The Great End of Year Exit!
Home And Away and E Street have both been hit by a number of significant cast departures. Network Ten’s E Street is going to lose original cast member Alyssa-Jane Cook and co-star Marianne Howard. Their characters, Lisa and Alice, head to Queensland to visit Alice’s mother following of the murder of Lisa’s husband by serial killer Mr Bad (Vince Martin). Their departure from the series follows the recent abrupt exit by co-star Melissa Tkautz. Meanwhile, Seven’s Home And Away is about to lose Emily Symons and teen star Rebekah Elmaloglou. Symons, who has also resigned from her other job as co-host of Seven’s Saturday morning show Video Smash Hits, is heading to London and plans to travel around Europe. Elmaloglou is believed to be planning to exit the soap by mid-1992, although a Seven spokesperson said she is under contract until the end of 1992. And Home And Away star Les Hill is believed to be negotiating an exit from his contract with the series.
Vizard’s hunch about Hinch
Despite the recent and sudden axing of his Seven Network current affairs show, Derryn Hinch (pictured) is confident of a television future in 1992 – and it could even be with Seven! Tonight Live host Steve Vizard is believed to have offered Hinch a weekly segment on the popular late night show, prompted by earlier guest appearances during the year. Despite Vizard’s comical send-ups of Hinch on comedy show Fast Forward, he has a great respect for Hinch and the way he handled the axing. “I think Derryn’s been a total professional,” Vizard told TV Week. “Most people are told of their demise and finish on the day. Derryn was told well in advance and has handled the situation in a very professional way.” And Nine Network’s Midday host Ray Martin has said that Seven has made a “huge mistake” in axing the Hinch program and wouldn’t be surprised if Nine made an offer for him. Hinch has confirmed that he has received a number of work offers, and that some of those offers have come from television. “I haven’t been out of work in 30 years, so it’s probably a good time to sit back and decide exactly what I want to do,” Hinch told TV Week. “If you ask me if I want to stay in television, my gut feeling is that I do.” But he is philosophical about his sudden axing by Seven. “The fact I think they (Seven) are -------- for what they’ve done is just my opinion. You’ve got to remember it’s a business.”
Murder, marriage and mayhem!
TV Week previews some of the storylines to occur in Australia’s popular dramas when they return in the new year:
- Chances (Nine) will finally resolve the mystery surrounding Alex Taylor’s (Jeremy Sims, pictured) missing 12 months – though not before he goes on the run after finding himself waking up next to two dead women, a knife close by and no memory of what happened. This leads to a chain of events that see him end up in a straitjacket and locked up in a detoxification centre. Meanwhile, his parents Barbara and Dan (played by Brenda Addie and John Sheerin) are having marital issues which may lead to Barbara having an affair with a much younger man.
- E Street (Ten) will be dominated early in the new year by the romance between Wheels (Marcus Graham) and Sheridan (Kate Raison) and the continuing reign of terror from Mr Bad (Vince Martin) – with Toni (Toni Pearen) potentially his next target. Meanwhile, Reverend Bob (Tony Martin) and Elly Fielding (Diane Craig) are still engaged but have not yet made any wedding plans. The series will also welcome the arrival of fashion designer Penny O’Brien (Josephine Mitchell) and Max’s (Bruce Samazan) cousin James (played by Scott McRae) and the return of publican Ernie Patchett (Vic Rooney).
- Romance will feature heavily in Home And Away (Seven), with Blake (Les Hill) entering into a relationship with a new character, who arrives in Summer Bay with a major problem. “This will be the strongest and most relevant story we have done,” according to producer Andrew Howie. Meanwhile, Marilyn (Emily Symons) finds a new love, and Findlay (Tina Thomsen) begins a relationship with a man who doesn’t meet the criteria that Pippa (Debra Lawrance) and Michael (Dennis Coard) expect. A love triangle develops that will force Bobby (Nicolle Dickson) to choose between her ex-husband Frank (Alex Papps) or Greg (Ross Newton). Home And Away will also enter a new era as it moves to a new timeslot – 7.00pm, up against Neighbours – and welcomes new cast members Cathy Godbold (formerly from Chances) and Debbie Byrne.
- In A Country Practice (Seven), Wandin Valley farewells Lucy (Georgie Parker) and Matt (John Tarrant) who leave the town after finally becoming parents. Luke (Matt Day) is also leaving to pursue a flying career, and Wandin Valley bids farewell to larrikins Cookie and Bob (Syd Heylen and Gordon Piper, pictured) – but will they be gone for good? Series stalwarts Lorrae Desmond, Shane Porteous, Brian Wenzel and Joyce Jacobs will be joined by newcomer Gavin Harrison. Meanwhile, on-again-off-again lovers Harry (Andrew Blackman) and Kate (Michelle Pettigrove) will continue their game of cat and mouse, and there will be a new love for Dr Terence Elliott (Shane Porteous).
