Monday, 30 May 2011

Obituary: Jon Blake

jonblake Jon Blake, the promising young actor whose career was cut short following a road accident which rendered him paralysed with permanent brain damage, has died from pneumonia at the age of 52.

Blake was still a teenager when he was cast as Alan Archer in the 0-10 Network soap The Restless Years in 1977.  He later appeared in TV series Boy In The Bush, Five Mile Creek, A Country Practice and the landmark mini-series Anzacs.

He appeared in movies including Freedom, Cool Change, Running From The Guns and The Lighthorsemen. It was in 1986 while driving home from South Australia after The Lighthorsemen’s final day of filming that he was involved in the tragic accident, about 40 kilometres from Port Augusta, that led to him being in a coma for months and with permanent brain damage, leaving him totally incapacitated.

His compensation payout from the accident was partly calculated based on his estimated potential earnings in Hollywood.

For many years Blake was in the care of his mother Mascot until she died in 2007.  Recently, Blake’s son Dustin won a legal battle to take care of his father and also took his father to finally see a cinema screening of The Lighthorsemen.

Blake’s family have extended thanks to all the volunteers, carers and nurses that assisted in his care over the past 25 years.

A funeral is expected to be held later this week.

Source: IMDB, The Age, Network Ten, Herald Sun. TV Week, 19 September 1987.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

TelevisionAU Update 29-May-2011

ianthorpe FLASHBACK #58:
Although swimming champion Ian Thorpe (pictured) was still winning medals and breaking records in 2002, he took a brief diversion into television as the host of the Seven Network's Undercover Angels, a short-lived series that saw Thorpe's 'angels' - actress Simone Kessell, Katie Underwood (from the pop group Bardot manufactured by Seven's Popstars in 2000) and radio co-host Jackie O - performing good deeds for people in need.  The feel-good series was a good ratings performer for Seven but was never extended beyond the first series.  Picture: The Sunday Mail TV Scene, 12 May 2002

24 November 1975 (Premiere: Eyewitness Newshour)
30 October 1986 (Premiere: The Movie Show)
18 January 1988 (Premiere: Seven Nightly News, Hinch At Seven, Home And Away, A Current Affair)

30 April 1963 (Official Opening ABEV1, Bendigo)

New South Wales:
25 February 1980

26 July 1965 (Official Opening SAS10)
22 April 1983 (TV Week Logie Awards)

Western Australia:
22 April 1983 (TV Week Logie Awards)
20 May 1988 (Official Opening NEW10)

1 January 1988 (Australia Live)

Ben Elton: Live From Planet Earth (Nine, 2011)


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Seven-year itch for Spicks And Specks

spicksandspecks After seven years and 277 episodes, the team from ABC’s Spicks And Specks announced yesterday that the show’s current season will be its last.

Host Adam Hills said in a statement:

“I have loved every second of my involvement with Spicks And Specks, and especially working with Alan and Myf. We always said we wanted to leave when we were on top and while we were still having fun, and now feels like the right time.  We are indebted to our loyal fans for giving us seven amazing years on Australian television, and I hope they’ll hold the memories of Spicks And Specks close to their hearts.”

Team captain Myf Warhurst said the show has allowed her some great experiences:

“It's been a wonderful privilege to be part of Spicks And Specks. I've worked with an incredible team of people, both on and off screen, and miraculously, managed to keep a job on TV for seven years, on a show that people love.  I’ve been lucky enough to experience many great things. I've seen Frank Woodley's privates, been naked under a desk with Pete Murray, and met many of my childhood musical crushes. Life can't get much better than that, so this seems like the perfect time to wind things up.”

Fellow team captain Alan Brough said it was best to walk away too soon rather than too late:

“For seven years I've had a job where I've met Gourd Orchestras, Oompah bands and Status Quo. Very few people can say that.  I'd rather people were upset because we stopped a little early, than upset because we stayed far too long.”

Recorded at the ABC studios in Melbourne (in the same studio that hosted Countdown) the show began rather modestly back in February 2005, only a week after another music-based quiz show, RocKwiz, had debuted on SBS.  There were inevitable comparisons between the two programs, especially as both shows were hosted by comedians and comprised a three-on-three battle on questions related to music, but it was evidently clear that both have their own distinct style.

Spicks And Specks became a popular performer in its Wednesday night timeslot on ABC and was the springboard into a Wednesday night comedy and youth-oriented line-up for the network.  With the popularity that Spicks And Specks was attaining, it was inevitable that a string of similar team-versus-team shows would follow on various genres – history (ADbc), sport (The Squiz, The Locker Room, Between The Lines), television (The White Room) and popular culture (Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, You May Be Right) – though few have been a success.

More than 150 guests have appeared on the show over its seven years, representing almost a who’s who of Australian entertainment, including Marcia Hines, Jimmy Barnes, Jon English, Jim Keays, Renee Geyer, Denise Drysdale, Hamish Blake, Kamahl, David Campbell, Colin Lane, Meshel Laurie, Debbie Byrne, Ella Hooper, Cal Wilson, Pete Helliar, Fiona O’Loughlin, Toni Lamond, Patti Newton, Wilbur Wilde, Ian Turpie, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, Noeline Brown, Tina Arena, Dave Hughes, Amanda Keller, Geoffrey Rush, Caroline O’Connor, Kate Miller-Heidke, Shaun Micallef and Rhonda Burchmore.

The show was recognised this year with a TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program, and host Adam Hills has been nominated for the Gold Logie four times since 2008.  This year saw Hills launch his own talk show, Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight, which will return for a second series.  ABC is also in discussions with Warhurst and Brough over potential future projects.

The final episode of Spicks And Specks is scheduled to screen on ABC1 on Wednesday, 23 November at 8.30pm.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Obituary: Michele Fawdon

michelefawdon Michele Fawdon, actress in film, stage and television, has died today after a battle with cancer.

Born in London in 1947, Fawdon studied in the United Kingdom before coming to Australia early in her professional career.  Following guest roles in Homicide, The Spoiler and Spyforce, Fawdon was cast as Mabel in the pilot for comedy series Snake Gully With Dad And Dave, produced in 1971, but her big break came the following year when she was cast in the original Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

She went on to appear in many television productions in the years that followed, including Ryan, Matlock Police, The Unisexers, Flashez, Loss Of Innocence, Young Ramsay, Winners, The Flying Doctors, GP, A Country Practice, Marshall Law, All Saints, MDA, Fergus McPhail, Bastard Boys and City Homicide

Her last TV role was in the mini-series Killing Time which is yet to be screened in Australia.

Her role in the 1979 movie Cathy’s Child won her Best Actress awards at both the AFI Awards and the Australian Film And Television Awards (The Sammys).

Michele Fawdon is survived by partner Geoff Jenkins and daughter Lulu.

A memorial service is to be held next Monday.

