Sunday, 30 August 2009

1979: September 1-7

tvtimes_010979 Emergency Edition:Due to a fire at TV Times’ printers, this issue of the magazine has required a change to its usual format.  All regular features have been maintained as well as our complete program coverage.  We apologise for any inconvenience to your usual reading habits and assure you that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.”

First love…
When actor Sam Neill arrived in Australia for the first time he was a movie star nobody wanted to know.  Now, as the new love for Kitty Sullivan (Susan Hannaford, pictured with Neill) in The Sullivans, he is a TV star everyone wants to interview.  Despite the lack of interest when he first visited Australia, to promote a New Zealand film Sleeping Dogs, Neill took the opportunity to observe the Australian industry and decided that he wanted to stay.  A key role in the movie My Brilliant Career led to his role in The Sullivans.  “I’ve had a wonderful introduction to life as an actor in Australia through a good quality film and a top rating, top quality TV show.” 

rogerclimpson A date to remember!
The Australia’s film and television industry will gather at Sydney’s Seymour Centre on 17 October for this year’s Australian Film and TV Awards – the Sammys.  The awards ceremony, presented by TV Times for the Variety Club of Australia charity for underprivileged children, will be telecast by the Seven Network and hosted by Roger Climpson (pictured).  More than 350 nominations have been made for the 40 award categories.  Nominations for the two Gold Sammy awards (male and female) include Harry Butler, Garry McDonald, Mike Walsh, Paul Cronin, Don Lane, Bert Newton, Gerard Kennedy, Julie Anthony, Lorraine Bayly, Marcia Hines, Judy Morris and Julieanne Newbould.

simontownsend Series took six years to see the light
This week’s debut of the 0-10 Network’s new children’s program Simon Townsend’s Wonder World marks the culmination of six years’ work for journalist and producer Simon Townsend (pictured).  Townsend first developed the concept in 1973 after two years editing a children’s newspaper, Zoot, and produced a pilot with the assistance of the Seven Network.  Townsend then joined the Nine Network’s A Current Affair and was later assisted by Mike Willesee in negotiating with the 0-10 Network.  A second pilot, produced independently, was successful in gaining approval for the ‘C’ classification by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal and formed the basis for the 0-10 Network series.  The new show, described by Townsend as “current affairs in style – but not adult current affairs explained down for children,” has a staff of around 20, including four reporters, two researchers, two editors, two associate producers and a full-time animator.

Robyn Nevin
plays Nellie Melba in ABC’s adaptation of Jack Hibberd’s play A Toast To Melba.  It is one of six Australian plays being made by ABC for screening next year.

Denise Drysdale and actor Chris Milne have just married at a ceremony attended by 175 invited guests – and 100 ‘uninvited’ guests who gate-crashed the event.  There will be no honeymoon for the couple as Drysdale is currently working on Cop Shop and Milne is working at renovating the country cottage they have just bought from Ernie Sigley.

If Vince Martin is missing when he’s needed on the set of The Restless Years, chances are he can be found in TEN10’s props department, playing his own compositions at a grand piano once used in The Steve Raymond Show and surrounded by various props and other relics discarded from the set of Number 96

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I am always home on weekends and all I get to see on TV is rubbish.  Why don’t TV stations put on some all-night movies so people can enjoy themselves at home on Saturday night?” M. Smith, WA.

“I was disturbed to see that the Miss Universe pageant was compered by Americans, though the show was held in Australia.  Why was this so?” G. Scott, VIC. (TV Times responds - “The Miss Universe pageant is an American-owned and American-sponsored contest, and American TV personality Bob Barker has compered it for more than a decade.”)

“There are a lot of people like myself who enjoy Australian football.  Some of us are lucky enough to view the direct telecast from Melbourne each Saturday afternoon.  Others have to try ABC’s The Winners on Sunday night.  One recent Sunday evening after a long, dreary wait we were given just a little over five minutes at 11.10pm.  I consider it an insult for the national network to give so little time to our national game.  Surely The Winners could be broadcast at an earlier time or on some other night of the week?” C. Wilson, QLD.

“I realise that Skyways needs advertising to keep it “in the air,” but I fail to see that ATN7 is aiding its cause – i.e. the toppling of Nine’s The Don Lane Show – by flooding Skyways with an incalculable number of advertisements.  I ask the question:  Is there a difference between skyjacking a plane for a million dollars and holding Skyways to advertising ransom?” S. McLean, NSW.

What’s On (September 1-7):
’s Deafness Appeal telethon continues on Saturday, taking a break only at 6.00pm for Eyewitness News, then resuming at 6.30pm with a special extended edition of Young Talent Time.  The telethon’s evening segment commences at 8.00pm and continues through to the Appeal close just before midnight.

twentygoodyears ABC’s Tuesday night drama Twenty Good Years comes to a conclusion this week, having traced the lives of Ron Fielding (Harold Hopkins) and his wife Anne (Anne Pendlebury) since they first met in 1956 (pictured).  In the final episode, set in 1975, Ron becomes seriously ill and admits that the business is too much for him.  He sells up and buys a caravan park.  Michael Fielding (Jeremy Kewley) becomes involved with a Jewish woman ten years his senior.

