Russell Street police station to get some practical advice on the type of police work the actress may be expected to emulate in the popular Seven Network series.  The former Miss TV Times winner is also finding that, like in her previous role as a nurse in The Young Doctors, the uniforms are proving to be a bit of a problem: “I didn’t like the nurses uniform and this police uniform is a problem, too.  I’m two sizes bigger around the top than the bottom.  The skirts seem to sag while the buttons at the top do not have much chance of lasting long!”  

TV series for ethnic groups
The Government-funded Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is producing a series of three-hour programs to screen on ABC on Sunday mornings from later this month. Executive producer of the weekly program is Rowan Ayers, a former BBC executive who was recently a producer of special projects for the Nine Network.  Ayers was also an executive producer of the Nine documentary series The Africans, which screened earlier this month.  Although the series features programs of interest to as many as forty different ethnic groups, Ayers hopes that the programs offered by SBS will be of interest to all Australians:  “The series is not meant only for migrant groups.  We hope that all Australians will find it interesting as well and will learn about the different ethnic groups in this country.  Each program is basically a ‘network’ of different programs, some from other countries and others made in Australia.  We’ll have material from places such as Korea, Thailand, Greece, Italy, Germany, Turkey and France.”

bertnewton_cigar Bert Newton in TV deal
The Nine Network is about to announce a new contract deal which will make Bert Newton (pictured) possibly the highest paid performer in Australian TV.  The Nine deal, which comes just after Newton was signed to a Melbourne radio station to a five-year contract worth $1 million, follows a very generous offer made by the Seven Network last year in response to Nine poaching Seven personalities including Brian Naylor and Paul Hogan.  The Seven offer eventually failed when network stations outside of Melbourne shirked at the cost of hiring someone whose popularity is not as strong outside of Melbourne.  The previous year, Newton, his on-air partner Don Lane and producer Peter Faiman were also made an offer to move The Don Lane Show across to ATV0.

billstalker Airport series set for take-off
Production is well underway on the new Seven Network drama series Skyways.  The series, set in an international airport, has a cast of thirteen – including Deborah Coulls (The Restless Years), Bartholomew John (The Young Doctors, The Penthouse Club), Bruce Barry, Tony Bonner (Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, Cop Shop), Ken James (Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, The Box), Joanne Samuel (Class Of ‘74, The Young Doctors), Brian James, Judy Morris, Gaynor Martin and New Zealand actor Bill Stalker (pictured).  No screening date or timeslot has been announced as yet but inside sources claim the series will be aimed for an early-evening timeslot.

High energy channel!
A report presented on BTQ7’s Haydn Sargent’s Brisbane, on an alternative source of energy, has gained national interest.  Producer Earle Bailey had found that the Horvath Energy System, invented by 49-year-old Stephen Horvath of Sydney, was given only minimal coverage in the southern states.  Bailey then sent a team to Sydney to assess the invention that claimed to produce everlasting, pollution-free and inexpensive energy by a fusion process using hydrogen and its isotopes.  It was claimed that the system, which Horvath had already installed in his car, could be mass-produced within 16 months, reducing the dependency on fossil fuels.  The BTQ7 report was later picked up by HSV7 Melbourne and TVW7 Perth and also distributed worldwide by Visnews.

The Seven Network has joined the Nine Network and ABC in bidding for the rights to televise the 1979-80 Australian Test cricket season.  The 0-10 Network may have dropped out of the race after Sydney press reported details of their bid to the Australian Cricket Board.

Plans to present an edition of The Don Lane Show from within Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison have been dropped.  Producer Peter Faiman said the show, to air this week, will still feature interviews and filmed stories from within the 150-year-old prison but will be presented from GTV9’s studios as usual.  Faiman also promised a surprise, saying that during the show they will breaking a major historic discovery.

After 21 months as Alison Clark in The Restless Years, Julieanne Newbould has asked to be written out of the show: “At the moment I don’t know what I’ll do.  But there comes a time when you can become typecast.”