- ABC’s widely-acclaimed medical drama GP enters the new year with guest appearances by veteran actors Willie Fennell and Queenie Ashton (pictured), and joining them will be Normie Rowe, Jeff Truman and Scott Burgess. Now entering its fourth year, GP will start the year with the murder of one of Ross Street surgery’s medical staff. Jackaroo star David McCubbin joins the series as the son of Robert Sharp (John McTernan), and Dr William Sharp (Michael Craig) will finish his career as a general practitioner.
- Neighbours (Ten) enters the new year with confidence, despite the recent departure of eight cast members and with rival Home And Away set to move into its long-held 7.00pm timeslot. Following the recent arrival of new cast members Melissa Bell, Scott Michaelson, Rachel Blakely and Andrew Williams, the series will soon be joined by newcomers Natalie Imbruglia and Simon Stokes. Recently-widowed Madge Bishop (Anne Charleston) returns to Ramsay Street and finds herself being chased by old flame Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver). Veteran actress Lorraine Bayly (pictured) joins the series as Faye Hudson, a fun character far removed from her previous more serious roles in The Sullivans and Carson’s Law. Meanwhile, Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis) faces financial ruin with the collapse of his business.
- The Flying Doctors (Nine) continues over the Christmas/New Year period – with one storyline featuring a controversial bedroom encounter between Guy (David Reyne) and Penny (Sophie Lee), spurred by her unfaithful boyfriend Steve (Paul Kelman), and a pregnancy that forces the evaluation of many relationships. Meanwhile, Jackie Crane (Nikki Coghill) faces a grim future when she’s accused of negligence following a patient’s allergic reaction to penicillin. Guest stars to appear in upcoming episodes include Gus Mercurio, Justine Saunders and TV Week Gold Logie winner Rowena Wallace (pictured).
Former 60 Minutes reporter George Negus (pictured) has been a vocal critic of the state of current affairs on TV – and now he has a chance to address the situation as the front man of Foreign Correspondent, a new program to start soon on ABC. “It’s because this program is different that I’ve agreed to do it,” Negus told TV Week. “If the ABC had said, ‘We want you to be involved in a new current affairs program which is a variation on a theme,’ I probably wouldn’t have said yes.”
A breakdown in negotiations have appeared to have halted plans for Craig McLachlan to take over from Jacki MacDonald as the host of Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show. Negotiations were believed to also include the option for McLachlan to become a fill-in host for Hey Hey It’s Saturday, but money wrangles appear to have killed the deal. Meanwhile, Jacki MacDonald’s new venture with Network Ten, a weekly lifestyle show, is believed to have the working title Saturday Night Live-Style and is set to go up against her old show Hey Hey It’s Saturday.
Former E Street star Melissa Tkautz is reluctant to talk about her recent split from the show but hits out at suggestions that her emerging pop music career saw her neglect her commitments to the show. “I don’t have time to ponder why I left E Street,” she said. “It was good while it lasted. I feel like I’ve done my part. I was always there, I always knew my lines and I was at every rehearsal and every studio call. I never let them down in any way. They should all wish me well.”
John Laws says…
”In what bracket could you place a movie like the Nine Network’s Hardbodies? It had no plot and its cast was comprised of talentless young people posing as actors. It had, as far as I could detect, no redeemable feature whatsoever. Set at a California beach house, it depicted groups of young people in various stages of half-dress and undress. When they weren’t gyrating to a truly awful all-girl band, they were gyrating in bed, getting into bed, or getting out of bed. Yet the fact that a TV station screens Hardbodies at 8.30pm, shows that there is a substantial audience who will watch it. Which proves that where the prospect of a few minutes of TV boobs and bums are concerned a significant section of the population – presumably mostly male – is willing to put up with anything just to get a glimpse of them.”
Program Highlights (Melbourne, December 14-20):
Saturday: Afternoon sports coverage includes Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket on Nine, and highlights of Grand Slam Cup tennis from Munich, Germany, on Seven. Ten’s afternoon schedule includes children’s programs Kelly and re-runs of The Henderson Kids.
Sunday: Sunday night movies are Eddie Macon’s Run (Seven) and Stroker Ace (Ten) up against the debut of two-part mini-series Atlanta Child Murders (Nine).
Tuesday: Jennifer Keyte hosts a one-hour special, Drinking Like There’s No Tomorrow (Seven), an insight into alcohol abuse amongst teenagers.
Wednesday: Nine’s day is dominated by the Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket, live from Perth, with coverage starting at 2.20pm and continuing through to 10.30pm – with a one-hour break for National Nine News and A Current Affair: Summer Edition. Melbourne filmmaker Paul Cox is the topic of the final episode of the SBS series Nostalgia.
Thursday: ABC presents live coverage of the Colonial Mutual Classic tennis, live from Kooyong, Melbourne. In The Flying Doctors (Nine), Penny (Sophie Lee, pictured) is locked in a tough administration battle with the hospital laundry staff, headed by Trisha (Colette Mann). ABC debuts four-part series The Cricket Archives, documenting a history of Australian cricket based on film archive material, presented by Jack Egan.
Friday: Ten presents the final 1991 episodes of ‘Til Ten, The Miraculous Mellops and Blind Date.
Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 14 December 1991. Southdown Press