Philip Brady in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Philip Brady in 1965

Veteran radio and television identity Philip Brady has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Brady, who earlier this year celebrated 60 years in the industry, has appeared across variety shows including In Melbourne Tonight and The Graham Kennedy Show and hosted quiz and game shows Concentration, Everybody’s Talking, Password, Casino 10 and The Money Makers. 

He has also been a guest on shows including The Late ShowGood Morning Australia and The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

He currently co-hosts radio 3AW‘s Remember When and Nightline programs.

Other media identities in this year’s list include:

Gordon Bennett — “For service to the television broadcast industry, and to the community”. Bennett started as a cameraman for HSV7 and went on to be a producer of sports coverage for HSV and the Seven Network for over 40 years and also a producer of The Royal Children’s Good Friday Appeal.

Robert Crawford — “For service to the performing and visual arts, and as an author. ” Crawford was a writer for TV programs including The Mavis Bramston Show, In Melbourne Tonight and Australia’s Celebrity Game.

Tom Gleisner — “For distinguished service to the media and television industries as a writer, producer, actor and presenter, to children living with cancer, and as a supporter of young
people with autism spectrum disorders.” Gleisner was part of the original D Generation series in the mid 1980s and has written, produced and/or appeared in a number of productions since including The Late Show, Frontline, Funky Squad, The Panel, A River Somewhere, Thank God You’re Here, All Aussie Adventures, Audrey’s Kitchen, The Hollowmen and Have You Been Paying Attention?

Robert Gottliebsen — “For significant service to the print media as a journalist, editor and business analyst, and to education through
school governance roles.” Gottliebsen is a financial journalist who was a regular business and finance correspondent on television.

Chong Lim — “For significant service to the performing arts as a
musician, composer, producer and musical director, and to
the community. ” Television credits include Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, It Takes Two, TV Week Logie Awards and over a decade with Dancing With The Stars.

Anne Wills — “For service to the broadcast media in South Australia”. ‘Willsy’ was a regular in Adelaide television for over 30 years, beginning as a weather presenter at NWS9 and working across all three commercial channels in Adelaide, appearing on Adelaide Tonight, Penthouse Club, Movie Scene, Clapperboard, AM Adelaide, Eyewitness News and Seven News. National TV appearances included The Bert Newton Show, The Ernie Sigley Show, Beauty And The Beast and Good Morning Australia. Winner of a record 19 TV Week Logie Awards.

Source: Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/06/philip-brady-in-queens-birthday-honours-list.html

Southern Cross Television to become Seven

Southern Cross Austereo has announced that its Southern Cross Television brand will become Seven from 1 July.

The change affects Southern Cross Television in Darwin, central Australia and Tasmania and Southern Cross GTS-BKN in South Australia — all Seven Network affiliates.

Southern Cross News in Tasmania will become Seven News Tasmania.

No changes to staffing are expected and the stations will continue to be owned by Southern Cross Austereo.


YouTube: Southern Cross News Tasmania

The change essentially marks the end of the Southern Cross brand on television which has existed in various forms across the central and eastern states since being launched by Victorian regional stations BCV8, GLV8 and STV8 in the early 1980s.

Two years ago, Southern Cross’ regional outlets in Queensland, Southern NSW/ACT and Victoria all changed program affiliation and branding to Nine.

Source: Southern Cross News, TV Tonight

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/06/southern-cross-television-to-become-seven.html

Paradise Beach, where sand gets in the soap

The Eighties and Nineties sure brought some soapie clunkers to the otherwise top-rating Nine Network. After the demise of former hit series The Young Doctors and The Sullivans, each year brought the promise of a new arrival that would, inevitably, die a ratings death and play out its remaining episodes in the summer non-ratings period.

Taurus Rising, Starting Out, Kings, Waterloo Station, Possession, Prime Time, All The Way and Family And Friends were all hyped up but ended up with nowhere to go. Somehow, the adult soap Chances managed to go on for two years although towards the end it lost any pretence of being a serious drama and became almost a parody of the genre with some bizarre storylines.