This week’s episode of documentary series Hospital (ABC, Thursday) examines the constant pressure borne by hospital staff in the vital Intensive Care Unit.  The program follows the journey of a patient, seriously burned in a motor-cycle accident, from his admittance to the time the doctor tells him his recovery will be slow.

In Prisoner (ATV0, Tuesday and Wednesday), an underworld slaying leads to the arrival of a prisoner who makes a big impact.  In Cop Shop (HSV7, Monday and Thursday), one lottery pool winner has died and another is hospitalised with $100,000 missing.

Sunday night movies: Taxi (HSV7), The Agony And The Ecstasy (GTV9), A Step Out Of Line (ATV0).  ABC presents Man Of Dreams, the second play in the series A Place In The World.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 1 September 1979.  ABC/ACP

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

TelevisionAU Update 26-Aug-09


No sooner had the Nine Network issued its glossy new PR photo of the 60 Minutes reporting team for 1993 that it was quickly out of date with the announcement that Jennifer Byrne (pictured) was leaving the program to take on a new job as morning presenter at ABC radio station 2BL (now 702 ABC).  Jeff McMullen, Richard Carleton and new arrival Charles Woolley make up the rest of the team.  Picture: TV Week, 23 January 1993

1971 (Premiere This Week Has Seven Days)

1964 (Olympic Games Opening Ceremony)
1970 (Premiere The Long Arm)

1970 (Premiere Temptation)

1964 (Good Friday Appeal)
1965 (TV Spells Magic)

1964 (Miss Australia)


Sunday, 23 August 2009

1979: August 25-31

tvtimes_250879 Detective Donovan gets back on the beat
Four years after leaving cop show Division 4, Terry Donovan makes his debut in Cop Shop, taking over the role of officer-in-charge of Riverside police station from George Mallaby.  But, as writer Marie Trevor adds, there are surprises in store for the team at Riverside: “When Terry’s cop arrives they won’t know what has hit them.” Since leaving Division 4, Donovan (pictured, centre, with co-stars Peter Adams and Lynda Stoner) has proved his versatility as an actor – having starred in three movies, including The Money Movers, eight stage productions and guest starred in a number of TV series.  He had a key role in the ABC mini-series Power Without Glory and joins Cop Shop having just finished up work on the movie Breaker Morant

$4m budget for two series
is working on two new multi-million dollar TV series aimed at the Australian and overseas market.  The two series, both of 13 one-hour episodes, will have a combined budget of $4 million.  Hal McElroy, director of TV development for H-B in Australia, said that production has gone ahead on both shows following strong interest by two networks.  One of the new series will be a contemporary drama, the other will be a period drama and production is set to start next year.  The international sales success of Australian dramas Prisoner and Against The Wind will mean that the two new shows will be aimed at the international market and one of the series could be a co-production with an English company.

enidlorimer The drama of a lifetime
Enid Lorimer
, 91 years of age and an actress for over 70 years, has some simple advice for aspiring young actresses if they offered roles only on the condition they be ‘nice’ to the producer: “When you’re told you won’t get the job unless you do, take it as an insult and refuse the job.  Many years ago I was offered a role by a producer who said ‘if you get the role, you will be nice to me, won’t you?’  So I hit him.  Oddly enough, I didn’t get the job.”  An English-born former Shakespearean actress who also worked at London’s legendary Old Vic theatre, Lorimer has appeared in many Australian TV productions, including Motel, Spyforce, Homicide, Division 4 and Cop Shop, and nominates TV and film work as her favourite: “because I love variety.  I nearly died of boredom in Passage From India during its West End run.  I hated going on stage doing the same thing night after night for a perishing year.  It’s such a joy for me to see the TV and film industries booming here today.  Years ago I’d have to tell young actors ‘you’ll have to go overseas if you want to get anywhere.’  Now there’s an industry here to support them.”  Lorimer (not her real name) admits she is a compulsive TV viewer:  “I love watching the performances of all the wonderful young Australian talent – although to me anyone under 70 is just a chicken.  The Young Doctors is bags of fun.  Cop Shop is the right balance between crime and the natural gaiety of the characters in their private lives.”

Five men at crisis point
The stories of five middle-aged men, worried about their future and each facing a life in crisis, are depicted in a series of ABC plays titled A Place In The World.   The first five self-contained plays will each depict one of the central characters.  The final play will see the culmination of all five characters’ dilemmas as their gather for a school reunion.  A Place In The World is written by Michael Cove and stars John Gregg (The Oracle), John Gaden, Nick Tate, Paul Mason and Kerry Francis as the main characters.

’s Earthwatch host, 23-year-old Peter Cousens has landed a key role in the upcoming mini-series The Timeless Land.  Cousens will play Patrick, the son of ruthless landowner Stephen Manion (Michael Craig).  The series also stars Rod Mullinar, Chris Haywood and Angela Punch.

Theatrical producer Peter Williams is planning to make a TV soap opera, based on a setting ‘that’s never been exploited before’, for the 6-7pm timeslot.   The idea hasn’t been presented to any of the networks as yet.

John Ewart is returning to The Young Doctors in his role of Horrie Jamison, father of medical orderly Dennis (Chris King).