The ‘Brian Tells Me So’ tune that TCN9 and GTV9 have been using to promote their newsreaders – Brian Henderson and Brian Naylor – has become so popular it is to be released as a single.

Former Number 96 and The Box star Briony Behets has agreed to a guest role in the new series Prisoner.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I am appalled that ABC would put such a blunderer as Ian Meldrum on air, especially as Countdown is one of their most popular shows.  A perfect example of this man’s foolishness was when he was talking to tennis star Vitas Gerulaitas and he addressed him as Bjorn.” J. Ward, QLD.

“I would like to say how exciting it is to see ABC coming back into current affairs with Nationwide.  The closing down of This Day Tonight and Monday Conference left ABC viewers with a feeling of desolation.” L. Mills, SA.

thesullivans “Why is The Sullivans (pictured) screened every weeknight in Sydney and only twice a week in Perth?  It’s a bit lousy because Perth will never catch up with Sydney!” C. Simmonds, WA.



What’s On (April 21-27):
Weekend sport on ABC includes live coverage of the King’s Club Regatta from Adelaide and the World Hockey Tournament from Perth.

This Week Has Seven Days (HSV7, Saturday afternoon) features a segment on Australian varieties of lizards.  This week’s medical segment looks at skin burns. And the careers segment looks at the job of the veterinary nurse.

Documentary series This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) presents the first of a two-part episode on war.  Peter Luck talks to survivors of the German and Japanese prison camps.

Monday night on HSV7, Norman Gunston presents his first special for 1979 with international guests including Lee Marvin, the Bee Gees, Dinah Shore, Barry Manilow, Troy Donahue, Dionne Warwick, Karen Black and Harry Reems, a star of the adult film Deep Throat.

twentygoodyears ABC presents the premiere of its new drama series Twenty Good Years.  The story begins in 1956.  Ron (Harold Hopkins) meets Anne (Anne Pendlebury), a Jewish girl.  When the relationship becomes series, both the couple (pictured) and their families are faced with some difficult decisions.  The series also stars Leila Hayes, John Murphy, Jonathan Hardy, Anne Charleston, Julia Blake and Michael Carman.

ANZAC Day is commemorated with various programs during the day.  ABC presents live coverage of the ANZAC Day March, followed by a special, The ANZAC Story, which looks at the ANZACs during the Great War 1914-18.  ATV0 presents a one-hour special Return To ANZAC, featuring the 1975 pilgrimage of 70 Australians to ANZAC Cove.  Later in the afternoon, ATV0 presents the ANZAC episode of the series Australians At War.

Sunday night movies: The Savage Bees (HSV7), Adventures Of A Taxi Driver (GTV9), Carry On Round The Bend (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 21 April 1979.  ABC/ACP

Monday, 13 April 2009

John Sorell

9_1980s Former National Nine News chief John Sorell has died at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital. The 72-year-old had suffered a heart attack on Friday.

A dual Walkley Award winner with a long history as a print journalist – working at newspapers including The Mercury, The Age, The Herald and Sunday Observer – Sorell went on to lead the GTV9 newsroom from 1975 at a time that the station’s evening news bulletin was being soundly beaten by Seven.

It was Sorell who, during 1978, made a successful bid to poach top-rating Seven newsreader Brian Naylor. Naylor joined National Nine News early in 1979 and went on to lead the news ratings until his retirement in 1998.

Sorell retired from Nine in 2003, leaving while the channel’s news was still in front in the ratings.

Just two months ago, Sorell wrote a tribute in the Herald Sun to Brian Naylor who died with wife Moiree in the tragic bushfires that devastated parts of Victoria.

Source: Herald Sun, The Age, TV Tonight

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Celebrating 50 years of WA TV

tvw7_early When television began in Australia it inevitably started up first in Sydney and Melbourne in 1956.  The following year it was announced that TV services would be extended to the other capital cities of Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. 