After Chances faded away, Nine looked north — to the Gold Coast — for its next soap. With backing from Village Roadshow and international production and distribution giant New World Television and with assistance from the Queensland Government, Paradise Beach was to be Nine’s big drama hit.

Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 1993

With former Crawfords producer Jock Blair on board plus a strong line-up of soapie veterans (including Robert Coleby, Eric Oldfield, Andrew McKaige, Deborah Coulls and later Paula Duncan, Zoe Bertram and Michael Caton) and spunky newcomers, Paradise Beach was preparing for world domination. Also hoped to aid the show’s overseas prospects were the casting of Olivia Newton-John‘s American-born husband Matt Lattanzi, and Aussie actress Tiffany Lamb sporting a fairly dodgy American accent. The series had been pre-sold to cover 82 per cent of the US television market for its upcoming summer season and had sparked a bidding war between BBC, ITV and BSkyB in the UK. It was also sold to countries across Europe before one episode had gone to air here.

The series debuted in Australia on 31 May 1993 in the 5.30pm timeslot — seen as a crucial timeslot as the lead-in to the 6.00pm news and at the same time avoiding any conflict with established soaps Neighbours and Home And Away on rival networks.


YouTube: nathansawfordtv

But like so many before it, Paradise Beach failed to fire. It was dubbed in some press as the biggest soapie flop since Network Ten‘s Arcade back in 1980. The critics predicably didn’t like it. “It makes (Fast Forward‘s soap parody) “Dumb Street” look like Shakespeare,” and “It is overwhemingly awful, appallingly badly acted and, judged on the first clutch of episodes, rarely lives up to the sense of pace offered in the trailers,” were early reviews.

The Americans and the Brits soon lost interest and the show’s wooden acting and garish product placement (such as frequent plugs for Gold Coast-based Warner Bros Movie World) made it a target for parody.


YouTube: l00pes

Nine soon saw the error of its ways and bumped Paradise Beach out of its 5.30pm timeslot, replacing it with a revival of The Price Is Right. The series limped along in various timeslots for 260 episodes, seemingly on the back of a determined following in Europe.


YouTube: ilovemytele2000

But while it’s easy to dismiss and mock dud soaps, it’s fair to say that usually they provide a springboard to later fame particularly for some of the younger actors. Newcomers Kimberley Joseph, Ingo Rademacher, Raelee Hill, Jaason Simmonds and Isla Fisher all went on to future fame here or overseas. Tony Hayes, a teenager in Paradise Beach, has starred in more recent dramas including The Slap, Devil’s Dust, Seven Types Of Ambiguity and the new series Mystery Road. Jon Bennett is now Manu Bennett and recently starred in series Spartacus: Blood And Sand, Arrow and The Shannara Chronicles .

And TV historian, presenter and commentator Andrew Mercado got his first job in TV working behind the scenes on Paradise Beach.

Source: TV Week, 29 May 1993Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 1993. Super Aussie Soaps

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/06/paradise-beach-where-sand-gets-in-the-soap.html

Community TV granted two year extension

Community television is celebrating the granting of a further two year extension to its broadcast licences.

Communications Minister Senator Mitch Fifield has granted stations C31 (Melbourne), 44 (Adelaide) and WTV (Perth) an extension to broadcast to 30 June 2020.

The extension follows a recent round table discussion between the Government and the community television stations.

The sector was originally given a 2015 deadline to exit the airwaves and adopt a fully online platform — the only broadcast sector to be demanded to do so — but the Government has since granted various short-term extensions. Up until now the latest deadline was 30 June 2018.

C31 general manager Matthew Field welcomed the good news: “This is a huge win for the diverse community of passionate grassroots content creators across the country. It’s also fantastic news for the next generation of media talent, who hone their craft at C31, and for media diversity in general.”

