The 11th AACTA Awards

The ABC series The Newsreader was the leader in the TV categories in the 2021 AACTA Awards, winning a total of five awards.

The six-part series, set in a TV newsroom in the year 1986, won the AACTA Award for Best Drama Series, plus individual acting awards for Anna Torv and William McInnes. The series also won awards for Best Direction in Drama or Comedy and Best Production Design in Television.

The Newsreader: Anna Torv, Robert Taylor

ABC also collected awards for Bluey, Hard Quiz, Fisk (two awards), Love On The Spectrum (two awards), Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds, Fires (two awards) and Total Control (Rachel Griffiths).


SBS mini-series New Gold Mountain won two awards, and the broadcaster’s coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2021 won Best Entertainment Program.

Network Ten (MasterChef Australia), Foxtel (Mr Inbetween, Grand Designs Australia) and Netflix (Hannah Gadsby – Douglas and Clickbait) also collected awards.

MasterChef Australia

In the Audience Choice categories there were wins for Gardening Australia (including an award for host Costa Georgiadis), Wentworth and Lego Masters.

The late actor David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM was given the awards’  highest honour, the Longford Lyell Award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Australian screen industry. In tribute to the actor, his image was projected onto the exterior of the Sydney Opera House.

The 2021 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Group was held on Wednesday 8 December and broadcast on Network Ten. The presentation is also available to view on Fox Arena on Foxtel, Binge and AACTA TV.


  • AACTA Award for Best Children’s Program: Bluey – Charlie Aspinwall, Joe Brumm, Daley Pearson, Sam Moor – Ludo Studio (ABC)
  • AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in Television: Fires (Episode 2: Everything’s Gone) – Bonnie Elliott
  • AACTA Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Program: Hard Quiz – Kevin Whyte, Chris Walker, Tom Gleeson, John Tabbagh – Thinkative Television & ABC (ABC)
  • AACTA Award for Best Comedy Performer: Kitty FlanaganFisk
  • AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Television: New Gold Mountain (Episode 1: Propriety) – Cappi Ireland
  • AACTA Award for Best Direction in Drama or Comedy: The Newsreader (Episode 1: Three, Two, One…) – Emma Freeman
  • AACTA Award for Best Direction in Non-Fiction Television: Love on the Spectrum (Episode 4) – Cian O’Clery
  • AACTA Award for Best Documentary or Factual Program: Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds – Debbie Cuell, Bethan Arwel-Lewis – Endemol Shine Australia (ABC)
  • AACTA Award Best Drama Series: The Newsreader – Joanna Werner, Michael Lucas – Werner Film Productions (ABC)
  • AACTA Award for Best Editing in Television: Clickbait (Episode 1: Five Million Hits) – Rodrigo Balart
  • AACTA Award for Best Entertainment Program: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2021 – Paul Clarke, Stephanie Werrett, Josh Martin – Blink TV (SBS)
  • AACTA Award for Best Factual Entertainment Program: Love on the Spectrum – Jenni Wilks, Karina Holden, Cian O’Clery – Northern Pictures (ABC)
  • AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Presented by Foxtel: Scott Ryan Mr Inbetween
  • AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Presented by Foxtel: Anna Torv The Newsreader
  • AACTA Award for Best Lifestyle Program: Grand Designs Australia – Michael O’Neill, Brooke Bayvel – Fremantle (Foxtel)
  • AACTA Award for Best Miniseries or Telefeature: Fires – Tony Ayres, Andrea Denholm, Liz Watts, Belinda Chayko, Elisa Argenzio – Tony Ayres Production (ABC)
  • AACTA Award for Best Narrative Comedy Series: Fisk – Vincent Sheehan – Porchlight Films (ABC)
  • AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television: The Newsreader (Episode 1: Three, Two, One…) – Melinda Doring
  • AACTA Award for Best Reality Program: MasterChef Australia – Marty Benson, Adam Fergusson, Eoin Maher – Endemol Shine Australia (Network Ten)
  • AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Television: New Gold Mountain (Episode 1: Propriety) – Caitlin Yeo
  • AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television: Mr Inbetween (Episode 6: Ray Who?) – Scott Ryan
  • AACTA Award for Best Sound in Television: Fires (Episode 2: Everything’s Gone) – Emma Bortignon, Paul Pirola, Roger Van Wensveen, Brendan Croxon
  • AACTA Award for Best Stand-Up Special: Hannah Gadsby – Douglas – Hannah Gadsby, Kevin Whyte, Kathleen McCarthy, John Irwin – Irwin Entertainment & Token Events (Netflix)
  • AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: William McInnesThe Newsreader
  • AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Rachel GriffithsTotal Control


