Obituary: Terry Norris

Terry Norris, veteran actor and former state politician, has died at the age of 92.

His early acting career was in the theatre, first at Melbourne’s Tivoli before going to the United Kingdom, where he stayed for over a decade. It was there that he met his future wife, Julia Blake, and the pair would work together on and off in the decades that followed.


He played some minor roles on television in the UK and, upon settling back in Australia, became a familiar face here. He played the crown prosecutor in the courtroom drama Consider Your Verdict and played a similar role in early episodes of Homicide. He made a guest appearance in the sitcom Barley Charlie and featured in the television adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello.

His theatre background also served him well as a variety performer, appearing as a regular on the daytime variety show Time For Terry, and later performing on the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal and Saturday Night Live.

Terry Norris with Louise Philip in Bellbird

After roles in Australian Playhouse, Hunter and Dynasty, he began his long-running stint as Joe Turner in the ABC series Bellbird. While working on Bellbird, he also had the freedom to pursue guest roles in shows including Bobby Dazzler, Last Of The Australians, Power Without Glory and Division 4.

Terry Norris and Moya O’Sullivan in Cop Shop

As soon as Bellbird ended in 1977, he went almost straight into his next long-running role, as Senior Sargeant Eric O’Reilly in Cop Shop. He stayed with the series for five years, earning a TV Week Logie award for Best Supporting Actor in 1980, before taking a career detour into politics. He was the state member for Noble Park from 1982 to 1985, then for Dandenong from 1985 to 1992.

Later TV credits includes The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh, Pig’s Breakfast, Blue Heelers, Something In The Air, Changi, Marshall Law, City Homicide, Hawke, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Bloom and ABC’s various Jack Irish titles.

Terry Norris is survived by wife Julia Blake, their three children and four grandchildren.

Source: TV Tonight, ABC, IMDB, TV Times.



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ABC sells Gore Hill studio site

The ABC has sold its last remaining slice of its heritage Gore Hill precinct in Sydney.

The 14 hectare property, on Lanceley Place, Artarmon, has been sold for $95 million to the Goodman Group.

The site was the location of ABN2‘s studios and transmitter from when the station commenced operation in 1956 — although the earliest programs came from a makeshift studio, the ‘Arcon’, located in a storage shed on the site and from ABC’s orchestral studio in Kings Cross, as the main studios on Gore Hill were not officially opened until 1958.

ABC vans departing Gore Hill. Source: ABC, undated.

When ABC shifted its Sydney operations to Ultimo in 2003, its use of Gore Hill was scaled back, leading to the broadcaster putting the property on the market in 2021. ABC continued production at the site until last year.

Source: Commercial Real Estate , ABC, Urban, ABC TV At Gore Hill



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Logie Awards moving to Sydney

The Seven Network, as new broadcaster partner of the TV Week Logie Awards, has announced that this year’s presentation will be held on Sunday 30 July in Sydney.

It is the awards’ first time in Sydney since 1986 and the first time on Seven since 1995. The move to Sydney ends the Logies’ multi-year deal with the Queensland Government which saw the awards hosted on the Gold Coast in 2018, 2019 and 2022. (Both 2020 and 2021 presentations were cancelled due to the pandemic)

Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said: “The time was right to find a new home for the Logies and bringing them back to Sydney after more than 30 years made perfect sense. Australia’s TV networks and many of its major production companies are based in Sydney and the city provides a backdrop for some of the country’s most popular TV shows.

“I’d like to thank NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for his support in bringing the TV Week Logie Awards to Sydney. Seven has exciting plans for the Logies. They will be different, bigger than ever, spectacular and a great celebration of Australia’s love of television.”

NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, said bringing the TV Week Logie Awards back to Sydney after three decades will be a game-changer for NSW: “Sydney is the best city in Australia and the home of our television and production industries, making it the obvious choice for the TV Week Logie Awards,

“Television’s night of nights now has its rightful home in The Harbour City, showcasing the glitz and glamour of our vibrant nightlife. This will inject millions of dollars into the NSW economy, creating hundreds of jobs in production, hospitality and events.”

