Monday, 28 June 2010

June 30 is D-Day for Mildura

freeview_channels It is almost here.  This Wednesday, 30 June, marks the first analogue switch-off in Australia as Mildura/Sunraysia becomes the first region to be completely digital.

At 9.00am Mildura’s television broadcasters – WIN, Prime, ABC and SBS – will switch off their analogue transmitters, marking an end to almost 45 years of analogue television transmission in the district.  And no doubt by about 9.02am it will be apparent if the analogue shutdown will have caused any heartache for locals, particularly young children who could well be missing out on Play School!

STV8_1965 Mildura’s first TV station was STV8, launched on Saturday, 20 November 1965, and the national broadcaster ABC was only a few days behind, with ABMV4 launching the following Monday. 

STV8 later partnered up with regional channels BCV Bendigo and GLV Gippsland and in the ‘80s they became known as Southern Cross TV8 and then Southern Cross Network.  In 1989, STV8 was sold to ENT Limited, owners of BTV6 Ballarat and GMV6 Shepparton, and joined their network, known as VIC TV, in January 1990.  In 1994, VIC TV became part of the WIN television network.

victv As Mildura was omitted from the Government’s aggregation policy mapped out for regional areas in the 1980s, it wasn’t until 1997 that Prime Television was licensed to operate a competing commercial television service.  SBS was expanded to the region also during the ‘90s.

In 2006, the region received a third commercial channel, Ten Mildura, which has always broadcast exclusively in digital – leading to Mildura having a faster transition to digital than most other markets in Australia.

In the last month, relay transmitters have been launched in the areas of Robinvale and Underbool to address pockets of patchy reception of the digital channels.  The transmitters will relay ABC, SBS, WIN, Prime and Ten Mildura and their associated multi-channels to viewers in the immediate area.

But while the Government is confident that the analogue switch-off will go without too much trouble, not everyone shares their enthusiasm.  The local National Party member John Forrest has repeatedly called on the Government to postpone the analogue shutdown while the remaining reception blackspots are resolved and any viewers still affected have time to access the recently-launched satellite service.  “There will be black screens,” he told The Australian.  “I'll find out (how many) on Thursday because the phone will run red-hot.”

To mark the occasion of the local analogue switch-off, there will be a sausage sizzle and Family Fun Day at Mildura Wharf from 7.00am on Wednesday.  As well as representatives from the networks and the Government, including the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, the event will be attended by Prime’s TV mascot, Prime Possum, along with Digital  Freddy, representing the government’s switchover campaign.

The national morning shows are also expected to cross to Mildura to mark the occasion and to remind viewers nationwide that the analogue shutdown will be rolled out progressively across Australia between now and 2013.

More information on the analogue switch-off in Mildura can be found at the Federal Government’s Digital Ready website or by contacting 1800 13 20 13.

Source: Sunraysia Daily, Sunraysia Daily, The Australian

Sunday, 27 June 2010

1990: June 9-15

tvweek_090690 Cover: Sophie Heathcote, Georgie Parker (A Country Practice)

Why Linda’s quitting the neighbourhood
Neighbours star Linda Hartley has decided to leave the popular soap after a behind-the-scenes battle between producers Grundy Television and the Ten Network. Hartley had requested for a break from the series to allow time to travel overseas and to pursue an opportunity for a singing career, but Grundy’s were not keen to renew her contract, claiming the show had exceeded its casting budget. They had planned to write out Hartley’s character, Kerry Mangel, along with other characters Des Clarke (Paul Keane) and Beverley Robinson (Shauna O’Grady), but Ten then stepped in and negotiations between Grundy’s and Hartley resumed. However, negotiations again broke down and Hartley has decided to leave the series, with her final scenes to be taped next month.

The Foreign Legion wants you!
E Street star Bruce Samazan got the shock of his life recently when he received a letter from the French Government calling him to return to France for compulsory military national service. The actor was born in French Malagasy in 1970 but came with his parents to Australia in 1973. “I’ve grown up here living a normal Australian life as an Australian citizen. The only thing different about me is that I also have French citizenship,” he told TV Week. “I now have to prove my Australian citizenship to the French Consulate. If I can’t do that, they are within their rights to find me and take me back.”

colncarpenter How Col’n became Randy
Col’n Carpenter (Kim Gyngell), the lead character in the Network Ten sitcom of the same name, is stuck in bed with a fever and has dreams of being a debonair cabaret singer, Randy Lombardo, who is constantly surrounded by beautiful women. But the same can’t be said for Col’n (pictured), who has never had a girlfriend, but has eyes in particular for one TV presenter… Helen Wellings from The Investigators. “She has charisma and knows so much about household appliances,” according to Col’n. “And I like Magda Szubanski on Fast Forward because she’s a really good laugher. I like some of the SBS women, too. They speak my language, but sometimes the subtitles go before I finish reading them.”