By the end of 1959, Brisbane would have three channels, Adelaide would have two, and Perth would have its first channel – TVW7. (Hobart followed in 1960)

The licence to operate Perth’s first commercial television station was issued to TVW Limited, owned by West Australian Newspapers, in October 1958.  The only other applicant for the licence was Western Television Services which had ties with News Limited, based in Adelaide.  News Limited was successful, however, in gaining one of the two commercial television licences for Adelaide.

TVW7 made its first test transmissions from 31 August 1959 and was officially opened on Friday 16 October 1959.  The station was operating from studios in the suburb of Tuart Hill and from a transmitter located in Bickley.

tvw7_colourThe opening night’s line-up started with speeches from TVW general manager James Cruthers and Western Australian governor Sir Charles Gairdner, who officially declared the station open.  Later in the evening, TVW7 presented the first edition of its live-to-air variety show, Spotlight, featuring Rolf Harris who had returned from London to become a presenter and producer for TVW.

TVW7 would have Perth’s TV viewers all to itself for the next few months – as ABC’s local channel, ABW2, did not commence transmission until May 1960. 

tvw7_loveyouperth_80sPerth’s second commercial channel, STW9, commenced transmission in June 1965 – almost six years after TVW launched.  It was this prolonged commercial monopoly in the market that helped TVW gain an unbeatable position against its newcomer rival and, to this day, TVW7 continues to dominate ratings in Perth.

In the lead-up to TVW7’s 50th anniversary – and a planned staff reunion – the website WA TV History has compiled an excellent and detailed account of various aspects of the station’s history – including some of the channel’s past and present personnel, programs and technical production.  There is a vast array of photographs – many donated from the personal collections of former staff – and a roll-call of people who have worked at TVW7, and also a list of Western Australia’s TV Week Logie award winners.

tvw7_loveyouperthSome names have gone on from TVW7 to become known across Australia.  Garry Meadows was an early TVW presenter who went on to radio and television on the east coast.  Johnny Young hosted a pop music program, Club SeventeenPeter Meakin worked in the news room before heading the news department at Nine and now the Seven NetworkAnn Sanders was a game show hostess on $50,000 LetterboxSimon Reeve was a children’s show host and news reporter.  Terry Willesee was a newsreader.

tvw7_telethon_68 And it would be remiss not to mention what is the station’s annual highlight – Telethon.  Since 1968, Telethon has raised over $80 million for children’s charities in Western Australia.  It has attracted national attention and international celebrities – including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Sammy Davis Jnr and Celine Dion – some of which came to Australia specifically for Telethon.  (Pictured are Johnny O’Keefe, Graham Kennedy, Bobby Limb and Stuart Wagstaff, all sans shirts for a stunt at the first Telethon.)

WA TV History is an excellent resource and a highly-recommended read.

Additional source: Eric Fisher

Friday, 10 April 2009

1979: April 14-20

tvtimes_140479 Handling success like a Sullivan
TV Times talked to The Sullivans stars Richard Morgan and Jamie Higgins (pictured, with co-star Paul Cronin) about their roles and success in one of Australia’s most popular TV dramas.  “I’m amazed at how many people cannot tell me from my character.  So many of them want to talk to Terry.  Off camera I’m not Terry,” Morgan told TV Times.  Born in Tasmania, Morgan was studying to be a schoolteacher when he auditioned for the role in The Sullivans:  “I thought it would run for 13 weeks and that would be it and I would go back to teaching.  But the show went on and I’m still here.”  For Jamie Higgins, playing someone considerably younger than himself, there is frustration that he tends to be regarded as a child.  Reporters tend to ask him kid-style questions and fans tend to believe that he is really only 14 years old.  But, for the former New Zealander with experience in amateur theatre and professional roles in two telemovies, starring in the top-rating series brought some tough lessons:  “When I arrived I thought I had done so much and that I was pretty good at it but it didn’t take me long with some of the experienced actors in the series to find out that really I had done very little.”

