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NBN to relocate studios

Regional broadcaster NBN is about to move premises after almost 60 years of operation from Mosbri Crescent, Newcastle.

The Northern NSW outlet for the Nine Network will be shifting to a new studio and offices on Honeysuckle Drive (pictured above) by mid-2021.

The new studio will allow NBN to update to new technology and continue production of NBN News from Newcastle.

The Mosbri Crescent studios were opened in March 1962, when NBN3 launched as New South Wales’ first regional TV station.

As well as hosting thousands of news bulletins over almost 60 years, the Mosbri Crescent studios have also been home to variety shows, telethons, women’s and children’s shows and commercials as well as providing production support to some capital city network programs in the 1970s.

NBN became an affiliate of the Nine Network with the advent of aggregation in Northern New South Wales in 1991. It was purchased by Nine for $250 million in 2007.

Source: NBN

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Penthouse Club: Mary Hardy, trots and Tattslotto

YouTube: kylegalley

For almost a decade, watching The Penthouse Club was a Saturday night tradition in Melbourne.

Debuting on HSV7 on 10 October 1970, it was a variety show with intermittent live crosses to the Saturday night harness racing and would link up segments with Sydney’s The Club Show with Rex Mossop.

TV Times, 7 October 1970

It was a rough format to work with, lacking in sophistication and, with the barest of budgets, didn’t have much emphasis on production values. However, despite its limitations it was the chemistry and popularity of its two hosts — football commentator Michael Williamson and comedian and radio host Mary Hardy — that made it a winner with Melbourne viewers. Its success led to the format being locally adopted by Seven Network stations in other cities.

With variety on the way out at rival channel Nine, Penthouse provided an outlet for local and visiting performers and gave viewers a welcome respite from the usually slim pickings of Saturday night TV.

Michael Williamson, Mary Hardy

Penthouse Club also added another string to its bow when it began hosting the weekly Tattslotto draw from 1973.

In August 1974, Hardy caused controversy when she accidentally dropped the f-bomb in one show when a segment did not go entirely to plan. She was suspended from appearing on television for a week.

It was not to be the first time the comedian with a quick wit landed in hot water. A few months later a similar incident saw the Australian Broadcasting Control Board take action and asked Hardy to “show cause why an order should not be made prohibiting or placing restrictions on her from rendering items for radio or television.”

Following assurances made by Hardy, through her solicitors, that no such incident would occur again, the Board decided not to take further action but her activities were to be further supervised by Seven.

She was remorseful for her on-camera outbursts. “There’s no excuse. It should not happen,” she later told TV Times. “I know that if my mother were here she’d have been very disappointed in me.”

Trudy Jaworski

In January 1975, former children’s TV presenter Trudy Jaworski, filling in for Hardy, also attracted the Board’s attention to the show when she discussed a news report about a “love diet”. According to the Board, the discussion was deemed to have been “in a manner which was considered by the Board to exceed tolerable bounds of good taste.”

Jaworski defended her conduct. “It was all part of some very funny discussion between Tony Barber and myself,” she told TV Week. “Apparently it was my reference to love making to which some people took exception, which is really quite amazing because, after all, it is an adult show.” But Seven, still sensitive from the fallout from Hardy’s on-air gaffes, ended up dropping Jaworski from making further appearances on the show.

Mary Hardy, Bill Collins

In 1977, Williamson retired from broadcasting and was replaced by a rotation of various hosts including Bill Collins, Jimmy Hannan and Ernie Sigley, before Sigley was ultimately appointed co-host with Hardy.

In early 1978, Hardy was surprised on set when she was greeted by Roger Climpson, host of This Is Your Life, with an episode of his show presented in her honour.

Ernie Sigley, Roger Climpson, Mary Hardy

Hardy, who had won six Logies as Most Popular Female Personality in Victoria during the course of Penthouse Club, ended up leaving the show at the end of 1978. She denied that her sudden exit from the show was caused by any rift. “At no time was I rattled — not with Mike Williamson, Bill Collins, or Ernie,” she told Scene in 1979. “If you can handle the likes of Graham Kennedy, Mike Walsh and Noel Ferrier, then nobody can faze you.”

Mary Hardy, Ernie Sigley

Sigley also denied industry gossip that he and Hardy did not get along. “I had nothing to do with Mary leaving Penthouse. I stress that we didn’t fight — on or off the cameras,” he told Scene. “Despite rumours of of bitter behind-the-scenes bickering and jealousy between us, the fact is that we got on rather well. The first I knew of Mary’s move was when Channel 7 rang me in Adelaide.” (As well as hosting Penthouse in Melbourne, he had also been commuting to Adelaide to host a local variety show there)

With its popular co-host gone, Penthouse Club was revamped going into 1979 with a new title, Saturday Night Live, and Sigley joined by a new co-host, Belinda Leigh.

The new-look Saturday Night Live failed to match the popularity of its earlier years and was quietly axed by the end of 1979.

