Thursday, 29 April 2010

1990: April 14-20

tvweek_140410 ‘I didn’t think I would ever get married’
Home And Away star Nicolle Dickson (pictured, with co-star Craig McLachlan) is soon to walk down the aisle to marry her fiance James Bell, but confesses that she had never considered the thought of ever being married:  “It’s nothing I ever really thought about before now.  I’m very excited.  I didn’t think I would ever get married.”  The couple met at a party and they announced their engagement at Dickson’s recent 21st birthday celebration.  But despite her profile on Home And Away, which is enjoying success in Australia and the UK, the wedding is planned to be a simple affair. “I didn’t want it to become a circus like some other people’s weddings.  It’s important for us and it’s your private life, so you don’t want it to get out.  But it does, because you’re on TV.” 

catherineoxenberg Catherine doubles up Down Under
Former Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg (pictured) has begun her second major project in Australia this year.  Having just completed production on the Seven Network telemovie Bony, Oxenberg has had a week at home in the US before returning to Australia to start on a new mini-series, Ring Of Scorpio, for the Nine Network.  The mini-series, also starring Rebecca Gibney, Caroline Goodall, Linda Cropper, Peter Kowitz and American actor Jack Scalia, is being filmed in Sydney, Spain and Morocco as it follows the story of three Australian women on holiday.  Ring Of Scorpio has already been sold to Paramount for international distribution and is expected to screen on Nine by the end of the year.

grahamkennedy_5 The fax about Graham!
Having announced that he would not be returning to host Coast To Coast this year, Graham Kennedy (pictured) stunned everyone when he subsequently announced he would be returning to TV to host a new weekly show, Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Video ShowTV Week recently interviewed Kennedy, by fax of course, on his surprise return to TV.  “I stated that I would not return to nightly television in 1990,” he told TV Week.  “I didn’t say that I would not return to weekly television this year… I believe the life of this kind of program is very limited.  Even if it was a ratings success I doubt if it would go into a second series… I haven’t discovered yet the size of the emolument that the network has in mind.  I suppose it will be Terry Willesee’s old salary multiplied by 100, or some token fee like that.”

Clive Robertson courts death, goes to Nine
Former Newsworld presenter Clive Robertson had virtually retired when he left the show last year – but after a cancer scare for himself and two of his friends, he decided that life is too short to fritter away in retirement and has returned to TV in a new late-night show, The World Tonight, which replaces the recently-axed Coast To Coast on Nine

Actress Tracy Mann has been reluctant to commit to an ongoing TV series – her last such role was 16 years ago in the soapie The Box – but when she saw the scripts for Seven’s new police drama, Skirts, she changed her mind:  “I’ll do things I think are quality and this is a great role.  I liked the scripts – it ain’t no Cop Shop, that is for sure.”  The new series, set around the welfare-based Community Policing Squad, debuts this week in a two-hour episode on Seven before settling into its regular timeslot of 7.30pm Sundays.

alyceplatt Sale Of The Century hostess Alyce Platt (pictured) is about to return to television drama with a new role in the Nine Network series Family And Friends.  It will be her first dramatic role since leaving Sons And Daughters in 1985, and is hoped to give Family And Friends a much-needed ratings boost.  Her role as social worker Stephanie Collins is not expected to interfere with her weekly taping schedule for Sale Of The Century.

Terry Willesee, co-host of the ill-fated Live At 5 and Eye On Australia, is set to leave the Nine Network to take up a new role as co-host of Network Ten’s Good Morning Australia, alongside Kerri-Anne Kennerley.  Current GMA co-host Mike Gibson is stepping down from the show to concentrate on his Sydney-based current affairs program, Sydney With Mike Gibson.

Jill Ray, former host of children’s program Wombat, and her husband Michael are expecting her first child in late May.  The recent TV Week Logie award winner feels that after ten years in children’s television, she feels adequately prepared for the challenges of parenthood:  “I’m not scared of having a child of my own.  It’s the idea of being responsible for a little person’s future that weighs heavily on me.”

rebeccagibney John Laws says…
”You could say a lot of things – glowing and critical – about the ABC’s recent two-part mini-series Come In Spinner.  At the very least you’d have to say it was a brave and mostly successful attempt at producing a quality piece of soap.  If nothing else, it confirmed that Rebecca Gibney (pictured) – when she is afforded the opportunity of a substantial role – is a fine actress.”

Program Highlights (April 14-20):
  Actress Rowena Wallace presents a one-hour special, Some Of My Children, telling of her moving experiences in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia and Cambodia.
Sunday:  Easter Sunday night movies are Lawrence Of Arabia (HSV7), The Last Wave (GTV9) and The Ten Commandments (ATV10) – the latter running from 7.30pm until almost midnight.
Monday:  Ray Warren, Stephen Phillips and Rob Gaylard host GTV9’s Wide World Of Sports coverage of the annual Stawell Gift foot race.
Tuesday:  In Beyond 2000 (HSV7), Andrew Carroll looks at Europe’s space shuttle escape capsule.  Simon Reeve discovers how a non-steroid muscle-building drug could be a major breakthrough in the treatment of MS.  Maxine Gray visits a musk deer farm to examine the latest efforts to save it from extinction.
Wednesday:  ABC presents Burrows, Ceberano And Morrison Plus Fireworks, a concert recorded on the bank of Adelaide’s Torrens River during the opening weekend of the Adelaide Festival.  HSV7 presents the two-hour series debut of its new police drama, Skirts, starring Tracy Mann (pictured), Nicholas Ball, Mary Coustas and Kate Gillick.
tracymannThursday:  ATV10
screens the one-hour special Phar Lap: The Verdict, presented by Ian Leslie.  The special focuses on the trial, commissioned in late 1989, dealing with the question of who killed champion racehorse Phar Lap.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.    
14 April 1990. Southdown Press.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

State Of Origin to kickstart 3D TV

3d_glasses The Nine Network has boasted that its upcoming telecasts of the Harvey Norman State Of Origin will be the world’s first live sporting event on free-to-air television to be broadcast in 3D.