Julie Anthony and US stars team up for the kids
Singer Julie Anthony will join US stars including Helen Reddy, Bob Hope, Diahann Carroll, Peggy Lee and Miss Piggy in a TV special being produced for the International Year of the Child.  The program, I Am A Child, will include segments recorded in Australia, the US and Europe.

borntorun They’re off!
Some of Australia’s most familiar TV faces will appear in Born To Run, the second Walt Disney production to be made in Australia in three years.  The movie, set in the Hunter Valley in 1911, includes John Meillon, Julieanne Newbould, Andrew McFarlane and Mary Ward.

elizabethalexander Elizabeth’s golden opportunity
Feeling typecast as a “period” actress after her roles in Seven Little Australians,  Ben Hall and the movie The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, actress Elizabeth Alexander (pictured) was looking forward to her role in ABC’s new series Golden Soak and the chance to wear jeans and shirts for her role as outback girl Janet Garrety.  But now that production has finished it is back to period costume with a contract to appear in four plays for the Melbourne Theatre Company – and they’re all period pieces.

With Rowena Wallace and George Mallaby leaving the popular Seven Network series Cop Shop, their on-screen daughter, played by Jo-Anne Moore, is also to be written out.  The 20-year-old is hopeful of some stage work or other TV roles.

ABC’s rural affairs program Countrywide is to discuss the future of Australia’s railway network following predictions that the system will report a $1 billion loss in three years time.

There’s a surprising new recruit on Adelaide NWS9’s Sunday football show.  Model Francine Shearman, with a husband and son both involved in Aussie Rules, intends on shattering the myth that women should be seen and not heard when it comes to football analysis. 

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
”Why is it that a program such as Match Of The Day on ABC has to suffer from the ratings game, which is such an obvious game to the commercial channels?  This program is so tremendously popular with tens of thousands of fans, but is now placed in a timeslot which makes it very difficult for younger fans to see it.  It started off at the reasonable time of 9.10pm but has been gradually put back to the present timeslot of 10.20pm.”  J. Zeeman, NSW.

“”I’ve just seen Robin Williams on Mork And Mindy.  All you Mork fans out there might like to know that BBC’s original Goons made exactly the same noises 25 years ago.” T. Robinson, VIC.

What’s On (April 14-20):
Saturday afternoon sport includes 3 hours coverage of the heats of the Stawell Gift on ABC, leading up to the final race on Monday afternoon.

This weekend’s guests on ABC’s Parkinson In Australia are Kerry Packer, Jack Thompson, Don Burrows and George Golla.  Later in the evening, guests to appear on HSV7’s Saturday Night Live include Tony Pantano, Rosie Sturgess, Father Harry of the God Squad and Lou Richards.

HSV7 presents a direct telecast of the Easter Sunrise service at 7am Sunday morning.

Sunday afternoon football fans have the choice of The Commodore Cup on HSV7, live from South Melbourne, and VFA on ATV0.

ABC’s Holiday takes a look at the current popular destination for Australian tourists – the West Coast of America.

There must be an election looming – the Liberal Party has its half-hour policy speech telecast on Tuesday night simultaneously on ABC, HSV7, GTV9 and ATV0.  The Labor Party has its turn on Thursday night.