Source: IF, TV Tonight, IMDB, TV Eye

Sunday, 22 May 2011

1991: May 11-17

tvweek_110591 Cover: Cher

The Great Ramsay Street Shake-Up!
A massive revamp of the Neighbours cast line-up is about to see eight characters written out with a swag of “young and spunky” newcomers to give the ailing soap a breath of fresh air.  Producers keen to boost the show’s popularity have also enlisted a team of consultants to oversee changes in set design, wardrobe and lighting.  While long-serving cast members Ian Smith (Harold Bishop), Lucinda Cowden (Melanie Pearson), Mark Little (Joe Mangel) and Beth Buchanan (Gemma Ramsay) have chosen to leave the series, others to depart will be Amelia Frid (Cody Willis), Ben Guerens (Toby Mangel), Miranda Fryer (Skye Bishop) and Ian Williams (Adam Willis).  Joining the series will be former Cleo covergirl of the year Rachel Blakely and former models Scott Michaelson and Andrew Williams.  John Holmes, Network Ten’s executive producer of drama, said the show needed a revamp:  “After five or six years, the show was looking very tired.  It definitely slid in 1990.  It went from being a boomer, especially in Melbourne, to getting same ratings the other soaps were getting.  It needed a fresh approach.  We need to get the young and spunkies back in and we’ve started that with Richard Huggett and Melissa Bell.”  But despite the young and colourful revamp headed for the show, Holmes said Neighbours will not become another E Street.  “E Street has a tougher edge, but Neighbours has never been about that.  Neighbours is a light, easygoing show with a strong moral base.  We’re not out to follow those tougher stories.”

colncarpenter Col’n finds true love… with Annie!
Actress and TV Week Logie Award winner Annie Jones has been signed to appear in two episodes of Network Ten’s Col’n Carpenter.  Jones, who won a Logie for her performance in Jackaroo, will play Alison Button, the first true love for Col’n (Kim Gyngell, pictured).  A spokesperson for the show says the actress is “delighted” to be returning to work at Ten, her home for several years when she starred in Neighbours.

Out of the shadows…
graduate Josephine Byrnes has only been acting professionally for 18 months but is already gaining the title Queen Of The Aussie Mini-Series.  The young actress, who won a Logie Award nomination for her role in last year’s Shadows Of The Heart, has since filmed two more historically-themed mini-series – Half A World Away and Brides Of Christ (both coming to ABC) – but is afraid of becoming typecast.  “I’ve loved the ladies I’ve played,” she told TV Week,  “but I think it’s time I did something contemporary.”

A Country Practice star Matt Day has told TV Week he was ready to move on from the long-running series until producers came up with an offer he couldn’t refuse.  “I’d been with the show two years, which is the longest run I’ve ever done,” he told TV Week.  In trying to keep Day on board, the show’s writers had promised Matt some radical character changes following the departure of co-star Sophie Heathcote, who played his romantic partner for a year.  Also, there was an increase in salary but Day says that money was not a factor.  “Money wasn’t discussed until after the decision to stay was made,” he said.

Burke’s Backyard host Don Burke, whose company recently spent 18 months producing a one-off program about the environment, is unapologetic about his obsession for accuracy, particularly when it comes to the environment – even if it puts him offside with the ‘greenies’ and bureaucrats, and the scientific experts whom he claims are ego or grant-driven.  “Much of what has been put out on the greenhouse effect has been unsubstantiated,” he told TV Week.  “What has put out on recycling has been terribly misleading.  If we lose the public by feeding them scientifically imprecise material, that would be a tragedy.”

melissatkautz E Street star Melissa Tkautz (pictured) has signed a contract to record three singles and an album for Polygram Records.  The 17-year-old will have her first single, titled Read My Lips, debuted on Network Ten’s Video Hits later this month.

John Laws says…
”To the delight – and surprise, I’m sure – of Nine, the first Sale Of The Century shows with the new team (Glenn Ridge and Jo Bailey) attracted healthy ratings.  So healthy, in fact, that in some viewing areas the opposition programs were out-rated.  Glenn and Jo did a workmanlike job in their first nervous week.  Naturally enough, Glenn lacked the polished zest of Tony Barber, but he showed enough to indicate that he may well be capable of assuming the departed supremo’s mantle.  Whether Glenn and Jo can succeed in keeping Sale high in the ratings is going to be one of TV’s most intriguing test-cases.”

joycejacobs Program Highlights (Melbourne, May 11-17):
Saturday:  Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson
, A Country Practice star Joyce Jacobs (pictured) and Phil Smythe are contestants on this week’s Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune (Seven).

Sunday:  SBS debuts a new documentary series Through Australia Eyes, a six-part series covering a wide variety of otherwise unrelated material – except they, as the title suggests, focus on life through Australian eyes.  Seven crosses to the Gabba, Brisbane, for the AFL match between Brisbane Bears and St Kilda, followed by highlights of the Richmond versus Collingwood match.  Sunday night movies are Breaking Point (Nine) and Cocoon – The Return (Ten), while Seven presents the debut of mini-series Family Of Spies (to be concluded the following night).  Nine’s late-night line-up includes coverage of the Spanish 500cc Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix.

Monday:  Ten presents a delayed telecast of the international event Save The Kurds – The Simple Truth, a charity concert to benefit the International Red Cross Relief Campaign for Kurdish refugees.  The concert includes performances by MC Hammer, Peter Gabriel, Rod Stewart, Sting, New Kids On The Block, Gloria Estefan and Chris De Burgh.

deniseroberts Tuesday:  In GP (ABC), Sister Julie Winters (Denise Roberts, pictured) feels she’s grown stale at the Ross Street surgery, and re-enters nursing – but discovers that nursing has become more demanding since she last did it.  She also gets embroiled in a nurses’ strike after a patient is endangered by hospital understaffing.  In Beyond 2000 (Seven), Andrew Carroll examines Indonesia’s fledgling aircraft industry and Simon Reeve introduces a cookware that allows omelettes to be cooked in 15 seconds.

Wednesday:  ABC presents Spinning Out, Anne Deveson’s documentary which gives new understanding of the most misunderstood of all mental disorders – schizophrenia.

Thursday:  Maggie Tabberer and Richard Zachariah return with a new series of The Home Show on ABC.  In Chances (Nine), Charlie (Kimberley Davenport) announces she is pregnant – but who is the father-to-be?  Is it scheming Alex (Jeremy Sims) or lovable Ben (Rhys Muldoon)?

Friday:  Some changes starting in appear in the Network Ten schedule launched earlier this year – the 5.30pm game show Let’s Make A Deal appears for the final time, while Star Search moves to the new timeslot of Friday 7.30pm with new host Mike Hammond.  Seven presents a delayed telecast of Friday night AFL – North Melbourne versus Adelaide.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  11 May 1991.  Southdown Press

Obituary: Bill Hunter

billhunter Bill Hunter, one of Australia’s most recognisable and prolific actors, has passed away in Melbourne at the age of 71.

The actor had been admitted to a Melbourne hospice early last week with inoperable cancer.

Born in Ballarat, Hunter went on to a career spanning 50 years with more than 100 roles in various film, stage and television productions. 