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
”Does ABC have a horse lover in its programming department?  How otherwise can anyone account for the network putting to air Ride On Stranger right after the excellent A Horseman Riding By?” G. Morris, NSW.

John Michael Howson’s cruel, offensive and downright stupid remarks on The Mike Walsh Show about so many fine and accomplished actors and actresses, some who happen to be dead, are a disgrace.” E. Melville, NSW.

“I have recently read a book, The Plug-In Drug, by Marie Winn.  She believes that TV is an addictive, sedative drug which reduces children’s ability to think and talk.  A child’s mind, I have heard, is virtually inactive when watching TV.  It is also said to reduce a child’s perception and creativity.  Since reading the book I have found it difficult to give up TV, which seems to support the description ‘addictive.’  TV could be a marvellous educational aid if the viewing time of children was properly monitored.” E. Hutson, NSW.

donniesutherland What’s On (August 25-31):
Sound Unlimited (HSV7, Saturday morning) with Donnie Sutherland (pictured) pays tribute to the super hits of the last five years.

In Chopper Squad (ATV0, Sunday), a rock climber is almost hung by the neck.  Starring Dennis Grosvenor, Eric Oldfield, Robert Coleby, John Clayton, Tony Hughes, Kerri Eichhorn and Lannie Dalziel.

This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at eighty years of Australian politics – including Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, and the battle between Gough Whitlam and Sir John Kerr.

Vic Cameron (Terry Donovan), the new head of CI at Cop Shop (HSV7, Monday and Thursday), is not the efficient, disciplinarian everyone was expecting and the atmosphere is very tense, with Johnson (Peter Adams) caught in the middle, acting as a buffer to the others’ anger.

Country singer Reg Lindsay and British comedians The Two Ronnies, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, are among the guests this week on The Don Lane Show (GTV9, Monday and Thursday).

ATV0 presents its annual telethon for the Deafness Foundation of Victoria.  Newsreader Bruce Mansfield introduces the telethon at 7.30pm Friday, with Annette Allison in the phone room.  The telethon continues overnight, with movies Road To Hong Kong, Help! and Keep On Rockin’ filling the hours between 2.00am and 8.00am Saturday morning.  The telethon continues through until midnight Saturday night.  The telephone number for donations is (03) 234 0011.

Sunday night movies: The Summer Of My German Soldier (HSV7), Living Free (GTV9), Night Chase (ATV0).  ABC presents A Man Of Ideas, the first play in the series A Place In The World, starring John Gregg.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 25 August 1979.  ABC/ACP

Sunday, 16 August 2009

1979: August 18-24

tvtimes_180879 Young Doctor in love
Dr Peter Holland (Peter Lochran, pictured) has often been seen as the heartless playboy out for a good time in The Young Doctors.  But the arrival of Maria Pazios (Sigrid Thornton) is set to change all that.  It is love at first sight for the pair but it is set to be a rocky road to romance, as Maria’s parents have arranged a marriage for her in Malaysia.  She was born in Greece but raised in Malaysia.

Jackie Collins’ plans for Don Lane
Best-selling author Jackie Collins is determined that she will direct as well as write the next movie adaptation of one of her books – and Don Lane may have a key role in it.  In Australia to promote her book and movie The World Is Full Of Married Men, Jackie and her husband Oscar Lerman spoke at length with Lane and told him he would be the right fit for a key character in their next film.  Lane, admitting he had been “bitten” by movie offers, has adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

gregevans Not just a pretty voice!
Top-rating Melbourne radio announcer Greg Evans (pictured) has made the big break into television.  The popular night-time announcer on 3XY, voted Victoria’s most popular radio DJ four times, now presents a weekly segment on The Mike Walsh Show.  The 26-year-old is out on the streets interviewing adults on various topical subjects for the weekly segment.  “With my radio shift being an evening one, it means that I can utilise my daytime hours to fir in nicely with The Mike Walsh Show,” he told TV Times

prisoner Agreement over jail recess row
The dispute between the cast of Prisoner and Melbourne channel ATV0 has been resolved amicably.  The cast had protested when it was rumoured that production would stop with ten weeks over summer because of the channel’s commitment to racing – in particular the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November.  This would have meant a ten-week break without pay.  Producer Ian Bradley said a six-week break was now decided: “Facilities have been found for the remaining weeks of production.  Really, the dispute has been a non-event.  We have been having continuous discussion with the cast and Actors’ Equity and have reached an amicable solution without any trouble.”  Despite the shorter production break, two of the show’s cast, recently-married Barry Quin and Peita Toppano (pictured), will be taking a two-month holiday to the UK over the Christmas period.

billstalker_2 Born to be wild
A former New Zealand bikie with a tough public image in his home country, actor Bill Stalker (pictured) is cautious about his portrayal of gruff airport security officer Ken Peterson in Skyways as he is not keen to sustain the same reputation in Australia.  “I started an acting career in 1969 and won a role in an episode of a series called Pukemianu as a character called Sammy, a bikie.  The casting people suggested me – then described as ‘that bikie who does a bit of acting.’  It was a fair description too.  As a teenager I did ride a big motorcycle in a gang and got up to the crazy stunts bikie gangs are known for.  We drank a lot, had wild parties and enjoyed the girls that go with them.  I wasn’t really surprised when I became an actor with the reputation of being a hell-raising tough guy.”  But now 31-years-old, Stalker is no longer the rebellious teenager and is hoping that he can break out of the tough image of his earlier years.  Before coming to Australia for Skyways, he had been in Shakespeare plays, a children’s film and a Spike Milligan comedy.  In 1976 he was nominated for actor of the year for his role in New Zealand drama Close To Home

Prisoner star Val Lehman has been allowed a two-week break from the series to star in an upcoming ABC play, The Dole Bludger, with former Prisoner co-star Carol Burns.