The dreams of A Country Practice’s young couple Matt Tyler (John Tarrant) and Lucy Gardiner (Georgie Parker) are turned into ashes in episodes to go to air this week, when their future home is burnt to the ground in a bushfire that threatens rural Wandin Valley.

Beyond 2000’s globetrotting reporter Amanda Keller has managed some time out from her schedule to get married to her boyfriend of two years, Harley Oliver. The pair were married in Sydney and were soon on their way to Malaysia for their honeymoon.

John Laws says:
”The Couchman show is a carefully stage-managed production. Confrontations are contrived and expected, simply because the producers go to any lengths to bring together people who hold extreme and opposing views on the subject to be debated.”

rebeccasmartProgram Highlights (June 9-15):
Saturday: HSV7
presents the four-hour Earth ‘90 special, Prince Charles – Children And The Environment, where HRH Prince Charles gives a personal view of the environmental problems that face the world today. The program includes appearances by Debbie Gibson, Olivia Newton-John, Julio Iglesias, Audrey Hepburn, John Denver and the Vienna Children’s Choir. SBS presents a replay of the previous night’s World Cup opening ceremony and the overnight game featuring Argentina versus Cameroon. Live coverage resumes after midnight with United Arab Emirates versus Colombia, USSR versus Romania and Italy versus Austria. SBS’ coverage of the World Cup continues each night from midnight through to 7.00am, with replays of matches the following afternoon and a 90-minute highlights package each evening.
Sunday: Sunday night movies are The Principal (GTV9) and The Jewel Of The Nile (ATV10). HSV7 presents the Royal Variety Performance before HRH Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke Of Edinburgh. Later in the evening, GTV9 presents live coverage of the final of the French Open tennis and the Austrian 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Monday: GTV9 presents the debut of children’s drama series Elly And Jools, starring Rebecca Smart (pictured), Anne Tenney and Dennis Miller.
Wednesday: ATV10 presents a delayed telecast of the Rugby League State Of Origin match between Queensland and NSW.
Friday: HSV7 crosses to Perth for a direct telecast of AFL featuring West Coast Eagles versus Hawthorn.

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

Saturday, 26 June 2010

1990: June 2-8

tvweek_020690 Cover: Sharyn Hodgson, Julian McMahon (Home And Away)

Meet the new Pippa
The producers of Seven’s Home And Away have found a new actress for the key role of Pippa Fletcher.  Debra Lawrence, previously seen in ABC’s The Fast Lane, will take over the role of Pippa from Vanessa Downing who has decided to leave the series to pursue other ventures.  Producers had previously hoped to sign up Carol Willesee, who had played Pippa Fletcher in the show’s pilot episode, to continue the role but negotiations were unsuccessful.

Elaine and Marcus team up!
Popular actors Marcus Graham (formerly of E Street) and Elaine Smith (formerly of Neighbours) have signed up to star in a new Seven Network mini-series, Ratbag Hero.  The four-hour series is set in Victoria in the post-depression era of 1937 and is expected to screen on Seven in 1991.

lesmurray On the ball!
Australia’s multicultural broadcaster SBS is about to embark on its most ambitious challenge ever with its coverage of the World Cup from Italy.  Joining host Les Murray (pictured) on the coverage will be former Socceroo captain Johnny Warren and sports journalists Kyle Patterson and Andy Paschalidis.  “What I’m excited about most is that the SBS team are all ‘missionaries’ of the game of soccer and this gives us an opportunity to transmit to all Australians the game’s sheer greatness,” Murray told TV Week.  Apart from a few occasions when two games are played at the same time at different venues, SBS will broadcast all matches of the World Cup live to Australia.  The network has also come to an arrangement with ABC to relay SBS’ World Cup coverage to areas that don’t receive SBS.  ABC will also present a highlights package each night of the competition.

Feud? ‘What feud?’
The Comedy Company producer and co-star Ian McFadyen has responded to rumours about a feud between himself and colleague Mark Mitchell.  “This was mentioned to me after the Logies during a radio interview,” McFadyen told TV Week.  “We’ve never had a ‘falling out’ … it’s just nonsense.  There’s never been any unpleasantness between us.”  Meanwhile, plans continue for the return of The Comedy Company and it is unclear if Mitchell will be part of the revamped show, but that is only because he is busy with his own show, Larger Than Life, to which Network Ten is committed until the end of the year.