Early television roles included appearances in Hunter, Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, The Long Arm, Riptide, Dynasty, Catwalk, The Spoiler, Spyforce and King’s Men as well as appearing on multiple occasions in Division 4, Homicide and Matlock Police.

He later appeared in series including Prisoner, Golden Soak, Young Ramsay, 1915, Scales Of Justice, The Dismissal, Eureka Stockade, The Flying Doctors, A Fortunate Life, Stark, Seachange, All Saints, Pizza, Stingers and Two Twisted.

Hunter had an extensive film resume, including iconic Australian titles Stone, Newsfront, Gallipoli, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding, The Adventures Of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert, Australia and Finding Nemo.  He also starred in films The Shiralee, Ned Kelly, Far East, Street Hero, Crackerjack and Bad Eggs.  He had recently played the role of racing legend Bart Cummings in the to-be-released film The Cup, recreating the 2002 Melbourne Cup.

He also featured in a number of commercial roles, including recent campaigns for ‘Grain Wave’ chips and the AFL.

Source: The Age, ABC, IMDB, Mark Morrissey

Friday, 20 May 2011

Dixie calls it a day

dixiemarshall Perth television newsreader Dixie Marshall last night announced her resignation from the newsdesk at STW9 effective immediately:

“I have loved every moment of working for Channel Nine, but it’s now time to be brave and make a change.  After more than 25 years as both a reporter and newsreader, I’ve had enough of reading and reporting stories about tragedy - floods, fire, earthquakes and violence.

“I’m making a strategic career decision to move into another phase, which will allow me to participate in the changes happening within our state and city.  It’s a fantastic time to be a West Australian, with so much entrepreneurial spirit on show, and I want to be part of that and make a contribution.”

PerthNow reports that Marshall is believed to be headed for a role in public relations, despite earlier suggestions that she had accepted a job at Tourism Western Australia.

With a background in newspaper and radio journalism, Marshall joined the STW9 newsroom in 1984 and later moved to Melbourne to join the Seven Network.  At Seven she became the first female sports reporter on television, contributing to VFL/AFL coverage, Seven Nightly News, Olympic Games reports and co-hosting Sportsworld with Bruce McAvaney.

Returning to Perth in the early ‘90s, Marshall re-joined STW9 as a senior reporter and weekend newsreader.  In 2003, she began presenting the channel’s weeknight 6.00pm bulletin, first with Sonia Vinci – making them the first all-female newsreading team in Australia – and more recently alongside Perth television veteran Greg Pearce.

Last night’s bulletin ended with a tribute presented by Pearce and sports presenter Michael Thompson with a flower bouquet handed over by weather presenter Angela Tsun.

It is not yet known if Marshall will be replaced at the newsdesk, with Pearce to read the news solo in the interim.

Source: PerthNow, NineMSN

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Obituary: Bob Davis

bobdavis Geelong Football Club identity and former commentator Bob Davis has died at the age of 82.

A player for the Cats from 1948 to 1958, Davis later became captain and coach of the then VFL club.  He coached the team to their premiership in 1963 – their last Grand Final win for over 40 years.  He lived to see the team take the premiership in 2007 and presented the team with the premiership cup when they won again in 2009.

He was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 1996.

But Davis’ contribution to football wasn’t just on the field, he was also a passionate commentator and was a key figure in the development of television coverage of the game.  Joining the commentary team at HSV7 in the late 1950s, Davis went on to many years as part of the World Of Sport team and, with Lou Richards and Jack Dyer, presented the late night favourite League Teams.

He later appeared on Sportsworld and Seven’s Footy Panel before leaving Seven in 2001.

Lewis Martin, General Manager of HSV7, said that Davis was a television pioneer:

“Bob Davis was not only a great football personality on Channel Seven, he was a television pioneer and his legacy can be seen today in sports entertainment television.  He was and always will be a beloved member of the Seven family from who we learned a great deal.  Bob will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Margaret and the Davis family.”

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou paid tribute to the Geelong legend:

"He coached his beloved club to a premiership in 1963, but perhaps his greatest contribution of all was to take our game into lounge rooms every weekend, as television developed in this country, and forged a powerful bond between our players and our fans.  On behalf of the AFL and our clubs, I wish to pass on our deepest sympathy to Bob’s wife Margaret and his family, and the Geelong Football Club, and to thank them for Bob’s wonderful service to our game."

Source: The Age, Throng

Saturday, 14 May 2011

1991: May 4-10

tvweek_040591 It all started with Love Letters
Love has blossomed between two of television’s most popular stars.  Julian McMahon, formerly of Home And Away, and A Country Practice’s Georgie Parker have been inseparable since they performed together in the theatre production of Love Letters.  Although the pair (pictured) have said little about their relationship, their affection for each other was obvious at the recent TV Week Logie Awards and they are often seen out together around Sydney.  “We are not prepared to make any comment at this stage,” Parker tells TV Week.  “We are just good friends,” said McMahon.

‘It’s time to move on…’
Neighbours is about to lose one of its most popular characters as Mark Little, who plays Joe Mangel, has decided not to renew his contract.  A Network Ten spokesperson told TV Week: “Mark has been with the show since June 1988 and I think he feels it’s time to move on.  As with any ongoing drama, it’s the nature of the production that cast members have to leave.  Inevitably they are replaced by new actors who are hopefully just as talented.”  Little, who also formerly starred in The Flying Doctors and co-hosted ABC’s Countdown Revolution, is set to perform a season of stand-up comedy in Sydney and is also promoting the movie Nirvana Street Murder, in which he stars with Ben Mendelsohn.

Carmel’s ‘horror movie’
Beyond 2000 reporter Carmel Travers has returned from India, Turkey, the United Kingdom and South America, where she found the body-parts trade is big business.  “India is basically the organ bank for the rest of the world,” she told TV Week.  “It’s so easy to acquire an organ there.”  Travers’ story, to appear soon on Beyond 2000, says the lure of cash is leading to young men to sell their organs.  “Every young man has sold a kidney or intends to do so,” she said.  “The promise of 20,000 rupees (around $A2000) for a kidney is too alluring.  Eyes are worth 80,000 rupees.  But it is not just a kidney and eye trade we are talking about – it is a trade in skin, bones and ligaments.  Poverty and ignorance can drive people to do the most amazing things.”  Travers found that it wasn’t just India where body-part trading is rife, with certain operations to remove body parts for trade also taking place in the United Kingdom. 

will this week air the Film Australia telemovie Act Of Necessity, a moving story of a mother’s search to prove her dying daughter’s leukaemia and the spraying of insecticides are connected.  The telemovie is not scripted – the actors’ dialogue was improvised, the result of two weeks of workshopping the characters and researching by spending time with the real people of the communities.  The telemovie stars Angie Milliken, Mark Owen-Taylor, Wendy Strehlow, Scott McGregor, Paul Sonkilla, Lauren Hewett and Steven Grives.

pennycook E Street star Penny Cook (pictured), who recently left the series for an extended break, has just signed up for a ten-week guest role in ABC’s GP.  The guest appearance has slimmed any chance that Cook will return to E Street this year, meaning that the pending nuptials between Dr Elly Fielding and Reverend Bob Brown (Tony Martin) are likely to be left waiting even longer.