  • Favourite Actor: Eric Bana
  • Favourite Competition Reality Show: LEGO® Masters Australia
  • Favourite Digital Comedy Creator: Sooshi Mango
  • Favourite Entertainment Show: Gardening Australia
  • Favourite Film: The Dry
  • Favourite Television Drama: Wentworth
  • Favourite Television Host: Costa GeorgiadisGardening Australia – ABC

Source: AACTA

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TV At 60: TV comes to Regional Victoria

Television was given a staged introduction in Australia. Stage One was the commencement of ABC and commercial television stations in Sydney and Melbourne. Stage Two saw the same extend to Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.

Stage Three was the licencing and establishment of ABC and commercial television services in thirteen country areas across the eastern states, including Canberra.

Victoria’s first of these stations was GLV10, based in Traralgon, licenced to Gippsland-La Trobe Valley Telecasters.

The station was opened on Saturday, 9 December 1961. The first night’s programs started at 5.45pm with a 15-minute film, Touring Gippsland, followed by an introduction to the station by radio 3TR announcer Don Ewart (pictured). Unfortunately, Ewart’s opening words were never heard by anyone outside the studio as his microphone was not switched on.

Programs to follow included imports Jungle Jim, Whirlybirds and I Love Lucy before the formalities of the official opening of the station by the Chairman of the Broadcasting Control Board, Robert Osborne, accompanied by the station’s General Manager Gordon Lewis. Opening night was also attended by a number of ‘national’ personalities including Horrie Dargie, Bobby Limb, Happy Hammond and Johnny Chester.

Later in the evening GLV10 crossed to Melbourne’s ABV2 for a one-hour live coverage of the day’s Federal Election count before presenting a 15-minute local news bulletin and then signing off for the night.

GLV10’s first staff car, featuring the channel logo

The next stations to open in Victoria were GMV6, based in Shepparton, and BCV8, serving Bendigo and Central Victoria.

Both stations opened on 23 December 1961. GMV6, with studios on Wyndham Street, Shepparton, started its opening night at 6.00pm with Personalities Parade, a 15-minute segment featuring some of the channel’s new stars including local presenters Nancy Cato (pictured) and Jim Lilburne and national stars Bobby Limb and Dawn Lake.

US shows Robin Hood, Father Knows Best and Sea Hunt occupied the next couple of hours along with the channel’s first news bulletin, before the station was officially opened just after 8.00pm by Deputy Prime Minister John McEwen. Opening night entertainment continued with the variety series BP Super Show, movie Random Harvest and then a late news update before the epilogue and sign-off.

BCV8 started its opening night broadcast at 6.00pm with the special, The Magic Mirror: A Christmas Pantomime. This was followed by the official opening of BCV8 by Postmaster-General Charles Davidson, then a news bulletin at 7.25 and the BP Super Show at 7.30. The Australian-based western Whiplash was at 8.30, followed by US series The Phil Silvers Show, Peter Gunn and Adventures In Paradise before shutdown at 11.00pm.

BCV8 cameraman Alan Weatherley.
Picture: TV Times, 27 June 1962

The fourth and last commercial station to form this stage of the television roll-out in regional Victoria was BTV6, Ballarat, launched on 27 April 1962.

Starting at 7.00pm with a short documentary, This Is BTV Channel 6, the official opening of BTV6, led by the station’s chairman Cr. Alan Pittard, included pre-recorded greetings by national TV stars Bert Newton, Bobby Limb and Bob Dyer. Also in attendance at the official opening was Dr James Darling, chairman of national broadcaster ABC, which was to co-locate its transmission facilities with BTV when ABRV3 lauched in 1963.

After the official opening, BTV6 presented an episode of BP Super Show, featuring Australian performer Elaine McKenna. The program was followed by the 90-minute drama The Grey Nurse Said Nothing, written by Sumner Locke-Elliott. The play, produced at Sydney’s ATN7 in 1960, starred Lyndall Barbour, Frank Waters, Nigel Lovell, Guy Doleman, Nancy Stewart and Ken Goodlet.

BTV6 newsreader Arthur Scuffins.
Picture: TV Times, 18 July 1962

With these four stations up and running, early program line-ups were mostly limited to evening hours only and consisted largely of American imports with a scattering of Australian shows — either “national” programs bought from the capital city stations or those of local production. Local news bulletins were brief in duration and largely focused on local news, supplemented with day-old news film to come from Melbourne until such time as direct relays of the Melbourne bulletins was made possible.