Rebecca Smart
might be only 14 years old but she is already a showbiz veteran with a list of movies and mini-series to her credit, though her most famous role was in The Shiralee with Bryan Brown.  Now the teen star is starring in a new Nine Network children’s drama, Elly And Jools, and is set to appear in a pilot for a new sitcom.

nicholasbell Nicholas Bell (pictured), one of the few males stars in the Seven Network police drama Skirts, admits he does not want to become TV’s most hated man but admits that the role of Sergeant Gary Block has presented very few redeeming features.  “He’s fairly brutal about certain things and appears chauvinistic… hopefully it will become clear why that is so.  His main motivation is to be a good cop and he feels this is the best way to go about it,” Bell told TV Week.

Sioban Tuke, one of the co-stars of The Comedy Company, is taking on a serious role in an upcoming guest appearance on A Country Practice.  Tuke will playing the role of Pam Duncan, an overweight housewife whose marriage is on the brink of failure and takes desperate measures to try to lose weight.

abc_black2 John Laws says…
”It’s my belief that the ABC has nothing to lose by introducing corporate sponsorship of programs.  In fact, there is much to be gained.  At the very least, there should be a 12-month trial.  This should enable everyone to have a good look at how it operates, and to see whether it has the “terrible” effect on the ABC that its vocal opponents predict.”

Program Highlights (June 2-8):
Saturday:  Mark Mitchell
and his comic alter-ego, Con The Fruiterer, are comperes of ATV10’s half-hour special We Can Do It, to promote World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine.  Also featuring on the program is singer Neil Finn and Mental As Anything’s Martin Plaza.
Sunday night movies are The Fourth Protocol (HSV7), Like Father Like Son (GTV9) and The Money Pit (ATV10).  GTV9 later presents the three-hour global TV special, Earth ‘90.
Monday:  GTV9 crosses to Roland Stadium, Paris, for the French Open tennis.
Tuesday:  In Beyond 2000 (HSV7), Andrew Carroll searches for a male contraceptive pill.  Simon Reeve takes a walk over the French Guyana rainforests on an inflatable canopy walk. Maxine Gray investigates cooking with magnets.  GTV9 presents another late night of tennis with the French Open.
Thursday: On the eve of the start of the 1990 World Cup, SBS presents the final Viva World Cup program with Les Murray and Andy Paschalidis.
Friday:  SBS’ coverage of the World Cup in Italy begins with the opening ceremony followed by the first match, Argentina versus Cameroon.

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

Thursday, 17 June 2010

TelevisionAU Update 17-Jun-10


For over thirty years Peter Hitchener has been a trusted face of news at GTV9, Melbourne.  Starting his career in Brisbane in the 1960s, Hitchener then moved to Sydney's TCN9.  But then when he went further south to Melbourne in 1974, Hitchener was hosting a game show, Gambit, based on the card game Blackjack.  Here he is, with Gambit hostess Ros Wood, making a guest appearance on GTV9's Cartoon Corner, with host Daryl Somers.  Picture: TV Week, 16 March 1974

btq7_bignews Melbourne:
1959 (First Sydney-Melbourne telecast)
1962 (Station affiliations change for GTV9 and HSV7)
1973 (The Mike Walsh Show begins)
1974 (Class Of ‘74 begins)
1974 (First colour test patterns)
1974 (Countdown begins)
1975 (Number 96’s ‘bomb-blast’ episode)


New South Wales:

1972 (Number 96 debuts.  BTQ7’s The Big News extends to one hour)

1986 (SBS expands to Perth)


Monday, 14 June 2010

Tedd Dunn

freddbear Tedd Dunn, the man who put life into the TV character Fredd Bear, has died from cancer.

Dunn, 66, was a fashion designer and was wardrobe manager at the new Melbourne channel ATV0 when the station was looking for ideas for a children’s show. He created the costume for Fredd Bear (the two Ds taken from his own name) and subsequently ended up wearing it, as he made the costume so big that, with his towering frame, he was the only one who could wear it.

Dunn, as the non-speaking Fredd Bear, made his on-camera debut on ATV0 in August 1964 on The Children’s Show, which became The Magic Circle Club, hosted by Nancy Cato.