TV Week publisher Are Media‘s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Huxley, said: “It’s so exciting to see the next era begin for the TV Week Logies, welcoming Seven as the official broadcast partner and with a new location for the illustrious awards night. The TV Week Logie Awards remains the most anticipated event of the year for the television industry as we celebrate the most popular stars and shows on our screens.

“We are delighted to continue our role as long-standing custodians of the awards and look forward to showcasing and celebrating Australia’s incredible TV talent for many years to come.”

The 63rd TV Week Logie Awards will be produced by the Seven Network, in association with ITV Studios Australia.



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The Dismissal: 40 years on

The screening of the mini-series The Dismissal — forty years ago this week — marked a significant landmark for both its host network, Ten, and in Australian television’s growing interest in mini-series production.

Australia’s commercial networks had hopped on the mini-series bandwagon as far back as 1976 with Luke’s Kingdom and 1978’s Against The Wind. Most of the mini-series that followed largely focussed on stories of distant history.

The Age: 12 November 1975

The 1975 constitutional crisis that culminated in the dismissal of prime minister Gough Whitlam was unprecedented in Australia’s political history and, with the mini-series produced only seven years after the event, was still well within the living memory of many. The Dismissal producer Terry Hayes said at the time: “I can’t think of any other TV program — anywhere — which has tried to recreate such controversial events while the primary participants are not only still alive, but many of whom hold positions of enormous power.”

The big budget drama, from producers Kennedy/Miller, also marked a new era for Network Ten. While the network had produced mini-series before, such as Water Under The Bridge and Sara Dane, The Dismissal marked the beginning of a determined move to counter the other networks with big-budget epics that would disrupt regular viewing habits by luring viewers in for two, three or four night, big event mini-series — emulating the screening of US mini-series Roots, which the network ran to huge success in the late 1970s.

The Sydney Morning Herald: 12 November 1975

Ten originally planned to screen The Dismissal in November 1982 — coinciding with the seventh anniversary of the actual event. But with a real-life federal election on the horizon, the debut was ultimately postponed to 6 March 1983 — the day after the election.

But despite Ten’s interest in The Dismissal, not all of its member stations were enthusiastic. Adelaide’s Ten station — SAS10 — decided not to follow suit with its eastern state partners. The station’s owner Robert Holmes à Court, who also owned Perth’s TVW7, denied that his knocking back the series was politically-motivated. He claimed that the series budget of $2.6 million, of which his station would have to contribute, was just too high and that viewers would not be interested.

His refusal to pick up the series saw rival Adelaide commercial channels ADS7 and NWS9 enter into a bidding war. After the series aired in the eastern states to massive ratings (scoring a 42 in Sydney and 32 in Melbourne), Holmes à Court had a sudden change of heart and approached the producers with his renewed interest. He was to be informed that NWS9 had just secured the rights for Adelaide and would air the series in April.

Pre-production of the series was an intense exercise, with many prominent Liberal and Labor party figures, including some that were to be portrayed, briefing the actors on the events. It was noted, however, that the three central figures in the drama — Whitlam, Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser and Governor-General Sir John Kerr — declined offers to be involved in the consultation process. Journalists that covered the real thing were also to provide input into the production.

Max Phipps as Gough Whitlam

Filming took over four months. Actor Max Phipps, playing Whitlam, admitted that he was terrified of the role. “I was running around trying to get constant reassurance from people. I was absolutely terrified,” he told TV Week. “It was frightening because he’s still alive. He will be sitting there watching it.” While his re-enactment of Whitlam came with a lot of support from make up and wardrobe, he found imitating Whitlam’s voice a huge challenge and spent months working on it. “Everybody does it and everybody does it wrong,” he said. “So I just talked in his speech patterns and picked up a couple of his mannerisms — the way he nods his head when he talks, other things like that.” He recalled that being immersed in the Whitlam role for months was one of the most emotionally-charged, demanding and exciting times of his career: “I’ve been 19 years in this business and most of the time I’ve worked on garbage. But I think someone up there was saying to me that working for Kennedy/Miller on The Dismissal was a special present to make up for those 19 years.”