The Nine Network’s Chances this week sees character Eddie Reynolds (Dennis Miller) brutally murdered, leaving a trail of deceit, blackmail and fraud.  With seven key character suspected of the murder, viewers and even the show’s cast and crew have been left guessing who did it.  Six different storyline endings have been filmed, and even the actors don’t know yet which one will be played out.  The answer will be revealed on the series this week.

actofnecessity Lawrie Masterson’s Sound Off:
Film Australia has developed a rather expert knack of taking a social issue, wrapping it in a telemovie format, then simply spreading it out in front of us, no frills.  Previous efforts on thorny subjects such as custody of children, racial prejudice and the battle to keep a family’s head above the mortgage waterline all have been applauded and awarded.  The latest, a telemovie called Act Of Necessity (featuring Angie Milliken and Lauren Hewett, pictured), deserves the same.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, May 4-10):
Saturday:  Seven Network
sports commentators Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts, Kim Sporton and Jack Newton battle it out against comedians Elliot Goblet, Austen Tayshus, Mitchell Faircloth and Steve Haddan in Celebrity Family Feud (Seven).

Sunday:  Seven crosses to the SCG for live coverage of AFL, Sydney Swans versus Geelong, with commentators Drew Morphett, Ian Robertson, Don Scott and Cameron WilliamsSBS presents a delayed telecast of the annual Eurovision Song Contest, this time coming from Rome, featuring performances representing twenty-two countries.  Sunday night movies are Three Fugitives (Seven), She’s Having A Baby (Nine) and Great Balls Of Fire (Ten).

Monday:  In A Country Practice (Seven), Cookie (Syd Heylen) becomes ill when he hears the taxman is visiting the district.  Farmer Dave Watson (Don Reid) offers his property to recreational shooters, despite warnings from his son and ranger Trevor Jackson (Michael Watson).

tinaarena_0001 Tuesday:  Singer Tina Arena (pictured, with Jon English) guest stars in Nine’s sitcom All Together Now, playing the part of a stripper - ‘Vanessa the Undresser’ – hired for a bucks’ night.  In Chances (Nine), Eddie’s (Dennis Miller) blackmail over Connie (Deborah Kennedy), Barbara (Brenda Addie) and Jack (Tim Robertson) reaches crisis point.

Wednesday:  ABC screens telemovie Act Of Necessity.  In Hey Dad! (Seven), Nudge (Christopher Truswell) falls in love, while the rest of the household learn to live with a new burglar alarm.  Nine presents a late-night delayed telecast of the Sydney Rugby League State Of Origin game between New South Wales and Queensland.

dennismillerThursday:  The murder of Eddie Reynolds (pictured) in Chances (Nine) leads to the family being questioned by police.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  4 May 1991.  Southdown Press

1991: April 27-May 3

tvweek_270491 ‘I’ve had to become a little harder…’
At 18, E Street’s favourite girl next door Toni Pearen (pictured) has suddenly become a sophisticated woman – but her transformation isn’t just about make-up or a new outfit.  “I’ve had to grow up as a means of survival,” she told TV Week.  “I’ve had to become a little harder to ensure I don’t get hurt too easily.  This, after all, is a very cut-throat industry.  I’m concentrating on working hard and enjoying it while I’m still here.”  Pearen has also become aware of the growing presence of paparazzi, citing the experiences of former talent school colleague Rebekah Elmaloglou:  “Rebekah has done so incredibly well and success hasn’t changed her.  But she does have to cope with so much now – she can’t even walk down the street any more.  Can you imagine the pressures?”  Pearen also responds to rumours of a relationship with Home And Away star Mat Stevenson.  “That was amazing,” she says.  “Mat and I have been friends for a long time.  We met through Rebekah.  He didn’t have anyone to take to Hamlet, so he asked me to tag along and a rumour was born.”

michaelveitch Comedy duo fast forward to radio!
The Seven Network has given the go-ahead for a sitcom pilot likely to feature Fast Forward stars Marg Downey and Michael Veitch (pictured).  The new project, Without Wires, is set in a radio station in the 1950s and is being developed by Fast Forward co-star Steve Blackburn with writer Peter Herbert and Artist ServicesAndrew Knight.  “We love it… it’s a very strong idea,” Knight told TV Week.  “There are three levels of comedy in it.  There are broad elements of farce, talent quests and the music of the time.”  Production is expected to begin in May or June.

‘Absent friends’ mar Pippa’s big day
This week’s Home And Away wedding between Pippa (Debra Lawrence) and Michael (Dennis Coard) mostly goes without a hitch – but the return of Ben (Julian McMahon) in army uniform hoping to convince pregnant wife Carly (Sharyn Hodgson) to join him as he returns to the army is set to interrupt the celebrations.  Two uniformed military police arrive at the reception to inform Ben that he is under arrest for going absent without leave.  Some pleading from Ben explaining his marital situation leads to the officers giving him a reprieve, and Carly agrees to leave with him.  The scene marks the series departure of cast members McMahon and Hodgson.

The recession hits Neighbours this week as the Willis family are forced to give up their home.  Doug (Terence Donovan) and Pam (Sue Jones) are shocked to learn they may have to move out of Ramsay Street when the bank forecloses on their mortgage.  “It’s very appropriate at the moment with the way things are in Victoria,” Jones tells TV Week.  “What happens to the Willis family is a situation faced by many normal people.  People aren’t paying them and they can’t pay their debts.  It’s a vicious circle.”

brentstreetkids Star Search producer Jacqui Culliton and host Jeff Phillips are awed by the amount of phone-in votes that pour in after the Network Ten talent quest goes to air on Saturday nights – currently around 20,000 calls a week are received.  The series is about to hold its first Grand Final for the year, following two semi-finals.  One of the show’s acts through to semi-final stage is junior dance troupe, the Brent Street Kids (pictured).

Actor Cameron Daddo is in training for his role in the mini-series Tracks Of Glory, which tells the story of Australian champion cyclist Don Walker.  Daddo’s training routine, under the supervision of Olympic champion Mike Turtur, starts each morning at 5.30am with a mini-triathlon… bike for an hour, run for half an hour and then swim.  “If I want to look like a cyclist, I’ve got to cycle,” the determined Daddo told TV Week.

John Laws says…
”Like all comedy programs that are successful, Fast Forward’s biggest problem is going to be how to come up with fresh routines.  The first of the new series kept up Fast Forward’s reputation as slick and satirical, with little you could really criticise.  Whether it can maintain its previous high standards is anyone’s guess.  I hope it can, because it’s a marvellous vehicle for some very good local comedy talents.”

Program Highlights (April 27-May 3):
Saturday:  Seven
crosses to Carrara, Queensland, for live coverage of AFL – Brisbane Bears versus Essendon.