BREAKING NEWS: @C31Melbourne Wins 2 Year Broadcast Extension!! For our full press release visit our Facebook page. WE’RE BACK BABY! pic.twitter.com/g4Ev6AuXYD

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/06/community-tv-granted-two-year-extension.html

Jennifer Keyte returning to Ten

Seven News Melbourne newsreader Jennifer Keyte is jumping ship to rival Ten, to anchor the Ten Eyewitness News First At Five bulletin.

For Keyte it is a return to Ten, where her television career started as reporter and part-time newsreader as well as host of late night show Nightlife. In 1987 she made the surprise move from Ten to Seven National News, which at the time was sitting at the bottom of the ratings.

She started as Seven’s main weeknight anchor in Melbourne, next to Glenn Taylor, in 1988. Two years later she was promoted to chief newsreader — the first female to do so for a major commercial bulletin. She also presented the news on Tonight Live With Steve Vizard.

Keyte left Seven abruptly at the end of 1995 and worked at Nine as a presenter on various projects before returning to Seven as weekend newsreader in 2003.  While at Seven she has also been heavily involved in the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, later becoming the appeal patron.

Keyte’s hiring by Ten has effectively demoted current newsreader Stephen Quartermain. Quartermain, a colleague of Keyte’s at Ten in the 1980s, has survived Ten’s tumultuous times over the decades predominantly as a sports presenter and commentator. He has been the main news anchor in Melbourne since Mal Walden retired four years ago.

Ten has said that it is discussing future opportunities for Quartermain to remain at the network.

Source: Ten Daily, Sydney Morning Herald

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/05/jennifer-keyte-returning-to-ten.html

Obituary: Cornelia Frances

Cornelia Frances, actress from many Australian dramas, has died at the age of 77.

English born and educated at a Catholic convent in Surrey, Frances’ earliest performances were limited to annual Nativity plays.

From the convent she went to drama school in London and scored some minor movie roles.

She then followed her boyfriend (later to be her husband) to Australia in 1965. She worked as an announcer on Perth television and toured Western Australia with the National Theatre Company. She returned to England to get married and then came back to Australia in 1970.

One of her first TV acting roles on her return was as fashion model Georgina Clausen in an episode of the ABC series Dynasty. She then reprised the role, renamed Cornelia Haysen, in the spin-off series Catwalk, made for the Seven Network.

“She can be hard and bitchy, which I’m not. At least I don’t think I’m bitchy. But she is so similar to me in so many ways that I have had no trouble playing her,” Frances told TV Week of her character in 1972.


YouTube: Classic Australian TV

Following guest roles in Boney, Ryan and Silent Number, Frances appeared in the film version of The Box.

In 1975, she played a bitchy character in a Reg Grundy pilot The Two-Way Mirror for the Nine Network. The pilot was not picked up for a series but the role led to her being cast by Grundy as the officious Sister Grace Scott in The Young Doctors.

The role of Sister Scott was to become one to define her career, although behind Sister Scott’s tough exterior there was some tragedy. Within the show’s first few months it was revealed that Sister Scott had been raped twice, once as a young nurse, and was left at the altar by a fleeing bridegroom. “It seems that every time she takes off her white uniform and gets dressed up, she either gets raped or left at the altar,” Frances told TV Times in 1977. She also defended her character’s gruff attitude. “Sister Scott is no bitch. She’s quite humane but is frightened to show warmth.”

One of the show’s most famous cliff-hangers was when Sister Scott accidentally stepped into an open lift shaft after giving a stern lecture to one of the young nurses. The character survived the accident with little more than a broken leg, but Frances was soon to leave the series after that storyline. She worked for Grundy’s again a few years later in Prisoner and Sons And Daughters (pictured with co-star Brian Blain) and then took on the recurring role of Morag Bellingham in the long-running Seven Network series Home And Away.

In 2001, Frances, no stranger to playing stern characters, took on the role of quizmaster in The Weakest Link. Her put downs of under performing or over-confident contestants led to the famous catchphrase as losing contestants were escorted out: “You are the Weakest Link… goodbye!”

