Saturday, 30 May 2009

1979: June 2-8

tvtimes_020679 Cover: Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy (George And Mildred)

Script competition strikes gold
Sydney’s TEN10 has received a mammoth response to its scriptwriting competition offering a grand prize of $10,000. Tom Miller, production co-ordinator at TEN, has been working through the applications: “We’re recording every entry and to date I’m up to 1450. I’ve read about two thirds of them and I’ve seen at least seven good ideas which could possibly go into a TV series.” The panel of judges to determine the best 25 entries received includes Bruce Gyngell of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, television personality Stuart Wagstaff, producer Pat Lovell and chief executive of the Victorian Film Corporation, Jill Robb. The top 25 entries will receive $200 and will be invited to write a script based on their concept. The best script wins $10,000, second $2000 and third $1000. The competition is estimated to cost TEN10 around $30,000. “But if we come up with three series ideas it’ll be worthwhile. That’s cheap, and it’s giving us an idea of what the public wants. I think the ideas could be worth a fortune.”

nonihazlehurstTV Follies of ‘79
A new ABC series, TV Follies, revives the Hollywood era of musicals and dance sequences. The four-part series features many familiar actors and actresses in less than familiar roles as they perform in the mini-musicals inspired by the classic era. Some of the stars to feature include Noni Hazlehurst (pictured), Debbie Byrne, Normie Rowe, Julie McGregor, Ian Turpie, Geraldine Turner, Gus Mercurio, Kathy Lloyd, Delilah and Max Cullen.

Hot on a cold role!
Actor John Meillon hopes his portrayal of a NSW Premier in a forthcoming ABC series will give him “an entirely different change of image.” Meillon will star in Timelapse, a thirteen-part series which is due to go into production next month. The plot involves the deep freezing the body of a murdered man and bringing him back to life 20 years later. The series is set in the year 1989 against a background of political intrigue involving a fictional NSW Premier. Timelapse will also feature Robert Coleby (Chopper Squad) and Kate Sheil (Birds In The Bush). Executive producer is Eric Tayler who has worked with Meillon on ABC dramas Bit Part and The Fourth Wish.

johncootes Footballer John lining up the goals
John Cootes
(pictured) left the priesthood five years ago and ended up pursuing a TV career, but says his religious training has helped him a great deal as a TV personality. “As a priest I listened to the problems of hundreds of people and learned to be a good listener. In my training I aimed to be tolerant and understanding and I like to believe I am both of these.” After leaving the priesthood, the former rugby league player became a commentator for NBN3 Newcastle and later joined TEN10’s Eyewitness News and from there went on to lead TEN10’s sports department as well as hosting the channel’s Saturday Night Live, a program previously hosted by John Singleton and, for one night only, Graham Kennedy. "It was a daunting prospect because people were naturally comparing me to Singleton and Kennedy. But I’m not either of them and I couldn’t do what they did. To me, Saturday Night Live is a variety sporting show with a touch of elegance.”

The first three of the Nine Network’s commissioned package of six telemovies, about the position of women in Australian society, are about to go to air. Say You Want Me, starring Belinda Giblin (The Box), Serge Lazareff (Young Ramsay) and Hugh Keays-Byrne, looks at the rape of a young wife by a businessman who has just signed her radio personality husband to a lucrative product endorsement contract. A Good Thing Going, featuring Veronica Lang and John Hargreaves, and The Plumber, starring Judy Morris, Robert Coleby and Ivar Kants, are also set to go to air.

HSV7’s Saturday Night Live booth announcer Peter Byrne has landed a role in the upcoming series Skyways.

Actress Angela Punch has signed up to appear in a new historical drama for ABC. The eight-part series, The Timeless Land, is a rare TV appearance for the actress who has normally focused on theatre and film work. Production commences in October.

On The Inside, the signature tune of the 0-10 Network’s Prisoner, has stormed up the Australian charts and is about to go gold (50,000 sales).

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”Lack of realism and attention to detail in Cop Shop turned me off the series a long time ago.” D. Price, VIC.

prisoner_franky “I have written to Viewpoint many times before but not once have I had my views published. I don’t really have much to say except that I think it is a shame that Carol Burns (as Franky Doyle, pictured) decided to leave Prisoner.” A. Murphy, SA.

“I have been a dog breeder and exhibitor for nearly 20 years and would really enjoy seeing a full coverage of the famous Crufts Dog Show, even though I doubt if any of the breed I am interested in would be exhibited, as there are very few of them overseas. I am referring to the Australian cattle dog. However, dog showing has a huge following, there’s an ever-increasing interest in this fascinating hobby.” B. Bearup, NSW.

What’s On (June 2-8):
On Saturday night, ABC presents Chicago, the first episode of TV Follies, featuring Max Cullen, Gus Mercurio, Noni Hazlehurst, Robyn Moase, David Atkins and Ron Blanchard.

A one-hour special, The Barry Humphries Show, screens on ATV0 featuring some of Humphries’ famous characters including Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson.

This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at some of the scandals that have rocked Australia – including the Oz magazine obscenity trial, the Bodyline cricket furore and the Braund Cancer Cure Scandal.

Guest stars in Peter Couchman Tonight (ATV0, weeknights) include Chelsea Brown, Normie Rowe, Fred Parsons and Peter Russell-Clarke.

HSV7 screens the premiere of documentary series This Rugged Coast, featuring Ben Cropp and his team as they circumnavigate the Australian coastline.

US mini-series Roots The Next Generations continues in two-hour episodes on Monday and Thursday nights on ATV0.