John Stanton as Malcolm Fraser (left), Max Phipps as Gough Whitlam (2nd from right) and Ed Devereaux as Phillip Lynch (right)

Also starring in The Dismissal were John Stanton as Fraser, John Meillon as Sir John Kerr, John Hargreaves as Dr Jim Cairns, Peter Sumner as Bill Hayden, Ruth Cracknell as Margaret Whitlam, Neela Dey as Junie Morosi, and Bill Hunter, Tom Oliver, Ed Devereaux, Sean Scully, Nancye Hayes, Martin Harris, Dennis Miller, Martin Vaughan, Tony Barry and Carol Burns.

Neela Dey

Despite the strong cast — headlining a total of 115 speaking parts — and meticulous research, not all reviews of the series were positive. The Canberra TimesAlan Fitzgerald, a political commentator at the time of the actual event, felt that the series was a “grossly simplified and ultimately partisan view of what happened.” Meanwhile, Canberra Times’ TV writer Ian Warden felt that the series lacked passion and that he became “tired of the timid neutrality of the whole account… I wish that the series had been made by people who had a rabidly partisan view of the events of 1975. As it is, almost the only scope that the series offers for anyone to take a side is John Stanton’s uncannily accurate portrayal of Malcolm Fraser.”

But on the flipside, The Dismissal not only attracted high ratings and positive critical reviews from other press — including The Age, which called it “one of the most important series ever shown on television”, and the Sydney Sun-Herald, which declared “even if you’re up to here with politics, don’t miss it” — but it was also well rewarded at the next year’s TV Week Logie Awards. The series collected industry peer-voted awards for Best Single Drama Or Mini-Series, Best Lead Actor In A Single Drama/Mini-Series (John Stanton) and Best Support Actor In A Single Drama/Mini-Series (John Meillon).

The success of The Dismissal led to a long relationship between Network Ten and Kennedy/Miller, with later blockbusters to include Bodyline, The Cowra Breakout, Vietnam, Bangkok Hilton and The Dirtwater Dynasty.

Source: The Canberra Times, 17 March 1983, 18 March 1983. The Age, 12 November 1975, 3 March 1983, 7 March 1983, 7 October 1989. The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 November 1975.  The Sun-Herald, 6 March 1983. TV Week, 15 January 1983, 19 February 1983, 14 April 1984. TV Radio Extra, 16 April 1983. IMDB.

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1973: Which channel would go?

The question around the ongoing viability of three commercial networks has been raised, on and off, for many years. It was a question asked right back to when the federal government first permitted a third commercial network in the early 1960s — and in 1973 the industry itself was almost willing to sacrifice some of its own to ensure the sector’s survival.

In February that year, the newly sworn-in federal minister for media, Senator Douglas McClelland, was considering a proposal from the executives representing Australia’s capital city commercial networks to have cities where three commercial channels existed reduced to two.

The argument presented by the industry was that the sector was facing financial hardship against the pending introduction of colour television, the planned removal of all tobacco advertising, an increase in Australian content requirements and the growing expense of imported programs.

Viewing in capital cities was also reported to be in decline. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board found in 1973 that, since 1965 and despite the addition of a third commercial channel, viewing levels in the peak hours of 7.00pm to 9.00pm had dropped by eight per cent in Sydney, 13 per cent in Melbourne, ten per cent in Brisbane and eight per cent in Adelaide. It speculated that while population numbers have increased, the proportion of sets in use has declined, indicating that viewers are becoming more selective in their viewing habits.