Sydney actor Robert Hughes, who has been appearing in underwear commercials warning about getting caught with your pants down, is currently working on Graham Kennedy’s ABC radio comedy show and is to be appear in upcoming pilots to be made by RS Productions for the Seven Network.

Actress Liddy Clark, fresh from her role in ABC’s Ride On Stranger, is now being seen on the 0-10 Network’s Prisoner.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
”I would like to congratulate ABC for their long-awaited Sunday morning ethnic programs.  It is about time the large ethnic community in Sydney was given a fair go on TV.” J. Gailis, NSW.

“It is with great disappointment that we will no longer be able to view the great Australian show, Cop Shop, due to BTQ7 Brisbane removing from its normal time of 8.30pm.  If it stays at 7.30pm we will sadly not be able to see it, as The Restless Years on TVQ0 is a more more suitable show for children aged nine to 13.  We will not be bothered to turn the dial back to Seven to watch Skyways, as the previews of it seem to consist of nothing but smut.  Good for our children to see, isn’t it?” M. Gundry, QLD.

twentygoodyears “Congratulations to ABC for yet another fine Australian series, Twenty Good Years.  The acting must be about the best on TV.  Just look at the brilliant case.  Harold Hoplins, Peter Cummins, Anne Pendlebury, Michael Carmen, all those wonderful people from the Melbourne Theatre CompanySandy Gore, Gary Down, Jonathan Hardy, Julia Blake and that wonderful pair Leila Hayes and John Murphy!  The sets, scripts and everything else are always at that perfect ABC standard.” J. Kelly, VIC.

What’s On (August 18-24):
Joining Ernie Sigley and Belinda Leigh on HSV7’s Saturday Night Live are guests Michelle Fawdon, Normie Rowe, Julie McKenna, Shirlene Clancey, Russell Morris and Neil Williams.

ABC’s Sunday afternoon movie the the US drama Barnaby And Me, featuring Young Talent Time cast member Sally Boyden.

This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at the development of Australia’s motion picture and theatre industry – including footage from the world’s first feature film The Story Of The Kelly Gang.

Marc Hunter, Renee Geyer and Air Supply are guest performers in the latest Paul Hogan Show special screening on GTV9 on Tuesday night.  Later in the evening, ATV0 presents an adults-only special So You Want To Be A Centrefold – a ‘special investigation’ showing Australia’s centrefold girls at home, at work and in the studio.

The Federal Budget is handed down in Canberra on Tuesday.  ABC presents five and ten minute summaries at 8.25pm and 9.20pm before follow-up coverage in Nationwide at 9.30pm.  HSV7 presents a half-hour report at 10.30pm with Laurie Wilson in Canberra.  GTV9 has a one-hour Budget report at 10.30pm and ATV0 has five-minute reports at 9.30pm and 10.35pm.

ABC presents the first of a six-part series, Hospital.  The first episode, titled Casualty,  depicts the hectic day and night of the casualty section of St Vincent’s Hospital with cases ranging from small cuts to heroin doses, and coping with the drama faced by people entering hospital.

Sunday night movies: Maneaters Are Loose (HSV7), Harold And Maude (GTV9), Magnum Force (ATV0).  ABC presents Romeo And Juliet, the second in the series of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays to be adapted for television by BBC.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 18 August 1979.  ABC/ACP

Thursday, 13 August 2009

50 years of Queensland TV

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Queensland’s first TV station – QTQ9.

QTQ9 was opened on Saturday 16 August 1959 and this weekend the channel presents a one-hour special 50 Years Of Television.

jackimac The program will feature some of the landmark moments of QTQ9 including appearances by two of the channel’s most famous discoveries that went on to become national household names – Jacki MacDonald (pictured) and Kerri-Anne Kennerley (nee Wright).

Also featured is former newsreader and station executive Hugh Cornish, the first person to appear on QTQ9 on opening night and who recalls the frantic activity of that historic occasion.

Veteran TV producer and presenter of the 1970s Paul Sharratt appears in an interview taped earlier this year.  Sharratt, who hosted variety programs Studio 9 and Orton’s Music Hall, produced many other local programs and won four TV Week Logie awards for Most Popular Male Personality in Queensland, died suddenly of a heart attack in Los Angeles in March this year.

Joy Chambers, one of the panelists on long-running game show I’ve Got A Secret and now Mrs Reg Grundy, recalls her first audition at QTQ9 and how it changed her life from then on.