Sunday night movies: Catlow (HSV7), Say You Want Me (GTV9), The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 2 June 1979. ABC/ACP

Monday, 25 May 2009

1979: May 26-June 1

tvtimes_260579 The girl who leads Norman a merry dance
Pamela Gibbons
has emerged as one of Australia’s most versatile performers, whether it be acting, singing, dancing or choreographing.  A former member of Ronne Arnold’s contemporary dance theatre with stage acting roles to her credit and a six-month stint in Number 96, Gibbons has recently had the female lead in the ABC drama The Oracle and has been dancer and choreographer for The Norman Gunston Show since it started on ABC in 1975 and has followed the show to the Seven Network.   Gibbons and Gunston (both pictured) will appear in this week’s The Norman Gunston Show in a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers-style song and dance routine.  Working with Garry McDonald (Gunston) has given Gibbons a new confidence in aspiring to a higher standard, such as taking on the role in The Oracle, starring opposite John Gregg, and is now keen to tackle some of the classics of the stage: “That would be a step forward in confidence.  I’d particularly love to play Chekov’s The Three Sisters.  The words are so beautiful.”

Kennedy’s comeback in TV comedy?
Graham Kennedy may return to TV in a comedy series being developed for the Seven Network by RS Productions, producers of The Naked Vicar Show.  Kennedy has already featured in a series of radio plays produced by RS and aired on ABC.  The new TV series, Comedy Playhouse, will be made up of seven half-hour situation comedies, though producers Tony Sattler and Gary Reilly declined to comment on reports that Kennedy would feature in the series.  Since Blankety Blanks wound up production late last year, Kennedy has made a movie – The Odd Angry Shot – and hosted one edition of Sydney TEN10’s Saturday night variety show.

tanyahalesworth Tanya: Why I came back to TV
Twenty years after becoming one of ABC’s first female TV presenters and after a six-year absence from TV, Tanya Halesworth has returned to host a new ABC series, Sunday Spectrum.  So what prompted Halesworth’s departure from TV, as host (pictured) of Nine’s all-female current affairs program No Man’s Land?  “My youngest son was two, and, well, I’m just the sort of person who hates to miss something I’ll never experience again, and I had a fear of missing out on my boys’ childhood.  I’m not unique.  It’s the sort of situation most women who work find themselves in.”  Halesworth agreed to host Sunday Spectrum as it was “the first suitable, meaning part-time, offer I’ve had since deciding I could come back to work.  And I think the program is something that is needed on TV at the moment.”  Sunday Spectrum is a two-and-a-half-hour program of local and overseas content on general subjects and the arts.

Pop singer Frank Howson and former Early Bird Show co-host Mike McCarthy are working on two children’s series for the Grundy Organisation.  Howson’s project, The Magic Trucking Company, has a strong rock music element and is aimed at eight to 12 year olds.  McCarthy is developing a new format that producer Godfrey Philipp is not ready to give any details on at this stage.  Grundy’s are also planning a children’s drama aimed at breaking down barriers between children of different nationalities.

corneliafrances Cornelia Frances is set to make a return to TV after her departure from the role of Sister Scott (pictured) in The Young Doctors last year.  The actress has had talks with Crawford Productions and is to appear in Cop Shop and Skyways for the Seven Network.

ABC producer Brian Adams has just completed an 80-minute special, in conjunction with Munich’s RM Productions, following the life of Dame Joan Sutherland from her home in Switzerland to touring across the US, Europe, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea and Australia.  The special, Joan Sutherland – Life On The Move, airs on ABC nationally in August.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I read that black and white shows will not come back.  It’s a shame.  What difference does it make to watch a black and white movie or serial once a week?  Give us repeats of Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Wanted Dead Or Alive and Surfside Six.  Can’t one channel give it a try and watch the ratings?” T. Thompson, NSW.

“Having seen for myself the idiotic antics of Ron Blanchard introducing young viewers to his ARVO program and making them wait for Play School and Sesame Street while he converses with a puppet called Alexander the Bunyip, I have decided that ABC is no better than the commercials in providing suitable children’s TV.” K. Lochin, NSW.

“I would just like to say something to the people who think Ian Meldrum is a hopeless compere.  Who was it who put the drug specials on TV to help teenagers in these sorts of jams?  Who was it who spent all his time and effort in these specials?  That’s right – Ian Meldrum.  Also, who is it who is now involved in the ‘Save the Whale’ campaign and who is getting all your kids into it as well so that the whales won’t become extinct.  Right again – Ian Meldrum.” D. Lane, VIC.

What’s On (May 26-June 1)
ATV0 launches a new 7.00pm game show, $10,000 Winner’s Circle, hosted by Sandy Scott.

Overseas stars Jack Lemmon, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Chevy Chase, Leif Garrett and Glen Campbell are some of the guests to appear in this week’s The Norman Gunston Show on HSV7.  Also appearing are Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, Johnny Farnham and Pamela Gibbons.

ATV0 screens the highly-anticipated first two parts of the US mini-series Roots: The Next Generations, the sequel to the mini-series Roots that earned top ratings around the world two years earlier.  The mini-series airs in two-hour episodes this Monday and Thursday evening and continues in the same timeslot over the coming weeks.

The final episode of drama series The Oracle screens on ABC.

On Wednesday night, GTV9 presents a one-hour special on the Billy Graham Sydney Crusade.

Actress Jacki Weaver is the guest star in this week’s Capriccio on ABC, also featuring the Claire Poole Singers, the Carlson Chorale, Daniel Barenboim and George Golla.

Sunday night movies: Eleven Harrowhouse (HSV7), Hustling (GTV9), Dirty Harry (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 26 May 1979.  ABC/ACP

Sunday, 24 May 2009

C31 steps up digital plea

c31_fairgokev Community TV continues its plea to the Government to allow it a defined migration path to digital transmission. Melbourne’s C31 has stepped up its campaign for digital with a new slogan - ‘Fair Go, Kev!’.

The slogan (pictured) is now broadcast around the clock as a watermark in place of the station’s logo across all programming. It is a simple plea to prime minister Kevin Rudd following the recent budget announcement that, once again, denied the Community TV sector an invitation to move to digital TV – while ABC and SBS both received boosting to their finances to fund their digital initiatives and $140 million was set aside to assist regional communities in moving to digital TV. But nothing has been promised for digital TV other than an earlier vague statement from communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy that Community TV ‘would not be left behind.’