The proposal put forward was to have one of the three commercial licences in each of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide handed back to the government and re-assigned to form a second ABC channel — most likely one dedicated to educational programming.

Matlock Police

The idea reportedly had the backing of most of the station representatives, perhaps thinking that their respective stations would not be the one in three to lose out! There also seemed to be an assumption that the 0-10 Network stations — the last of the three networks to go to air — would be the logical ones to go. This of course put a question mark over the future of shows like Number 96, Matlock Police, The Price Is Right, The Mike Walsh Show and Young Talent Time and triggered defensive responses from the network’s member stations. Leslie Peard, general manager of Sydney’s TEN10, said that his channel had no input into the proposal.

Number 96

Reginald Ansett, owner of the two Channel 0 stations — ATV0, Melbourne, and TVQ0, Brisbane — also lashed out at the proposal that could potentially see these channels wiped off the dial. Labelling the idea as “ludicrious and unacceptable”, he took aim at the “Sydney press barons”, that have financial interests in the rival channels, for supposedly leading the concept. He said that the 0-10 Network had never been in a better position, claiming that TVQ0 had topped the Brisbane ratings for much of the previous year, the ratings for the Melbourne and Adelaide channels were on the way up, and TEN10 had returned a record profit for the previous half-year.  He said that dismissing the licences would be detrimental to employment in the industry, although it was claimed that any job losses by losing 0-10 would be offset by an increase in employment at the surviving stations.

The minister, however, said that he was not prepared to accept that axing the 0-10 licences would be the default position, saying that the ultimate decision would be the result of an open inquiry. Other criteria that could be considered included licencees’ compliance with control board regulations on advertising and Australian content, as well as concentration of ownership and quality of programs.

The minister later said in Parliament: “A number of other suggestions have been put to me and I am searching on behalf of the Government for the real answer as to how to make this industry an economically viable one. Certainly, some of the stations are making what one might refer to as ‘reasonable profits’. Others are receiving a very small return on the investment that has been involved.

“The Government is certainly giving consideration to the proposition, as it is giving to all other matters that have been raised with it, not only by the licensees but also by the unions. It is receiving the advice of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board about a general review of the (Broadcasting and Television) Act.

“We are looking at all facets of the problem because there are serious economic problems ahead regarding the television industry.”

Essentially, we all know how the story ended… as fifty years later we are still served by three commercial networks, though the sector is now facing the same quandary, albeit under more complex circumstances. But by April of 1973, the minister informed the industry that the Government would not proceed with its proposal and would work to increase Australian content requirements: “After considering the matter in further discussion since February … it has now been agreed that there should be no reduction in the number of commercial licences. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board is now being asked as matter of urgency to review Australian-content regulations with a view to increasing local content.”

Two months later, the ABCB announced a new points-based quota system to be applied to all commercial stations in a six-month trial to begin in August 1973. First-run prime-time programs such as one-off dramas and series and variety shows would attract the highest number of points per hour. First-run Australian films, news and current affairs and children’s and educational programs were counted at the mid-range of points. Sports coverage, game shows, off-peak programming and re-runs would attract the lowest number of points per hour. Stations that exceed any of the individual drama and educational quotas would earn bonus points per hour. The Government expected that the new system would see Australian production increase by five per cent.

Source: The Canberra Times, 14 February 1973, 17 April 1973, 29 June 1973. The Age, 14 February 1973. Historic Hansard. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board, 25th Annual Report, 1973.

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ABC’s Certain Women

Fifty years ago, ABC‘s Certain Women marked a shift in putting the primary focus in Australian television drama on women. Up until then, Australian television drama was largely male-dominated. Indeed, it was not until 1972 that the TV Week Logie Awards sought to add a category for Best Actress. Although serials like Motel, Bellbird and Number 96 did much to address the gender balance, there had yet been a series led entirely by female characters.

