Sunday, 17 June 2012

WE'VE MOVED -- please update

"Talking Television.AU" has been merged with its parent website "Television.AU - The History Of Australian Television"... both websites can now be found at one location http://www.televisionau.com


And the RSS feed address is http://feeds.feedburner.com/TalkingTelevisionau

Thursday, 7 June 2012

1992: June 7-13

tvweek_060692Cover: Tom Cruise

Shirl crashes out
When she decided to leave A Country Practice after more than ten years, Gold Logie winner Lorrae Desmond conceded that her character Shirley Gilroy had to be killed off but insisted that the death not be depicted on screen.  “You don’t get divorced in Wandin Valley,” she told TV Week.  “So for me to leave the series, Shirl had to die.  I didn’t want to do a Molly (Anne Tenney) – the long, lingering leukaemia bit, because I hate to upset children.  I like children.  The last thing I wanted them to see was Shirley laughing.”  The last viewers will see of Shirley will be farewelling her husband Frank (Brian Wenzel) from a taxi as she departs for the airport for a light aircraft flight to Brisbane.  Viewers will not see the plane crash that follows, killing all on board. 

Ian keeps an eye out for clues
With his new murder mystery show Cluedo about to debut, and with a second series already given the green light, as well as three sitcom projects in production or development – Let The Blood Run Free, Newlyweds and BinglesIan McFadyen is one of the busiest people in television. “Cluedo is not a quiz show,” he told TV Week. “It’s a game show, but a different kind of game show. It’s not based on how loud you can scream or how much jelly you can tip on each other.” It’s also a busy time for Andrew Daddo, who plays the role of Professor Plum in Cluedo, as he’s also scored a major role in the upcoming $3.7 million children’s series Round The Twist. “It’s been a bit tough to work the production schedules out because there will be some overlap,” Daddo said. “When Round The Twist came up, I jumped at it. But I’m also rapt that Cluedo is going again.”

theshiftingheartReturn engagement!
Neighbours stars Tom Oliver and Anne Charleston are engaged to be married in the long-running series – and it’s not the first time the pair have played a married couple on screen.  Back in 1968 they played husband and wife (pictured) in an ABC drama, The Shifting Heart.  “It was a TV adaptation of a play on the ABC,” Oliver told TV Week.  “It was a marvellous play and it was the first time Anne and I worked together.”  However, the on-screen union in Neighbours could be short lived, as Charleston contemplates the possibility of a life away from Ramsay Street when her contract expires later in the year.  “Seven and a half years is a long time.  But you just never know,” she told TV Week.  “It depends how you’re feeling at the time.”

Briefly…
There could be changes afoot for Network Ten dramas Neighbours and E Street, with network managing director Gary Rice putting the pressure on Neighbours’ producers Grundy Television to improve the show’s falling ratings, and expressing concern about E Street whose future is currently up for negotiation.  TV Week suspects an upheaval for both shows, with Neighbours to be shifted to 7.30pm and E Street re-worked into a half-hour format at 8.00pm, five nights a week.

stephenwhittakerThe cast of Nine’s steamy drama Chances have partied to celebrate the completion of 100 episodes.  Meanwhile, the series has welcomed a new cast member as Steven Whittaker (pictured) plays the part of Sean Becker, a friend of Alex’s (Jeremy Sims) who is set to threaten his corporate position.  Whittaker, who recently starred in mini-series Good Vibrations, contemplated having to tackle Chances’ steamy sex scenes.  “I gave it a great deal of thought but in the end it was some of those elements which were actually attractive,” he told TV Week.  “Would I prefer it to be mundane, dealing with slices of suburban life, or slightly off the wall, verging towards the bizarre?  In the end, that’s what made my mind up.  That’s where I’d rather be.  The potential is there for quite a bit of bed wandering, but at the moment there is more appetite than action!”

maryhardy_0001The life of controversial radio and television personality Mary Hardy (pictured) is being portrayed in a stage production, Mary Lives!, written by her brother, Frank Hardy.  Starring Maryanne Fahey in the lead role, the play also features Bartholomew John and Ron Challinor, both of whom were close friends and former colleagues of Hardy, who died in 1985.  “She was tremendously influential at the time, creating an awareness of me not only on the Penthouse Club, but on her radio program as well,” John told TV Week.  “Mary wasn’t just a female comic,” said Challinor, who was a writer for Penthouse Club in the 1970s.  “She sang, she danced, she told gags and she had great timing.  If she had done in the US what she did here she would have been a huge star.”