Curiously, the Budget has made financial commitments to fund and support the community radio sector’s transition to digital which is still barely in the start-up stage with only a few capital cities currently receiving digital radio. Digital TV, on the other hand, is now into its ninth year in the major capital cities and reaching a point where almost half of all households in these cities have converted to digital and, possibly, many have lost access to their local community TV channel which is stuck on analogue.

In a press release, published on their website just after the announcement of the Federal Budget, station manager Greg Rees argues that Community TV provides invaluable diversity of content, industry training and marketing and that there is sufficient spectrum available right now to allow them immediate access to digital transmission – and that C31 is essentially ready to go to digital: “the cost associated with upgrading our facilities to broadcast in digital are, relatively speaking, miniscule.”

In a recent article published on Crikey, Rees estimated that only $2 million would be needed to convert C31 to digital transmission with an ongoing annual cost of $120,000 to simulcast with analogue. This compares to the sum of around $250 million that the Government is allowing in concessions to regional commercial broadcasters. The Government has also allowed free access to all commercial and national broadcasters to digital broadcast frequencies and unlimited simulcast with analogue in the lead-up to the phased shutdown of analogue services.

Source: C31

Saturday, 23 May 2009

1979: May 19-25

tvtimes_190579 Wedding bells for Prisoner stars
TV’s love story of the year culminated in a wedding on Sunday 29 April – and there wasn’t a TV camera in sight.  Prisoner stars Barry Quin and Peita Toppano (pictured) got married in a garden wedding at the property of Toppano’s parents (Enzo and Peggy Toppano) in Pymble, NSW.  The bridesmaid at the ceremony was Prisoner co-star Carol Burns and the best man was The Young Doctors star John Dommett.  The newlywed couple had a week’s break from production to honeymoon on the NSW coast.

Bill looks at a peach of a city!
Bill Peach’s new ABC series, Peach’s Cities, is half-way through production.  In the series, Peach explores each of Australia’s eight capital cities.  The first four episodes have already been filmed.  The new series takes a similar format to Peach’s previous series, Peach’s Australia, though will put less emphasis on the historical background and more on the cities’ future and what problems they may face.  Peach’s Cities is expected to air on ABC later in 1979 and will be followed by a book.

mikewalsh My worst moment…
Being a TV interviewer can bring many challenges, whether talking to Mr and Mrs Average or the rich and famous, and sometimes things don’t always go to plan.  Countdown’s Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum recalled an interview with US singer Billy Joel: “I started by asking him a very involved question that took about 75 seconds to ask.  Then I found Billy was in one of those quiet moods.  All he said was ‘yes’.  So I asked Billy if he had anything else to say on the subject and he said ‘no’.  So I did all I could do and asked him long questions to which he gave his short answers.  It was a nightmare.”  Mike Walsh (pictured) didn’t recall his worst but, rather, his most embarrassing interview, featuring magazine columnist, veterinarian Dr Paul: “He came on the show to tell us how to tell the sex of a rabbit.  A local Catholic school and a Church of England school donated rabbits.  The rabbits soon made it clear which sex was which when, undeterred by their public appearance, they got on with the business.  I poured a glass of water over them but they just kept at it.”  TVW7 Today hostess Stephanie Quinlan never forget the day Warren Mitchell walked out on an interview: “Mitchell came for the interview when rebuilding work was going on at the studio.  The sounds of the work were clearly heard and Mitchell walked off the set at least three times.  He eventually agreed to the interview and so, with a prayer for quiet builders, I started the questions.  By that time, Mitchell’s mood was similar to a large black thundercloud so his answers were somewhat loud and rude.  I was surprised that such an educated man could vent his feelings so uncontrollably and show such a lack of professionalism.  I must say he didn’t act like a gentleman.”

The Grundy Organisation is making a pilot for a “topical light entertainment” show for the 7.00pm timeslot for the 0-10 Network.  The project, titled Graffiti, will feature a large cast from both Sydney and Melbourne.

Pete Smith, the long-time booth announcer for GTV9, is now hosting Adelaide Tonight for NWS9 following the departure of Ernie Sigley, now focusing on Saturday Night Live for HSV7 Melbourne.

The second series of Young Ramsay has commenced production in Melbourne.  The 13-part series will again feature John Hargreaves as vet Peter Ramsay and Serge Lazareff as wildlife ranger Ray Turner.

British sex symbol of the ‘50s, Diana Dors, is coming to Australia to promote her book Behind Closed Dors and will be making guest appearances on both The Mike Walsh Show and The Don Lane Show.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I congratulate the staff of ATN7 and TEN10 Sydney who do such a wonderful job of program planning.  It was a stroke of genius to put The Muppet Show and Hans Christian Andersen on at the same time as the Star Wars Holiday Spectacular.  I hope these individuals of such superior intellect could inform a mother, with only one TV set, how she can explain to her two disappointed children that they could watch only one program.  I hope both Channels 7 and 10 take satisfaction in the fact that they upset a lot of children.” B. Hawk, NSW.  (TV Times responds: “All commercial TV channels are in competition to gain the biggest audiences, and “counter-programming” to reduce the anticipated ratings of an opposition channel’s programming is part of their business.  We get many letters on the subject.”)

“I’d like to take a shot at The Young Doctors – how the nurses carry on with the young doctors!  One would think that just about every nurse would have her going-on with the doctors.  The nurses on TV soapies are an insult to the honourable nursing profession.” I. Craig, NSW.

“Australian comedies are never usually worth watching, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that Doctors Down Under is not only distinctly worth watching, but it is nearly as good as the original.”  D. Dowell, NSW.

What’s On (May 19-25):
Philip Adams, Harry Butler and Lloyd Rees are the guests on the final Parkinson In Australia (ABC, Saturday).

This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at fads and fashion – remembering the pogo-stick, mini-golf and yoyo crazes and the many changes in women’s fashions.