Devised by writer Tony Morphett, who had previously co-created the ABC drama Dynasty, Certain Women was a six-part anthology of plays around the the multi-generational Stone and Lucas families. Each episode focussed on the challenges of a different family member, aged between 17 and 67.

Morphett told TV Times of his motivation at the time: “I wanted to look at some of the problems women face in the 1970s. Not just new problems posed by, say, the pill or the liberation movement, but age-old problems like widowhood as well. Also there are the actresses. Australia has a pool of wonderful actresses. The idea of getting six of them together, and writing good big juicy parts for them was irresistible.”

He admitted that trying to sell the concept was a challenge, and would have been much easier had he opted for something more conventional, but he and business partner Glyn Davies both felt strongly that there was a place for a strong female-led drama.

Lucky for them, ABC eventually picked up the series, and Certain Women debuted in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory on 14 February 1973, with screening in other states to follow. (In Victoria, it debuted on 1 March 1973)

Episode One focussed on Freda Lucas (June Salter). She is a successful Sydney solicitor who resists pressure to marry her lover Duncan (Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell). She is heavily guarded of her privacy and independence and refuses to let Duncan move into her home.

Episode Two: Marjorie Faber (Judy Morris) is an ambitious medical technician expecting her first child. Although she has career aspirations she appears likely to abandon these to appease her husband, Carl (Peter Sumner).

Episode Three: Helen Stone (Jenny Lee) is a university student becoming frustrated with living with her conservative parents. Her frustration leads to a confrontation with her father, Alan (Ron Graham), over her relationship with fellow student Gary (David Cameron). She is determined to move out of home but is financially dependent on her family. (This episode was written by playwright David Williamson as his first TV script)

Episode Four: Jane Stone (Joan Bruce) is a qualified teacher but had given up her career to raise four children. When her husband, Alan (Ron Graham), becomes unemployed, and much to his dismay, she faces returning to the workforce and becoming the family’s main breadwinner.

Episode Five: Gillian Stone (Elizabeth Crosby) is a high school student who is tempted to drop out when she lands a glamorous holiday job as a model. The family is apprehensive about her job but she is encouraged by her friend Erica (Clare Balmford) and she finds modelling more exciting than schoolwork.

Episode Six: Dolly Lucas (Queenie Ashton) is Freda and Jane’s mother, and for 50 years enjoyed a successful marriage to her husband, Fred (Jack Fegan), until his sudden death. For the first time in her adult life, Dolly is faced with living alone and dealing with the consequences from her husband’s passing.

Certain Women was received well enough that ABC renewed it, not just for another six episodes but for a 26-episode serial-based drama, debuting during October 1973. As well as its weekly prime time airing, in a rare programming move the series was also granted a weekend repeat screening.

The expanded serial format also necessitated an increase in supporting cast, with the addition of Vynka-Lee Steere, Bruce Spence and Brian Wenzel and the brief return of Fegan to play Fred’s brother. There were also some changes to the existing characters, though this was not without criticism. TV Times columnist FC Kennedy, while acknowledging the utmost believability and relatability of Morphett’s characters — even those that had somehow metamorphosed since the initial six-part series — he found that the series lacked a lighter balance of drama or even a particularly loveable or amusing character: “I suggest that he should consider the proposition that even the most stress-ridden people laugh occasionally.”

As the series progressed and was granted further renewals, other cast changes included Christine Amor replacing Elizabeth Crosby, who was forced to leave the show due to illness, and Diane Craig taking on the role of Marjorie Faber from Judy Morris.

Other cast members to pass through the series included Betty Lucas, Cecily Polson, Harold Hopkins, Shane Porteous, Kris McQuade, Anne Haddy, Wallas Eaton, Joanne Samuel, Carmen Duncan, Ivar Kants, Eric Oldfield, Christopher Pate, Moya O’Sullivan, Vincent Ball, Kate Fitzpatrick, Marty Rhone, John Dease and Tony Barry.