It was 1963 before ABC launched its first round of regional stations. The first was ABEV1, Bendigo, on 29 April 1963. This was followed by ABRV3 Ballarat (20 May), ABLV4 Traralgon (30 September) and ABGV3 Shepparton (28 November). These stations operated as direct relays of ABV2 from Melbourne, with the exception of a five-minute regional news bulletin, broadcast at 6.55pm weeknights.

In October 1961, the Federal Government announced Stage Four plans for further expansion of regional television services around Australia. In Victoria this included provision for services in Albury (ABAV1 and AMV4), Mildura (ABMV4 and STV8) and Swan Hill (ABSV2).

In Albury, AMV4 debuted on 7 September 1964, followed by ABAV1 on 15 December. In Mildura, ABMV4 debuted on 22 November 1965 and STV8 a few days later on 27 November. ABSV2 opened on 30 July 1965, with the Swan Hill region served by a commercial station when BCV8 opened a translator station, BCV11, in May 1967.



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Obituary: Peter Cundall

Former ABC gardening presenter Peter Cundall has died peacefully after a short illness at the age of 94.

Manchester-born Cundall served with the British Army in World War II and in 1950 settled in Tasmania, where he started a gardening and landscaping business in Launceston. This led to him answering listeners’ gardening questions on local radio in 1968. It was believed to be the world’s first gardening talkback radio program.

He also hosted gardening programs on ABC television in Tasmania from 1969 and took on a national profile when he hosted Gardening Australia from 1990 to 2008.

He was awarded Tasmania’s Senior Australian Of The Year in 2005 and a Member of the Order of Australia in 2007.

He continued to write newspaper columns and present radio talkback on gardening until his retirement in 2018.

Source: ABC, ABC, Australian Of The Year Awards, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

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Seven wins 2021

The Seven Network has re-claimed the top ratings position from arch rival Nine, claiming victory for the ratings year for 2021 (OzTAM, 5 cities, 6pm-12mn). It is Seven’s first overall win since 2019.

Meanwhile, Network Ten scraped in to reclaim third spot from ABC.

For the weeks 7 to 48 — covering the period from 7 February to 27 November, and excluding the weeks around Easter and the Olympic Games — the Seven Network claimed 28.5% market share, followed by Nine (28.3%), Ten (17.8%), ABC (16.9%) and SBS (8.4%).

For the primary channels: Nine claimed top spot (20.3%), followed by Seven (19.6%), ABC (11.9%), Ten (11.1%) and SBS (5.1%).

The Nine Network also claimed #1 spot with 16-39 and 25-54 age groups.

Nine claimed the most-watched entertainment program of the year, with The Block (Winner Announced: 1.907m, Grand Final: 1.608m. 5 cities). Other entertainment highlights for Nine included Married At First Sight (Finale: 1.490m, Final Dinner Party: 1.263m) and Lego Masters (Winner Announced: 1.176m).

Ironically, Seven’s highest rating entertainment brands were titles that were previously on Nine: The Voice (Winner Announced: 1.463m, Launch: 1.439m), Hey Hey We’re 50 (1.355m) and Farmer Wants A Wife (Final: 0.932m). Ten’s highest rated entertainment programs included Oprah With Meghan & Harry (1.496m) and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here (Opening Night: 1.106m) — though the latter appeared outside of the designated ratings season.

Seven topped the sports field with the AFL Grand Final: Melbourne v Western Bulldogs (3.051m) and the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony (2.654m), with Nine’s NRL Grand Final Day (Match: 2.206m) and NRL State Of Origin (1st Match: 1.933m, 2nd Match: 1.873m, 3rd Match: 1.742m). Ten’s coverage of the Melbourne Cup (Race: 1.213m) was its highest rated sports coverage.

The 2022 ratings year begins on 6 February and continues through to 26 November, with a two-week break over the Easter period.

Source: Nine For Brands

Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2021. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM.


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TV Week Logie Awards: 10 years ago

The 62nd annual TV Week Logie Awards were meant to happen tonight, 28 November. While the awards will not be taking place — for a second year in a row — we continue the annual rundown of past Logies presentations to coincide with what would have been this year’s Logies weekend. We wrap up the weekend with the Logies of 2011 — 10 years ago:

Today host Karl Stefanovic  was awarded the TV Week Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television at the 53rd annual TV Week Logie Awards, held on 1 May 2011 at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium.