It had previously been tipped that the FIFA World Cup would be the first free-to-air sporting event to employ 3D technology, but the State Of Origin starts on 26 May – two weeks before the World Cup kicks off in Africa.

At this stage the 3D telecasts will be restricted to Sydney viewers only, using broadcast spectrum temporarily allocated by the Government, but Nine is working with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and broadcasters to be able to extend the technology to other capital cities at least.

Samsung was first in the Australian market to sell 3D-compatible sets, currently retailing for around $2500.  The sets come with active shutter style 3D glasses which are being encouraged by the industry as the optimum standard for viewing 3D TV broadcasts.

seven_3dOf course, 3D is nothing entirely new – dating back to films back in the 1950s and ‘60s.  And some viewers may recall that this is not the first time that 3D technology has been trialled by television.  In the early 1980s it first became possible to transmit 3D images through television, with a US-based experiment in February 1982.  In October 1983, the Seven Network embarked on a two-hour experiment in 3D television broadcasting, featuring two vintage titles – The Three StoogesPardon My Backfire and the western Fort Ti – that  could be viewed in 3D by watching through the traditional-style 3D glasses.

Seven’s experiment came as there was a renewed interest in 3D films, with upcoming releases of Jaws III, Amityville Horror III and Space Hunter expected to be available in 3D.

There was also a much more recent venture into 3D television with a segment on Network Ten’s Talkin’ ‘bout Your Generation being broadcast in 3D earlier this year.

Foxtel is expected to offer 3D programming in 2011.

Source: TV Week 29 October 1983, Nine Network press release, CRN, The Australian

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

1990: April 7-13

tvweek_070490 ‘No candlelit dinners, please!’
While Georgie Parker’s character in A Country Practice, Lucy Gardiner, is at crossroads at her relationship with Matt Tyler (John Tarrant) with dreams of romantic dinners and phone calls, the actress has admitted that in real life she couldn’t be more opposite.  “I’m not romantic at all.  I’m not at all.  I am seeing someone at the moment and he would beg to differ, but I’m not romantic,” she told TV Week.  “I’m so practical that I tend to take the romance out of a situation straight away.” 

‘My countrymen would expect me to boycott this film…’
With a showbusiness background including modelling, hosting a children’s program (Off The Dish) and a game show (Perfect Match), Cameron Daddo is no stranger to criticism when he is appointed to dramatic roles.  “People scoffed and said it was crazy that I’d won roles as Huck Finn in Big River and Joe Jones in Heroes.  Now I’m up against again,” Daddo told TV Week, following him being cast as part-Aboriginal detective Bony in a telemovie being produced for the Seven Network.  The telemovie is a modern-day remake of the early-‘70s drama Boney, starring New Zealand actor James Laurenson in the lead role.  But despite criticisms that the role should be filled by an Aborigine, Daddo has found unlikely support from respected Aboriginal actor Burnum Burnum:  “My countrymen would expect me to  boycott this film because of Cameron in the lead role.  But I didn’t remotely consider this boycott because, first, I had nothing to do with the casting and, second, Cameron fits the role admirably.  The character is supposed to only have a small amount of Aboriginal blood.”

amandakeller Out of Africa!
Globe-trotting Beyond 2000 reporter Amanda Keller (pictured) has been in Africa to report on the plight of elephants being poached for the ivory trade.  In an interview with Dr Richard Leakey, director of wildlife protection in Kenya, he says they are now winning the battle with the poachers.  “He believes we should protect the elephant, but he also says, by doing so, we could create problems of over-population,” Keller told TV Week.  “His solution is birth control, but I don’t know if I’d be game to give an elephant a vasectomy!” 

gilliangayleblakeney Neighbours’ twin co-stars Gayle and Gillian Blakeney (pictured) are making plans to produce a documentary on twins.  The pair have visited Melbourne’s Latrobe University, the second largest twin study centre in the world, and had gathered research material and case studies when working on children’s program Wombat.

Now back in Los Angeles after her guest appearance at the TV Week Logie Awards, actress Sigrid Thornton has made a surprising revelation about her desire for future roles.  After starring in period pieces such as The Man From Snowy River, All The Rivers Run and Far Country, Thornton would like her next role to be that of an axe murderer.  “I’m quite serious – an axe murderer sounds great.  I’d like to play an unexpected sort of character, something that is not a traditional heroine.”

adrianaxenides Wheel Of Fortune’s long-serving hostess Adriana Xenides (pictured) has unveiled a new look after losing her long blonde tresses.  “I had been thinking for some time about having my hair cut.  My hair just wouldn’t go right for a modelling job I was doing, so I rang up my hairdresser, Robert Briscoe, and said, ‘Right, tomorrow, I want it all cut off.’”  But with Wheel Of Fortune taped so far in advance, viewers will still have to wait another month to see the new-look Xenides on screen.

wendyharmer John Laws says…
Wendy Harmer (pictured) launched her new show, In Harmer’s Way (ABC), the other week, but it’s a pity the humour didn’t live up to the slickness of the title.  Her first guest was playwright David Williamson.  Nothing very exclusive about that; he’d been on the Steve Vizard show (Tonight Live) a few days earlier.  One fact that did emerge from Harmer’s “interview” with Williamson was that she finds it difficult to conduct a bright, snappy interview.  Only Williamson’s good grace and humour made it the tiniest bit watchable.”

Program Highlights (April 7-13):
  Sunday night movies are The Last Tycoon (GTV9) and Educating Rita (ATV10).  HSV7 presents Part One of the re-run of mini-series The Long Hot SummerABC presents The Riddle Of The Dead Sea Scrolls, a documentary on the controversial work of Australian Biblical scholar, Dr Barbara Thiering.
Wednesday:  ABC’s science program, Quantum, returns for a new series, followed by a concert performance from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and James Galway, simulcast with ABCFMGTV9 screens an Australian-made film, Mortgage, starring Doris Younane and Brian Vriends, tracing the story of a couple who find themselves in a nightmare of deceit, incompetence and rising interest rates.
Friday:  Good Friday is dominated by the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal on HSV7 – starting at 9.00am and continuing through to midnight, breaking only for news, Home And Away and Hinch.  The telethon includes guest appearances by cast members of Seven Network programs A Country Practice, Home And Away, Hey Dad!, Acropolis Now, Fast Forward and Skirts.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.    
7 April 1990. Southdown Press.