Sunday night movies: Story Of David (HSV7), Mr Quilp (GTV9), A Man Called Peter (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 14 April 1979.  ABC/ACP

TelevisionAU Update 10-Apr-09

saleofthecentury_1991 FLASHBACK PICTURE #50:
The Nine Network's long-running quiz show Sale Of The Century was dropped a bombshell early in 1991 when hosts Tony Barber and Alyce Platt both decided to leave the program.  Barber had hosted the program since its inception in 1980, and Platt had been with the show since 1986.  Producers took a gamble when it chose to replace Barber with Glenn Ridge, a TV host whose only prior on-air experience was in regional television.  Joining Ridge on the new-look Sale Of The Century was Jo Bailey who had recently joined the show as a model but had no idea she was being considered for the co-host role.  And the new-look Sale was given a warm welcome by Seven Network rival Derryn Hinch: "We'll kick its teeth in."  Picture: TV Week, 13 April 1991

1960 (The Hi-Fi Club)
1977 (Final episode Homicide)
1988 (Melbourne Cup Day)
1993 (TV Week Logie Awards)
1994 (ATV10’s 30th anniversary)
1996 (Australian TV turns 40)

1983 (New Faces’ 20th Anniversary)

1992 (Sex)

Western Australia:



Sunday, 5 April 2009

1979: April 7-13

tvtimes_070479The Prisoner Files
So who’s who on both sides of the bars at Wentworth Detention Centre?  TV Times presents a special guide to the prisoners and officers in the new 0-10 Network series.

Karen Travers (Peita Toppano): Deeply religious, Travers is convicted for the murder of her brutal husband.  Sentenced to life behind bars.  Peita Toppano, the daughter of showbusiness couple Enzo Toppano and Peggy Mortimer, was a singer in many stage productions before turning to acting.

Bea Smith (Val Lehman):  A former hairdresser, Smith was convicted for the murder of a co-worker.  Having served ten years behind bars, she is released on parole but returns to Wentworth after murdering her husband.  Val Lehman has had extensive acting experience in both Australia and the United Kingdom, including touring with Children’s Arena theatre and appearing in four movies.

prisoner_mum Jeannie “Mum” Brooks (Mary Ward, pictured):  A well-spoken, gentle woman who befriends new inmates and is well regarded by both officers and inmates.  Brooks was convicted for murdering her husband but, while on parole, is caught shop-lifting.  Mary Ward has worked in Australia and the United Kingdom, and before Prisoner had appeared in Bellbird and performed for the Melbourne Theatre Company.

Doreen Anderson (Colette Mann): A victim of child abuse, Anderson becomes easily led into crime and is serving four years in prison for breaking and entering.  Colette Mann’s career began in the musical Godspell in 1971 and has since worked as a singer, dancer, actress and choreographer.

Marilyn Mason (Margaret Laurence):  Serving twelve months for soliciting, Mason has a history of soliciting and stealing, and is known to have worked in a pornographic movie.  Margaret Laurence did her early theatre training in the United Kingdom and later worked in the US in dramas including Days Of Our Lives and The Young And The Restless.  Since coming to Australia, Laurence has appeared in Number 96 and worked for the Melbourne Theatre Company.

prisoner_franky Freida “Franky” Doyle (Carol Burns): A former shop assistant, convicted for armed robbery and murder, Doyle has a record of association with bikie gangs.  She is a lesbian with an unrequited passion for Karen Travers.  Carol Burns has worked extensively in the theatre since 1970 and has worked as a senior lecturer in drama at the Darling Downs College of Advanced Education (Queensland).  In recent times, Burns has appeared in a number of ABC plays.

Lynn Warner (Kerry Armstrong): A naive country girl, serving ten years for the kidnapping and attempted murder of a child of an employer, though maintains her innocence of any crime.  Kerry Armstrong began acting while still at school and later became a weather girl at GTV9 Melbourne.  She has recently appeared in Cop Shop, The Truckies and The Sullivans, but Prisoner is her first ongoing role.

prisoner_lizzie Elizabeth “Lizzie” Birdsworth (Sheila Florance, pictured): A housewife and mother of four, Birdsworth is a kleptomaniac and an alcoholic with a long string of convictions for theft.  She is sentenced to life in prison for the “accidental” killing of four shearers when she laced their food with arsenic “to teach them a lesson.”  Sheila Florance has more than 45 years experience in showbusiness across both Australia and the United Kingdom, and has appeared in many Australian TV productions including Consider Your Verdict, Division Four, Matlock Police, Bellbird, Homicide and Bobby Dazzler.