Portraying Fredd Bear, in a suit made up of fur and padding and not allowing much circulation, almost threatened Dunn’s own life when he appeared in the Melbourne Moomba procession in 1965. Normally the suit can only be worn for about 45 minutes, but delays on the day caused Dunn to be in costume for over two hours and he was close to blacking out. Always the professional, Dunn refused to remove the headpiece from the suit to allow him to breathe and therefore ruin the illusion of Fredd Bear from his young fans. He managed to stay conscious long enough to hand over a bunch of flowers to Prince Phillip at the end of the procession. The incident led to several months’ recovery for Dunn, and upon returning to the channel he re-designed the outfit to reduce heat and improve circulation.

After The Magic Circle Club was axed, many of those involved moved over to ABC to create Adventure Island, but Dunn stayed at ATV0 where the Fredd Bear character lived on in Fredd Bear’s Breakfast-A-Go-Go from 1969 to 1971. The two-hour program, starring Fredd Bear with Judy Banks (pictured, with Fredd), Mike McCarthy and Colin McEwan, featured a mix of cartoons and studio segments and became a ratings hit in a timeslot not normally known for high ratings.

Later going on to be a producer at ATV0, in 1975 Dunn won a TV Week Logie award for Most Outstanding Creative Effort after his work on special presentations Gown Of The Year and The Sound Of Christmas as well as Frankie Howerd specials.

Source: Melbourne Observer, From The Word GO! – Forty Years Of Ten Melbourne, TV Tonight, Herald Sun, TV Week 15 March 1975.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

1990: May 26-June 1

tvweek_260590All in the family!
Some new arrivals are set to appear in Neighbours.  The first will be a baby for Kerry  Mangel (Linda Hartley, pictured) and husband Joe (Mark Little).  Neighbours’ other new arrivals will be a new family – the Willises – headed by Doug Willis, played by veteran actor Terry Donovan, whose son Jason got his big career break in the series several years earlier.  But with these new arrivals into the neighbourhood some existing characters have had to be written out – Des Clarke (Paul Keane) and Beverly Robinson (Shauna O’Grady) will leave the series in coming months and more are expected to go in the future.  The cast shake-up is a bid by producers to reignite viewer interest in the show.  While ratings are still strong in Melbourne, where the show wins its 7.00pm timeslot, Neighbours has dipped to low figures in Sydney, where it is now being beaten by Sale Of The Century and Hinch in the same timeslot.

20-20 Vision!
The Seven Network’s Beyond 2000 is going to take a look at what Australia as a nation could be like in thirty years’ time.  Could Sydney have a crime problem with the same magnitude as New York?  Could one of Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s successors be getting a $2.5 million salary to run a country with a population of up to 200 million?  But Australia 2020 is not necessarily about painting a picture of gloom and doom, but rather recognise the challenges that this country could face if change is not made now.  The show will talk to high-profile Australians in different fields to discuss what the future could hold, but not one politician will be seen.  “Politicians do not look 30 years ahead.  There are no votes in being 30 years ahead,” says producer Peter Abbott.

ianmcfadyen Comedy Company comeback!
It is official!  Network Ten’s hit show The Comedy Company is about to make a comeback after more than six months off-air.  The deal between Ten and producer Ian McFadyen’s (pictured) Media Arts company was agreed two weeks ago and will see sixteen episodes screened later this year, most likely in the show’s traditional Sunday 7.30pm timeslot, up against 60 Minutes and Skirts.  Ten’s current Sunday night comedy hour, Larger Than Life and Col’n Carpenter, are expected to be moved to a weeknight timeslot.  In another announcement, Ten has announced it has picked up the rights to Media Arts’ new hospital-based comedy, Let The Blood Run Free.  The new series, starring Brian Nankervis, Lynda Gibson, Peter Rowsthorn and Jean Kittson, will go into production later this year and will debut on Ten either late this year or early in 1991.

The Seven Network has announced that it has renewed comedy series Acropolis Now for a third series. 

lizburch_0001 Former The Flying Doctors star Liz Burch (pictured) has taken on a new challenge – working for World Vision to help carry on the work of her sister, Rosemary, who died of a rare skin disease.  “When they rang me to ask me if I’d like to do something, I guess I thought I could carry on where she left off.  So that is why I went,” Burch tells TV Week.  The actress has visited some of the most impoverished places in the world and has made a number of documentaries for the aid agency.  “It’s the best thing I ever did.  It’s changed me and also made me realise how lucky I am.”

