Cover: Alyce Platt (Sale Of The Century)Mann gets pregnant
In the wake of the axing of Seven’s police drama Skirts, actress Tracy Mann has bounced back with a role in an upcoming telemovie. In How Wonderful, Mann plays Kerry Shanahan, a career woman about to be a mother. “It was one of those rare jobs tailor-made for you,” Mann told TV Week. The telemovie, screening this week on ABC, follows Kerry on her journey including tortuous exercise classes and junk food binges. When asked why Skirts didn’t succeed, Mann feels that it came down to scheduling. “The show should never have gone to 7.30, for a start. The timeslot meant the writers had to come up with happy endings and all the bull which never happens in the real world. The 8.30 timeslot, after A Country Practice, would have been ideal. I just feel it hasn’t been given a fair go.”
Baptism of fire!
E Street feels the full brunt of Sonny Bennett’s (Richard Huggett) revenge this week as he unleashes a bomb on the innocent residents of Westside on the day of the christening of Chris (Paul Kelman) and Megan’s (Lisbeth Kennelly) baby. Four characters make a dramatic exit and one is left seriously wounded after the explosion of a bomb fixed under Reverend Bob’s (Tony Martin) car. In what is, perhaps, the most expensive piece of Australian continuing drama ever filmed, explosive experts, stunt actors and professional weapon handlers were called in to film the show’s climax for the year. “It’s impressive,” says executive producer Forrest Redlich. “I’ve been involved in more than 800 hours of television and this is the most expensive couple of hours I’ve ever put together.” As to the identity of Bennett’s intended victims? “You don’t know who is going to get hit when the bomb goes off because half of Westside are riding in the car that day,” Redlich teased.
Old ACP favourites meet in Street
Upcoming episodes of Network Ten’s E Street will reunite two former residents of A Country Practice’s Wandin Valley. Anne Tenney (pictured), who played the colourful Molly Jones in A Country Practice, comes into E Street as a medico friend of Dr Elly Fielding, played by Penny Cook who played Vicky Bowen in ACP. “It was wonderful working with Penny again,” Tenney told TV Week. “It’s always great when you get the opportunity to work with someone you know – particularly someone you get along with. And Penny and I were together for a long time on A Country Practice.”
A low-budget Seven Network telemovie, Harbour Beat, has been purchased by Paramount Pictures for worldwide video and television distribution. The telemovie, which stars Steve Vidler, Gary Day, Emily Simpson and Scottish actor John Hannah, could potentially spin-off into an ongoing series. “Paramount and Zenith Productions in England are committed,” says Vidler. “We are just waiting on Seven here. The problems with going into receivership are delaying things a bit.” The telemovie screens on Seven this week.
Two-time TV Week Gold Logie winner Gerard Kennedy makes a guest appearance in A Country Practice. Kennedy plays Theo Kouros, father of Dr Cris Kouros (Michael Muntz), who is finding it hard to cope with the fact that his wife is dying. Kennedy’s appearance in A Country Practice comes after his performance as an AIDS victim in The Flying Doctors.
Let The Blood Run Free’s Matron Dorothy Conniving Bitch (pictured, played by Lynda Gibson) has a few words to say about the portrayal of medical drama on other TV series. “I liked (A Country Practice’s) Matron Sloan,” she says. “This new matron (Ann Brennan, played by Mary Regan) is not a matron’s bum. They need Matron Conniving Bitch to work with Shane Porteous. And The Flying Doctors need me to fly around in the plane, and I should be running that little surgery with Penny Cook in E Street. Those other shows, they’ve no idea about the nursing or the medicining or the hospitalising!”
A Country Practice stars Georgie Parker, Matt Day and John Tarrant have formed a band – and have sought inspiration from their financially-troubled former boss, Christopher Skase. The new band is called Chris And The Receivers and a performance at a recent telethon gathered rave reviews, something that has shocked Parker. “We didn’t want the audience think we are kidding ourselves about getting record offers,” she says. “It was only a bit of fun.”
Lawrie Masterson’s Sound Off:
”Two locally-produced telemovies are among the most entertaining fare you’ll find in the schedule this week. What is unfortunate is where you’ll find them in the schedule! In one of the most cruel programming twists of the year, How Wonderful (starring Tracy Mann, pictured, with Jim Holt, Sheila Kennelly, Toni Lamond and Max Phipps) and Harbour Beat – two Australian productions with heaps to recommend them – will go to air at 8.30pm on October 24. What can I say? Watch one, tape the other? Fine, if you have a VCR. A lot of people don’t.”
Program Highlights (October 20-26):
Saturday: GTV9 crosses to the Gabba in Brisbane for the FAI Insurance Cup: First Semi-Final, with coverage headed by Richie Benaud. In celebration of ten years of SBS, the network screens a re-run of the foreign movie The Mahabharata – a five-hour epic that first aired a year ago. SBS screens the first two-and-a-half hours this afternoon with the remainder to screen Sunday. In the evening, SBS presents the conclusion of its the re-run of award-winning mini-series, Women Of The Sun, starring Justine Saunders.
Sunday: More cricket coverage from GTV9 with the FAI Cup Semi-Final, though the telecast takes a two-hour break in the afternoon for live coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix. Sunday night movies are A Fish Called Wanda (HSV7), Fatal Attraction (GTV9) and Robocop (ATV10).
Monday: SBS’ tenth anniversary celebration continues with the repeat screening of drama series In Between – screening each afternoon through to Thursday. The four-part series, set in an inner Melbourne suburb, follows the story of four teenagers caught between two cultures and between adolescence and adulthood.
Tuesday: Genevieve Lemon guest stars in ABC’s GP as a woman who has been trying for ten years to get pregnant and seeks the help of friend Julie Winters (Denise Roberts) after suffering her fourth miscarriage.
Wednesday: SBS presents a one-hour special, Retro – Ten Years Of SBS Television, recounting the launch and first decade of Australia’s multicultural television service. Featuring in the program are former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, whose government formed SBS, TV pioneer Bruce Gyngell, who launched the new channel, current SBS chief executive Brian Johns and Minister for Communications, Kim Beazley. And a rare ratings battle between ABC and HSV7 with Australian-made telemovies, How Wonderful and Harbour Beat, both screening in the same timeslot.
Friday: SBS presents a 90-minute special, The Best Of The World Cup – Italia ‘90, focusing on the highlights of the year’s premier soccer event. Later on, SBS presents a special, Kids First, focusing on the first-ever world summit for children at the United Nations in New York. Peter Ustinov, actor and UNICEF Ambassador for children, and George Negus are co-presenters of the one-hour special.
Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 20 October 1990. Southdown Press.