SBS is set to mark the 40th anniversary of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with a controversial British documentary, Queen Or Country?  The special, originally screened on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, raises the question of whether the royals abuse their public position for personal gain – looking at 10 cases where the line may have been blurred.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here
”Taking an old, tried and true board game such as Cluedo and adapting it to television sounds easy.  But obviously it wasn’t that easy at all, even for Crawford Action Time, a partnership between this country’s most prolific drama producer, Crawfords Australia, and British-based game show producers Action Time.  From initial impressions, the television version of Cluedo is a touch unsatisfying, right down to the fact that the smartest guy in the audience isn’t even asked how he reached his conclusion, and nor are we told how long it took him.  And perhaps it’s the “how long” factor that is most important here – not for solving the whodunit, but for the television program itself.  Versions of Cluedo produced by Action Time for other countries run only half an hour, not the full hour (less commercial breaks, of course) the show has been given here.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, June 7-13):
Sunday:
  Sunday night movies are Betsy’s Wedding (Seven), Robocop 2 (Nine) and Born On The Fourth Of July (Ten).  After the movie, Nine crosses to Paris for the final of the French Open.

Monday:  ABC launches a new afternoon game show, Vidiot, hosted by Eden Gaha.  In A Country Practice (Seven), Wandin Valley residents react when AIDS sufferer Max Blair (Felix Williamson) returns to be with his sister Trish (Linden Wilkinson) before he dies.  Healthy Wealthy And Wise (Ten) takes a tour of scenic Byron Bay.

Tuesday:  In A Country Practice (Seven), Frank Gilroy (Brian Wenzel) receives news that his wife Shirley (Lorrae Desmond) has died in a plane crash.  In GP (ABC), William (Michael Craig) is shocked to find that his old friend Geraldine (Jennifer Claire), for whom he has developed a romantic interest, is passively committing suicide.  Beyond 2000 (Seven) presents a special edition from the International Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Wednesday:  The Nine Network presents the first episode of murder mystery game show Cluedo, featuring host Ian McFadyen and guest star Rod Mullinar as the show’s first ‘victim’.  Seven presents a rerun of the British documentary Elizabeth R (originally shown on ABC), documenting a year in the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession to the British throne.

Thursday:  SBS presents early morning (3.00am) coverage of the opening ceremony of the Euro 92 soccer championships, live from Sweden, followed by the first match – Sweden versus France.  SBS’ coverage of Euro 92 continues over 17 days, with live coverage overnight and highlights packages shown the following evening. 

Friday:  Seven crosses to Sydney for live coverage of the Rugby League First Test – Australia versus Great Britain – with commentators Graham Hughes, Pat Welsh, Wally Lewis and Michael O’Connor.

Saturday:  Hey Hey It’s Saturday (Nine) presents a special edition from Warner Bros Movie World on the Gold Coast, as the theme park celebrates its first birthday.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  6 June 1992.  Southdown Press.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Southern NSW and ACT farewell analogue

digitalgetreadyFor around 1.5 million viewers in the southern and central western regions of NSW, including the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, and the Australian Capital Territory, 9.00am today marks the end of analogue television transmission after over 50 years.

The switch-off will affect all local analogue transmissions of ABC1, Prime7 (CBN), WIN, Southern Cross Ten (CTC) and SBS1 in Canberra, Orange/Central Tablelands, Wollongong/Illawarra, Dubbo/Central Western Slopes and Wagga Wagga/South-Western Slopes and Eastern Riverina, and also transmissions of ABC1, WIN (MTN/AMN) and SBS1 in Griffith and the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

Some small towns and communities in the above areas have already had to switch off analogue transmission in the months leading up to today’s shutdown.

Significantly, the inclusion of Canberra in this shutdown phase marks the first Australian capital city to lose access to analogue television and comes only days after Canberra’s Southern Cross Ten (CTC7) celebrated 50 years of transmission with a reunion of past and present employees.

primetimesEarlier this year, Central Tablelands station CBN8 (now Prime7) and Wollongong’s WIN reached 50 years of broadcasting in their respective areas.  The three regional networks – then Prime, WIN and Capital – made history in 1989 as the first to go through the process of aggregation, providing local viewers with a choice of commercial TV stations for the first time.

ABC had started analogue transmissions in Canberra in December 1962 and progressed through other areas in the Southern NSW area in the following years.  SBS has been broadcasting in Canberra and NSW towns Goulburn and Cooma since October 1983, and Wollongong since June 1985, and was gradually extended to the wider Southern NSW regions.