Sunday:  Seven crosses to Adelaide for live coverage of a twilight AFL game between Adelaide Crows versus Footscray.  Sunday night movies are Surrender (Seven), The Accused (Nine) and The Sicilian (Ten).  Late night sport includes Australian Touring Car Championships (Seven), San Marino Grand Prix (Nine), Australia versus West Indies in the Fifth Test (Nine), Sports Week (Ten) and the Sydney Rugby League Match Of The Day (Ten).

sandystone Monday:  ABC presents the debut of The Life And Death Of Sandy Stone, featuring the suburbanite character (pictured) portrayed by Barry Humphries, talking about life in Glen Iris in a series of touching and witty monologues.

Tuesday:  ABC’s live comedy series The Big Gig returns with a new series.

Thursday:  In The Flying Doctors (Nine), Geoff (Robert Grubb) collapses with a mystery illness that baffles the doctors who race against time to save him.  In Acropolis Now (Seven), is Uri (Rhys Muldoon) from Russia really a student, or is he a KGB spy as Jim (Nick Giannopoulos) suspects.

Friday:  Seven crosses to Nimes, France, for late night coverage of the Davis Cup quarter finals, Australia versus France.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  27 April 1991.  Southdown Press

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Hazel Phillips has got Talent

donlanehazelphillips It was a brief stroll down memory lane on tonight’s edition of Seven’s Australia’s Got Talent when actress, performer and former TV host Hazel Phillips entered the stage.

Phillips dates back to the earliest days of television, appearing in a TV talent quest before TV officially launched in Australia.  She concedes she didn’t win the contest but the ones that did have not been heard of since!

She went on to appear in early variety programs including the Revue variety series and the original Beauty And The Beast, both from Sydney’s ATN7.

But it was as the host of the 0-10 Network’s daytime variety show Girl Talk that Phillips scored the TV Week Gold Logie for Most Popular Female Personality on Australian Television in 1967.  In the same year she also won the Logie for Most Popular Female Personality in New South Wales.

Phillips also appeared in The Mavis Bramston Show and The Barry Crocker Show and dramas including Boney, Number 96, Ryan, Chopper Squad, Until Tomorrow, GP, Brides Of Christ and A Country Practice.

In 1989, Phillips appeared alongside fellow female Gold Logie winners Lorrae Desmond, Pat McDonald, Denise Drysdale, Jeanne Little and Rowena Wallace in the opening number of the TV Week Logie Awards:

Prior to the Australia's Got Talent appearance, Today Tonight screened a preview of Phillips' audition:

Her entrance onto the Australia’s Got Talent stage was met with warm affection and after her performance received a standing ovation.  And for Phillips, it was as if her career had gone full circle – “I thought well as I started with a contest maybe I can go out with one!,” she quipped.

And good news is she passed her audition and now progresses to the next stage in the competition.

Australia’s Got Talent. Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm.  Seven/Prime7

Source: IMDB, Australia’s Got Talent 
scottphillips55, oztvheritage

Monday, 9 May 2011

Boxer was a TV record breaker

lionelrose Australian boxing legend Lionel Rose MBE died yesterday at his Warragul home at the age of 62.

A champion boxer from the age of 15, Rose was the first Aboriginal to win a world title when he won the world bantamweight title in Tokyo in 1968.  He was also the first Aboriginal to be named Australian Of The Year.  He was widely admired by the sporting community and the general public in the decades that followed.

He was also a key figure in one of Australian television’s significant events of the late 1960s.

ATV0_convert Melbourne’s third commercial channel, ATV0, had struggled to gain a significant hold of the market since its debut in 1964.  The major stumbling block was that older TV sets and antennas were not compatible with the Channel 0 frequency.  Even if households had converted their older TV sets to accommodate the 0 frequency, as many did prior to the launch of ATV0, their antennas might also have needed modification or replacement.

In a bid to address this issue of reception, station owner Reg Ansett, noting the popularity of boxing with Australians and the intense public interest in Rose, planned to stage a world title fight, to be held in Melbourne and telecast live on ATV0, between Rose and British champion Alan Rudkin.

roserudkin The event was said to have cost Ansett around $140,000 (in 1969 dollars) – including $70,000 to sign up Rose – but the channel was confident that it would deliver a result.  “I’d be surprised if we didn’t have at least 50 per cent of the viewers… and probably up to 70 per cent,” station manager Max Ryan told The Age on the eve of the event.

The fight took place at Melbourne’s Kooyong tennis stadium on the night of Saturday, 8 March 1969.  The event attracted widespread media coverage, with four Melbourne radio stations also covering the fight, and national broadcaster ABC presenting a preview of the event the night before.  The BBC were also to provide live radio coverage of the fight, with a videotape recording of the bout to be sent back to the UK for local transmission. 

Nationwide interest in the fight saw even a rugby game in Sydney moved from Saturday to Friday night to avoid a clash.

atv0_roserudkin ATV0’s coverage started with the weigh-in at 11.00am on the Saturday.  Then at 8.00pm all eyes were on Kooyong.  ATV0’s evening coverage, headed by sports director Phil Gibbs (pictured, below, with Rose) with commentators Jim Shepherd and Rocky Gattellari, was being beamed direct for live transmission across the 0-10 Network and to regional stations across Australia.  It was also being broadcast via ABC in some remote and regional areas.

The channel had six cameras set up at Kooyong to cover the fight, as well as a roving camera powered by a “back pack”. 

The night’s program started with lightweight and middleweight bouts.  And then, the big one – a 15-round world bantamweight championship bout between Rose and Rudkin.

Rose won.

atv0_roserudkin_0001 The telecast was due to close at 11.00pm, including post-fight interviews with the opponents and the trophy presentation by Victorian Premier Sir Henry Bolte, with ATV0 scheduling a repeat the following afternoon.

The gamble taken by Ansett reaped a massive result.  The telecast made Australian television history by scoring a rating of 72, that is 72 per cent of all households.  At a time when anything above a rating of 30 was considered successful in a four-station market, it was a massive result and significant for a channel that up until then had struggled to get a decent audience.  It would appear that the channel’s reception dilemma was over, though it would still be a couple more years before the channel scored any consistent ratings success.

The ratings record set by the Rose-Rudkin fight would stand for another three decades before being broken by the Seven Network’s telecast of the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

The life of Lionel Rose was also enacted in a television mini-series, Rose Against The Odds, which aired on the Seven Network in the early 1990s.

Source: The Age, 6 March 1969.  The Age, 7 March 1969.  TV Times, 5 March 1969.  From The Word Go! – 40 Years of Channel Ten Melbourne, Network Ten Pty Ltd, 2003.  Herald Sun.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Obituary: James Elliott

jameselliott In last Sunday’s TV Week Logie Awards’ tribute to those that have passed away, there was one name that was brought to our attention.

Actor James Elliott, best known as “whingeing Pom” Alf Sutcliffe in 1970s drama Number 96, died in February from Lewy body dementia.  He was 82.