It was the Nine Network’s first Gold Logie win since Ray Martin last won the award in 1996.

Stefanovic’s Gold win came on the back of an aggressive marketing campaign by Nine which encouraged viewers to send in SMS votes to get him over the line. Other nominees Rebecca Gibney, Jessica Marais, Chrissie Swan, Adam Hills and Asher Keddie were also promoted by their respective networks, but Nine’s “Vote for Karl” campaign was certainly the most prolific.

The Today host even mentioned the campaign in his acceptance speech.

The campaign attracted some criticism as being a “tacky” stunt as opposed to having talent judged on its own merits. Seven’s then news chief Peter Meakin told Crikey, “Karl’s a really nice guy, I regard him as a mate. But I just think this was tacky.”

Stefanovic’s Gold was his second Logie on the night. Earlier in the evening he’d been awarded the Silver Logie for Most Popular Presenter.

The Nine Network also scored three Logies for its Underbelly instalment, Underbelly: The Golden Mile, including Most Outstanding Drama, and Firass Dirani walking away with the two New Talent awards.

Seven’s popular Packed To The Rafters (pictured above) won Most Popular Drama, and actor Hugh Sheridan was awarded Most Popular Actor.

The Seven Network was also awarded Most Outstanding Factual Program for the special Trisha And Krishna: The Quest For Separate Lives, and the long-running Better Homes And Gardens won Most Popular Lifestyle Program.

Seven News won the Logie for Most Outstanding News Report for its coverage of the New Zealand mine disaster.

Ten’s reality hit MasterChef Australia won the award for Most Popular Reality Program. Ten also picked up awards for Bondi Rescue for Most Popular Factual Program, and Offspring’s Asher Keddie (pictured) won for Most Popular Actress. It was her first Logie win although she had been nominated for Logies in past years based on her roles in Love My Way and Underbelly.

Ten’s morning show The Circle (pictured) won Most Popular Light Entertainment Program, while co-host Chrissie Swan (pictured far right) may have missed out on the Gold but did take the Most Popular New Female Talent award.

ABC collected a number of awards this year.  Richard Roxburgh won Most Outstanding Actor for his role in Rake, and Claire van der Boom won Most Outstanding Actress for her role in Sisters Of War. ABC3’s Dance Academy won Most Outstanding Children’s Program, and Spicks And Specks won Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program. The Four Corners story “Struggler’s Paradise” won Most Outstanding Public Affairs Report.

Jana Wendt appeared on stage to induct former colleague Laurie Oakes into the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame.  There were congratulatory messages from Julia Gillard,Tony Abbott, John Howard, Kevin Rudd and ABC presenter Kerry O’Brien.

Performer Eddie Perfect and comedy trio Tripod presented a moving tribute to those in the television and showbusiness industries that have left us over the past twelve months.

Other music performances on the night came from Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Jessie J.

Megan Gale, Andre Rieu and Rachel Griffiths were among the guest stars to hand out awards.

Shane Bourne courageously took on the role as host that invariably draws criticism, and succeeding to lead the night with good humour and without wearing out his welcome.

GOLD LOGIE – Most Popular Personality on TV
Karl Stefanovic (Today, Nine)

SILVER LOGIE – Most Popular Actor
Hugh Sheridan (Packed To The Rafters, Seven)
SILVER LOGIE – Most Popular Actress
Asher Keddie (Offspring, Ten)
SILVER LOGIE – Most Popular Presenter
Karl Stefanovic (Today, Nine)

Firass Dirani (Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Nine)
Chrissie Swan (The Circle, Ten)
Packed To The Rafters (Seven)
The Circle (Ten)
Better Homes And Gardens (Seven)
The Footy Show (AFL) (Nine)
MasterChef Australia (Ten)
Bondi Rescue (Ten)


Laurie Oakes

SILVER LOGIE – Most Outstanding Drama Series, Miniseries or Telemovie
Underbelly: The Golden Mile (Nine)
SILVER LOGIE – Most Outstanding Actor
Richard Roxburgh (Rake, ABC1)
SILVER LOGIE – Most Outstanding Actress
Claire van der Boom (Sisters Of War, ABC1)
Firass Dirani (Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Nine)
“New Zealand Mine Disaster” (Seven News)
“Smugglers’ Paradise” (Four Corners, ABC1)
Spicks And Specks (ABC1)
The Ashes 2010 First Test – Day One at the Gabba (Nine)
Dance Academy (ABC3)
Trishna & Krishna: The Quest For Separate Lives (Seven)

[This is a revision of a post that was published in 2011]

Source: TV Week, 14 May 2011. Crikey

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TV Week Logie Awards: 25 years ago

The 62nd annual TV Week Logie Awards were meant to happen this Sunday 28 November. While the awards will not be taking place — for a second year in a row — we continue the annual rundown of past Logies presentations to coincide with what would have been this year’s Logies weekend. Today it’s back to 1996 — 25 years ago.