According to the latest Digital Tracker report, covering the period January to March this year, around 85 per cent of households in the affected areas have already converted to digital, although 97 per cent of households during that time were aware of the pending analogue shutdown. 

Households who have not made arrangements to convert to digital or any alternative platforms – such as the satellite-based VAST – will find their television signals disappear from around 9.00am.

The next phase in the analogue shutdown will be Northern NSW – excluding the NSW Central Coast and the Gold Coast – in November this year.

The markets of Regional Victoria (including Mildura), Regional Queensland and regional South Australia (including Broken Hill, NSW) have already made the transition to digital-only television.

More information on the analogue shutdown, including details on household assistance schemes, can be found at the Australian Government’s Digital Ready website.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

50 years of TV in Canberra

ctc_onair_0002Canberra may be the national capital of Australia and the hub for the country’s political decision makers, but it was the second last capital city in Australia to receive television.

Almost six years after television made its official debut in Sydney and Melbourne, television came to Canberra on 2 June 1962 with the official launch of CTC7.

The channel had been five years in the making – starting in 1957 when The Canberra Times and radio station 2CA agreed to sponsor an application for a commercial television licence in the national capital. 

In 1958, Canberra Television Limited was incorporated with a capital of £300,000.

The company was granted the licence for Canberra’s first, and then only, commercial television channel in November 1960.  The new channel – CTC7 – was to broadcast from studios located on Black Mountain.  Construction of the studio premises and transmission tower was completed in little over six months at a cost of just under £78,000.  The studios were equipped with two state-of-the-art Image Orthicon cameras worth £8000 each.

Test programs were being broadcast from April 1962 with the official opening by Postmaster-General Mr C. W. Davidson on Saturday, 2 June 1962 at 7.00pm. 

CTC7: Saturday 2 June, 1962
6pm Program Preview
6.30 Documentary: Establishment Of CTC7
7pm Official Opening CTC7
7.20 Preview: Future Programs and “On Camera” Personalities
7.40 Queen’s Birthday Procession at Duntroon
8pm The BP Super Show
9pm Michael Shayne
10pm Official Opening CTC7 (Rpt)
10.20 Sunday Program Announcements, Epilogue, Close
Source: The Canberra Times, 2 June 1962.

The new channel launched with a schedule of around 30 hours of programming each week.

CTC7 has had a number of different owners over the years, including Fairfax, Kerry Stokes and Charles Curran.  In 1994 it was bought by Southern Cross Broadcasting – now Southern Cross Austereo.

Just as it had a number of owners, CTC has also had many different identities on-air – including CTCTV, Super 7, Capital 7, Capital Television, Capital 10 TV Australia, Ten Capital and now Southern Cross Ten. Some of the presenters to have appeared from CTC over the years have included Karen Barlin, Frank Jones, Laurie Wilson, John Bok, Geoff Hiscock, Christine Kininmonth, Mal Grieve, Greg Robson, Sonja Allitt, Peter Chapman, Rosemary Church and Mike Larkan.

CTC7_0001 CTC7_0002
ctc7_0006 ctc7_0004

The arrival of aggregation in March 1989 saw Capital align to the Ten Network for programming and expand its signal into the Wollongong/Illawarra and central western regions of NSW, while the Prime and WIN networks from those areas expanded into the Canberra market to represent the Seven and Nine networks.

Capital continued to produce a nightly local and national news bulletin for the Canberra market until owners Southern Cross Broadcasting axed a number of local news services across its wider network at the end of 2001.  The actions of Southern Cross and rival network Prime, which had also axed a number of regional news services at around the same time, led to the then Australian Broadcasting Authority set up an investigation into the adequacy of local news coverage in regional areas.  The outcome was the adoption of a points-based system which obliged regional operators to meet a required quota of local news in individual markets – although networks like Southern Cross and Prime are meeting their obligations in most markets with a scattering of two-minute local news updates throughout the day in individual markets, mostly produced from centralised facilities.

The Canberra studios of Southern Cross Ten, based in the suburb of Watson since the 1970s, now serve as the master control for much of the wider Southern Cross Austereo television network – including Southern Cross Ten in Queensland, New South Wales/ACT, Victoria and South Australia, and Southern Cross Television in Tasmania, Darwin and central Australia – and the regional co-ordination of the networks’ digital multi-channels.

ctc7_0005

ctc7_0003

tencapital_0001 southerncrossten

Next week, just days after the 50th anniversary of the launch of CTC7, all local analogue transmissions in Canberra and the Southern NSW market will be switched off.

Source: The Canberra Times, 2 June 1962.