Monday, 26 April 2010

1990: March 31-April 6

tvweek_310390 Tammy’s springing into movies!
Tammy McIntosh
’s career is set to leap even further than she had imagined.  The former Perth girl (pictured, with Andrew McFarlane) went from children’s program C’mon Kids to prime-time drama as nurse Annie Rogers in The Flying Doctors – and has drawn praise from Nine drama chief Alan Bateman:  “I really think this is the best Flying Doctors series ever and I’m particularly excited about Tammy.  She brings a real sparkle and energy to the show.”  Now it seems there could be a future for the 19-year-old on the big screen, with plans to head to Sydney to discuss a film role before returning to Melbourne for production of the next series of The Flying Doctors

carolwillesee Will Carol come back?
The Seven Network is in negotiation with Carol Willesee, estranged wife of current affairs identity Mike Willesee, over reinstating her for the leading role of Pippa Fletcher in Home And Away.  Willesee was originally appointed for the role when the pilot was being produced in 1987 but quit the show after two days’ filming.  Willesee cited the long hours and disruption to her family commitments as reasons for leaving and she parted company with Seven amicably.  Vanessa Downing, who ended up being cast as Pippa, is now set to leave the show when her contract expires later in the year, leading to the negotiations between Seven and Willesee.  But a Seven spokesperson said that “nothing has been resolved.”  Willesee recently completed a guest role in Nine’s Family And Friends (pictured).

patmcdonald_2 Farewell to a golden girl
Pat McDonald
, the much-loved actress through her long-serving roles in Number 96 and Sons And Daughters, has died from cancer.  The multi-Logie award winner first became ill only six months ago when she collapsed just minutes before stepping on to the stage for the Sydney production of Alex Buzo’s play, Shellcove Road.  Ten days before her death in hospital, McDonald asked that she be carried to her resting place in a pink hearse.  Close friend Stuart Wagstaff, speaking at McDonald’s farewell at St Stephen’s church in Sydney, conceded “we could not find one – it seems there is not much call for a pink hearse in Sydney – so we had to settle for white.”  The funeral was attended by many of her former Number 96 and Sons And Daughters colleagues – including Ron Shand, Johnny Lockwood, Elisabeth Kirkby, Jeff Kevin, Thelma Scott, James Elliott, Joanna Lockwood, Leila Hayes, Brian Blain, Tom Richards and Danny Roberts.  A one-time TV Week Gold Logie winner (in 1974), one of McDonald’s last TV appearances was in the opening number of the 1989 TV Week Logie Awards, appearing alongside other female Gold Logie winners Lorrae Desmond, Hazel Phillips, Rowena Wallace and Denise Drysdale.

Former Sons And Daughters star Brian Blain is on the comeback trail after a horrific motorcycle accident which nearly killed him.  Suffering five broken ribs and a broken collarbone, Blain says that if it wasn’t for his crash helmet he would have broken his neck too.  The 53-year-old actor is making a return to television in a guest role on A Country Practice, working alongside old friend Shane Porteous with who he started his acting career with in Brisbane.

johnorcsik_2 Showbiz couple John Orcsik and Paula Duncan moved to Sydney two years ago to avoid work-related separations – but now the pair each find themselves in demand in separate cities.  Orcsik (pictured) has been performing in Melbourne in David Williamson’s play Siren, and is set to follow the show on a national tour, while Duncan has been appearing in Sydney-based soap Home And Away, with producers pushing for a long-term commitment.

Neighbours producers have decided to write out the popular character of Sharon Davies, played by 19-year-old Jessica Muschamp who says the decision may have been a “blessing in disguise.”  Muschamp told TV Week, “As good as it had been, they probably felt that Sharon didn’t have as much of a family base as some of the other characters.”  She will finish with Neighbours in five weeks and is already committed to English pantomime performances over Christmas and is considering mini-series and theatre roles in Australia.

familyandfriendsJohn Laws says…
”Why did Nine’s Family And Friends (pictured) struggle so desperately in the ratings in prime time?  It’s something of a mystery, because the show is no worse than any other of the other top-rating soaps screening at the moment.  Yet viewers rejected it and Nine has banished it to 5.30pm.  Why should this be?”

Program Highlights (March 31-April 6):
Saturday:  HSV7
crosses to Carrara, Brisbane, for Saturday night AFL – Brisbane Bears versus Richmond – with commentators Sandy Roberts, Peter McKenna, Don Scott and boundary reports from Bill McDonald.
Sunday:  The afternoon is dominated by sport – NBL (HSV7), AFL (HSV7), Figure Skating (GTV9), Davis Cup Tennis (on SBS, taking the Seven Network coverage due to that network’s AFL commitments) and Rugby League (ATV10).  Sunday night movies are Firewalker (HSV7), The Razor’s Edge (GTV9) and Off Limits (ATV10).
Tuesday:  In ABC’s drama GP, Steve (Michael O’Neill) is devastated when he discovers that a close friend has AIDS.  He has to reconcile himself to his friend’s homosexuality and help him to cope with the trauma.
Wednesday:  ATV10 presents a re-run of mini-series My Brother Tom, starring Gordon Jackson, Keith Michell, Christopher Cummins and Tom Jennings.
Thursday:  In Home And Away (HSV7), how much longer can Sophie (Rebekah Elmaloglou) put off revealing her lack of literacy skills? 
Friday:  HSV7 presents Friday night AFL coverage of Richmond versus North Melbourne from the MCG.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.    
31 March 1990. Southdown Press.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Mark Holden on Talking Heads

markholden_1977 Mark Holden bailed out of his university studies in the 1970s to become a pop star and soapie star – collecting three TV Week Logie awards on the way, including Best New Talent in 1977.  Then he was a 1980s songwriter and record producer – with a brief TV hosting gig on the ill-fated The Love Game (an attempt to rip-off the success of Perfect Match) – before being reinvented as a judge on Network Ten’s Australian Idol and The X Factor and occasional radio presenter.