Born in Scotland, Elliott came to Australia in 1949 after receiving a postcard from his older sister who had been visiting.  He’d only intended to stay a short while but Australia became his home permanently.

He pursued an acting career after scoring a non-speaking role as a pirate in the movie Long John Silver in the mid-1950s.  He went on to feature in ABC radio dramas, and in June 1959 appeared in ABC’s television production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – the first Shakespeare play ever telecast in Australia.

Elliott starred in many early TV dramas including Consider Your Verdict, Stormy Petrel, Whiplash and Homicide.

He starred in the movie Ned Kelly in 1970 but his most famous role came in 1972 when he was cast as English migrant Alf Sutcliffe in the groundbreaking drama Number 96.  Elliott and Elisabeth Kirkby, who played wife Lucy, were with the show until their characters were written out in 1975.  They both returned for the 1000th episode special They Said It Wouldn’t Last in 1976, and again for the show’s all-star curtain call at the end of the final episode in 1977.

After Number 96, Elliott worked in the theatre but also continued to appear in film and television roles, including TV series Chopper Squad, Case For The Defence, Solo One and Bellamy.

He then quit acting and worked for twelve years as a tipstaff to a judge in the Supreme Court, but in 1995 returned to appear in a commercial with son James followed by guest appearances in Home And Away and All Saints.  He also made a brief appearance in the SBS comedy Life Support.

Last year, Elliott was among the cast members of Number 96 to reunite for the occasion of former colleague Johnny Lockwood’s 90th birthday.

James Elliott is survived by his second wife Elaine, their son James, and sons Greg and Doug from his first marriage.

Source: The Age, IMDB

Saturday, 7 May 2011

1991: April 20-26

tvweek_200491 Bye-bye baby!
The announcement of the pregnancy of Carly (Sharyn Hodgson) in Home And Away is set to lead to the departure of her and husband Ben (Julian McMahon) from the popular series.  But news of the pregnancy is not plain sailing for the young married couple.  Ben wants to go back to the army, but Carly is concerned that moving from base to base is not her idea of a secure lifestyle for a child.  Hodgson, one of Home And Away’s foundation cast members, is now planning an overseas trip following the taping of her final scenes with the program, while McMahon is heading overseas to look out for film and television opportunities.

estreet_0005 Reverend Bob behind bars
In a stunning turn of events, E Street’s Reverend Bob Brown (Tony Martin) ends up behind bars this week.  The trouble starts with his involvement with a young Dylan (Adam Lloyd) – a boy he discovered chained up under a house like a dog – and sympathetic media coverage given to his father Gus (Rob Steele) leads to a murder in Westside, and viewers then see the reverend locked up in a police cell.  But while Network Ten is giving nothing away about the outcome about Reverend Bob, the character’s fiancee Elly Fielding (Penny Cook) is about to exit the series – so the outcome may not be hard to guess?

Farnham TV bid!
John Farnham
is set to make an entrance into prime-time television, with the backing of Steve Vizard and Andrew Knight’s Artists Services, the company that produces Tonight Live With Steve Vizard and Fast Forward.  Negotiations are still taking place, but Farnham is expected to host a new variety show for the Seven Network in the Sunday 7.30pm timeslot.  “John can sing, he can tell a joke, he’s funny and he genuinely likes talking to people… what more could you want in a host?” Vizard told TV Week.  And Farnham is certainly no stranger to working in television – having appeared in variety, comedy and drama programs in the 1970s and ‘80s.  But even if the new show gets the go ahead, it may not appear for some time as Seven has just launched its new Sunday night game show The Main Event.

The producers of Nine’s Chances are about to kill off one of the show’s main characters.  The murder leads to seven suspects but the identity of the killer is being kept under wraps as they hope to create their own “Who shot JR?”-type cliff-hanger.  To keep even the actors and backstage crew guessing, producers have filmed six different endings for the mystery.

Former 60 Minutes reporter and Today host George Negus is expected to make a return to TV one way or another.  Negus has teamed up with former The Big Gig host Wendy Harmer for an arts-related program commissioned by the Australia Council.  The program has yet to be sold to any network – but Negus may be appearing soon on the Seven Network on a new program, tentatively titled Contacts, which is set to reunite families.  No decision on the new program has been made, but Negus says he is also in discussions with Seven over other program ideas.

maggiekirkpatrickemilysymons Former Prisoner and Richmond Hill star Maggie Kirkpatrick is about to make a three-week guest appearance in Home And Away, reuniting with former Richmond Hill co-star Emily Symons.  Kirkpatrick is set to play the role of Aunt Jean to the character of Marilyn, played by Symons.  “To walk into a studio again… it was like putting on an old pair of slippers.  It felt so good,” Kirkpatrick told TV Week.

John Laws says…
”Occasionally in the quirky TV world there are ‘sleeper’ hits – programs that bomb on their first run and then boom when re-run, often on another network.  The American series thirtysomething was so much of a sleeper for Ten last year that it was virtually comatose.  It had arrived amid a fanfare of publicity, and riding high on its enormous American success.  But Australians cold-shouldered it.  And so thirtysomething laboured away for Ten, picking up low ratings, and then eventually disappeared, for good it seemed.  But this year Seven has taken over the rights to the more recent episodes and thirtysomething is, finally, gaining the audience it couldn’t attract the first time around.  It’s out of the coma and looking bright-eyed.  So much so that Ten is now running its thirtysomething episodes again!  Annoyingly, this means that you can watch the early episodes on Ten and then much later ones on Seven, all within days of each other.”

Program Highlights (April 20-26):
  A team of swimmers taken on the Manpower boys in Celebrity Family Feud (Seven).

Sunday:  Seven’s afternoon of AFL includes West Coast Eagles versus Adelaide Crows, followed by highlights of Geelong versus Carlton.  To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Anzac campaign, Ten screens a one-hour documentary Gallipoli: The Anzac Legend, narrated by Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell.  Sunday night movies are Return From The River Kwai (Seven), Clara’s Heart (Nine) and The Return Of The Musketeers (Ten).

saleofthecentury_1991 Monday:  It’s the beginning of a new era as Glenn Ridge and Jo Bailey (pictured) take over on Nine’s Sale Of The Century.

Tuesday:  In Chances (Nine), Dan Taylor (John Sheerin) rescues daughter Nikki (Cathy Godbold) from a group of oversexed teenage boys.  In comedy All Together Now, everyone is under suspicion when Bobby (Jon English) finds marijuana in the house.  Brett Climo and singer Doug Parkinson are guest stars in this week’s GP (ABC).

Wednesday:  ABC’s Melbourne newsreader Mary Delahunty presents a one-hour special, Love’s Labor Lost, a report into what went wrong with the State of Victoria.  Delahunty questions what type of companies were being supported by government funds, the feasibility of their operations and how they were supervised.

Thursday (Anzac Day):  ABC presents live coverage of the annual Anzac Day March from the Melbourne CBD.  Frankie J Holden guest stars in The Flying Doctors (Nine).