60 Minutes reporter Jeff McMullen have just returned from Los Angeles where he had been following some of the city’s most notorious gangs – including the all-female gangs that have taken to the streets alongside their male counterparts.  “The girls are constantly looking for trouble.  They are like werewolves.  When the sun sets, they climb into old Fifties cars to invade the neighbourhoods of rival gangs,” McMullen told TV Week.  “They are out to impress their home boys and see how many notches they can get on their guns.”

tracymann John Laws says…
”My favourable comments recently about the premiere two-hour episode of Seven’s police drama Skirts (starring Tracy Mann, pictured) prompted a rush of mail from TV Week readers.  And they all disagreed with me.  It seems that Skirts – loosely based on British series The Bill – is seen as corny, contrived and lacking tension and credibility.  I must admit that the first few one-hour episodes failed to live up to my expectations – but I didn’t think they were all that bad.”

Program Highlights (May 26-June 1):
Saturday:  ABC
presents Australian soccer’s premier awards night, The NSL Awards, held at the Hyatt International Hotel in Adelaide.  HSV7 crosses to Carrara, Brisbane, for the AFL match between Brisbane Bears and Footscray.
Sunday:  Sunday night movies are Roxanne (GTV9) and Out Of Africa (ATV10).  Both are repeats.  HSV7 presents the first part of mini-series Cross Of Fire.  GTV9 then presents an overnight line-up of sport – the West German 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix from Nurburgring, the Monaco Grand Prix from Monaco and the Indianapolis 500 from the US.
Monday:  Maurice Murphy, producer of classic comedies The Aunty Jack Show and The Norman Gunston Show, presents a new ABC series, Let’s Do Lunch… And Save The World.  Murphy’s first lunch guest is comedienne Pamela Stephenson.
Wednesday:  ATV10 presents a re-run of movie Fragments Of War – The Damien Parer Story, starring Nicholas Eadie and Anne Tenney, followed by a delayed telecast of the Rugby League State Of Origin – New South Wales versus Queensland – from Melbourne’s Olympic Park.
Thursday: In E Street (ATV10), Chris’ (Paul Kelman) eviction of a tenant has surprising consequences.  David (Noel Hodda) returns to his TV career, and can Abby (Chelsea Brown) and Ernie (Vic Rooney) sort out their problems or will Vi (Bunney Brooke) win?

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

1990: May 19-25

tvweek_190590 ‘We’re not joined at the hip’
Neighbours twin co-stars Gayle and Gillian Blakeney (pictured) might look alike and share many similar interests but still stress that they are very different.  “We’re not joined at the hip.  We’re individuals,” Gayle told TV Week.  “People think that because we look alike we’re alike in everything we do and say.”  But they do concede to have had a number of uncanny experiences – sometimes one will start a sentence and the other will finish it off.  “We can pre-empt what the other is thinking and our moods follow suit.” 

‘I’d be fibbing if I said I didn’t miss it’
Former Coast To Coast presenter John Mangos has told TV Week about his disappointment about Graham Kennedy’s decision not to continue with the show after the end of 1989:  “I idolised Graham.  He was my boyhood hero and that’s why i left the States.  There were very few job positions I would have left that job for, and one of them was the chance to work with my hero.  It took the first few months for us to find each other and after we did, we had a good thing going.  I’d be fibbing if I said I didn’t miss it.”  Since the end of Coast To Coast, co-host Terry Willesee has now moved across to the Ten Network to present Good Morning Australia with Kerri-Anne Kennerley, and Mangos has stayed at Nine to present its Sunday night documentaries with the opportunity to make his own for the network.

lucindasmith Oh, what a lovely war!
The Nine Network mini-series The Private War Of Lucinda Smith is not your usual wartime drama.  The two-part series, starring Nigel Havers, Linda Cropper, Andrew Clarke and Vincent Ball, is an unashamed bawdy romp about a romantic love triangle in the South Pacific in 1914-15 when the outbreak of war turns friendly rivals for Lucinda’s affections into friendly enemies.  “It’s a good old Boys’ Own adventure story with plenty of romance, comedy and sex and practically no violence – perfect, really,” according to Havers (pictured, with Cropper).  “We enjoyed ourselves immensely making it, and I think Ray Alchin (the director) has a lot to answer for.  He never took anything seriously.”

Former The Flying Doctors star Peter O’Brien has scored the lead role in an upcoming American adventure film, The Diamond Triad.  O’Brien was offered the role after producers saw him in the London stage production of Butterflies Are Free.