Since being told his services were no longer required on Australian Idol, Mark Holden has reinvented himself again – this time as a barrister 38 years after starting his law degree – and is an upcoming guest on ABC’s weekly interview program, Talking Heads with Peter Thompson.

Talking Heads with guest Mark Holden.  Monday 3 May, 6.30pm.  ABC1 (and later available on ABC iView)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Brian Naylor to enter Logies’ Hall of Fame

briannaylor_2 Former Melbourne television personality Brian Naylor is to be posthumously inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame at next month’s awards presentation.

TV Tonight reports that TV Week is set to announce Naylor’s award tomorrow.

This is the fourth time that a Hall of Fame Logie has been awarded posthumously – photographer Neil Davis (1986), actor and performer Maurie Fields (1996) and Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin (2007) also received posthumous recognition with entry into the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame.

Naylor, a former radio presenter on 3AK and 3DB, made the transition to television in the late 1950s as host of children’s variety program Swallow’s Juniors (later re-named Brian And The Juniors), which had made the move from 3DB to HSV7.

briannaylor_7 He later moved into the newsroom at HSV7, hosting the current affairs program This Week and reading news bulletins before being appointed to the role of chief newsreader for the Melbourne edition of Seven National News in 1970.  Naylor’s popularity with audiences in Melbourne and across regional Victoria led to him being signed up by rival GTV9 in 1978.  Nine had endured several years of poor ratings for its evening news and even bringing veteran newsreader Eric Pearce out of retirement had failed to lift its fortunes – but signing up Naylor was a major coup and the audience followed Naylor across to Nine.  National Nine News would continue to dominate the ratings during Naylor’s 20-years as newsreader, fending off fierce rival Ten’s one-hour news and a resurgent Seven in the late 1980s and early ‘90s.

Naylor also gained a national profile as presenter of the annual Carols By Candlelight for ten years, before the role was taken over by Ray Martin, and produced and hosted documentaries for the Nine Network.

In February last year Naylor and his wife Moiree were among the 173 killed by the Black Saturday bushfires.

logie_1980s Last month, the short-list of nominations for the Logies’ Hall of Fame was leaked to the media for the first time in the awards’ 27-year history.  Among others on the short list were Naylor’s long-time Sydney counterpart Brian Henderson, two-time TV Week Gold Logie winner Maggie Tabberer, Dateline host George Negus, SBS sporting commentator Les Murray, sports presenter Ken Sutcliffe, former newsreader Ian Ross, Home And Away stalwart Ray Meagher and former Network Ten drama Prisoner.

The TV Week Logie Awards will be held at Melbourne’s Crown Casino on Sunday 2 May and telecast on the Nine Network.

Source: TV Tonight

Saturday, 17 April 2010

NITV gets funding lifeline… for now

nitvIndigenous broadcaster NITV recently issued a plea for support to gain a commitment for Government funding after the current funding period which is due to expire on 30 June 2010.

The Federal Government has now committed $15 million in funding to keep NITV broadcasting for the next 12 months.

NITV chairperson Ms Terri Janke has said in a statement:

“I thank Minister Garrett and the Rudd Government for their commitment to NITV and the Indigenous production sector. We now have the certainty for the immediate future to commit to staff, the Indigenous production sector, commercial partners, and most importantly our audience.  Demonstrated by the deluge of letters and messages of support we have received from right across the country, it’s clear NITV is the trusted voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and a critical cultural reference point for all Australians.”

However Arts Minister Peter Garrett has explained that a review of the Government’s funding of indigenous broadcasting activities, including NITV and other broadcasters such as Imparja Television and community radio, will be carried out.  Input will be sought from the indigenous community and broadcasters such as NITV as part of the review.  The review will explore options for the future funding and carriage of indigenous media to the wider audience and may include involvement with the recently-announced VAST operation.

NITV is currently broadcast on free-to-air television in Alice Springs, Mount Isa, Broome and approximately 150 remote area sites.  It currently has no free-to-air carriage in any capital city apart from a trial broadcast on Sydney’s Digital Forty Four which is soon to be discontinued.  NITV is also available on pay-TV operators across Australia.

Source: NITV, Media Release from Ministers Peter Garrett, Jenny Macklin, Stephen Conroy.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

1990: March 24-30

tvweek_240390 Kate bows out on a high
A fear of heights and a brewing thunderstorm ensured that Kate Raison’s final scenes in A Country Practice would be her most terrifying.  The wedding between Raison’s character, Cathy Hayden, and new love John Freeman (William McInnes) was filmed on a clifftop with a wild storm headed its way.  Producers almost had to abandon the wedding scenes as the storm hampered progress with filming.  “It certainly wasn’t a glamorous ending for my days on A Country Practice,” Raison (pictured, with co-star Georgie Parker)told TV Week.

Annie’s left holding the baby!
TV Week
has a sneak peek at the upcoming Seven Network mini-series Jackaroo, starring former Neighbours star Annie Jones.  Jones plays Clare Mallory, a spoilt, rich, city kid who falls for Jack Simmonds (David McCubbin), the overseer of her family’s property, and the couple have a child.  The romance is a controversial one, as Simmonds’ indigenous heritage puts him at odds with Clare’s conservative parents who are against their daughter having a mixed-race marriage.  Simmonds is thrown off the family property and Clare, with baby in tow, is sent away.  Simmonds then embarks on a dramatic search for his lover and child.  Jackaroo is set to air on the Seven Network later in the year.

rebeccagibney It’s a Forties triple treat!
Rebecca Gibney, Kerry Armstrong
and Lisa Harrow head the cast of ABC’s new mini-series, Come In Spinner, set in Sydney in 1944 and following the lives and loves of three women who work in a beauty salon.  Also starring in the series are Justine Clarke, Zoe Bertram, Gary Sweet, Rebecca Smart and Bryan Marshall.  In auditioning for the role of Guinea Malone, Gibney (pictured) was so determined to get the part that she borrowed one of Grace Sullivan’s old dresses from the Crawford Productions wardrobe and also enlisted the help of the make-up artist from her former series, The Flying Doctors, to give her a genuine 1940s look.  “I’d have loved to have really lived in that time.  The Forties were my favourite era, and I love the movies from those days.  They had real stars back then,” Gibney told TV Week.