A Current Affair host Ray Martin made TV history by winning the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality On Australian Television for an unprecedented fourth year in a row at the 38th annual TV Week Logie Awards.

The awards, hosted by Daryl Somers, were held at the Melbourne Park Function Centre for the first time and, after the previous year’s presentation being held at the Melbourne Concert Hall, the 1996 awards marked a return to the less rigid dinner setting. The 1996 presentation also marked the end of the Logies’ tradition of alternating between the three commercial networks, with the Nine Network hosting the awards telecast ever since.

Martin’s Gold Logie win gave him an overall tally of five Gold Logies — equalling the record of Gold Logie wins set by Graham Kennedy. Martin hoped that his Gold and ACA‘s win for Most Popular Public Affairs Program might silence criticism of ACA over its reporting of the Paxton family teenagers in Melbourne. The unemployed teens were seen to be turning down jobs found for them by ACA and consequently lost their dole payments. The coverage became a target for scrutiny from media commentator Philip Adams and ABC‘s Media Watch program.

Martin also defended his award in the face of its critics. “There is an ongoing criticism of shows that rate or people or programs who get these awards,” he said. “I thought TV was about being a popular medium. That doesn’t mean we don’t do an interview with the Prime Minister, but, nevertheless, we’ve got to do something that people like. Programs such as Blue Heelers, Burke’s Backyard and 60 Minutes are world-class programs and I don’t think we should apologise for them.”

The Seven Network‘s Home And Away collected three awards — Most Popular Series, and individual awards for Dieter Brummer (Silver Logie for Most Popular Actor) and Nic Testoni (Most Popular New Talent). Brummer, winning the award for the second year in a row, paid special tribute to his ex-girlfriend, even though he had since been linked to another woman. “We had a lot of great times together and she’s been a major influence in my career,” he told TV Week. “I figured why not thank her, because without her support, who knows what may have happened?”

Following the previous year’s win for Most Popular New Talent, Lisa McCune from Blue Heelers won the Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress.

Other publicly-voted wins for Seven included Full Frontal for Most Popular Comedy Program, Better Homes And Gardens for Most Popular Lifestyle/Information Program, Agro’s Cartoon Connection for Most Popular Children’s Program, and Magda Szubanski (pictured) of Big Girl’s Blouse for Most Popular Comedy Personality

For Nine, Logies and Hey Hey It’s Saturday host Daryl Somers won Most Popular Light Entertainment Personality, Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush won Most Popular Light Entertainment Program, and Melbourne’s The Footy Show won Most Popular Sports Program.

ABC’s only publicly-voted win was Police Rescue for Most Popular Drama. There were no popularity wins for Network Ten or SBS.

Leading the industry-voted categories is the Gold Logie for the TV Week Logie Awards Hall Of Fame — awarded to the late Maurie Fields, who died four months earlier. It was only the second time in Logies history that the award was made posthumously. His award was accepted by his wife Val Jellay, who received a standing ovation before giving an emotional tribute. The couple had been married for 35 years and often worked together as a double act in the days of vaudeville and came across to television, working on variety shows like Sunnyside Up and years later played husband and wife (pictured below) in The Flying Doctors.

ABC collected a number of the industry-panel voted awards. Mini-series Blue Murder won for Most Outstanding Achievement In Drama Production, and actor Richard Roxburgh, who played corrupt Detective Roger Rogerson, won the Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actor. Four Corners won Most Outstanding Achievement In Current Affairs for its story “Minor Surgery, Major Risk”, while current affairs satire Frontline won Most Outstanding Achievement In Comedy for its episode which depicted the fictional current affairs show’s attention towards ethnic tensions within a community.

The SBS documentary Untold Desires won the Logie for Most Outstanding Documentary for its insight on the sexuality of Australians with a variety of disabilities.

The Nine Network won Most Outstanding Achievement In News for its coverage of the Mururoa Protests, and Halifax fp star Jacqueline McKenzie won the Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actress for her portrayal of a woman battling with multiple personalities.

Regional television network Prime won Most Outstanding Achievement By A Regional Network for its documentary No Time For Frailty, which gave an insight into the life of rural families, innovative businesses and creative individuals.