The program also covers some of the historic news and sporting moments to be covered by QTQ9 – including former newsreader Don Seccombe’s coverage of the 1974 floods – and a few bloopers as well.

qtq9opening_1959QTQ9, which also presented a tribute to 50 years of news in March, is the first of a number of stations celebrating 50 years of broadcasting:  NWS9 Adelaide celebrates its 50th next month, TVW7 Perth and ADS10 (formerly ADS7) follow in October and Brisbane’s ABQ2 and BTQ7 in November.

Then the first half of next year will mark the 50th anniversary of transmission for ABS2 Adelaide, ABW2 Perth, TVT6 (now WIN) Hobart and ABT2 Hobart.

9_logo_2009 50 Years Of Television.  Saturday 15 August, 7.30pm.  QTQ9 Brisbane.

Source: Nine press release
Additional information: On-Air 25 Years Of TV In Queensland
YouTube: aussiebeachut

Sunday, 9 August 2009

YouTube: The Two-Way Mirror

Reg Watson of the Reg Grundy Organisation was responsible for penning the scripts for some of the most popular and successful soaps on Australian TV – The Young Doctors, Prisoner, Sons And Daughters, Neighbours, to name a few – but here is one that he was perhaps less likely to add to his CV and, thanks to the 21st century, it is now documented on YouTube.

The Two-Way Mirror was a pilot produced by Grundy’s in 1975 for the Nine Network as a potential competitor to sexy and successful soaps Number 96 and The Box. The latter being a concept that had earlier been knocked back by both the Seven and Nine networks before being picked up by the 0-10 Network.

This clip on YouTube (WARNING: contains nudity), with scenes from the pilot, features a couple of actresses that would later become regular soap opera stalwarts – Cornelia Frances (later in The Young Doctors, Sons And Daughters, Home And Away) and Anne Charleston (Prisoner, Possession, Neighbours and UK soap Emmerdale). Others to be included in the pilot include Jill Forster (Motel, Number 96, The Box, Starting Out, The Power The Passion), Sue Smithers (The Restless Years) and Brisbane showbiz veteran Babette Stephens playing an eye-patch wearing business matriarch.

But if the show’s theme tune sounds familiar, that’s because it was later re-instated as the signature for a later Nine Network series that couldn’t have been more removed from the sleazy goings on behind the two-way mirror – The Sullivans.

YouTube: DPWW1, NinaOPerez
Additional Information: Super Aussie Soaps

Get ready to GO!

go_channel Tonight the Nine Network launches its long-awaited new digital channel GO!

GO! kicks off at 6.30pm with Wipeout followed by two hours of The Big Bang Theory and the new series Aliens In America.

GO! is available on digital channel 99 in Nine Network cities and on digital channel 88 in regional areas currently receiving digital signals from NBN and WIN (excluding regional South Australia and Western Australia).

More details on GO!’s prime-time schedule can be found here.

GO! has been broadcasting a test transmission since Wednesday 5 August.  Viewers in the relevant areas with digital equipment that can’t currently access GO! are advised to conduct a rescan on their tuner or if there are any difficulties to contact the GO! enquiries hotline – 1300 152 231 – or the retailer of their tuner or set-top-box.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

1979: August 11-17

tvtimes_110879Cover: Jamie Gleeson, Peter Mochrie, Lenore Smith (The Restless Years)

La Stupenda on the move
This week’s ABC special Joan Sutherland: A Life On The Move is the culmination of 13 months of production.  The 80-minute documentary is a rare glimpse into the private life of opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland who, with husband Richard Bonynge, divides her time between two permanent homes – in Australia and Switzerland – and a busy calendar of opera performances, recitals, recording sessions and public appearances.  The documentary is a joint production between Brian Adams, ABC and Munich-based RM Productions.

Graffiti written off
US sitcom MASH is doing so well that Sydney’s TEN10 is in no rush to find another show for the 7.00pm timeslot.  Program director Pat Cleary said that the 0-10 Network had decided not to buy Graffiti, a topical light entertainment show from the Reg Grundy Organisation.  “The Graffiti pilot was presented by Grundy’s as a half-hour show to be screen weeknights at 7.00pm.  We looked at it a couple of months ago and decided it didn’t fit into that slot.  The problems that we have had with that particular timeslot have been solved by MASH, which is doing very, very well.”

tonybarber 500 not out: Tony’s still feuding
Quizmaster Tony Barber (pictured) has just recorded his 500th edition of afternoon game show Family Feud.  A production of the Reg Grundy Organisation, Family Feud started production in Perth two years ago and recently moved to the studios of Melbourne’s GTV9.  For Barber it rounds out almost a decade of hosting TV quiz shows, with five years as host of Great Temptation and the shorter-lived Name That Tune for the Seven Network before hosting Family Feud, but he does not miss the pressure of working in prime time: “I’m glad in fact it isn’t a big prime-time show.  I’ve done that, and life is much better now without the pressure.  These days I work to live – I don’t live to work, and to be honest I don’t miss the days of Great Temptation.  They were hectic days and I was always so busy I didn’t have time to turn around.  Today, I’m comfortable.  I’m working in show business and yet I can still enjoy my family life.”