There’s romance on the set of Neighbours with Stefan Dennis said to be an “item” with co-star Gayle Blakeney, who joined the series last year with twin sister Gillian.  The off-screen romance comes as an upcoming storyline in the series will have Paul Robinson (Dennis) moving in to share a house with the twins and the three falling into a complex romantic triangle. 

kylieminogue_1990 Pop princess and former Neighbours star Kylie Minogue (pictured) is believed to have bought a million dollar property in a leafy, east Melbourne suburb, sparking off a lot of gossip and speculation by her future real-life neighbours.  Locals have spotted the pop star checking on progress on renovations to the older-style house.  It is not known if Minogue will move into the house with her boyfriend, rock star Michael Hutchence.

Network Ten is funding the development of a new series which it hopes will rival the success of the hit US series The Golden Girls.  The series, based on the stage comedy Lipstick Dreams which has recently played in NSW and Victoria, is set to include Lorraine Bayly (The Sullivans, Carson’s Law) and Felicity Soper (Richmond Hill).  The pilot episode for the series will be filmed in the coming months.

johnlaws John Laws says…
”Just when Kerry O’Brien’s Lateline program has begun to find its feet comes the news that it has aroused a wave of resentment among some ABC staffers.  At the core of the problem are the allegedly excessive costs of mounting the Lateline program.  The joke around the ABC canteens is that program should be called ‘Wasteline’.  I’m surprised that Lateline, which has a basically simple format, should cost a lot of money.  After all, only one subject is tackled on each program three nights a week, 90 minutes in all, and most of it committed to interviewing one or two people in the studio.  How can this cost a lot of money?”

comeinspinner Program Highlights (March 24-30):
Saturday:  ABC, HSV7
and GTV9 all devote most of Saturday evening to coverage of the Federal Election from the National Tally Room in Canberra.  Andrew Olle heads ABC’s coverage, with Dennis Grant and Derryn Hinch on Seven, and Jim Waley and Ray Martin on Nine.  ATV10’s election coverage is limited to fifteen minutes after Bill Collins’ Golden Years Of Hollywood movie, and SBS presents brief updates in between regular programs throughout the evening.
Sunday:  GTV9’s Sunday current affairs program presents a special post-Election edition.  Sunday night movies are Deadly Pursuit (HSV7), Suspect (GTV9) and Best-Seller (ATV10).  ABC, in a rare move, screens a Sunday night movie, a Swedish-language (with English subtitles) drama, My Life As A Dog.
Monday:  With the Federal Election now over, Andrew Denton presents the final edition of The Party Machine.
Tuesday:  GTV9 presents a delayed telecast of The 62nd Academy Awards.  Nominated for Best Picture are Born On The Fourth Of July, Dead Poet’s Society, Driving Miss Daisy, Field Of Dreams and My Left Foot.
Wednesday:  Daryl Somers hosts the return of talent quest series New Faces on GTV9ABC presents the first episode of World War II mini-series Come In Spinner (pictured).
Thursday:  ATV10 presents a one-hour documentary, Teenage Sexuality: The Best Years Of Our Lives, hosted by Brad Robinson.  Teenagers openly discuss their first sexual experiences and attitudes to contraception and promiscuity.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.   
24 March 1990. Southdown Press.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

New deal for remote digital TV

tv_antenna Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy has announced a landmark deal that will see digital TV made available to viewers in remote and regional parts of Australia not accessible by terrestrial digital television.

A joint venture company, Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST), has been formed between Macquarie Southern Cross Media and Imparja Television to provide digital TV, in standard and high definition, via satellite to eligible viewers in the central and eastern states.  Macquarie Southern Cross currently provides a Seven-affiliated television service to central and outback Australia, and Imparja provides a Nine Network affiliate to the same area.

VAST will provide access to programming from Seven, Nine and Ten networks as well as ABC and SBS.  This will include access to new channels ABC2, ABC3, SBS2, 7TWO, GO! and ONE and a dedicated local news channel as well as ABC’s upcoming 24-hour news channel.  Viewers in Queensland and Northern Territory will be able to view standard-definition channels via VAST in Brisbane time, while viewers in South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Tasmania will receive standard-definition channels in Sydney time.  High-definition channels will be available across the entire coverage footprint in a single time zone.

Viewers in the Mildura/Sunraysia region that may lose access to television signals with the shutdown of local analogue television services on 30 June 2010, and not able to receive the equivalent local digital signals, will now be able to access the VAST service.  VAST will also be available to eligible households in regional and capital city markets that are not able to receive terrestrial digital television.

Eligible households wishing to access VAST will receive a $400 subsidy from the Government.  To access the VAST service, viewers will need to purchase a new satellite set top box with an access ‘smart card’, a satellite dish and cabling.  Viewers currently accessing satellite free-to-air TV via Optus Aurora will be able to change over to the VAST service with the purchase of a new set top box.

The Government is currently in negotiation with the licencees of television stations in regional Western Australia – Prime and WIN – with a view to providing the same access to digital TV via satellite in WA.

Source: DBCDE

Logies to consider commercial category

logie_1980s Advertising and media industry publication B&T has reported that next year’s TV Week Logie Awards could include a category for viewers to vote for their favourite commercial.

Rob Belgiovane, executive creative director at ad agency BWM and a regular contributor on advertising matters on Nine’s Today, has raised the idea of a Logie for commercials to David Gyngell, CEO of the Nine Network which is the broadcast partner of the Logies: 

“He thinks it’s a great idea.  I’ve had a call about it from someone else in the industry as well.”