Performers on the night included Kate Ceberano singing a cover of The Jacksons’ 1981 hit Can You Feel It, and John Farnham performing his latest single, Have A Little Faith. Viewers were also treated to a comic skit opening with Blue Heelers star John Wood claiming, “Ray Martin act… I’d like to see that!” And with that introduction, viewers saw Martin playing a policeman alongside Blue Heelers‘ Lisa McCune. Viewers also got to see some other unusual pairings — including GladiatorsVulcan hosting current affairs program Sunday, and Humphrey B Bear joining The Movie Show‘s David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz.

International guests at the awards included Hollywood actress Holly Hunter and ER star Gloria Reuben.

TV Week Logie Award Winners 1996: Public Voting Categories:

Gold Logie — Most Popular Personality: Ray Martin

Silver Logie — Most Popular Actor: Dieter Brummer (Home And Away)
Silver Logie — Most Popular Actress: Lisa McCune (Blue Heelers)

Most Popular Series: Home And Away
Most Popular Drama: Police Rescue
Most Popular Light Entertainment Program: Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush
Most Popular Light Entertainment Personality: Daryl Somers (Hey Hey It’s Saturday)
Most Popular Comedy Program: Full Frontal
Most Popular Comedy Personality: Magda Szubanski (Big Girls Blouse)
Most Popular Public Affairs Program: A Current Affair
Most Popular Lifestyle/Information Program: Better Homes And Gardens
Most Popular Sports Program: The Footy Show (AFL)
Most Popular Children’s Program: Agro’s Cartoon Connection
Most Popular New Talent: Nic Testoni (Home And Away)

TV Week Logie Award Winners 1996; Industry Voted Categories:

Gold Logie — Hall Of Fame: Maurie Fields (posthumously)

Silver Logie — Most Outstanding Actor: Richard Roxburgh (Blue Murder)
Silver Logie — Most Outstanding Actress: Jacqueline McKenzie (Halifax fp)

Most Outstanding Achievement In Drama Production: Blue Murder
Most Outstanding Documentary: Untold Desires
Most Outstanding Achievement In News: “Mururoa Protests”, Nine Network
Most Outstanding Achievement In Public Affairs: “Minor Surgery, Major Risk”, Four Corners
Most Outstanding Achievement In Comedy: Frontline, Episode 7: “Divide The Community, Multiply The Ratings”
Most Outstanding Achievement By A Regional Network: No Time For Frailty (Prime)

Source: TV Week, 20 April 1996, 27 April 1996.

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TV Week Logie Awards: 50 years ago

The 62nd annual TV Week Logie Awards were meant to happen this Sunday 28 November. While the awards will not be taking place — for a second year in a row — we continue the annual rundown of past Logies presentations to coincide with what would have been this year’s Logies weekend. Starting with the 1971 awards — 50 years ago.

Division 4 star Gerard Kennedy and daytime TV host Maggie Tabberer were winners of the Gold Logies at the 13th annual TV Week Logie Awards.

The awards presentation was held at the Southern Cross Hotel ballroom on Friday 26 March 1971 and hosted by Bert Newton.

Kennedy, who rose to fame in Hunter before taking the lead in Division 4, also collected the inaugural Logie for Best Actor. The new category, which was open to male and female actors, was created as part of the broader push for more local production and recognised the growing profile of Australian television drama.

Tabberer, one of Australia’s top models who featured in the panel show Beauty And The Beast before launching her own show, Maggie, won the Gold Logie for Most Popular Female Personality for the second year running, becoming the first female to win the Gold two years in a row. As well as hosting Maggie for the Seven Network, she’d also guest hosted The Mike Walsh Show in Melbourne.

TV Week also minted a special Gold Logie to acknowledge the career achievement of Bob and Dolly Dyer, hosts of the long-running quiz show Pick-A-Box. The program, which began on radio in 1948, was soon to present its final edition after almost 15 years on television and the Dyers were heading for retirement.

Long-running drama series Homicide reclaimed the Best Drama category after losing out to Division 4 the previous year. The ABC drama Dynasty (pictured above), the story of the family behind a powerful media empire, won the Logie for Best New Australian Drama.

ABC also won awards for Four Corners and comedy Australia A To Z. This Day Tonight won a special award for its political coverage during the year 1970, particularly around the recent change of Prime Ministers. ABC news cameraman Heinz Voelzer (pictured above) also won a special Logie for Best News Report for his coverage of the Canberra student riots during the visit of US Vice-President Spiro Agnew.

