1991 could be a big year for E Street’s Alyssa-Jane Cook (pictured), both on and off screen. Her character Lisa Bennett is enjoying a romance with Michael Sturgess (played by Graham Harvey) after a certain run of tragedy – she had been raped by her stepfather, saw her mother jailed, and broke her engagement to her childhood sweetheart, who was later murdered by her delinquent brother, who finally committed suicide. She had been dumped by boyfriend “Wheels” (Marcus Graham), and E Street ended last year with her and Michael lost at sea, presumably drowned. Off camera, Cook’s relationship with Gary Davis continues but there is no talk of marriage. “I don’t think I’m old enough. I think you have to be more responsible than I am right now,” she told TV Week. Meanwhile, E Street goes into 1991 with a much leaner cast than last year, having farewelled cast members including Chris Orchard, Virginia Hey, Paul Kelman, Lisbeth Kennelly, Chelsea Brown, Rebecca Saunders and Richard Huggett, with three more (Penny Cook, Warren Jones and Vic Rooney) soon to go.
Greg calls for a rematch!
TV matchmaker Greg Evans is set to return to the Ten Network as it relaunches its axed game show Perfect Match as part of a programming revival after a disastrous 1990. This time around the show will be called Blind Date and will feature Evans with a female co-host yet to be appointed. Perfect Match was a stand-out hit for Ten in the mid-1980s, turning Melbourne radio announcer Evans into a national celebrity. Cameron Daddo hosted the show for two years after Evans was poached by the Nine Network, with Evans returning to host the show before it was axed in a bout of cost-cutting in 1989. “It hadn’t flagged in the ratings,” Evans told TV Week. “It went because of the money involved. The show was let down by Ten.”
Sixteen years ago, Nine Network personality Rosemary Margan was showing off newborn daughter Cathy Godbold to the TV Week cameras. Now, Godbold (pictured, with Margan) is set to appear on the same network that made her mother a household name with a role in the upcoming Nine Network drama series Chances. She will be playing the role of Nicki Taylor, a character who “loves boys and parties and she’s very tough – a bit of a tomboy.”
Grundy Productions has announced that their ABC drama series Embassy has been sold for an undisclosed sum to Canada, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Greece. The sale helps ensure a second series of Embassy which is due to go into production next month.
NIDA graduate Richard Huggett, formerly of E Street and about to make his debut in Neighbours, says that he never wanted to be a soap star. “I’m often asked if I feel I’ve ‘sold out’ by doing shows such as E Street and Neighbours and my reply is simple: ‘I’m working’.”
Hey Hey It’s Saturday voice-over man John Blackman (pictured) is set for his own national program later this year. Blackman is about to tape a pilot for a daily 30-minute lifestyle program. “As soon as you say lifestyle, people think of Jo Pearson’s Body And Soul, but it’s nothing like that,” Blackman told TV Week. “I’m thrilled about it because I don’t get many opportunities to get out from the booth and be in front of the cameras.”
ABC is planning to launch a new music video program to lead in to the popular Rage on Saturday nights. The new show, to be known as Racket, aims to address the often-neglected musical interests of the 25-39 age group. The show will have a team of presenters led by James Valentine.
Lawrie Masterson’s Sound Off
”Bobby Rivers is about as thick as the air used to get during events such as the Sunbury Pop Festivals of the early Seventies. Bobby, a washed up Seventies rock star, is one of the central characters in the Nine Network’s new sitcom All Together Now. It is due to make its debut next week and the opening episode – written by Phillip Dalkin and winningly sub-titled Daddy Cool – has much promise. Like anything else, All Together Now (formerly known as Rhythm And Blues) will be a matter of wait and see, but at the outset it does seem to have a lot going for it.”
Program Highlights (January 12-18):
(Note: Not listed in TV Week, but with tensions rising in the Persian Gulf between Iraq and the US-led coalition, networks this week ramp up their news coverage efforts – some of which overrides some of its pre-planned schedule. In particular, Nine’s late-night Nightline is expanded to a one-hour format and Network Ten launches a temporary 7am news bulletin as its usual morning program Good Morning Australia is still on holidays)
Saturday: Tennis on Seven with the NSW Open live from Sydney in the afternoon and the Rio International Challenge, live from Adelaide, in the evening. Ten crosses to Queensland for golf with the Daikyo Palm Meadows Cup during the afternoon and ABC presents live coverage of the World Swimming Championships from Perth.
Sunday: The final day’s play of the NSW Open on Seven. More swimming from Perth on ABC and golf from Queensland on Ten. Nine crosses to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first final of the Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket. Sunday night movies are Supergirl (Seven) and A Handful Of Dust (Ten).
Monday: Seven’s two-week coverage of the Ford Australian Open tennis begins. Ten’s 6pm news bulletin is re-named Ten Eyewitness News to coincide with the launch of the network’s new logo – the new-look network entering a new era as it recovers from the financial dramas of 1990 and begins its focus on a younger audience.
Wednesday: Nine presents a one-hour World Vision special, Reach Out For The Children, hosted by Rebecca Gibney and Brett Climo.
Thursday: (Much of the day’s pre-planned schedule is abandoned with the outbreak of war in the Persian Gulf and networks switch to continuous news coverage – in particular the Ten Network makes much of its connection to US network CNN, relaying the news channel through most of the day and continuing its regular overnight broadcast)
Source: TV Week (Victoria country edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 12 January 1991. Southdown Press.