Prisoner’s disc over the top
The single release of the theme song to the 0-10 Network series Prisoner has broken all local sales records.  The song, On The Inside, was recorded by Lynne Hamilton and is claimed to be the biggest-selling single from a female artist in the history of the Australian recording industry.  Hamilton recently appeared on Peter Couchman Tonight to receive a gold record to commemorate 50,000 sales and platinum could be not far away with sales now creeping closer to 100,000.  With Prisoner now about to go to air in the United States and Canada, the single may be released there and could make Hamilton an international star.

Olivia Hamnett, one of the lead actresses in the telemovie The John Sullivan Story, will extend her character Captain Meg Fulton, a British Secret Service agent, to an ongoing role in The Sullivans.

Actor-humourist David Kossof has recorded a half-hour special to celebrate the International Year of the Child (IYC).  The special, Kossof With Kids, was produced in association with ABC’s children’s program ARVO and will screen as part of ABC’s upcoming three-hour IYC telecast next month.

ericoldfield Following a recent TV Times story, The Young Doctors star Eric Oldfield (pictured) has received numerous letters from young readers thanking him for speaking up about ocean pollution.

Chin Yu Williams, the half-Chinese mother of The SullivansMegan Williams, is likely to be offered a leading role in the upcoming 0-10 Network series Arcade.

Actress Colleen Clifford, who made her TV debut in the United Kingdom forty years ago, will soon appear in a guest role in Prisoner, playing a little old lady who “kicks over the traces” when she is evicted from her home and her life starts to fall apart around her and ultimately ends up at Wentworth Detention Centre.

thesullivans Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”People who complain about The Sullivans (pictured) and Cop Shop should sit down one night and watch one of these shows through and try to understand what it’s about, and then, if you still don’t like it, watch something else.  Remember, these shows will last a long time, so complaining will get you nowhere.” S. Clark, QLD.

“Why do they ruin The Sullivans with that soppy, overgrown Jeff, with his short pants and his “aunties” and “uncles”?  If the part called for a boy of 16 or so, why don’t they get a boy that looks 16?” P. Johnson, VIC.

“My family and friends have been watching Cop Shop for a long time, then all of a sudden the timeslot changes to when we normally watch The Restless Years.” C. & N. Leoni, QLD.

What’s On (August 11-17):
This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at Australia’s moral attitudes over the course of the century, in particular to the subject of sex.  Peter Luck looks at the history of censorship as it was applied to films and other popular culture.

Marcia Hines and Daryl Braithwaite host the Australian Popular Song Festival, Sunday night on ATV0, including performances by Delilah, Ray Burgess, Tony Pantano, Mary Jane Boyd and Russell Hitchcock.  The winning song will go on to represent Australia at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo later in the year.

matlockpolice The Curse Of The Bangerang Prince is this week’s episode of Matlock Police (ATV0, Monday).  A Melbourne lawyer goes missing in the Matlock bush.  Constable Gary Hogan (Paul Cronin, pictured) receives news of his future in the police force and the police station the plagued by astounding bad luck with the arrival of the Bangerang Prince. 

A new prisoner arrives at Wentworth Detention Centre in Prisoner (ATV0, Tuesday and Wednesday), but the authorities keep her identity a secret.

Sunday night movies: Sunday Too Far Away (HSV7), The Man Who Haunted Himself (GTV9), The Good The Bad And The Ugly (ATV0).  ABC presents an 80-minute special Joan Sutherland – A Life On The Move.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 11 August 1979.  ABC/ACP

Sunday, 2 August 2009

1979: August 4-10

tvtimes_040879 The Sullivans’ war secrets
Jovan, the Yugoslav name for John, is the name of the telemovie telling the story of the missing years of John Sullivan (Andrew McFarlane, pictured), the eldest son of The Sullivans.  McFarlane returned to reprise the role, describing it as “the most satisfying and stimulating role of my career.”  Jovan also features Frank Gallacher (Against The Wind), Olivia Hamnett (Rush), Carol Burns (Prisoner) and, in her first acting role, Vera Plevnik. The telemovie was written by Brian Wright, who wrote the Biggles and Hop Harrigan serials for radio and was a founding member of the management team of ATV0 in the mid-‘60s before becoming a scriptwriter for ABC and Crawford Productions.

96 team back in harness
The team behind the top-rating series Number 96 have re-united to make a new drama series for the 0-10 Network.  Producer Bill Harmon, script editor Johnny Whyte and writer-director David Sale are devising a new series, tentatively titled Arcade, to begin production later this year and to debut early in 1980.  Details of the new series are sketchy, though it is believed that it will be shown once or twice weekly.  Arcade will be produced at TEN10’s Sydney studios where The Steve Raymond Show was produced before it was axed last week.  Harmon said the new show will not be like Number 96:  “It’s not 96 set in a shopping centre.  At this stage, with only four scripts in hand, it’s too early to tell you what it will be like.  All we can say is what it will not be like.”  Casting for the new series is to commence in the next month.

pauladuncan Cop Shop shock: Paula’s ‘recaught’
Actress Paula Duncan (pictured) has decided not to drop out of the popular series Cop ShopSeveral weeks ago, Duncan informed producers that ill-health would force her to leave the show.  However, a successful operation, followed by a Queensland holiday, has given Duncan a clean bill of health. 