Sydney-based reporter Steve Raymond (pictured above), who won the Logie for Best News Reporting the previous year, won the award for Best Documentary for Scream Bloody Murder. The program, made for TEN10 in Sydney and later shown nationally, highlighted the increasing road toll problem and was designed, in part, to encourage the wearing of seat belts.

Pop star Johnny Farnham won the award for Best Teenage Personality for the third year in a row. And Melbourne singer Liv Maessen (pictured) won the George Wallace Memorial Logie for Best New Talent. The 0-10 Network‘s Saturday morning pop music program, Happening ’70 (featuring Ross D Wyllie and Johnny Young, pictured below), won a special award for Outstanding Contribution to Teenage Television.

The Nine Network’s long-running variety show, Sound Of Music, won Best Musical/Variety Show.

US series Mod Squad won Best Overseas Show for the second year in a row, and the Seven Network also won a special award for its programming initiative towards British comedies as part of the “Seven Revolution” campaign. The programming strategy was seen as a breakthrough in commercial television programming, as British programs were usually the domain of ABC.

The Nine Network telecast was shown live in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne and taped for delayed broadcast in other states. Special overseas guests at the awards presentation were actors Michael Cole (Mod Squad), Bob and Patricia Crane (Hogan’s Heroes) and Karen Jensen and Peter Haskell of Bracken’s World.

National Awards:

Gold Logie — Best Male Personality: Gerard Kennedy
Gold Logie — Best Female Personality: Maggie Tabberer

Best Actor: Gerard Kennedy

Best Teenage Personality: Johnny Farnham

Best Musical/Variety Show: Sound Of Music

Best Drama: Homicide

Best Comedy: Australia A To Z

Best Current Affairs: Four Corners

George Wallace Memorial Logie For Best New Talent: Liv Maessen

Best Commercial: Coca-Cola

Best Overseas Show: Mod Squad

Special Award — Best New Australian Drama: Dynasty

Special Award — Contribution To Teenage Television: Happening ’70

Special Award — Best News Reporting: Heinz Voelzer

Special Award — Best Documentary: Scream Bloody Murder

Special Award — Achievement In Television Programming: Seven Network

Special Award — Outstanding Coverage Of Current Affairs: This Day Tonight

Anne Wills, Bert Newton

State-based awards (Best Male Personality, Best Female Personality, Best Show):

NSW: Barry Crocker, Maggie Tabberer, The Bob Rogers Show
VIC: Jimmy Hannan, Sue Donovan, The Weekend Starts Here
QLD: Ron Cadee, Annette Allison, I’ve Got A Secret
SA: Ernie Sigley, Anne Wills, Adelaide Tonight
WA: Garry Meadows, Trina Brown, Spotlight
TAS: Lindsay Edwards, Caroline Schmit, Tonight

Source: TV Week, 14 November 1970, 3 April 1971, 10 April 1971.



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SBS to launch Worldwatch channel

SBS has announced plans to launch its sixth free-to-air channel — Worldwatch.

The new channel will feature news bulletins from around the world, covering over 30 languages, and will also be the broadcast home of SBS’ new Arabic and Mandarin language news programs.

The new bulletins — SBS عربي News and SBS 中文 News — will provide Australia’s large and diverse Arabic- and Mandarin-speaking communities with national and international news. The bulletins will be produced and presented by SBS journalists for an Australian audience, and will premiere on SBS On Demand in January ahead of the new channel launch.

In a media statement, SBS Managing Director, James Taylor said:

“SBS is the most multilingual broadcaster in the world and we are continuing to evolve our services, finding new and innovative ways to enhance and strengthen our language offering across platforms, and ensure SBS’s content and trusted news coverage is increasingly accessible to audiences.

“Since it was established, SBS has been providing opportunities for Australians to connect with news, information and entertainment in their preferred language. That connection supports a strong sense of belonging and inclusion in our increasingly diverse and complex multicultural society. The launch of a free-to-air multilingual news channel, along with the creation of new TV news bulletins in Arabic and Mandarin tailored to the needs of these communities in Australia, demonstrates our commitment to the core, critical and unparalleled services that SBS provides.”

SBS Director of News and Current Affairs, Mandi Wicks, added:

“SBS is uniquely placed to reach and engage the many Australians who speak a language other than English, and our truly global newsroom is a real point of difference in the media landscape.