Annie Jones has just returned from the US where she appeared on a cable TV channel to promote her Oz Beauty Video, a guide to successful grooming.  Now, the former Neighbours star is preparing for her next role in an SBS series about the lives of Australian immigrants.  Jones, who used to be Annika Jasko, is the only Australian-born child of Hungarian parents who settled here in the 1950s.  She is also fluent in Hungarian and will speak the language in the new role.

familyandfriends_0001 Nine Network series Family And Friends is about to turn back the years as some of its characters are taken back to the Seventies as the theme for a school social.  The social is also the scene for Renato’s (Gavin Harrison) seduction of Cheryl (Justine Clarke, pictured with Harrison) in an attempt to get her away from Marco (Adrian Lee).

John Laws says…
”British TV viewers are “soaps” – and mainly Australian ones – more than ever before, according to the latest statistics.  Of 30,000 viewers polled recently, more than 65 per cent chose either Neighbours, Home And Away or Prisoner (Cell Block H) as their favourite viewing.  And in England they are saying that the recent $20 million deal for hundreds of Home And Away episodes to be screened in Britain over the next few years actually saved the Oz soap from getting the chop.  At a time when the film industry in Australia is languishing, it’s at least reassuring to know that one section of our TV industry is creating new markets and turning a profit.  Let’s hope it stays like that.”

queenieashton Program Highlights (May 19-25):
Sunday:  HSV7
crosses to Subiaco Oval in Perth for the AFL clash between West Coast Eagles and Brisbane Bears, followed by highlights of the game between Footscray and Essendon.  ATV10 presents Rugby League with the State Bank Big Game, direct from Sydney.  Sunday night movies are Young Guns (HSV7) and Red Heat (ATV10), while GTV9 presents the first instalment of mini-series The Private War Of Lucinda Smith.
Monday:  ABC screens the final in the Wendy Harmer series, In Harmer’s Way.
Tuesday:  Veteran actress Queenie Ashton (pictured) is a guest star in this week’s episode of GP (ABC).  HSV7 crosses live to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the AFL State Of Origin match between NSW and Victoria, presented by Bruce McAvaney.
Thursday:  Annie Jones guest stars in The Flying Doctors (GTV9).

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

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Ten West ready for take off

TEN_Logo Regional WA’s new channel, Ten West, is ready to start its rollout across WA – with viewers in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Mawson, Mingenew and Karratha able to receive programs from 9.00am today, 10 June.

Viewers in these areas with digital tuners will be able to access the full range of Network Ten programs, including Ten News, The Simpsons, Neighbours, The 7PM Project, Good News Week, MasterChef, The Circle and US hits including Glee and Modern Family.

Up until now, only a selection of Network Ten programming was made available to regional WA viewers via WIN

Viewers in Bunbury, Bridgetown, Mandurah, Manjimup, Margaret River, Nannup, Pemberto and Geraldton will be part of the next stage of Ten West’s rollout, due to be completed by 31 December.

Like similar channels that have launched in recent years in Darwin, Mildura and Tasmania, Ten West is being broadcast exclusively in digital and its rollout will coincide with the launch of digital broadcasts from existing networks WIN and GWN in the respective regions.

ABC and SBS are already broadcasting in digital in many regional WA centres.

Source: Kalgoorlie Miner

Monday, 7 June 2010

Adriana Xenides

adrianaxenides Former television personality Adriana Xenides has died in a Sydney hospital after being admitted a few days ago with a stomach complaint.

Born in Argentina, model Xenides rose to fame in Australia as the co-host of game show Wheel Of Fortune. She was with the show alongside host Ernie Sigley when the Adelaide-based show began production in 1981 and continued with the show through until 1999. At the time she was recognised by the Guinness Book Of Records as the longest-serving game show hostess in the world. 

After Wheel Of Fortune, Xenides appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother and as a panellist on Beauty And The Beast.

In 2007 she appeared on Today Tonight to reveal that she was suffering from a digestive disorder thought to be genetic.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Lynda Stoner goes undercover for animal rights

lyndastoner In the 1970s and ‘80s, Lynda Stoner was one of TV’s glamour girls.  After being crowned Miss TV Times (pictured) in 1976, she went on to star in popular dramas The Young Doctors, Cop Shop and Prisoner.

But, in a report this weekend in the Sydney Morning Herald, Stoner’s latest ‘role’ is as far removed from the bright lights of showbiz as can be imagined.

A long-time vegan and campaigner for animal rights, Stoner reveals how she and an Animal Liberation colleague recently spent two days ‘undercover’ at a pig dogging workshop.  A black wig, dark-rimmed glasses and a $12 wedding ring from Paddy’s Market saw Lynda Stoner, actor and animal rights activist, transformed into ‘Linda Brown’, pig dogger and game hunting enthusiast:

''The only way to do it is to go in there and try to dissociate, to mentally put yourself in another place and know that you're doing it to try to get this terrible thing stopped.''