In Cop Shop (HSV7, Monday and Thursday), a dangerous epidemic threatens Riverside as police search desperately for a typhoid carrier.  Guest stars include Barbara Llewellyn and John Ley.

On Wednesday night HSV7 presents the Miss Teenage 1979 contest from the Camberwell Civic Centre, hosted by Ray Chapman.

ABC presents the first of a six-part series, Journey Into Japan, narrated by Keith Adams.  The program looks at various aspects of Japanese life including leisure, tourism, culture and tradition.

Sunday night movies: Irma La Douce (HSV7), The Rare Breed (GTV9), Summer Of ‘42 (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 19 May 1979.  ABC/ACP

Monday, 18 May 2009

1979: May 12-18

tvtimes_120579 TV’s reluctant sex symbol
Former Queenslander Shane Porteous has performed in Shakespearean plays, has appeared on stage in London’s West End and has been “arrested” in Cop Shop.  His first leading TV role, in the children’s series Catch Kandy, was a “disappointment” and his nude scenes with Belinda Giblin in The Box attracted controversy.  And he had a long-running role in the ABC series Certain Women.  But it was his appearance in a series of commercials for a laundry detergent that has made him a familiar face with the public:  “No matter what role I play on TV, no matter what critics might say of a stage play I’ve been happy about, I get the feeling sometimes I’m best known as the ‘Drive’ man.  People in the street and on the train often say ‘got the wine stain out yet?’ or ‘how’s your clever little secretary?’.”   But despite the fame of laundry detergent commercials, Porteous (pictured, with Nick Hedstrom and Zoe Bertram) has made a return to TV series drama as businessman Andrew Nelson in The Restless Years in what is tipped to be “the love story of the year”.

ytt_1979a YTT takes the cake!
It was a reunion of past and present members of Young Talent Time when the popular 0-10 Network program recently celebrated its eighth birthday with a party at the ATV0 studios.  Joining Johnny Young and the current Young Talent Team were original cast members from 1971 including Rod Kirkham, Vikki Broughton, Jane Scali, Jamie Redfern and Debbie Byrne.

ABC opens showcase for top talent
Some of Australia’s best-known performers will be featured in a variety series now in production for ABC.  The first of the series of seven programs, to air next month, will feature Jill Perryman.  Other programs in the series will feature Barry Crocker, Peter Regan, Rolf Harris, Johnny Farnham and The Four Kinsmen.  Music for the series is being recorded by the Brian May ABC Melbourne Show Band.

richardcarleton Carleton’s Canberra
Former This Day Tonight reporter Richard Carleton (pictured) is back at ABC, after a three-year absence, as the Canberra correspondent for Nationwide.  His day starts at 6.30am with the arrival of the Sydney newspapers as well as The Canberra Times.  By 8.30 he is on the steps of Parliament House with prime minister Malcolm Fraser and during the day crosses paths with Minister for Foreign Affairs Andrew Peacock, shadow minister Paul Keating and Minister for Post and Telecommunications Bruce Goodluck among others.  But after three years out of the country he realises that there are many of the 188 members of Parliament that he does not know – though he hopes to know all about them by the time the next election occurs.

The Paul Hogan Show’s Delvene Delaney and husband John Cornell have welcomed the arrival of their first daughter, Allira.

Cop Shop star Paula Duncan has welcomed her sister, Carmen, to Melbourne for her role in Seven’s new drama series Skyways.

Walter Sullivan will host the new series of ABC’s Capriccio when it returns this week.  Guest stars for the show this year include Jacki Weaver, Ed Devereaux, Diane Cilento and June Bronhill.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
”I am sick of people knocking ABC.  The ABC has a lot of problems – lack of money, lack of equipment – so their programming may be a bit chaotic.  But consider their public responsibility to show sports events, children’s and educational programs, current affairs and heavy culture.  How they cram in a little light entertainment is a source of continual amazement.” S. Lindsay, QLD.

“I wonder if ATN7, Sydney, knows how much CBN8/CWN6 mutilates the Seven Big League program?  We all put up with genuine product advertisements because they are an accepted and necessary part of commercial TV, but it seems CBN8 saves up the community service announcements for the football replay.” J. Lewis, NSW.

“Congratulations to ABC for showing The Best Of Parkinson and now Parkinson In Australia.  I enjoyed the first show and enjoying the second the second until Frank Hardy appeared on the scene.  From the moment he appeared he turned the interview into a monologue of himself, his manners and language were so atrocious as to be an embarrassment to most viewers.  What was he trying to prove?” D. Spencely, SA.

What’s On (May 12-18):
Weekend sport includes live coverage of the last two quarters of the VFL Match Of The Day on ABC, Saturday afternoon.  Football replays follow with Saturday Night Football on ABC and Seven’s Big League on HSV7.  Late on Saturday night, ABC presents the FA Cup Final, direct from Wembley Stadium, London.

This week’s guests on Parkinson In Australia (ABC, Saturday) are Kate Fitzpatrick, Bob Hawke and Jack Fingleton.

johnnyokeefeThis Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at Australian music over the last century – including film of The Beatles’ visit to Australia and interviews with Col Joye, Little Pattie and footage of the last TV interview with Johnny O’Keefe who passed away in late-1978.

The final episode of Marque: 100 Years Of Motoring (ABC, Thursday) looks at the future of the car industry and host Peter Wherrett chooses his favourite car from the whole series.

James Smillie, Carmel Millhouse and Briony Behets are guest stars in this week’s episodes of Prisoner (ATV0, Tuesday and Wednesday).

Sunday night movies: The Legend Of Lylah Clare (HSV7), Born Free (GTV9), The Last Hurrah (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 12 May 1979.  ABC/ACP

SBS2 ready to roll in June

Back in February, Seven Network chief David Leckie promised that they were soon – within a month, apparently – going to tell us about their exciting new plans for a new digital channel to sit beside its existing primary channel and 7HD.

The following month, SBS chief Shaun Brown announced that they were moving ahead with plans to re-launch its digital channel, currently World News Channel, in June.