“In 2022, we’re thrilled to be increasing our commitment to more multilingual news through a new, dedicated channel, as well as adding bespoke SBS news programs for two of the nation’s largest and fastest growing language groups, Arabic and Mandarin. Ensuring access to relevant, up-to-date news and information for all Australians promotes civic, cultural and social participation, which is at the heart of our purpose.”

Worldwatch joins SBS’ existing channel suite — SBS, SBS Viceland, SBS Food, NITV and World Movies. The Age reports that the new channel will take on the international news bulletins currently broadcast under the Worldwatch banner on SBS and SBS Viceland, with those channels to schedule replacement programming.

Further details around the launch of Worldwatch will be provided by SBS in the new year.

Source: SBS, The Age


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SBS uncovers Australian TV’s back side

The new SBS series The Back Side Of Television takes an interesting look at our television past.

It takes a much different approach to the usual clip shows and flashbacks. Presenter Mitch McTaggart — who previously hosted The Last Year Of Television specials for C31 and SBS — takes off the rose-tinted glasses that may colour some of our memories and throws a few truth bombs about what has really been behind some of our TV shows of the past.

The first episode, aired last week and available on SBS On Demand, took a look at Australian Idol, Australia’s Most Wanted and television’s obsession with true crime which goes to the point where the genre is literally consuming itself in the quest for ratings and content.

It wraps up with a real-life gotcha moment that you couldn’t feasibly script for fear of it being too unbelievable.

Episode two, airing on SBS Viceland tonight (Monday) at 9.20pm, looks at conspiracy theories and how they’ve evolved on TV, whiteness in drama, and how often do networks rip each other off.

There are only three half-hour episodes in this series and it seems cruelly short for a subject matter that would be a rich mine of content. Despite the awkward timeslot it has been given, hopefully SBS will give this series an opportunity to come back and explore our televisual history further.

The Back Side Of Television. Monday 22/29 November 2021, 9.20pm, SBS Viceland and later on SBS On Demand.

YouTube: DougWatchedHalf

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A Country Practice at 40

It is 40 years since A Country Practice made its debut on the Seven Network. With the first episode airing on 18 November 1981 in Sydney and 23 November 1981 in Melbourne before much of the rest of the country — A Country Practice introduced us to the fictional town of Wandin Valley, with the main focus on the local hospital and general practice. The series also cast an eye over the local vet and the town’s police force of one.

Produced in Sydney and on location at nearby Pitt Town, it ran for 12 years on the Seven Network before Ten took over the series and shifted production to Melbourne for one year. The original cast included Shane Porteous, Grant Dodwell, Penny Cook, Lorrae Desmond, Anne Tenney, Brian Wenzel, Shane Withington and Helen Scott — while Fatso the wombat and Doris the pig became favourites.

Other cast members to feature over the show’s 1000+ episode run included Joyce Jacobs, Joan Sydney, Gordon Piper, Syd Heylen, Georgie Parker, Maureen Edwards, Mary Regan, John Tarrant, Wendy Strehlow, Josephine Mitchell, Kate Raison, Nick Bufalo, Andrew Blackman, Judith McGrath, Kym Wilson, Diane Smith, Matt Day, Michelle Pettigrove, Paul Gleeson, Vince Colosimo, Jane Hall and Claudia Black.

While A Country Practice dealt with all manner of relationship dramas and medical stories, it also covered topical social issues such as homosexuality, AIDS, nuclear war, domestic and sexual abuse, drug addiction and suicide. The fictional Wandin Valley also copped its share of natural disasters such as bushfires — with the series’ final two-hour episode on Seven depicting the Wandin Valley Hospital, the focal point for many of its storylines, being destroyed by fire.

But the show’s most definitive storyline was the death of fan favourite Molly Jones (played by Anne Tenney), after a lengthy battle with leukaemia in 1985.

When Network Ten picked up the show at the end of 1993, it shifted production to Melbourne and the fictional Wandin Valley, previously deemed to be somewhere in New South Wales, was now suddenly in Melbourne’s Dandenongs and with a revamped cast line-up. The Network Ten run of the series struggled and it played out most of its episodes on Saturday afternoons.

A Country Practice sold well overseas, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, France, Germany, Zimbabwe and on the PBS network in the United States. It became one of Australia’s most awarded dramas, with 29 TV Week Logie Awards to its credit — including three for Most Popular Drama –and series creator James Davern was inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards Hall of Fame in 1991.

The series has had a number of re-runs on free-to-air and pay TV over the years and has been released on DVD. The entire series, including the episodes made for Ten, is also available on the Seven Network’s streaming platform, 7plus.

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