While the storylines in Certain Women depicted traditional and contemporary issues facing its characters, it largely avoided the more salacious or controversial elements that its higher rating commercial counterparts succeeded with. Despite this, or perhaps, because of it, it maintained a loyal audience that continued to relate to the characters’ everyday dramas. But by mid-1976, ABC was subjected to brutal budget cuts with the aim to save millions of dollars a year. Certain Women was cancelled, as was another ABC drama series, Rush, while other programs including current affairs programs had their budgets trimmed back.

The 166th and final episode of Certain Women was recorded in November 1976 and aired the following month.

With the demise of Bellbird a year later, ABC has since made few attempts at serial drama, even though the genre became a staple for commercial networks for years to come. There were some attempts, however, including the long-running medical drama GP, rural series Something In The Air and the more recent The Time Of Our Lives and The Heights.

YouTube: FrozenDoberman

Source: TV Times, 10 February 1973, 6 October 1973, 10 November 1973, 9 October 1976. Australian Screen, IMDB.



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Classic TV Guides: Skippy

Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, possibly Australian television’s first major television export, made its Australian debut in Sydney and Melbourne on 5 February 1968.

Ninety-one episodes over three series were made between 1966 and 1969. Following the adventures of the Waratah National Park ranger’s youngest son, Sonny Hammond (Garry Pankhurst), and his ultra-intuitive marsupial companion, Skippy The Bush Kangaroo was made by Fauna Productions with some financial assistance from the Nine Network.

It was sold to 128 countries, including the United States where it was syndicated to 160 local television stations. Before it had debuted in Australia it was already showing in the United Kingdom, Finland, Netherlands, Canada (in both French and English) and Japan, and deals had been made to sell the show to Germany, France, Malta and Kenya.

The Sydney and Melbourne debuts of Skippy The Bush Kangaroo are among the latest additions to Classic TV Guides:

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Obituary: Gary Fenton

Gary Fenton, a former senior executive at the Seven and Nine networks, has died.

He was a programming director at HSV7, Melbourne as far back as 1976. In 1988, when still in the programming role, he told The Herald newspaper: “It’s treading a fine line trying to come up with a schedule, and programs within that schedule, that will attract a sufficient audience. At the same time, we must be mindful of the (Australian Broadcasting Tribunal) requirements, the commercial realities of the business and a corporate and company philosophy. Nobody ever wants to become a programmer. If anyone comes to me and says, ‘I want to be a programmer’, I always say, ‘You’ve just failed the first test. Nobody in his right mind would want to be a programmer’.”

He was later promoted to Head of Sport for the Seven Network, where he played a crucial role in Seven securing broadcast rights for multiple Olympic Games. He was also Chief Operating Officer for the Sydney Olympic Broadcasting Organisation.

In a statement issued today, Lewis Martin, Managing Director of Seven Melbourne and Head of Sport for the Seven Network, said:  “Born and bred in Melbourne and totally consumed by all sport on offer in this great city, Gary Fenton made a profound contribution to international sport and the global broadcasting of sport at the highest level. When commissioning television drama series, sketch comedy or footy theme songs, his instincts guaranteed success and touched the hearts of audiences everywhere. Gary leaves behind a legendary career and a legion of friends and colleagues around the world who respected his judgement and thoroughly enjoyed his company. Gary loved and cherished his family as much as they loved and cherished him. They are all in our thoughts today. Vale.

Bruce McAvaney OAM said: “Gary Fenton had a profound effect and influence on a legion of people in the television industry and I’m one of them. He brought me back to Channel 7 in 1989 and his guidance was crucial to the way I worked. He re-shaped the way the International Olympic Committee negotiated media rights and he should be lauded as the driving force behind the worldwide television coverage of the Olympic Games in our country, in Sydney 2000.”