One was telling the truth, the other was David Leckie.

sbstwo True to their CEO’s word, SBS is indeed launching their new channel, SBS2, on Monday 1 June.  SBS is pushing ahead with the channel even though this week’s Federal Budget announcement denied the broadcaster its requested additional $70 million in funding.

SBS2 launches at 6pm on 1 June with an introduction, What Is SBS2?, followed by a repeat screening of the Australian-made animation Harvie Krumpet which won at the 2004 Academy Awards.  A simulcast of World News Australia, with what will now be SBS1, appears at 6.30pm followed by a repeat screening of current affairs program Dateline.

At 8.30pm, the premiere of the German drama series 112 Emergency – followed at 9.00pm by the channel’s first movies, Ninth Day from Germany and Sorry For Kung Fu from Croatia.

Over the following weekdays SBS2 will basically continue the daytime schedule of the former World News Channel, featuring foreign-language news bulletins via satellite, followed by the simulcast of World News Australia at 6.30pm.  Documentaries and current affairs programs will appear at 7.30pm.  112 Emergency continues weeknights at 8.30pm and the night ends with movie double-features from 9.00pm.

Saturday nights include light entertainment programming including repeats of cult favourite Iron Chef, an Argentinian drama series If the Dead Could Speak and more movies.

SBS2 will also later feature expanded coverage of The Ashes cricket test and Tour de France.

The first week’s line-up:
Monday 1: 6pm What Is SBS2?, 6.05 Harvie Krumpet, 6.30 World News Australia (WNA), 7.30 Dateline, 8.30 112 Emergency (Germany), 9pm Movie: Ninth Day (Germany), 11.40 Movie: Sorry For Kung Fu (Croatia), 12am Weatherwatch/Close.

Tuesday 2: 7am Worldwatch news bulletins, 6.30pm WNA, 7.30 Humanimal (France), 8.30 112 Emergency, 9pm Movie: Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (China), 10.35 Movie: The House Of Sand (Brazil), 12.35am Weatherwatch/Close

Wednesday 3: 7am Worldwatch, 6.30pm WNA, 7.30 Shadya (Israel), 8.30 112 Emergency, 9pm Movie: Hell (Belgium), 10.40 Movie: Miffo (Sweden), 12.25am Weatherwatch/Close.

Thursday 4: 7am Worldwatch, 6.30pm WNA, 7.30 As It Happened (France), 8.30 112 Emergency, 9pm Movie: The Myth (Hong Kong), 11.10 Movie: The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin (Hong Kong), 1.10am Weatherwatch/Close

Friday 5: 7am Worldwatch, 6.30pm WNA, 7.30 Lost Worlds (Germany), 8.30 112 Emergency, 9pm Movie: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… And Spring (South Korea), 10.45 Movie: Mr Average (France), 12.25am Weatherwatch/Close

Saturday 6: 7am Worldwatch, 6.30pm WNA, 7.35 Iron Chef (Japan), 8.15 Marx And Venus, 8.30 If The Dead Could Speak (Argentina), 9.25 Movie: Maria Full Of Grace (Columbia), 11.10 Movie: Rule Number 1 (Denmark), 12.45am Weatherwatch/Close

Sunday 7: 9.45am Worldwatch, 6.30pm WNA, 7.30 The World Game, 8.30 The Spiral (France), 9.30 Movie: OSS 117: Cairo - Nest of Spies (France), 11.15 Movie: The Son Of The Bride (Argentina), 1.25am Weatherwatch/Close

Like the launch of ABC2 in 2005, SBS2 is starting with a relatively limited schedule but hopefully over time the channel can, despite the financial limitations, expand its scope of programming to make it a full-scale alternative to the main SBS channel.

As well as free-to-air SBS2 will also be available via pay-TV providers Foxtel Digital, Austar Digital, Neighborhood Cable and TransACT.

SBS2 website

Friday, 15 May 2009

Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell

budtingwell Australia has lost one of the legends of the showbusiness world with the passing of actor Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell at the age of 86 after complications with prostate cancer.

Born in Sydney, Tingwell’s first job was as an announcer at radio station 2CH.  In 1941 he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and served in World War II.  Upon returning to Australia he married girlfriend Audrey Wilson and ventured into an acting career that would continue for the rest of his life – taking in film, radio and stage productions and later television.

After seventeen years working in the United Kingdom – where he starred in many TV and film roles but not least being a voice artist for the ‘Supermarionation’ sci-fi series The Thunderbirds – Tingwell and his family returned to Australia in 1973 when producer Hector Crawford signed him up for a leading role in the long-running series Homicide.

After Homicide, Tingwell stayed with Crawford Productions as a director for other series including The Box, The Sullivans, Cop Shop, Skyways, Holiday Island, Carson’s Law and the mini-series The Flying Doctors.   He featured in just about every other major drama series on Australian TV – Prisoner, Neighbours, Zoo Family, A Country Practice, GP, The Flying Doctors, Bellbird, Blue Heelers, All Saints, Round The Twist, Changi, Something In The Air and The Secret Life Of Us, just to name a few.

Movie roles included Breaker Morant, Puberty Blues, Innocence, The Dish, Evil Angels and Jindabyne.

As well as drama, Tingwell’s career also had a lighter side, appearing as “Gramps” in the “Charlie The Wonderdog” series of comedy sketches for ABC’s The Late Show, as a judge in Mother And Son and as a lawyer in the modern-day suburban classic The Castle.

In 1994, Tingwell was inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame and in 1999 received an Order of Australia medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

One of his last TV roles was as British prime minister Winston Churchill in the ABC telemovie Menzies And Churchill At War.

Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell is survived by son Christopher and daughter Virginia.  Wife Audrey passed away in 1996.

Source: IMDB, Herald Sun, Bud’s Blog

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Community TV not invited to the budget party

Tonight’s announcement of the Federal Budget for 2009-10 has promised a windfall for our national broadcasters, ABC and SBS, but the community TV sector – again – appears to have been left out in the cold.

abc_2001 ABC has been allowed an additional $151.7 million in its budget allocation to fund the launch of its new children’s channel, ABC3, and to increase Australian content, particularly drama.  ABC will also receive some additional funding to support the development of online content in regional areas.