Meg Jackson (Elspeth Ballantyne): Born inside prison, Jackson is a warder that is sympathetic to the inmates.  A happy marriage to prison psychologist Bill (Don Barker) ended abruptly when he is murdered during a prison riot.  Elspeth Ballantyne is an established television and film actress with roles in dramas including Bellbird, Power Without Glory and Cop Shop.

Vera Bennett (Fiona Spence):  A harsh prison warden who is ruthless with the prisoners.  Is hopeful that her strong rule with get her the prison governorship.  She is single and lives at home with her elderly mother.  Fiona Spence is a recent graduate from 680 Playhouse and has appeared in the drama series Glenview High and in several television commercials.

prisoner_erica Erica Davidson (Patsy King): The prison governor whose academic approach sometimes keeps her remote from the inmates and fails to understand their passions and frustrations.  Is married but her private life is kept a mystery as it is known she does not see her husband, being either separated or divorced.  Patsy King has worked extensively in Australia and New Zealand, including roles in Matlock Police, Homicide and Division Four, as well as appearing as a presenter on ABC’s Play School.

Greg Miller (Barry Quin): The prison doctor who is re-united with a former romantic interest when Karen Travers enters the prison.  Barry Quin is an actor with over ten years experience in the United Kingdom.  He met co-star Peita Toppano when touring Australia with the Chichester Festival Theatre Company and the two are now engaged to be married later this month.

Eddie Cook (Richard Moir): The electrician who is often called to the prison and spends a lot more time there than he should after falling for prison inmate Marilyn Mason.  Richard Moir is a former film assistant from ABC’s Four Corners and later became a reporter for A Current Affair before moving into acting.  Moir has appeared in Chopper Squad and The Restless Years as well as the movie The Odd Angry Shot.

Certain Women stars return to TV soaps
Three former stars of ABC’s Certain Women are returning to TV with key roles in The Restless Years and The Young DoctorsShane Porteous joins The Restless Years as businessman Andrew Nelson who becomes involved in what is being described as “the love story of the year.”  Also joining The Restless Years is Ivar Kants as the rough-but-gentle Ken Garrett, a friend of Peter Beckett (Nick Hedstrom).  Actress Carmen Duncan, who has also starred in Number 96, joins The Young Doctors as a widow who checks into the hospital for a minor operation but ends up vying for the affection of Dr Rod Langley (Chris Orchard).

bertnewton_cigar Bert hits the jackpot
Bert Newton (pictured) has hit the jackpot with the signing of a five-year contract with a Melbourne radio station for a reported $1 million.  But the Don Lane Show sidekick and New Faces host has also had reason to celebrate with wife Patti giving birth to their second child, Lauren Elise.  The Newtons already have a son, two-year-old Matthew.

New ABBA special
The 0-10 Network and British broadcaster BBC have just completed a one-hour TV special ABBA In Switzerland – despite two of the pop group’s performers, Agnetha and Bjorn, having recently divorced.  The special, which also features Kate Bush, Leo Sayer and Boney M, is expected to screen in Australia later in the year.

Easter is a time for telethons – as Melbourne’s HSV7, Brisbane’s BTQ7 and Adelaide’s ADS7 prepare for their annual children’s hospital appeals.  The Melbourne and Brisbane appeals will go to air on Good Friday, while Adelaide’s telethon is held on the Saturday before Easter.

The star of ABC’s Patrol Boat, HMAS Bombard, has been towed back to Sydney for repairs after a fire onboard caused extensive damage.  ABC is now rescheduling filming as the stand-in boat, HMAS Advance, is about to be recalled for official duty.

The Nine Network’s million-dollar documentary series, The Africans, has been sold to 18 countries ahead of its screening in Australia later this month.  The two-part series was filmed over four months in Algeria, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Rhodesia and South Africa. 