Other TV credits included The Lost Islands, Tickled Pink, All At Sea, Homicide, Division 4, Skyways, Cop Shop, Pizza and Always Greener and as a presenter for the magazine show Peter Couchman’s Melbourne (pictured with Derryn Hinch).

Frances was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2017 and appeared on A Current Affair in a special interview earlier this year.

Cornelia Frances is survived by her son Lawrence Eastland.

Source: ABC, IMDB, Sydney Morning Herald. TV Week, 11 March 1972. TV Times, 5 February 1977.

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/05/obituary-cornelia-frances.html

Sky News, WIN to launch new channel

Australian News Channel (ANC) and WIN Television have announced a content sharing agreement between ANC’s Sky News Australia and the regional WIN network.

WIN will launch a new free-to-air channel, Sky News On WIN, featuring a mix of live and time-shifted content from Sky News Australia. In return, Sky News Australia will have access to regional news from within WIN’s own local news bureaus for broadcast across its Foxtel platform. WIN News will also have access to Sky News Australia’s national affairs content when relevant to its local markets.

More details on programming on Sky News On WIN are to be announced closer to the launch later this year.

Sky News On WIN will broadcast on channel 83 (53 in Northern NSW) in WIN’s regional markets in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, statewide across Tasmania and in the Australian Capital Territory.

Australian News Channel is a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp Australia.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/05/sky-news-win-to-launch-new-channel.html

TV Week Logie Awards — Nominations

TV Week has announced its nominees for the upcoming 60th annual TV Week Logie Awards.

The nominees for the awards’ highest honour — the Gold Logie — are Tracy Grimshaw (A Current Affair), Rodger Corser (Doctor Doctor), Jessica Marais (The Wrong Girl, Love Child), Grant Denyer (Family Feud, All Star Family Feud), Amanda Keller (The Living Room) and Andrew Winter (Love It Or List It Australia, Selling Houses Australia).

This year the publicly voted award categories go back to being titled “Most Popular”, and the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer is now for Most Popular New Talent.

The Most Outstanding awards for News Coverage and Public Affairs Report are now combined into one category, and Most Outstanding Entertainment Program and Most Outstanding Comedy Program are now gone.

Still to be announced is this year’s TV Week Logie Awards‘ Hall Of Fame recipient.

From Monday 25 June up until the end of the red-carpet telecast on 1 July, fans will be able to vote for the Gold Logie and other Most Popular award categories from the short list of nominees at the TV Week Logie Awards website: http://tvweeklogieawards.com.au

The 60th annual TV Week Logie Awards will be held at their new home at The Star Gold Coast on Sunday 1 July and broadcast on the Nine Network and 9Now.

Public-voted Categories:

TV WEEK GOLD LOGIE – MOST POPULAR PERSONALITY ON AUSTRALIAN TV
Amanda Keller (The Living Room, Network Ten)
Andrew Winter (Love It Or List It Australia/Selling Houses Australia,
Foxtel – Lifestyle)
Grant Denyer (Family Feud/All Star Family Feud, Network Ten)
Jessica Marais (Love Child, Nine Network; The Wrong Girl, Network Ten)
Rodger Corser (Doctor Doctor, Nine Network)
Tracy Grimshaw (A Current Affair, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Samuel Johnson)

MOST POPULAR ACTOR
Aaron Jeffery (Underbelly Files: Chopper, Nine Network)
Erik Thomson (800 Words, Channel Seven)
Luke McGregor (Rosehaven, ABC)
Ray Meagher (Home And Away, Channel Seven)
Rodger Corser (Doctor Doctor, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Samuel Johnson)

MOST POPULAR ACTRESS
Asher Keddie (Offspring, Network Ten)
Celia Pacquola (Rosehaven/Utopia, ABC)
Deborah Mailman (Cleverman, ABC)
Jessica Marais (Love Child, Nine Network; The Wrong Girl, Network Ten)
Julia Morris (House Husbands, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Jessica Marais)