Pig dogging is where pigs are pursued and caught by dogs and then killed with knives. It has been legal in declared state forests since March 2006:

''It's such an underground culture. I've spoken to other hunters; they are so disparaging of pig doggers. They are the lowest of the low.”

''If they're proposing this is to reduce the number of feral animals, it's the most disgusting, most barbaric, most brutal thing they could do.''

The information that Stoner and a colleague collected from the workshop will be used for Animal Liberation’s campaign against pig dogging.

The full report is on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

ABT2 launch signals ABC milestone

The first stage of the national roll-out of ABC’s television network was Sydney and Melbourne, completed in 1956, and the second stage was to expand ABC to the so-called “BAPH” cities – Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart.  ABT2 Hobart was the last of these to go to air when it launched on 4 June 1960.


Thousands of viewers on a cold Hobart night watched as Postmaster-General Mr C W Davidson officially opened ABT2 shortly after the test pattern faded at 7.00pm. 

Dame Enid Lyons, Australia’s first ever female politician and Resident Commissioner for the ABC in Tasmania, was on hand to introduce on-camera the distinguished guests that had arrived at the new studios in Harrington Street.  The new studios, which started construction in November 1958, were built at a cost of £120,000 and would house all local operations for the national broadcaster, including an orchestral studio.

Mr Davidson also personally acknowledged the special efforts of the State Government, Hobart’s city council and the Hydro Electric Commission for their co-operation in assisting the Postmaster-General’s Department and ABC in getting the necessary infrastructure in place in very challenging conditions – in particular the extreme weather conditions at the transmitter site on top of Mount Wellington, with extreme winds, ice, snow and rain causing any number of challenges.

ABC chairman Sir Richard Boyer said that it was apparent, after three years of television on the mainland, that the new medium would represent a significant change to Tasmanian society:

“Television can be of great benefit to the community and can give enjoyment to thousands of people in the comfort of their own homes.  I think it is clear to all, now, that the coming of television is itself historic and socially critical.  Whether we like it or not it marks a new dimension in civilised life.

“Our homes, our habits, leisure, and our educational, religious and political life cannot fail to be affected by it.  It is just not a new toy.  It is something each of us, as the years go on, will have to make terms with – fitting the new into the old and, we hope, adding colour and meaning to life by its employment, while still retaining the essential values of our traditional culture.

After the opening speeches, ABT2 presented its first 15-minute news bulletin, followed by imported shows Wells Fargo, The Phil Silvers Show and The Square Ring.  A half-hour show, Preview, presented performances from local artists.

Flashbacks On The News featured ABC film footage of news events of recent years, including royal visits and significant local and mainland events.

Growing Up With Guba finished off the opening night’s programs.

ABT2 was launched only a couple of weeks after Hobart’s local commercial channel, TVT6, began official transmission.

The third stage of the national rollout of ABC’s national network started in 1962 with the launch of ABC3 Canberra and the planned launch of 32 regional stations around Australia over the next four years.

Source: The Mercury, 3 June 1960 and 6 June 1960.
Reference: 50 Years: Aunty’s Jubilee – Celebrating 50 Years of ABC TV.  Tim Bowden and Wendy Borchers.  ABC Books, 2006.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Michael Schildberger

michaelschildberger Former journalist and broadcaster Michael Schildberger has died in hospital in Melbourne at the age of 72, after a 13-year battle with prostate cancer.

Schildberger started his career in journalism as a cadet reporter for The Sun newspaper in Melbourne in 1955. He later moved to GTV9 in 1958 as a reporter. During his many years at GTV9 he appeared on programs including Newsbeat and Federal File.

In the 1970s he became a producer and host of the original A Current Affair for the Nine Network – winning a TV Week Logie award in 1976 for best TV interviewer.

In 1979 he became news director at Melbourne’s ATV0, including a short stint as co-newsreader for Eyewitness News. He was also news chief at radio station Fox FM when it launched in mid-1980.

During the 1980s, Schildberger presented morning talkback on radio station 3DB (pictured) and later for ABC radio station 3LO. TV appearances included guest hosting HSV7’s local current affairs program Day By Day, and presenting a magazine series, Tech Talk, on Channel 0/28 (now SBS).

He later founded the media production and consultancy company Business Essentials and published an autobiography, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Michael Schildberger is survived by his four children. His wife Julia passed away some time ago.