The format of Penthouse/Saturday Night Live made a return to TV in 1980, when ATV10 launched The Saturday Night Show (pictured), with Williamson reprising his role as host, and accompanied by Annette Allison. The show was to be short-lived.

Source: TV Times, 7 October 1970, 8 February 1975, 12 April 1975, 6 May 1978. TV Week, 8 February 1975. TV Guide, 22 September 1973. Scene, 16 September 1978, 18 November 1978, 27 January 1979. The 27th Annual Report 1974-75, Australian Broadcasting Control Board.

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Classic TV Guides: The Sammys

In 1976, the Variety Club of Australia, TV Times and the Seven Network launched The Australian TV And Film Awards, nicknamed “The Sammys”. The name was derived from the trophy’s design in the shape of a seal — Sammy the Seal!

The awards were a rival to the long-running TV Week Logie Awards, which were shown annually on the Nine Network.

The first presentation of the Sammys was held at the Sydney Opera House on 7 October 1976 and hosted by David Frost. Supporting Frost in presenting awards included Paul Hogan, Jack Thompson, Pat McDonald, Stuart Wagstaff, Digby Wolfe, Bobby Limb, Dawn Lake, Jacki Weaver and English actress Susan Penhaligon.

There were around 50 award categories, though thankfully for viewers only a selection were covered in the two-hour telecast. Most of the awards were judged by a panel representing various industry groups, unions and associations.

The major awards for the night were the Gold Sammys, awarded to both a male and female. The inaugural Gold winners were Garry McDonald (The Norman Gunston Show) and Helen Morse (from the film Caddie).

TV Times readers also had the opportunity to vote for three TV categories — Most Popular Personality, Most Popular Series and Most Popular Overseas Program. The inaugural winners of these categories were Mike Walsh, Number 96 and Starsky And Hutch respectively.

Although TV Times ceased publication in 1980, the Sammys continued in 1980 and 1981 before being quietly retired.

The first presentation of The Australian Television And Film Awards: The Sammys is among the latest addition of Classic TV Guides:

Source: TV Times, 2 October 1976, 16 October 1976, 23 October 1976.

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AACTA puts the call out for votes

While the pandemic has taken out the TV Week Logie Awards for this year, the AACTA Awards is taking a novel approach in re-imagining its awards for 2020.

To celebrate the upcoming 10th AACTA Awards, the Australian Academy of Cinema Arts (AACTA) has announced plans to include an audience-voted component to celebrate the last ten years of Australian film and television production.

Voting for the AACTA Audience Choice Awards is now open on the AACTA website until Sunday 11 October. Voting will run online and the top five nominees in each category will be announced on 29 November ahead of AACTA’s re-imagined broadcast on the Seven Network, Wednesday 2 December.



Cate Blanchett
Rose Byrne
Russell Crowe
Joel Edgerton
Chris Hemsworth
Hugh Jackman
Nicole Kidman
Ben Mendelsohn
Margot Robbie
Jacki Weaver


Poh Ling Yeow, MasterChef, 10
Dami Im, The X Factor, Channel Seven, Dancing with the Stars, 10, Eurovision, SBS
Sam Frost, The Bachelor, 10
Steve Flood and Will Stewart, MKR, Channel 7
Chrissie Swan, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, 10
Sophie Monk, The Bachelorette, 10
Olivia Vivian, Ninja Warrior, Nine Network
Jules and Cam, MAFS, Nine Network
Josh and Elise, The Block, Nine Network
Angela Clancy, Big Brother, Channel 7


Hamish Blake and Andy Lee
Tom Gleeson
Wil Anderson
Hannah Gadsby
Nazeem Hussain
Steven Oliver
Dave Hughes
Julia Morris
Celia Pacquola
Celeste Barber


Sarah Snook
Asher Keddie
Bryan Brown
Claudia Karvan
Rodger Corser
Aaron Pedersen
Deborah Mailman
Marta Dusseldorp
Damon Herriman
Essie Davis


Peter Rabbit
Red Dog
The Sapphires
The Great Gatsby
The Babadook
The Water Diviner
The Dressmaker
Ride Like a Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road


Offspring, 10
Neighbours, 10
Mystery Road, ABC TV
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, ABC TV
Top of the Lake, Foxtel
Wentworth, Foxtel
Molly, Channel 7
Love Child, Nine Network
Doctor Doctor, Nine Network
Home and Away, Channel 7



Offspring, Patrick Dying, 2013, 10
Wentworth, “The Freak Buried Alive”, 2018, Foxtel
Please Like Me, Josh Finding His Mother Dead, 2017, ABC TV


Thailand Cave Rescue, 2018
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott Eating An Onion, 2015


The Honey Badger Not Choosing A Partner, The Bachelor, 2018, 10
Dan and Steph Win, MKR, 2013, Channel 7
Ines and Sam Affair, MAFS, 2019, Nine Network


Mick Fanning Punching a Shark, 2015
Adam Goodes War Cry Dance, 2015

Source: AACTA

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Australian Story — Rory O’Donoghue

Rory O’Donoghue was an actor, musician, composer and performer best known from sketch comedy series The Aunty Jack Show in the 1970s.