MOST POPULAR PRESENTER
Amanda Keller (The Living Room, Network Ten)
Andrew Winter (Love It Or List It Australia/Selling Houses Australia,
Foxtel – Lifestyle)
Carrie Bickmore (The Project, Network Ten)
Grant Denyer (Family Feud/All Star Family Feud, Network Ten)
Tracy Grimshaw (A Current Affair, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Waleed Aly)

GRAHAM KENNEDY AWARD FOR MOST POPULAR NEW TALENT
Dilruk Jayasinha (CRAM!, Network Ten; Utopia, ABC)
Matty Johnson (The Living Room, Network Ten)
Sam Frost (Home And Away, Channel Seven)
Sophia Forrest (Love Child, Nine Network)
Sophie Dillman (Home And Away, Channel Seven)

(Last year’s winner: Rob Collins)

MOST POPULAR DRAMA PROGRAM
Doctor Doctor (Nine Network)
Home And Away (Channel Seven)
Love Child (Nine Network)
Offspring (Network Ten)
Wentworth (Foxtel – Showcase)

(Last year’s winner: Molly)

MOST POPULAR ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAM
Anh’s Brush With Fame (ABC)
Family Feud (Network Ten)
Gogglebox Australia (Foxtel/Network Ten)
Hard Quiz (ABC)
The Project (Network Ten)

(Last year’s winner: Have You Been Paying Attention?)

MOST POPULAR COMEDY PROGRAM
Have You Been Paying Attention? (Network Ten)
Here Come The Habibs (Nine Network)
Hughesy, We Have A Problem (Network Ten)
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell (ABC)
True Story With Hamish & Andy (Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: n/a)

MOST POPULAR REALITY PROGRAM
I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! (Network Ten)
Married At First Sight (Nine Network)
My Kitchen Rules (Channel Seven)
The Block (Nine Network)
Travel Guides (Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: The Block)

MOST POPULAR LIFESTYLE PROGRAM
Better Homes And Gardens (Channel Seven)
Gardening Australia (ABC)
Selling Houses Australia (Foxtel – Lifestyle)
The Checkout (ABC)
The Living Room (Network Ten)

(Last year’s winner: The Living Room)

Industry-voted Categories:

TV WEEK GOLD LOGIE – HALL OF FAME
(To be announced)

(Last year’s winner: Kerri-Anne Kennerley)

MOST OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
A Place To Call Home (Foxtel – Showcase)
Doctor Doctor (Nine Network)
Harrow (ABC)
Top Of The Lake: China Girl (Foxtel – BBC First)
Wentworth (Foxtel – Showcase)

(Last year’s winner: A Place To Call Home)

MOST OUTSTANDING MINISERIES OR TELEMOVIE
Romper Stomper (Stan)
Safe Harbour (SBS)
Seven Types Of Ambiguity (ABC)
Underbelly Files: Chopper (Nine Network)
Wake In Fright (Network Ten)

(Last year’s winner: The Kettering Incident)

MOST OUTSTANDING ACTOR
Damon Herriman (Lance Gowland, Riot, ABC)
Ewen Leslie (Ryan Gallagher, Safe Harbour, SBS)
Hugo Weaving (Alex Klima, Seven Types Of Ambiguity, ABC)
Lachy Hulme (Blake Farron, Romper Stomper, Stan)
Rodger Corser (Hugh Knight, Doctor Doctor, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Henry Nixon)

MOST OUTSTANDING ACTRESS
Elisabeth Moss (Robin Griffin, Top Of The Lake: China Girl, Foxtel – BBC First)
Kate Atkinson (Vera Bennett, Wentworth, Foxtel – Showcase)
Kate Box (Marg McCann, Riot, ABC)
Leeanna Walsman (Bree Gallagher, Safe Harbour, SBS)
Pamela Rabe (Joan Ferguson, Wentworth, Foxtel – Showcase)