Nine plans new series for kids
The Nine Network has commissioned an action/drama pilot for a children’s TV series from the Reg Grundy Organisation.  The new series, proposed for the ‘C’-rated 4.00 to 5.00pm timeslot, will be produced by Roger Mirams, a veteran of many children’s productions including The Terrible Ten, The Magic Boomerang, Animal Doctor and The Lost Islands.

Busy time for Paradise people
Some of TV’s most familiar actors and actresses are taking part in what could be the first drama series to be based on the Gold Coast.  A pilot for a new series, Paradise Village, is being produced by McCabe-Paradine Productions and BTQ7 Brisbane, with financial assistance from the Queensland Film Corporation.  The pilot stars Gerard Kennedy (Division 4), Syd Heylen (Sunnyside Up), Lynette Curran (Bellbird), Joan Bruce (Certain Women), Dennis Grosvenor (Chopper Squad), Anne Haddy (Play School, Prisoner) and Bill Kerr.  Other names cast in the pilot include Suzy Gashler, Stephen O’Rourke, Paul Chubb, Olga Tamara and Christine Broadway.

bunneybrooke How Bunney stays together going to bits
Barely three years ago, Bunney Brooke (pictured) was on TV screens several nights a week as the much-loved Flo Patterson in Number 96.  Since the show wound up late in 1977, Brooke has been keeping a much lower profile on screen, playing smaller bit parts in dramas including The Young Doctors, Kirby’s Company, children’s series Wayzgoose and telemovie Good Thing Going.  Her latest role is as Granny Jones in ABC’s Ride On Stranger.  “I love doing these character parts.  They’re a challenge and they pay the rent,” she says.  Brooke has also just finished the outline for a TV comedy series which, after a brief rundown, suggests that there could be parts for herself and former Number 96 colleague Pat McDonald.

Peter Couchman
is suddenly going to be seen a lot more on Melbourne’s TV screens.  From this week, ATV0’s late-night program Peter Couchman Tonight extends to early evenings with Peter Couchman’s Melbourne.  The new program comes after some other ill-fated attempts to fill the 7.00pm timeslot since the demise of Blankety Blanks.

Denise Drysdale is about to wed actor Chris Milne, and for the former ‘60s go-go dancer and Ernie Sigley Show co-host, her new married life will be a lot quieter with the pair settling in a country property outside of Melbourne.  “From now on I will be working a lot less.  I don’t want to earn a fortune – just enough to pay the bills.”

TV Times’ Eric Scott recently spent a day on location at the mock version of Singapore’s Changi prison, constructed in Melbourne by Crawford Productions for an upcoming storyline in The Sullivans.  Freezing in the middle of a Melbourne winter, wearing nothing but a wet sarong and having brown make-up dabbed on with a cold, wet sponge, Scott wonders why anyone would want to be an actor.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”Surely the skipper of the warship in the series Patrol Boat should be wearing a naval cap, and not that awful American baseball cap?”  M. Tringham, NSW.

“As I once wrote a letter to you complaining about Cop Shop not being what it should be, I thought it only fair to express my new reaction to this series.  I am happy to say that it has improved beyond all I ever expected of it, and has now become one of our favourite programs.” D. Dickey, NSW.

tvnews_280658 “Congratulations to the complete staff and printers on a fine example of an Australia publication – TV Times on its 21st birthday (TV Times, 7 July 1979).  May the same standards apply to all future issues.  I find the features included most absorbing and palatable and the simplicity of program layout most rewarding.” N. Gray, NSW.

What’s On (August 4-10):
Just The Way We Are, featuring The Four Kinsmen, is this week’s Saturday Special on ABC.

On Sunday afternoon ABC presents live coverage of Round 6 of the Australian Sports Sedans Championship, from Calder Raceway.  Geelong and Collingwood are this week’s teams in the Sunday afternoon Commodore Cup on HSV7, live from St Kilda Football Ground, and ATV0 presents live coverage of VFA Football.

On Monday, ATV0 debuts Peter Couchman’s Melbourne, an extension of the late-night Peter Couchman Tonight.  The new 7.00pm program includes special reports and contributions from Derryn Hinch, Marie van Maaren, Tony Porter and Bob Maumill.

In Skyways (HSV7, Monday and Thursday), MacFarlane (Tony Bonner) leaves his assistant, Louise (Tina Bursill) in charge of the airport while he attends to a domestic problem.  Her dismissal of a drunken baggage handler sparks off a strike.