“The ad industry is at risk of disappearing up its own arse by having a bunch of people from St Kilda Road or Bondi deciding which ads are the best or not.  There is room for an industry vote and a vote by the general public. Aside from surveys carried out by newspapers or current affairs shows, there is no mass forum for people to have their say on television advertising.”

The business of advertising has had the TV spotlight on it in recent times.  ABC has produced two series of The Gruen Transfer, which analyses some of the methods and styles used in advertising and has scored a Gold Logie nomination for host Wil Anderson.  And Andrew Denton’s company, Zapruder’s Other Films, has produced a comedy series for Foxtel, :30 Seconds, based around an advertising agency.

It won’t be the first time that commercials have been eligible to win Logie awards.  During the 1960s and ‘70s the TV Week Logie Awards had a category for best commercial.  These were often won by either cigarette companies or by Coca Cola, both of which obviously had the budgets to spend on lavish commercials.  (Cigarette advertising was allowed on Australian television up until September 1976)

The last commercial to be awarded a TV Week Logie was for Export Cola in 1978.

Perhaps this was the ad in question?  In which case, no surprises why it got an award…

Source: Australian Television Information Archive, B&T, Tobacco In Australia
YouTube: jmoul59

Monday, 12 April 2010

1990: March 17-23

tvweek_170390 Gold, silver… and a touch of brass!
The 32nd annual TV Week Logie Awards, held at Melbourne’s Hyatt On Collins, honoured the most popular and outstanding achievements of Australian TV in 1989.  Hosted by Mark Mitchell, the presentation was attended by overseas guests John Travolta, Ernest Borgnine, Pauline Collins and John Alderton, with Australian actress Sigrid Thornton, currently based on the US, also a special guest.  Also present on the night was the ever-glamorous Dame Edna Everage and a special appearance by jazz musician James Morrison.  The official proceedings of the night culminated with Travolta handing out the TV Week Gold Logie to former Neighbours star Craig McLachlan as Most Popular Personality on Australian TV.  McLachlan, now starring in rival soap Home And Away, also took away a Silver Logie for Most Popular Actor, and his partner Rachel Friend won the Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress.

craigmclachlan_darylsomers TV Week Logie Winners 1990: Publicly-voted categories
Gold Logie – Most Popular Personality On Australian TV: Craig McLachlan
Silver Logie – Most Popular Actor On Australian TV: Craig McLachlan
Silver Logie – Most Popular Actress On Australian TV: Rachel Friend
Most Popular Series: Neighbours
Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Program: The Comedy Company
Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Personality: Daryl Somers
Most Popular Sports Coverage: Cricket (Nine Network)
Most Popular Telemovie/Mini-Series: Bangkok Hilton
Most Popular Actor In A Telemovie/Mini-Series: Jason Donovan
Most Popular Actress In A Telemovie/Mini-Series: Nicole Kidman
Most Popular Lifestyle Information Program: Burke’s Backyard
Most Popular Music Video: Never Too Late (Kylie Minogue)
Most Popular Children’s Program: Wombat
Most Popular New Talent: Georgie Parker
Most Popular Public Affairs Program: A Current Affair

johnnyyoung TV Week Logie Winners 1990: Industry-voted categories
Gold Logie – Hall of Fame: Johnny Young
Most Outstanding Actor: Shane Porteous
Most Outstanding Actress: Nicole Kidman
Most Outstanding Achievement In Public Affairs: True Believers (4 Corners)
Most Outstanding Achievement In News: Romanian Revolution (Nine Network)
Most Outstanding Single Documentary Or Series: Ladies In Lines (ABC)
Most Outstanding Achievement By Regional Television: My Place, My Land, My People (QTV, Townsville, QLD)

TV Week Logie Winners 1990: State-based categories (Most Popular Personality, Most Popular Program)
New South Wales: Ray Martin, Home And Away
Victoria: Daryl Somers, Neighbours
Queensland: Jill Ray, Wombat
South Australia: Anne Wills, Wheel Of Fortune
Western Australia: Rick Ardon, Seven Nightly News
Tasmania: Bert Taylor, Taylor’s Australia

There’s wedding bells for several of the team from Seven’s Acropolis Now – with producer Pino Amenta now engaged to make-up artist Amanda Rowbottom, Simon Palomares engaged to co-star Tracey Callander, and George Kapiniaris engaged to make-up artist Peta Hastings.  Pictured on stage at the recent TV Week Logie Awards are Nick Giannopoulos, Simon Palomares and George Kapiniaris.

Swimming champion Lisa Curry has become the first Australian woman to host a sports show, joining Mark Warren on the Nine Network’s Sports Sunday.

Dozens of celebrities from around Australia, including showbusiness names and sports stars, have gathered at the South Melbourne Cricket Ground for the annual Variety Club Celebrity Thrill, including Aussie rules handball contests, basketball, golf putting, croquet and a tug of war.  The event, now in its sixth year, was attended by thousands of fans with proceeds going to the Variety Club program for underprivileged children.

johnlaws John Laws says…
”Comedienne Gretel Killeen showed a measure of courage unusual in the TV industry when she decided to leave Nine’s Coast To Coast after only two weeks as a co-presenter.  Or was it that she saw, with alarming clarity, the writing on the wall and decided to quit before she copped at least some of the blame for a TV Titanic?  The ratings and the press criticisms should force Nine to the realisation that Coast To Coast was no more than a clever comedy vehicle for Graham Kennedy, and that without him the program is extremely vulnerable, particularly in the face of Steve Vizard’s rapidly-improving Tonight Live on Seven.  What Coast To Coast needs, perhaps, is someone like Kerri-Anne Kennerley, a TV trouper who knows how to smile, how to laugh, and how to crack a funny ad-lib gag.”