(Last year’s winner: Anna Torv)

MOST OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
Aaron Pedersen (Frank Gibbs, A Place To Call Home, Foxtel – Showcase)
Alex Dimitriades (Doc Tydon, Wake In Fright, Network Ten)
Anthony Hayes (Mitch, Seven Types Of Ambiguity, ABC)
David Wenham (Jago Zoric, Romper Stomper, Stan)
Hazem Shammas (Ismail Al-Bayati, Safe Harbour, SBS)

(Last year’s winner: Damon Herriman)

MOST OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Celia Ireland (Liz Birdsworth, Wentworth, Foxtel – Showcase)
Elsa Cocquerel (Michelle, Wolf Creek, Stan)
Jacqueline McKenzie (Gabe Jordan, Romper Stomper, Stan)
Jenni Baird (Regina Standish, A Place To Call Home, Foxtel – Showcase)
Nicole Chamoun (Zahra Al-Bayati, Safe Harbour, SBS)

(Last year’s winner: Debra Lawrance)

MOST OUTSTANDING CHILDREN’S PROGRAM
Crash The Bash (Foxtel – Nickelodeon)
Get Arty (Channel Seven)
Grace Beside Me (NITV)
Little J & Big Cuz (NITV)
Mustangs FC (ABC ME)

(Last year’s winner: Little Lunch: The Nightmare Before Graduation)

MOST OUTSTANDING SPORTS COVERAGE
2017 AFL Grand Final (Channel Seven)
2017 Australian Open Men’s Final (Channel Seven)
Bathurst 1000 (Network Ten)
Jeff Horn v Manny Pacquiao (Foxtel – MAIN EVENT)
The 2017/2018 Ashes (Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Rio 2016 Olympic Games)

MOST OUTSTANDING NEWS COVERAGE OR PUBLIC AFFAIRS REPORT
“Don Burke Special” (A Current Affair, Nine Network)
“Escape From Salt Creek” (60 Minutes, Nine Network)
“Haiti Uncovered” (Sunday Night, Channel Seven)
“Pumped” (Four Corners, ABC)
“The Siege” (Four Corners, ABC)

(Last year’s winners: “Sky News Election Coverage 2016” (News Coverage); “Australia’s Shame”, Four Corners (Public Affairs Report))

MOST OUTSTANDING FACTUAL OR DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM
Michael Hutchence: The Last Rockstar (Channel Seven)
Struggle Street (SBS)
The Queen & Zak Grieve (Foxtel – Crime + Investigation)
War On Waste (ABC)
You Can’t Ask That (ABC)

Last year’s winner: Conviction

Source: TV Week

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/05/tv-week-logie-awards-nominations-6.html

Fan Cards of GTV9

Some rare TV memorabilia from the 1960s.

A range of fan cards from Melbourne’s GTV9 featuring some of the station’s star line-up.

Given the ages of some of the presenters, the cards are estimated to date to 1965.

#3 Miffy Marsh

#4 Geoff Corke

#5 Ron Blaskett

#6 Jack Little

#7 Maurie and Wayne Kirby

#12 Philip Brady

#14 Joff Ellen

#15 John Royle

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/05/fan-cards-of-gtv9.html

Seven’s Motel promised daytime sizzle

Brenda Senders, Noel Trevarthen, Walter Sullivan, John Faasen

The Seven Network‘s bold — and third — attempt to produce a daytime soap opera was met with comparisons to popular overseas dramas Peyton Place and Coronation Street.

With a generous budget and a cast list of 16, Motel was a serious attempt to crack the daytime market as an alternative to cheaper game and chat shows. It came some years after Seven’s earlier attempts at producing a daytime serial — the short-lived Autumn Affair (1958-59) and The Story Of Peter Grey (1961)  — and only months after ABC had settled in with its rural drama Bellbird.