Friday:  Seven presents a special Friday night edition of The Main Event, hosted by Larry Emdur.  The special screening is due to the show’s normal Sunday timeslot next week being occupied by a football telecast.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  20 April 1991.  Southdown Press

Friday, 6 May 2011

Network stars unite for Freeview

Freeview TomPersonalities from all the free-to-air networks have gathered for a new advertising campaign to promote the Freeview digital television platform.

More than 40 on-air personalities have taken part in the campaign, including Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Les Murray, Gary Mehigan, Tom Williams (pictured, right), Scott Cam, Chrissie Swan (pictured, below) and Kayne Tremills.

The new campaign - ‘Everyone loves Freeview’ – is designed to highlight the range of content available on digital television and to celebrate the success of the new channels that have appeared.

Freeview ChrissieSo far around 79 per cent of Australian households have converted to digital television and, since the advent of Freeview and the expanded choice of channels on free-to-air, people are spending more time per day watching free-to-air television – and almost a quarter of all prime-time free-to-air viewing is now via the new multi-channels.

Freeview CEO Robin Parkes acknowledged the networks’ collaboration in putting the campaign together:

“We are so excited to have pulled off such a complex shoot with all our on-air talent and the end result looks fantastic. This is testament to the success of the partnership between the free-to-air networks, having all the talent come together to support the campaign. The celebrities from all the networks had a huge amount of fun on the sets in Melbourne and Sydney which you can see in the commercial!”

The ad campaign kicks off with a ‘roadblock’-style launch, a 60-second commercial to air across multiple networks at approximately 6.27pm this Sunday.

Three commercials have been produced for the campaign and will air across all Freeview channels, including Community TV channels, over six weeks.

FREEVIEW 2011 TVC 3Freeview was launched in 2008 as a joint initiative of the free-to-air networks to promote a single branding for the digital television platform and to promote the features and channels that it provides.

Source: Digital Tracker, Think TV, Freeview, OzTAM

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Obituary: Noel Stanaway

noelstanaway Noel Stanaway, former Queensland television weatherman and local boating identity, has died from a stroke at the age of 76.

A long-time presenter at Brisbane radio station 4KQ, Stanaway was a weather presenter for Brisbane television channels BTQ7 and TVQ10 during the 1980s.

From the early ‘90s, Stanaway presented weather and fishing reports for Sunshine Television News, based on the Sunshine Coast.  In 15 years at Sunshine Television (now Seven Queensland) he never took a day’s sick leave.

He had a lifelong passion for boating, writing books on the topic and was commodore of the Mooloolaba Yacht Club.  For his contribution to boating he was awarded a British Empire Medal and an Australian Sporting Achievement Medal.

He enjoyed fishing and racing cars and also earned his pilot’s licence. 

A funeral for Noel Stanaway will be held in Caloundra next Tuesday.

Source: Seven Local News

Regional Victoria enters digital TV era

freeview_victoria The largest shutdown of analogue television transmission in Australia to date takes place today as Regional Victoria becomes the next region to go entirely digital.

The analogue shutdown is set to affect approximately 1.171 million viewers across the markets of Ballarat/Western Victoria, Bendigo/Central Victoria, Shepparton/Goulburn Valley, Gippsland/La Trobe Valley and Albury/Upper Murray.

The Mildura/Sunraysia market farewelled analogue television transmission in June last year, and some small towns in Regional Victoria have already been changed over to digital-only transmission.

In the latest Digital Tracker survey, covering up to the end of March this year, approximately 85 per cent of Regional Victoria households had converted to digital television.  Local retailers were expecting a last-minute rush for digital TVs and set top boxes as the changeover was finally approaching.

glv10 Today’s shutdown brings to an end almost fifty years of analogue television transmission in Regional Victoria – which started with the launch of Gippsland channel GLV10 on Saturday, 9 December 1961.  It was the first regional television station to commence transmission in Australia.

GMV6, Shepparton, and BCV8, Bendigo, followed on 23 December 1961, and Ballarat’s BTV6 in April 1962.

AMV4, based in Albury but licensed as a Victorian station, followed in September 1964 and STV8, Mildura, completed the rollout of commercial television across the state in November 1965.

abev1 Meanwhile, national broadcaster ABC had expanded throughout the state during the mid-1960s, starting with ABEV1, Bendigo, in April 1963.

For much of the next thirty years, viewers across Regional Victoria had access only to their local commercial channel and ABC.  The advent of aggregation in January 1992 led to viewers across Regional Victoria (excluding Mildura) having a choice of commercial channels equal to that of the capital cities.  SBS had also been expanded across the state during the early 1990s.

The Federal Government has made allowances for financial assistance to eligible households in converting either to digital television or, where digital television reception is not possible, to gain access to the satellite-based VAST system.

Viewers in locations where locally-based “self-help” transmission facilities are not being upgraded to digital may also need to convert to VAST.

For details on the digital conversion, assistance options or access to VAST, refer to the Digital Ready website or telephone 1800 20 10 13.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Regional Queensland gets digital deadline

digitalwidescreen Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy has announced the date that Regional Queensland viewers will lose all analogue  television transmission and will only be able to access free-to-air television via digital.

On 6 December 2011 all local analogue transmissions for ABC, SBS, Seven Queensland (STQ), WIN (RTQ) and Southern Cross Ten (TNQ) will be closed down.

In the latest Digital Tracker survey, covering the period January to March this year, around 83 per cent of households in the Regional Queensland market have already made the transition to digital television.

The Regional Queensland market stretches from Cairns and Far North Queensland down to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs and Southern Downs regions – representing a population of around 1,764,000.

Viewers in the Regional Queensland market who are unable to receive digital television via normal terrestrial broadcast may be eligible to access the satellite-based VAST platform, which will be available to Regional Queensland from June 2011, and some households may qualify for government assistance in making that conversion.

Queensland viewers in more remote parts that receive commercial television from Imparja and Southern Cross Television will still have until the second half of 2013 to make the switch from analogue television, and Brisbane and Gold Coast viewers will have until the first half of 2013.

Source: Digital Ready, DBCDE

Monday, 2 May 2011

The 53rd TV Week Logie Awards

karlstefanovic Today host Karl Stefanovic (pictured) was last night awarded the TV Week Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television at this year’s presentation of the TV Week Logie Awards.

It is the Nine Network’s first Gold Logie win since Ray Martin last won the award in 1996.

Stefanovic’s Gold win comes on the back of an aggressive marketing campaign by Nine which encouraged viewers to send in SMS votes to get him over the line.  Other nominees Rebecca Gibney, Jessica Marais, Chrissie Swan, Adam Hills and Asher Keddie were also promoted by their respective networks, but Nine’s “Vote for Karl” campaign was certainly the most prolific.

The Today host even mentioned the campaign in his acceptance speech.