SBS has been given an additional $20 million over three years to boost Australian content.  This is despite the broadcaster asking for an additional $70 million to fund programming initiatives and a new channel to replace the digital World News Channel.  Regardless, SBS appears to be moving ahead with its new channel, SBS2, to launch next month.

The Government has also promised $140 million to assist regional communities in the transition to digital television.

However, the community TV sector – surely, the most financially-starved of all broadcasters – has been omitted from tonight’s budget promises.  This is despite past assurances by Senator Stephen Conroy that community TV will be looked after in the transition to digital transmission.

tv_antennaSo far, both previous and current governments have done little to assist or support community TV in migrating to digital – despite the national and commercial broadcasters being given assistance in funding, infrastructure and broadcast spectrum – and have also been allowed to simulcast in both analogue and digital to allow viewers time to make the move to digital equipment before analogue transmissions are shut down across Australia between 2010 and 2013.

Recent news reports indicate that 43 per cent of capital city households have already made the transition to digital television – and, potentially, just as many households are now without access to community television.

Over eight years since the launch of digital television in Australia, Community Television continues to be restricted to analogue-only transmission with no confirmed migration path to digital.  The only concession allowed to the community channels to date has been the inclusion of the community channels in the to-be-launched Electronic Program Guide (EPG) as part of the Freeview platform. 

watchtv2 The Australian Community Television Alliance, representing TVS Sydney, C31 Melbourne, C31 Adelaide and QCTV Brisbane, has already called for an urgent meeting with communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy to discuss the budget developments.

Source: The Age, Senator Stephen Conroy, TV Tonight, Australian Community Television Alliance

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

1979: May 5-11

tvtimes_050579Cover: Robin Williams, Pam Dawber (Mork And Mindy) 

Bid to help Australia’s deaf fully ‘receive’ TV
A new non-profit organisation, Australian Centre for Visual Television (ACVT), aims to provide television programming to the estimated five per cent of Australians suffering hearing loss.  ACVT’s producers, actor Adam Salzer and actress Alexandra Hynes, have been involved with Sydney’s Theatre for the Deaf for four years and will soon visit Europe and the US to learn what is being done there for deaf viewers.  The group hopes to have a program pilot developed, produced and sold to a network by 1981 – which, co-incidentally, is to be the International Year of the Disabled Person – and is encouraging Australian networks to follow the US in the captioning of television programs.  ACVT has, however, already scored one achievement by persuading a clothing store chain to include sign language in its commercials

prisoner_1Inside story
The stories, characters and scenarios depicted on the new series Prisoner, although they are fictional, are the result of painstaking research.  Peita Letchford, a former high school teacher and graduate of the Australian Film and TV School, was employed by the Reg Grundy Organisation, when it was developing the new series, to research the prison system and just what happens to the inmates from the time they first step off the paddy wagon.  Letchford interviewed several former inmates and prison officers and toured a women’s prison to get an insider’s perspective.  One vivid experience was when she was being guided through a prison hospital and saw, through an open door, in a small room was an inmate just sitting on a bed, with a dazed look on her face, just staring into space.  "And as we walked past the assistant superintendent said she had murdered someone last night and that when someone murders they’re put in these observation cells for three days.  It was just incredible that she had murdered the night before.  She was very young.”

darylossie Life wasn’t meant to be easy when your partner’s an ostrich
Daryl Somers
’ professional partnership with Ossie Ostrich has taken on human proportions: “I could never think of Ossie being shoved into a suitcase or left lying around the studio like a prop.  He’s very much a character that lives.  When I work on Hey Hey It’s Saturday, I always talk to Ossie, I never think of anyone else.”  Ossie’s human alter-ego Ernie Carroll agrees: “It’s Daryl and Ossie that have that smart repartee.  I know for a fact that I could never compete.”  Carroll is fortunate, in that regard, that he can leave Ossie at work: “No one ever sees me on TV so I don’t get stopped in the streets by curious viewers.”  For Somers, even when working away from the show, he can’t leave Ossie behind: “I work interstate at a lot in the clubs and cabaret rooms.  Most of the people who go to the clubs have children who watch TV and those kids will ask me about Ossie.”

So you want to be in TV?
Television is often seen to be an exciting and lucrative industry to get involved in.  The problem is that available positions are rarely advertised and when they are there is an avalanche of applications.   For instance, BTQ7 Brisbane recently received 450 responses to a job advertisement for a camera operator.  But television does offer a range of jobs for those looking for a break in the industry.  A make-up artist, with qualifications in cosmetics and hairdressing, could earn anything from $170 a week.   A qualified graphic designer could expect around $250 a week, and trainee lighting technicians start at $81 a week, if under the age of 17.  Trainee sound technicians start at around $80 a week and trainee video technicians can expect a starting wage of $100 a week.  Wardrobe assistants, film editing assistants, researchers, set builders and designers and camera assistants are also positions that can give newcomers a break into the industry.

Michael Parkinson is rarely lost for words on screen, but a recent studio interview with wildlife expert Harry Butler, who had bought in a python for the segment, did leave Parky rather speechless.

Actors in upcoming episodes of The Sullivans are taking a three-week course in prisoner behaviour before joining the show.  They are being taught how genuine prisoners behaved in Singapore’s Changi Prison during World War II, and to talk a smattering of Malay.

Prisoner star Val Lehman is lobbying producers to write a Christmas-time pantomime into the series.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I am terribly upset that TCN9 continually allows The Mike Walsh Show to run overtime and then cuts five or ten minutes of Days Of Our Lives to make up!  I can prove this because I live in the viewing area for Newcastle as well as Sydney.  I am always seeing parts of Days on NBN3 that have been cut out of TCN9.  I urge all Days fans to watch their clocks and when The Mike Walsh Show goes overtime get on your phones and jam the Nine switchboard.  Maybe then something will be done.” A. Brennan, NSW.  (TV Times responds:  “TCN9 denies Days Of Our Lives has ever been cut.  Nine sends Days Of Our Lives by cable to Newcastle.”)