Sunday night movies: Westworld (HSV7), Jovan – The John Sullivan Story (GTV9), Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (ATV0).  ABC presents a two-hour BBC special, Einstein’s Universe, presented by Peter Ustinov.  The documentary coincides with the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s birth.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 4 August 1979.  ABC/ACP

1979: July 28-August 3

tvtimes_280779Cover: Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett (The Two Ronnies) 

For the love of Mike
For a group of 50 housewives, the daily chores will have to wait another day as they head into TCN9’s studios to be in the audience for The Mike Walsh Show.  The group, organised by a Padstow primary school as a fund-raiser, is one of many similar groups that flock to TCN9’s Willoughby studios, some from as far as Orange in the central west of NSW, for the 90-minute show.  For studio audience members, housewives Lyn Albrew and Bev Williams, watching the show at home is part of their daily routine and admit that without it many chores, such as ironing, would never get done.  Narabeen mother Judy Allen and her parents, Leslie and Peggy Searle, are also in the studio audience.  “It has a good variety of things and there are some interesting interviews.  It’s better than watching soap operas,” Mrs Allen told TV TimesJohn Lynch, one of the few males in the Orange contingent, looks around for some other men in the audience.  “There aren’t many of us, are there?” 

prisoner_ep1_1 The Australian Invasion!
Australian TV is making its presence felt in the US market – ending the usual one-way traffic of TV programming from the US.  The Seven Network’s hit mini-series Against The Wind was sold to the Taft Broadcasting Network for a six-figure sum and will go to air next month.  Paramount Pictures has bought the overseas distribution rights to the ABC series Patrol Boat while another ABC drama, Golden Soak, has been bought by the Interamerican Entertainment Company of USA.  The 0-10 Network’s hit series Prisoner (pictured) has also been sold to US and Canadian broadcasters.  Canada’s Global TV has purchased 26 episodes of the series, while a Los Angeles-based TV station has bought fourteen episodes.  Prisoner will launch in August on the LA station in a two-hour prime-time debut and will continue weekly thereafter.  American TV distributor Hal Golden has also approached the Nine Network with a view to packaging The Don Lane Show for US distribution, while singer Julie Anthony’s Gold Coast TV special has been syndicated to a network of 50 US TV stations.

Three firsts for restless Victoria
As well as playing the ditzy Raeleen in The Restless Years, Victoria Nicolls is embarking on a few career firsts.  Her first single, Midnight Rendezvous, has just been released.  She also wrote the flip-side song, Until Then, and is starring in a six-week season of Just Us And A Piano, co-starring David Collins and The Restless Years colleague Zoe Bertram, at a Sydney venue.  Nicolls has also signed a three-year contract as a lyricist for ATV-Northern Songs

sonnyblake Briefly…
Former The Restless Years star Sonny Blake (pictured) appears in this week’s episode of ABC’s Patrol Boat, playing the part of a heavily-tattooed father-to-be among the crew of HMAS Ambush.

Sydney electronics retail whiz Dick Smith is preparing to make a TV pilot with the Tasmanian Film Corporation.  The pilot, and possible series, will feature Smith and his family tracing the voyage of Captain James Cook along the eastern seaboard of Australia.

Simon Townsend has reportedly been given $1.5 million to produce his new daily children’s show for the 0-10 Network – an amount that has done a lot to raise the status of children’s TV production.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”Regarding TV advertisements for insecticides (or anything in that group): must they be shown at meal times?  I don’t know how other viewers feel but I certainly object to an ad for the elimination of cockroaches to be shown right at 6.00pm.” H. Jones, QLD.

“Does anyone have this sort of trouble with their local commercial channel?  You’ll get used to watching your favourite show on a certain night, and then without warning it is presented on another night.  ABC has never failed to let us know when a new show is starting and what it replaces, and they never swap programs around.” P. Criddle, WA.

The following letters were part of a group received from a class of nine-to-ten year olds from Bass Hill public school in NSW, after they had completed a class on the mass media – particularly TV:

"Children’s TV isn’t very good.  I think Channels Ten, Nine and Seven should put on less advertisements.  If Channel Nine did, they would be the most watched channel in Sydney.”  J. Power.  (TV Times responds:  Nine would maintain it is the most-watched channel in Sydney, notwithstanding the ads.)

“I think you should take off Search For Tomorrow, Days Of Our Lives, Superman and The Young Doctors and put more shows on like Scooby Doo.”  J. Coleman

“In the holidays and on weekends, there are too many adult shows.  Most cartoons are put on in the morning when everyone sleeps in.  On Tuesdays, The Love Boat is on when children go to bed and we don’t get to watch it.” P. Barker

“The worst thing about TV is the advertisements.  For example, if you watch a show for an hour, nearly a quarter of it is advertisements.” L. Kayrooz

What’s On (July 28-August 3):
John Farnham, Julie McKenna and Jimmy Hannan present ABC’s Saturday SpecialThe Magic Of Col Porter.

Sunday Spectrum (ABC, Sunday afternoon) includes a special on Greek-born singer Demis Roussos in Australia.

This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at one of Australia’s most famous symbols, the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Host Peter Luck looks at the bridge’s origins, construction and controversial opening in 1932.

billstalker In Skyways (HSV7, Monday and Thursday), flight attendant Robyn’s (Judy Morris) attraction to her flatmate, Jacki (Deborah Coulls) leads to awkward results when she tries to seduce her.  Meanwhile, Peter Fanelli (Bill Stalker, pictured) becomes suspicious of a teenage girl in transit at Pacific International Airport.

One-Day Miller, the comedy spin-off from the Tickled Pink series, debuts on ABC on Friday night.  Starring Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Penne Hackforth-Jones, Lucky Grills and Willie Fennell.

Sunday night movies: Cat Ballou (HSV7), Five Days From Home (GTV9), The Offence (ATV0).

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