YouTube: Classic Australian TV

Motel was a half-hour weekday series produced at the studios of ATN7 in Sydney. It told the story of the comings and goings of the Greenfields Motel, a fictional motel located somewhere between Sydney and Canberra. Despite the country location, the proximity to the two cities gave the show some licence to pursue characters in politics and to reveal some scandal. TV Week‘s preview of the series promised “scorching stuff” and “scenes guaranteed to rattle the censor and shock the viewers”. Columnist Ann Gillison summed it up: “All in, Motel caters, as every serial should, for our delight in gossip and scandal and our fascination with how “the others” live and, as any serial must, provide regular escapist distraction.”

In light of what was to come with sexy prime time soaps in the 1970s, Motel was probably quite tame although at the time the benchmark for Aussie serials had been set with Bellbird, so the bar for controversy was pretty low.

Jill Forster and Noel Trevarthen

The motel in the series was run by middle-aged couple Hal and Mary Gillian (Walter Sullivan and Brenda Senders). Their eldest son Rod (New Zealand actor Noel Trevarthen) ran an advertising agency but was somewhat dependent on his wife, Gaye (Jill Forster), the daughter of a wealthy businessman (Tony Bazell). Gaye was the typical soapie schemer who was frequently unfaithful to her husband.

The Gillians’ eldest daughter Liz (Gae Anderson) was secretary to a government minister, Paul Drennan (Brian James), and was also his mistress.

Harold Hopkins and Maggie Gray

The younger Gillian son, Chris (Gregory Ross), was the rebellious teenager, mixing with the local gang led by Bruce Jackson (Harold Hopkins). Somewhat more stable was the second Gillian daughter, Sue (Janne Walmsley), married to the local chemist (played by Jack Thompson in his first TV acting role).

Other characters were motel employees Maria (Margot Reid) and Janie (Maggie Gray), motel owner Alec Evans (John Faasen) and church minister Reverend Larcombe (Ross Higgins).

Margot Reid and Gregory Ross

But the show’s stand out was the local matriarch Bunty Creighton, played by 80-year Enid Lorimer, making her Australian TV debut. English-born Lorimer was an actress in Australian radio serials as far back as the 1920s. In the early 1950s, with television soon to come to Australia, she went back to her native England to learn television and stayed for over 10 years before returning to Australia in time for her 80th birthday.

Bunty was described as “acid-tongued, straight-shooting, opinionated, nosy and everything that goes to make up a character we will love, dislike and respect”. She was wealthy, sharp-witted and manipulative. Very much the typical soap opera nasty and in some respects compared to cantankerous Ena Sharples (Violet Carson) from Coronation Street.

Enid Lorimer

Despite production being based in Sydney, Motel had its debut in Melbourne — appearing first on HSV7 on 13 May 1968 in tandem with another new Australian show, Marriage Confidential, which presented re-enactments of marriage counselling sessions loosely based on real-life cases. Motel was scheduled for 12.30pm to avoid any clash with Nine’s US soapie Days Of Our Lives. Motel then debuted in Sydney two weeks later and Brisbane in June. It was also picked up by some regional stations but despite its growing coverage it never really caught on with the viewers and was quietly dropped after 132 episodes.

Some of the actors certainly went on to greater things. Jack Thompson went on to a hugely successful career, particularly in movies, both in Australia and overseas.

Noel Trevarthen, Jill Forster, Greg Ross, Brian James, Enid Lorimer, Ross Higgins and Harold Hopkins all continued to appear in later TV series and productions.

The Seven Network had two other attempts to have an Australian-made daytime drama series. Until Tomorrow, starring Hazel Phillips, Babette Stephens and Barry Otto, was produced in Brisbane for the Reg Grundy Organisation but had only a short life in 1975, and The Power The Passion was produced at HSV7 in Melbourne for a brief run in 1989.

It seems Seven finally got the hint and has not pursued the ambition of a daytime series ever since.

Source: TV Week, 1 June 1968, 8 June 1968, 15 June 1968, 22 June 1968. Super Aussie Soaps

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/05/sevens-motel-promised-daytime-sizzle.html