“In Europe, show-jumping commands a large audience on TV.  Last year an Australian rider won the prestigious trophy at Wembley Stadium in London, the King George V Cup, yet nobody saw or heard of it here.” C. O’Brien, NSW.

“Despite the popularity and general acceptance of The Sullivans by a younger generation, I suggest some glaring examples of incorrect detail must be apparent to veterans of World War II.” C. Casten. VIC

What’s On (May 5-11):
The Victorian State Election is held on Saturday – with varying levels of results coverage across all four Melbourne channels.  ABC presents a one-hour coverage at 7.30pm with Ralphe Neill and Barrie Cassidy, then returns for another hour at 9.35pm.  HSV7 has election updates throughout the evening, hosted by Dan Webb, and a 30-minute wrap-up at 11.00pm.  GTV9’s Brian Naylor presents updates through the evening, and ATV0’s Michael Schildberger is joined by ACTU president Bob Hawke and former premier Sir Henry Bolte for a half-hour special report at 7.30pm.

Former TV Week Gold Logie winner Lorrae Desmond and athlete Raelene Boyle are among the guests, appearing between live crosses to harness racing at Moonee Valley and the Tattslotto draw, on HSV7’s Saturday Night Live.

This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at plague and pestilence in Australia’s recent history, such as rabbits, prickly pear, sharks and the blow-fly.

Sigrid Thornton, Michael Long and Mercia Deane-Johns are guest stars in Cop Shop (HSV7, Monday and Thursday).

ABC’s travel series Holiday visits Thevenard, a remote island off north-west Australia, Phillip Island and the Victorian coastal town of Mallacoota.

Sunday night movies: Pete ‘n’ Tillie (HSV7), Gambit (GTV9), Women In Love (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 5 May 1979.  ABC/ACP

Monday, 4 May 2009

TV Week Logie Awards 2009

Logiehand Packed To The Rafters star Rebecca Gibney has won the TV Week Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian TV.

The hit Seven Network series won a total of six awards in tonight’s presentation, including two for new talent Jessica Marais and Gibney also winning the Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress.

The Nine Network’s Underbelly won three awards, including Outstanding Drama Series.  Series stars Gyton Grantley and Kat Stewart won Outstanding Actor and Actress awards.

Network Ten’s Rove McManus won the Logie for Most Popular TV Presenter and Rove won Most Popular Light Entertainment program.

ABC1’s The Hollowmen won for Most Outstanding Comedy Program and current affairs program Foreign Correspondent won for Most Outstanding Public Affairs Report.

SBSFirst Australians won the Logie for Outstanding Documentary.

FOX Classics host Bill Collins was inducted into the TV Week Logies’ Hall of Fame.

The awards presentation was hosted by former Big Brother host Gretel Killeen and also featured performances by Annie Lennox, Jessica Mauboy and Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

List of all winners:

Silver Logie — Most Popular Actress
Rebecca Gibney (Packed To The Rafters)

Silver Logie — Most Popular Actor
Todd Lasance (Home And Away)

Silver Logie — Most Outstanding Actor
Gyton Grantley (Underbelly)

Silver Logie — Most Outstanding Actress
Kat Stewart (Underbelly)

Most Popular Reality Program
So You Think You Can Dance Australia (Network Ten)

Most Outstanding Comedy Program
The Hollowmen (ABC1)

Most Outstanding News Coverage
"China Earthquake" (ABC News)

Most Popular Lifestyle Program
Better Homes And Gardens (Channel Seven)

Silver Logie — Most Popular TV Presenter
Rove McManus (Rove/Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?)

Most Outstanding Sports Coverage
Beijing Olympics (Channel Seven)

Most Popular Sports Program
The Footy Show NRL (Nine Network)

Most Popular New Male Talent
Hugh Sheridan (Packed To The Rafters)

Most Popular New Female Talent
Jessica Marais (Packed To The Rafters)

Most Popular Factual Program
Bondi Rescue (Network Ten)

Graham Kennedy Award For Most Outstanding New Talent
Jessica Marais (Packed To The Rafters)

Silver Logie — Most Outstanding Drama Series, Miniseries or Telemovie
Underbelly (Nine Network)

Most Outstanding Children's Program
H20: Just Add Water (Network Ten)

# Most Outstanding Public Affairs Report
"Afghanistan: A Survivor's Tale" (Foreign Correspondent, ABC1)

Most Outstanding Documentary
First Australians (SBS)

Most Outstanding Factual Program
Border Security (Channel Seven)

Most Popular Light Entertainment Program
Rove (Network Ten)

Most Popular Drama
Packed To The Rafters (Channel Seven)

TV Week Logie Awards' Hall Of Fame
Bill Collins

TV Week Gold Logie — Most Popular Personality
Rebecca Gibney

Source: TV Week

Sunday, 3 May 2009

1979: 21st TV Week Logie Awards

logies1979sm After more than twenty years in television it had been a long time coming – but the 21st anniversary TV Week Logie Awards finally saw Bert Newton win his first Gold Logie.

Newton, a veteran Logies host as well as host of New Faces and sidekick on The Don Lane Show, had been nominated several times over the years for the Gold Logie and had seen colleagues Graham Kennedy and Don Lane already take home gold statuettes in previous years.  In accepting his Gold Logie, Newton mentioned his mother, Gladys: “I want her to experience what I am experiencing now.  We lost her daughter, my sister Alice – she was my greatest fan – a couple of years ago.  Mum, this is for your daughter and my sister.”  Newton then phoned his mother from his Hilton Hotel suite immediately after the show.

As well as winning the Gold Logie, Newton also won the award for most popular male personality in Victoria.