Program Highlights (March 17-23):
Saturday:  ABC
presents live coverage of Day 3 of the Trans-Tasman Test, Australia versus New Zealand, from Wellington, New Zealand.  In the evening, HSV7 presents live coverage of the Fosters Cup Grand Final.
johnwaters Sunday:  ABC has live coverage of Day 4 of the Trans-Tasman Test, live from New Zealand, while GTV9 crosses live to Adelaide for the FAI Cup, South Australia versus New South Wales.  Sunday night movies are Lethal Weapon (GTV9) and Mask (ATV10).  HSV7 presents Part One of the mini-series All The Rivers Run II, starring John Waters (pictured), Nikki Coghill, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Peta Toppano and American actor Parker Stevenson.
Monday:  HSV7
presents the second and final part of All The Rivers Run II, while ABC presents the debut of Wendy Harmer’s new talk show, In Harmer’s Way.
Wednesday:  ABC presents the controversial telemovie, Police Crop, recreating the events that led to the assassination of Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester.
Friday:  Dorothy’s (Maggie Dence) arrival in Neighbours causes problems for Joe (Mark Little), while Jim (Alan Dale) tries to come to terms with the return of Beverley’s (Shauna O’Grady) old flame.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  
17 March 1990. Southdown Press.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

WTV launches in Perth

WTV_logo Yesterday saw the launch of Perth’s new community television station, WTV.

The new channel launched at 10.00am (WST) after ten days of test transmissions.

WTV, broadcasting solely on the digital platform, is replacing the former Access 31 which closed transmission in 2008 after financial assistance for the station was withdrawn.

WTV can be found in Perth by tuning to digital channel 44 or manual tuning to UHF 32.  They are also online and on Facebook.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

TelevisionAU Update 10-Apr-10


Production of the mini-series A Town Like Alice, based on Nevil Shute's novel of the same name, was first planned in 1979 for the Seven Network on the back of the success of their earlier historical epic, Against The WindA Town Like Alice was a hit when it aired in mid-1981 and the following year the mini-series took a total of five TV Week Logie awards, including best mini-series and best actor and actress awards for the leading stars, Bryan Brown and Helen Morse (pictured).
Picture: TV Week, 25 July 1981

tvweek_010380 NEW HEADLINES FROM THEN #8
TV Week, 1 March 1980: Graham Kennedy (pictured) to return to TV? International stars for the TV Week Logie AwardsPrisoner star gets US TV offer.  Ten’s Bill Collins fights spinal disorder.

The White Room (Seven, 2010)

1977 (Hotel Story)
1980 (The Franky Doyle Story)
1982 (TV Week Logie Awards)
1985 (ABC National, News Overnight, The Cowra Breakout)
1988 (Opening Ceremony, The Games Of The XXIV Olympiad)

1967 (Brisbane council elections, NSW Referendum, Victorian State Election)

1987 (Last day of broadcast for ADS7/SAS10, and first day of broadcast for ADS10/SAS7)



Monday, 5 April 2010

TEN… and TV Spells Magic


Today marks the 45th anniversary of the launch of Sydney’s third commercial station, TEN10.

The new channel, operated by United Telecasters Sydney Limited (UTSL), was the second channel to launch in what was originally known as the Independent Television System (ITS) – a network comprised of ATV0 Melbourne, TEN10 Sydney and upcoming channels TVQ0 Brisbane and SAS10 Adelaide.

ITS later became the 0-10 Network and is now Network Ten.

The new TEN10 was based at newly-constructed studios in the suburb of North Ryde. And being a new channel, eight years after its rivals had launched, TEN10 was able to be built with modern equipment that would allow a greater amount of flexibility and automation in comparison to its older rivals. From opening night, TEN10’s entire on-air presentation, co-ordinating programs, commercials and other on-air content, could be driven by a single operator with the assistance of modern automation equipment – while older TV stations would have up to five presentation co-ordinators at any time.

TEN10_1969 But the launch of TEN was not without its drawbacks. The new channel had been forced to postpone its official launch three times – largely due to delays associated with the construction of the channel’s transmission mast in Artarmon. The location of the transmitter was to be in a residential area, causing restrictions in the movement of large-scale equipment and materials. Construction was also affected by a transport strike, hindering the delivery of steel for the project, and a bout of bad weather.

When opening day finally did occur - 5 April 1965 - the automated Master Control was switched on by the press of a button marked “ST” at 3.30pm, putting the first programs into motion. Later that night, TEN10 viewers were treated to a lavishly-produced 75-minute musical extravaganza – TV Spells Magic. The £25,000 production, the most expensive ever in Australia at the time, featured a cast of around 250 and very few spoken words – the program was made up almost entirely of music, song and dance pieces to tell the story of the construction of a television station.

TEN_tvspellsmagic Some of the famous faces included in the cast of TV Spells Magic were Chips Rafferty, Evie Hayes, Tikki Taylor, Chuck Faulkner, Queenie Ashton, Gwen Plumb, Ruth Cracknell, Judi Farr, Wendy Blacklock, Alistair Duncan, Keith Petersen, Nigel Lovell, Margo Lee and Neva Carr Glyn. Though probably the most memorable of the show’s cast was model Diane Granquist (pictured) wearing a revealing toga as she unveils the TEN logo.

So impressed with the production of TV Spells Magic that TEN10 executives entered the program for the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreaux award – the world’s premier light entertainment TV award.

TEN10_launchThe launch of TEN10 promised a raft of new Australian programs for Sydney viewers – ranging from children’s programs Space Station 10 and Walk A Young World to a nightly news and current affairs program, Telescope, hosted by Bill Peach. TEN10 also boasted the return of local personality Ray Taylor to Sydney screens, following his move to Melbourne to host a weekly show for sister station ATV0 in 1964, and TEN10 would now relay The Ray Taylor Show to Sydney audiences.

TEN10 also promised new overseas shows including Bewitched, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Flintstones, Gilligan’s Island, The Dinah Shore Show, The Black And White Minstrel Show and Petticoat Junction. The new channel had also scored some familiar programs from rival channels, including Sergeant Bilko, Bonanza, The Farmer’s Daughter and Hazel.

During TEN10’s first week on air, normal programming started each afternoon at 3.30pm with documentaries and magazine segments, followed by children’s programs and serials and then cartoons, such as The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, Hector Heathcote and Astroboy, at 6.00pm. TEN offered no formal news bulletin in the evenings, instead reserving its news coverage to a brief news update leading into the late-night Telescope program. Programming would finish up each night between 11.00pm and 11.30pm.