Former Seven producer Gordon Bennett OAM said: “Today I lost not just a colleague but, more importantly, a friend of over 43 years. Gary was the best friend and colleague I could ever wish to work with and our years together at Seven Network Sport have given me a wealth of memorable experiences. The enormity and scope of Gary’s contribution to the Australian television industry, in both the entertainment and sporting fields, cannot be overstated. He was a driving force in Seven’s AFL coverage through the 1980s and 1990s. Working with Gary on Olympic Games and other major sporting events at home and around the world, I believe we set new standards for how these events could be presented for Seven viewers. His knowledge and ‘smarts’ engendered the utmost respect by sport and television industry leaders worldwide. His achievements are unlikely to be matched in the future. Gary will be greatly missed by all who knew and understood him.”

Fenton was also director of sport at the Nine Network from 2003 to 2007, and then worked for the network in a consulting capacity.

Source: Seven West Media, The Age, Perth Now. The Herald, 28 March 1988.

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Obituary: Diana Fisher

Diana Fisher, royal commentator and TV panellist, has died at the age of 91.

She had been admitted to hospital in Sydney earlier in the week following a two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Born in the UK as Diana Davis, her first job was at the BBC, where she stayed for eight years and met her future husband, Humphrey Fisher. They married in 1959 and came to Australia in 1964 when he was posted as BBC’s Australian representative. They stayed for three years then returned to Australia to live in 1969. Although they later separated they continued to stay friends.

A staunch royalist, she was a frequent media commentator on the royal family, covering the various births and marriages for a myriad of media outlets, including the Seven Network‘s coverage of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981.

Good Morning Sydney: Maureen Duval, Diana Fisher and
author Robin Smith

Affectionately nicknamed “Bubbles” for her love of champagne and bubbly personality, she was a regular on various daytime TV shows, including Maggie, The Mike Walsh Show, Midday, Good Morning Sydney and both 1960s and 1980s versions of Beauty And The Beast.

Diana Fisher (far right) in Beauty And The Beast

But her most prominent TV role was as “consumer-housewife” panellist on ABC‘s The Inventors, that ran from 1970 to 1982.

The Inventors: Geoff Stone, Diana Fisher

With her fellow panellists, Fisher would scrutinise the innovations being displayed and challenge the designers with questions like “is it safe?” and “does it come in other colours?”, which became her popular catchphrases.

When a TV Times reader commented that “Diana Fisher’s remarks and suggestions are absolutely inane; her questions even worse,” Fisher responded: “Before people criticise they should have a go themselves. I think I represent a large cross-section of people who view the program.”

As well as her television commitments, she ran her own public relations consultancy and was a regular columnist for The Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day.

She made a rare acting appearance, as a talent show judge, in the Network Ten drama Heartbreak High in 1994.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, TV Times, 30 September 1970, 23 December 1970, 12 August 1978. TV Week, 30 July 1994. The Australian Women’s Weekly, 22 March 1978. Woman’s Day, 16 February 1982, 16 March 1982.

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Historic WIN news footage saved

Archival news footage from as far back as the 1960s has been rescued from destruction amid a clean-out of the WIN studios in Mildura.

Being the region’s only local TV news service for over 50 years, the station archive contains unique news and commercial footage at risk of being lost forever. Much of the collection, comprising both 16mm film and various videotape formats, now resides with local historians, including Frames of History founder Ian MacWilliams, with a view to having it digitised for future preservation and access.

The former station premises, situation on Deakin Avenue and recently sold, housed WIN and its predecessor STV8, which launched as the region’s first commercial TV station in 1965. The station later became part of the Southern Cross network and was briefly owned by Alan Bond before being sold to VIC TV — now part of the WIN regional network.

WIN continued as Mildura’s only commercial TV station until Prime Television launched a local transmission in 1997.

WIN ceased local news operations in Mildura in 2015 with claims that it was no longer commercially viable.

Source: ABC



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