Source: Herald Sun, Australian Television Information Archive, The Age 1 September 1983, The Age 4 April 1985.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

1990: May 12-18

tvweek_120590 What a sweet cop!
Since leaving A Country Practice, Josephine Mitchell has worked in theatre in Perth, holidayed in the UK and formed a production company with fellow actors Sarah Lambert, Wendy Strehlow and Maureen O”Shaughnessy.  Now she is back at the Seven Network – as a policewoman in Home And Away.  Mitchell’s character, Constable Jane Holland, wins the heart of Grant Mitchell (Craig McLachlan).  But when comparing working for TV with working in the theatre, Mitchell says TV is definitely harder.  “I get much more nervous on television than I do on stage,” Mitchell told TV Week.  “You have more rehearsal time with a play, whereas on TV you do it on the spot a lot of the time.  TV’s harder, for sure.” Meanwhile, the new production company is planning to launch its first stage production, Dusa, Stash, Fish And Vi, later this year. 

tonipearenmalcolmkennard ‘Good ol’ sex… well, it beats violence!’
It is an old saying that sex sells – it worked for Number 96, and now another Network Ten series is following a similar path.  E Street has never been coy about discussing human relationships – a recent episode featured Sonny Bennet (Richard Huggett) in a late-night encounter with a topless waitress.  Now two of the show’s popular characters – Harley (Malcolm Kennard) and Toni (Toni Pearen) are also going to find out there is more to the old birds and bees as they take their relationship to the next level.  “What we are trying to do is make the show as identifiable as possible,” producer Forrest Redlich told TV Week.  “We’ve had no trouble with the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal at all, because what we’ve done is within the context of the story.  I think, seriously, that a bit of good ol’ sex is much more favourable a thing to be putting on screen at 7.30pm rather than violence.”

johnwaters ‘When John walked in I felt sparks!’
When US actress Cybill Shepherd first laid eyes on her new Australian co-star John Waters (pictured) she said sparks flew.  “It made me feel good,” said the 40-year-old former Moonlighting star.  “John has an interesting face and he is very attractive.”  The pair are working together on a new mini-series, Which Way Home, for the Ten Network and the American network TNT.  The $6 million production is being filmed on location in New Zealand, Darwin and Thailand.

Australian performer Kate Ceberano is in Monte Carlo to appear in the World Music Awards.  The event is a charity created by the royal family of Monaco to recognise creative music from around the world.

Nine’s 60 Minutes has assembled a group of nine elite athletes to battle it out in a gruelling 24 hours of physical endurance over eight events.  One of the competitors, Sports Sunday’s Lisa Curry-Kenny, did concede to having a slight disadvantage – she was the only one who was pregnant, though at the time did not know it.  “I was still doing my normal exercise routine and, other than a few ‘off’ weeks, I haven’t even been sick,” she says.

kristinedavistonyjohnston The Nine Network has reunited two former teenage stars as hosts of its Saturday morning children’s show, C CompanyKristine Davis, 20, has been in television for ten years – starting as a junior reporter for Wombat at the age of 10.  Her colleague Tony Johnston was the host of the former music video program Jukebox, and the pair studied drama together as teenagers and appeared in various amateur theatre and musical productions.

John Laws says…
Steve Vizard was probably pretty sure he could beat off the challenge of Clive Robertson on Nine, but that may not be the case, in Sydney anyway.  Robbo knocked him off 9 to 8 in a recent ratings period.  This could be ominous, given the enormously high cost of producing the Vizard show (Tonight Live).  Even a slight downward trend in the ratings could see the Seven management’s bean-counters begin to work feverishly.  And, in the end, it will be dollars and cents that decide everything.”

Program Highlights (May 12-18):
Saturday:  ABC
crosses live to Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup Final – Manchester United versus Crystal Palace.  The telecast starts at 11.40pm and continues for three hours.
Sunday:  Sunday night movies are Agatha Christie’s The Man In The Brown Suit (GTV9) and Bat 21 (ATV10).  HSV7 presents the first instalment of mini-series Roses Are For The Rich, and ABC’s Sunday Stereo Special features the 1989 Kirov Ballet production of The Sleeping Beauty, performed in Montreal.
Tuesday:  SBS presents a new program, Common Cents, aiming to provide financial advice in lay terms for the average Australian.  This is followed by an Italian short film, Rabbit On The Moon, which focuses on an Italian girl growing up in Australia.
mollymeldrum_hhis Wednesday:  Jason Gilkison and Molly Meldrum (pictured) are guest judges for the First Series final of New Faces (GTV9), hosted by Daryl Somers.
Friday:  HSV7 crosses to the Sydney Cricket Ground for live AFL – Sydney Swans versus Geelong.

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