What was less known about his life was his long-standing and complex mental health challenges. He was eventually being diagnosed with schizo-affective and bi-polar disorder.

In 2017, he was admitted to a Sydney hospital with severe depression. Hours after his first electroconvulsive therapy treatment he took his life. He was 68 years old.

Three years after his death, in the next episode of Australian Story, O’Donoghue’s family and friends speak out about O’Donoghue’s troubled life and impact it had on them, in the hope of encouraging open discussion of complex mental health issues.

Australian Story: Keeping Up Appearances. Monday 5 October, 8.00pm. ABC and iview.

YouTube: ABC

Lifeline 131114 

Beyond Blue 1300 224636 

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Nine News restores Darwin bulletin

Nine News has announced that it will reinstate its one-hour standalone news bulletin for Darwin.

In 2017, Nine ceased production of news from its Darwin studios and relocated the bulletin to Brisbane, adopting Darwin as part of its regional news output. The bulletin was suspended earlier this year amid the COVID-19 outbreak, replaced with a relay of Nine‘s Brisbane news which was supplemented by brief local updates for Darwin.

The restored Darwin bulletin, to commence on 5 October, will be presented by Paul Taylor in Brisbane but will feature stories filed by a team of reporters, camera operators and editors based in Darwin.

Nine News is Darwin’s only commercial TV news service, beginning as News At Seven in October 1982. The local Seven and Ten outlets relay interstate news bulletins.

Source: Nine News Darwin

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Ten News signs off from Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth

Rebecca Morse and Will Goodings at Ten News First, Adelaide

There were farewells earlier tonight from Ten News First bulletins being presented for the last time from Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

From Monday, Ten News First will be centralising news production to Sydney and Melbourne. Sandra Sully and Matt Burke in Sydney will present bulletins for Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, while Jennifer Keyte and Stephen Quartermain in Melbourne will now also cover Adelaide.

Brisbane weather presenter Josh Hunt moves to Sydney to cover Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, and Adelaide’s Kate Freebairn will now also cover Melbourne.

Among the on-air presenters to have left the network today are Georgina Lewis and Jonathan Williams from Brisbane, Rebecca Morse and Will Goodings from Adelaide, and Monika Kos, Tim Gossage and Michael Schultz in Perth.

Also finished up at Ten are weather presenters Mike Larkan, after 24 years at Ten in Melbourne, and Sydney’s Tim Bailey, leaving Ten after 29 years.

A number of production staff across the network were also being farewelled.

Studio 10 has also said farewell this week to presenters Joe Hildebrand, Natarsha Belling and Kerri-Anne Kennerley. The show’s Melbourne correspondent Denise Scott also quietly announced her exit from the show in an appearance earlier in the week on Have You Been Paying Attention?

Network Ten announced the restructure to its weekday news bulletins and Studio 10 last month. Weekend bulletins, which are already produced centrally from Sydney, and The Project remain unchanged.

Source: TV Blackbox, Ten News First Queensland, Ten News First Adelaide, Ten News First Perth

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Obituary: Geraldine Dillon

Geraldine Dillon, one of Australia’s first TV culinary experts, has died at the age of 84 after a long battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Born in Melbourne in 1936, Dillon first studied cooking in Melbourne before leaving for Europe to study at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London. On her return to Australia, she was hired as an assistant on the Sydney-based series, Cordon Bleu Kitchen, hosted by Muriel Downes.

Dillon was then appointed Home Service Adviser for the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria and presented cooking demonstrations for department store Myer.

From 1960, she presented a cooking segment on the daytime show Thursday At One. This segment then became a separate series, Fun With Food, which aired on Friday afternoons on Melbourne’s GTV9. She also wrote a weekly magazine column in TV Times magazine from November 1963.

Geraldine Dillon’s first column in TV Times. November 1963

She continued to travel extensively to experience food trends overseas and to bring her newfound knowledge back to share with viewers.

In 1971, she began hosting TV Kitchen, broadcast through the Nine Network. Recipes from the program were published in The Australian Women’s Weekly.

TV Kitchen continued through to 1976.

Dillon also wrote for The Herald and The Age newspapers and presented a cooking segment on radio 3AK. Her book, The Geraldine Dillon Cookbook, sold out on its first release.

She also ran cookery schools and continued to conduct food tours overseas.

Geraldine Dillon is survived by her three brothers, John and Reverend fathers Brendan and Kevin as well as her nieces, Marion and Christine and nephews, Andrew, Michael, Robert and John.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Catholic. The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25 September 1968, 24 February 1971. TV Times, 6 November 1963.

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