The campaign attracted some criticism as being a “tacky” stunt as opposed to having talent judged on its own merits.  Seven news chief Peter Meakin told Crikey, “Karl’s a really nice guy, I regard him as a mate. But I just think this was tacky.”

Stefanovic’s Gold was his second Logie on the night.  Earlier in the evening he’d been awarded the Silver Logie for Most Popular Presenter, and in accepting that award made mention of his wife, remarking that '”she's also got the best arse I've ever seen.”  Not the most elegant of acceptance speeches.

The Nine Network also scored three Logies for last year’s Underbelly instalment, Underbelly: The Golden Mile, including Most Outstanding Drama and Firass Dirani walking away with the two New Talent awards.

Seven’s popular Packed To The Rafters won Most Popular Drama, and actor Hugh Sheridan was awarded Most Popular Actor. 

The Seven Network was also awarded Most Outstanding Factual Program for the special Trisha And Krishna: The Quest For Separate Lives, and the long-running Better Homes And Gardens won Most Popular Lifestyle Program.

Seven News won the Logie for Most Outstanding News Report for its coverage of the New Zealand mine disaster.

Ten’s reality hit MasterChef Australia, which returned for its third season last night up against the Logies, not surprisingly won the award for Most Popular Reality Program.  Ten also picked up awards for Bondi Rescue for Most Popular Factual Program, and Offspring’s Asher Keddie for Most Popular Actress. 

thecircle Ten’s morning show The Circle won Most Popular Light Entertainment Program, while co-host Chrissie Swan (pictured, far right, with colleagues Denise Drysdale, Yumi Stynes and Gorgi Coghlan) may have missed out on the Gold but did take the Most Popular New Female Talent award.

ABC collected a number of awards this year.  Richard Roxburgh won Most Outstanding Actor for his role in Rake, and Claire van der Boom won Most Outstanding Actress for her role in Sisters Of WarABC3’s Dance Academy won Most Outstanding Children’s Program, and Spicks And Specks won Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program.  The Four Corners story “Struggler’s Paradise” won Most Outstanding Public Affairs Report.

laurieoakes Jana Wendt appeared on stage to induct former colleague Laurie Oakes (pictured) into the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame.  There were congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, opposition leader Tony Abbott, former prime ministers John Howard and Kevin Rudd and ABC presenter Kerry O’Brien.

Performer Eddie Perfect and comedy trio Tripod presented a moving tribute to those in the television and showbusiness industries that have left us over the past twelve months.

Other music performances on the night came from Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Jessie J. 

Megan Gale, Andre Rieu and Rachel Griffiths were among the guest stars to hand out awards.

Credit to Shane Bourne for courageously taking on the role as host that invariably draws criticism, and succeeding to lead the night with good humour and without wearing out his welcome.

One aspect of the telecast that did wear out its welcome, however, was the “Logies Minute” segment which appeared at various stages of the night as advertorials for the telecast sponsors but came across as awkward and unnecessary and mostly went beyond their promised “Minute” of airtime.  Said sponsors might have got more value by the network just running their commercials.

Across the five major capitals the awards presentation averaged a preliminary overnight rating of 1,323,000 viewers over four hours – including both the red carpet arrivals and the Awards themselves – while the return of Ten’s MasterChef averaged around 1,569,000 viewers over its 90 minutes.

Nine won the night overall with a rating of 28.2 per cent, followed by Ten (18.9%), Seven (18.7%), ABC1 (11.8%), SBS1 (3.6%), GO! (3.5%), GEM (3.3%), 7mate (3.1%), 7TWO (2.7%), Eleven (2.4%), One (1.7%), ABC2 (0.9%), SBS2 (0.6%), ABC3 (0.4%) and ABC News 24 (0.4%).

logie_2011 TV WEEK GOLD LOGIE – Most Popular Personality on TV
Karl Stefanovic (Today, Network Nine)

TV WEEK SILVER LOGIE – Most Popular Actor
Hugh Sheridan (Packed To The Rafters, Channel Seven)
TV WEEK SILVER LOGIE – Most Popular Actress
Asher Keddie (Offspring, Network Ten)
TV WEEK SILVER LOGIE – Most Popular Presenter
Karl Stefanovic (Today, Nine Network)

Firass Dirani (Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Nine Network)
Chrissie Swan (The Circle, Network Ten)
Packed To The Rafters (Channel Seven)
The Circle (Network Ten)
Better Homes And Gardens (Channel Seven)
The Footy Show (AFL) (Nine Network)
MasterChef Australia (Network Ten)
Bondi Rescue (Network Ten)


TV WEEK SILVER LOGIE – Most Outstanding Drama Series, Miniseries or Telemovie
Underbelly: The Golden Mile (Nine Network)
TV WEEK SILVER LOGIE – Most Outstanding Actor
Richard Roxburgh (Rake, ABC1)
TV WEEK SILVER LOGIE – Most Outstanding Actress
Claire van der Boom (Sisters Of War, ABC1)
Firass Dirani (Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Nine Network)
“New Zealand Mine Disaster” (Seven News)
“Smugglers' Paradise” (Four Corners, ABC1)
Spicks And Specks (ABC1)
The Ashes 2010 First Test - Day One at the Gabba (Nine Network)
Dance Academy (ABC3)
Trishna & Krishna: The Quest For Separate Lives (Channel Seven)

Laurie Oakes

Source: TV Week, Crikey

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Alice Springs and Mt Isa ready for digital

imparja_logo Viewers in the capital cities may take for granted that their main commercial channels have been broadcasting in digital for over a decade, and that a range of other channels have since sprung up to offer some more viewing alternatives – but for viewers in the more remote parts of Australia those options are only just appearing.

Although ABC and SBS and their respective multi-channels have been broadcast in digital for some time, tomorrow (Monday) will mark the commencement of digital transmission in the remote towns of Alice Springs and Mount Isa for commercial channels Imparja Television and Southern Cross Television.

Up until now viewers have still only had the option to see those networks via analogue transmission.

southerncrosstv The day will also mark the commencement of the new third commercial channel operated by Central Digital Television Pty Ltd, a joint venture between both Imparja and Southern Cross to offer viewers with a regular Network Ten signal.  The channel will broadcast exclusively in digital and marks the return of regular Network Ten programming to these areas since Imparja dropped its Ten affiliation in 2008.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) advises that the commercial networks will be offering the full suite of digital channels as are currently available via the VAST satellite platform.

Alice Springs viewers will find their channels on the following frequencies:

  Analogue Digital
Southern Cross UHF31 UHF38
Imparja VHF9 UHF30
Central Digital (Ten) n/a UHF40

And Mount Isa:

  Analogue Digital
Southern Cross VHF8 UHF37
Imparja UHF32 UHF39
Central Digital (Ten) n/a UHF31

ACMA advises that a further 26 transmission sites within the Remote Central and Eastern television region will be upgraded for digital transmission of the above networks according to an implementation schedule to be submitted by the broadcasters.

The Remote Central and Eastern television regions are scheduled to lose all analogue transmission in the second half of 2013. 

Source: ACMA