The awards presentation was held on Friday 16 March 1979 at Melbourne’s Hilton Hotel and televised nationally through the Nine Network and relayed to thirty regional channels across Australia.

The night provided some famous moments – Robin Williams, from Mork And Mindy, was a comic hit on the night, and champion boxer Muhammad Ali provided a moment that would be recalled in Logies history for many years to come.  Host Newton had quipped, “I like the boy..!” to Ali – a comment that is largely innocent in Australia but the term “boy” has racist connotations in America.  Some rapid adlibbing from the normally unflappable Newton saved the moment from turning nasty.

But it was a moment that was close to not happening at all, as Ali had only agreed to appear at the awards night less than 24 hours before showtime and had only arrived at Melbourne airport minutes before the show started.  A police escort rushed him to the Hilton Hotel and through the crowds of onlookers waiting to catch a glimpse of him.

Other overseas guests at the awards included Lauren Tewes (The Love Boat), Cicely Tyson (Roots), British actor David Hemmings, American actor Henry Silva, Days Of Our Lives stars Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes and George And Mildred stars Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy.

thesullivans A total of 43 awards were presented on the night.  The Nine Network’s long-running drama series The Sullivans  (pictured) claimed four Logie awards – including Paul Cronin and Lorraine Bayly for most popular lead actor and actress awards and The Sullivans winning most popular Australian drama series.

The Don Lane Show won most popular variety or panel show as well as most popular program in Victoria.

againstthewind The Seven Network’s landmark 1978 mini-series Against The Wind (pictured) won three awards – Jon English for best new talent, Kerry McGuire for best performance by an actress in a supporting role and Against The Wind won best new drama.

The 0-10 Network won a special Logie for Outstanding Contribution to Community Service with its Have A Go campaign.  The campaign, initiated by Sir Kenneth Humphreys, chairman of TEN10 Sydney, was a series of commercials to motivate Australians to take a greater sense of pride in their country.  The campaign was later endorsed by the prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, as well as state governments. 

The film documentary The Last Tasmanian, aired on the 0-10 Network, won the Logie for best single documentary.  The film, three years in the making, traced the life and death of the Tasmanian aborigines and had been a hit around the world with French and Welsh language versions also made.

Regional television also won two awards.  The annual award for Most Outstanding Contribution by Regional Television was won by Goin’ Down The Road, a 30-minute documentary by Central Tablelands station CBN8.  The documentary about a rodeo rider was selected from a final list of four nominations – the others being Six Tonight (BTV6, Ballarat), Voices Of The River (TNT9, Northern Tasmania) and Bravo Boston (NBN3, Newcastle).

The Logie for most outstanding contribution to children’s television is usually won by a capital city network, but in 1979 the award was taken out by Rainbow, a series of five programs produced by Northern Rivers station NRN11.  The series, produced by Godfrey Philipp, featured children from local schools with each episode covering a different theme.

ABC won two Logies for its single drama, Bit Part, featuring veteran actor John Meillon.  And 12-year-old Warwick Poulsen won the industry voted award for most popular performance by a juvenile for his role in the telemovie Because He’s My Friend where he played a retarded child.  Actor Michael Aitken won a Logie for his script for Neutral Ground, an episode of the Tickled Pink comedy series.

The full list of winners from the 21st annual TV Week Logie Awards:

Viewers’ Voted Awards

Gold Logie: Bert Newton (New Faces, The Don Lane Show)

Silver Logie – Most Popular Actor: Paul Cronin (The Sullivans, Nine)
Silver Logie – Most Populat Actress: Lorraine Bayly (The Sullivans, Nine)

Most Popular Teenage Personality: John Paul Young
Most Popular Variety or Panel Show: The Don Lane Show (Nine)
Most Popular Comedy Show: The Paul Hogan Show (Nine)
Most Popular Drama: The Sullivans (Nine)

Best New Talent: Jon English (Against The Wind, Seven)

kerrymcguireIndustry Panel Awards

Best Performance By An Actor In A Major Role: John Meillon (Bit Part, ABC)
Best Performance By An Actress In A Major Role: Kerry McGuire (pictured. Against The Wind, Seven)

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role: Peter Adams (Cop Shop, Seven)
Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role: Chantal Contouri (The Sullivans, Nine)

Best Performance By A Juvenile: Warwick Poulsen (Because He’s My Friend, ABC)

Best Single Drama Production: Bit Part (ABC)

Best TV Script: Michael Aitken for Neutral Ground (ABC)

Best Single Documentary: The Last Tasmanian (0-10 Network)
Best Documentary Series: A Big Country (ABC)

Best News Report: Bank Siege (QTQ9 Brisbane)
TV Reporter Of The Year: Bill Bennett (Willesee At Seven, Seven)

Best Sports Report or Documentary: Surfabout (Nine)
Outstanding Coverage of a Sports Event: Bathurst Hardie-Ferodo (Seven)

Outstanding Contribution to Community Service: Have A Go campaign (TEN10 Sydney)

Outstanding Contribution to Children’s TV: Rainbow (NRN11 Coffs Harbour, RTN8 Lismore)

Outstanding Contribution by a Regional Station: Goin’ Down The Road (CBN8 Orange)

maryhardy_79 State Awards (Most Popular Male, Most Popular Female, Most Popular Locally-Produced Program):

VIC: Bert Newton (GTV9), Mary Hardy (pictured. HSV7), The Don Lane Show (GTV9)

NSW: Mike Walsh (TCN9), Noeline Brown (ATN7), The Mike Walsh Show (TCN9)

QLD: Paul Griffin (QTQ9), Jacki MacDonald (TVQ0), Country Homestead (QTQ9)

SA: Ernie Sigley (NWS9), Pam Tamblyn (ADS7), The Ernie Sigley Show (NWS9)

WA: Terry Willesee (STW9), Stephanie Quinlan (TVW7), Channel Nine News (STW9)

TAS: Jim Cox (TNT9), Kerry Smith, Saturday Night Show

Source: TV Week, 24 March 1979, 31 March 1979.