TEN10 sold off the North Ryde studios when the Ten Network hit financial troubles in the late 1980s. The station is now based at premises in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont.

Some YouTube snippets of TEN10 over the years:

TEN station ID, 1979:

Eyewitness News and TEN station ID (including promo for The Restless Years) 1981

TEN 21st birthday station ID, 1986

TEN network ID, 1988

That’s Sydney, 1994

Source: TV Week, 3 April 1965. TV Times, 31 March 1965.
YouTube: Aussiebeachut1, shizermagizer, austvarchive, PsycadelicShack, FrozenDoberman

Ten to launch new entertainment channel

ten_shows The Australian reports today that the Ten Network has given a broad outline of its plans to launch an additional digital channel in the second half of this year.

Ten programming chief David Mott has told The Australian that the new channel will be focused on general entertainment but won’t rely on repeating content that has already been shown on the main Ten channel or become a dumping ground for programming that failed to work on Ten:

“It’s got to be original. It will have equal weighting with Ten. In the digital environment, why wouldn't you?"

The new channel is expected to be branded independently of Ten in the same fashion that Ten’s sports channel is branded One HD and bears little resemblance to Ten on-screen.

Ten’s launch of an entertainment channel is possibly a ‘catch up’ to rivals Nine and Seven that both launched entertainment-themed channels last year – GO! and 7TWO respectively – which both appear to have taken some audience share away from Ten.

And it’s not only Ten that is preparing to wheel out a new digital channel. Both Nine and Seven are said to be launching an extra channel each before the year is out – but neither have revealed what their new channels will entail.

Plus there’s ABC’s upcoming 24-hour news channel to launch this year.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

ABC turns 50 in Adelaide, Perth and Hobart

ABS2_1963Last month Adelaide’s ABS2 celebrated its 50th anniversary.  The station, the fourth to launch for the national broadcaster and the third TV station in Adelaide, began on 11 March 1960 from studios in the suburb of Collinswood.  The launch of the station was timed to coincide with the Adelaide Festival of Arts and on its second day of transmission ABS2 crossed to a live outside broadcast of the opening day of the Festival.

ABS2 was the first of three ABC stations to open during 1960.  In May of that year, ABC launched in Perth (ABW2) and Hobart (ABT2) followed in June – completing the broadcaster’s expansion into each state capital city, though it would be a few more years before ABC would open in the other two capitals, Canberra (ABC3, in 1962) and Darwin (ABD6, in 1971).

ABC Adelaide’s local website has featured a video to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ABS2:

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of ABW2 in Perth, a staff reunion is being held at ABC’s East Perth studios on the afternoon of 16 May.  (Details can be found at WA TV History)

Reference: 50 Years: Aunty’s Jubilee – Celebrating 50 Years of ABC TV.  Tim Bowden and Wendy Borchers.  ABC Books, 2006.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Barry Humphries’ Flashbacks on 7TWO

ednaeverage The Seven Network’s digital channel 7TWO has scheduled in a re-run of an excellent ABC documentary series of the late ‘90s.

Barry Humphries’ Flashbacks, originally screened on ABC in 1999 in the months leading up to Y2K, documents the various trends of Australian society and popular culture from the post-war ‘50s to the excessive ‘80s.

The four-part series, making excellent use of archival footage, also serves as a chronology of Humphries’ own contributions to popular culture, tracing the evolution of his 1950s creation, Mrs Edna Everage, (pictured) to the glamorous Dame Edna of the ‘80s, plus there’s also references to The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie and other Humphries creations including Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone.  The latter two also joining Dame Edna and Humphries himself in presenting their own commentaries on the periods depicted in the series.

Barry Humphries’ Flashbacks is not the first ABC program to get an airing on 7TWO.  Popular comedy Mother And Son was recently repeated in a weeknight timeslot on the digital channel.

Barry Humphries’ Flashbacks.  Starts Thursday 8 April, 7.30pm.  7TWO

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Good Friday Appeal on again

goodfriday_1977 Good Friday in Victoria means another Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, raising funds for what is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals – caring for over 280,000 children each year from around Australia and overseas.

This year marks the 80th year for the appeal which was started as a sporting carnival, organised by journalists of the Herald and Weekly Times (HWT), in 1931.  During World War II, HWT’s radio station 3DB launched an all-day broadcast for the Appeal.

The advent of television in 1956 saw HWT’s new television station, HSV7, first involved with the Appeal.  HSV7’s first effort for the Good Friday Appeal in 1957 was a three-hour afternoon telecast.

In 1960, HSV7 presented its first all-day telethon on Good Friday – starting at 7.00am and continuing through to 6.15pm, before resuming for an hour at 8.00pm and then again at 10.30pm through to the announcement of the final total at midnight.  This is in contrast to HSV7’s usual weekday transmission which at that time didn’t start until mid-afternoon and would wind up before midnight.

goodfridayappeal The 1960 appeal raised a total of £231,750, far exceeding the previous year’s total of £174,129. 

In 1977 the appeal passed the $1 million milestone for the first time – raising a total of $1,489,866.84 – and the $2 million milestone only four years later.

This year’s appeal is likely to top last year’s record total of $13,862,734.

Meanwhile, the Herald Sun reports that rival channel GTV9 has upset Good Friday Appeal organisers with the Nine Network opting to air segments of the Brisbane-based Good Friday telethon for the Mater Children's Hospital, during its regular national programs Today, Kerri-Anne and A Current Affair.

The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.  Friday 2 April, from 9.30am.  HSV7 (Melbourne) and Prime Television (Regional Victoria) – in association with the Herald and Weekly Times and radio stations 3AW and Magic 1278.

Pictured (top): HSV7 weather presenter Ilona Komescaroff with actor John Thaw, from UK series The Sweeney, in 1977, and (above) Countdown’s Molly Meldrum, Pat McDonald (Sons And Daughters) and booth announcer John Deeks on the Good Friday Appeal panel in 1982.

UPDATE @ 12.40 3.4.2010: The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal has signed off with a record-breaking final total of $14,462,000.