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
”Once again I’ve missed the start of a program because channels won’t stick to their timetables.  I watched ABC’s The Onedin Line until 9.20pm and the news until 9.30, then crossed to WIN4 for The Sweeney only to find it well-started, although it was due to begin at 9.30 after Roving Eye.  Why do they do this?” E. James, NSW.

“Why is there not a TV channel which shows only sport? They could show Test matches, races and re-runs for seven days a week.  The rest of us could then be informed and entertained without constant interruptions by meaningless contests.” P. Casey, NSW.

“I would like to say how much I enjoy watching The Waltons during daytime viewing.  Grandma Walton passed a comment on putting strawberries and cinnamon on a rhubarb pie.  I cooked it this way and found it delicious, a nice change from apples.” D. Pratt, NSW.

What’s On (April 7-13):
On Saturday afternoon, GTV9 presents live coverage of the Golden Slipper Stakes from Sydney’s Rosehill Racecourse.  ABC has Sydney Rugby League’s Match Of The Day.

On This Week Has Seven Days (HSV7, Saturday afternoon), host Honor Walters, with studio guest furrier Stephen Dattner, studies how a fur coat is made.  Interior Designing is the subject of the careers segment, and this week’s medical topic is dermatology.

The Australian Beauty Quest ‘79, the selection of the Australian representative for the Miss Universe pageant, is telecast on GTV9 on Saturday night, live from Perth. 

On Tuesday night, GTV9 presents a delayed telecast of the 51st Academy Awards.  Best Picture nominations include Coming Home, The Deer Hunter, Heaven Can Wait, Midnight Express and An Unmarried Woman.  The awards presentation is hosted by Johnny Carson.

ABC’s motoring history series Marque, with Peter Wherrett (pictured), looks at the era of the 1930s featuring some of the industry’s great names such as Duesenberg, Packard Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Hispano-Suiza and Alfa-Romeo.

rch_1979 Friday is Good Friday, and HSV7 presents its annual Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.  The telecast starts at 8.30am and, apart from news updates at 8.45am and midday and Seven National News at 6.30pm, continues through to midnight.  The all-day appeal features celebrities from across the Seven Network (including Shirley Strachan, pictured with hospital patient Narelle McKenzie) and guest artists including Johnny Farnham, Colleen Hewett, the Australian Children’s Choir, Christie Allen, Russell Morris and TMG.  Players from all VFL teams also appear during the day.  The telephone numbers for donations are (03) 630 291 in Melbourne and (052) 21 3333 in Geelong.

Sunday night movies: The Salzburg Connection (HSV7), Catch 22 (GTV9), The Arrangement (ATV0). 

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 7 April 1979.  ABC/ACP

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Everyone loves an April fool?

metrictime This site didn’t do anything for April Fool’s Day yesterday – however an April Fool’s gag that we published this time last year has become a hit.

Last year we featured There’s an April fool born every centiday, documenting a TV Times report from 1975 when the Adelaide version of ABC’s This Day Tonight program ran the story that we were going to adopt metric time.

The report, presented by Nigel Starck (pictured) and featuring South Australian deputy premier Des Corcoran and even a metric-converted clock at Adelaide’s town hall, caused a great deal of confusion, leading to ABC’s switchboard getting calls from viewers well after the report had aired.

Since that post was made to the blog, the story was discovered by the website Museum Of Hoaxes and even ranked the gag at #15 in the Top 100 April Fool’s Day hoaxes of all time.  The mere mention of the hoax story on the site, particularly in the last couple of days, has seen traffic to our original blog post take a huge spike – a spike not seen since an episode of 20 To 01 ranked ‘nudity at Number 96’ among its most memorable moments in television, and sent web browsers around the country seeking evidence of said nudity.

So a big cheerio to Museum Of Hoaxes!