tvtimes_200179 That was the year that was!
For Mike Walsh (pictured), the king of daytime TV, 1978 earned him an even greater following and more accolades including a Gold Sammy for best male TV personality and the award for best light entertainment series. Highlights for The Mike Walsh Show during the year included guest appearances by Peter Ustinov, Derek Nimmo and English comedian Jimmy Edwards. “Looking back, 1978 was a most successful year for us and we will have an even bigger and better line-up this year, especially on the international scene.”

bartholomewjohn Young Doctors on the go!
Two of the stars of the Nine Network‘s The Young Doctors are set to leave the popular series with one of them rumoured to be signed up for the Seven Network‘s new series Skyways. Sydney-based Bartholomew John (pictured), who plays Dr Chris Piper, is about to depart the series for a visit to the US before settling in Melbourne but is not about to confirm his future plans: “All I can say is that I have a star role in a new series and that I am going to live in Melbourne.” Meanwhile, fellow The Young Doctors star Tony Alvarez is set to finish in the series next month with plans to embark on a music career. And another The Young Doctors star, Joanne Samuel, who was written out of the series late last year, is also heading to Skyways which is due to begin production in March.

stormboy Blockbuster movies in TV line-up
TV Times columnist Noel Risby previews some of the big movie titles headed for TV in the new year. The Nine Network is set to feature the Australian movie Caddie, starring Helen Morse, Jack Thompson and Jacki Weaver, the 1970 classic Love Story and other titles including The French Connection, The Three Musketeers, Harold And Maude and Harry And Tonto. Some of the movies coming up on Seven will be Australian titles Petersen and Storm Boy (pictured) and imported titles Great Expectations, Mandingo and the 1977 remake of King Kong. The 0-10 Network promises the Academy Award winning Dog Day Afternoon, action-packed titles Mr Majestyk and Dirty Harry, musical Mame and controversial – though most likely to be heavily edited – titles Last Tango In Paris and Deliverance. The network also promises Woody Allen‘s Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask.

ericpearce End of the news for Eric
The tears flowed at the studios of GTV9 as veteran newsreader Eric Pearce (pictured) made his final farewell from the newsroom. It was actually the second time Pearce has retired from reading news – the first was in 1972 but he was then lured back to Nine in 1976 in an attempt to stop viewers switching over to rival Seven National News with Brian Naylor who, ironically, has now been signed up to replace Pearce at Nine. Naylor admitted being nervous at starting afresh at Nine after many years at Seven but has been having regular off-air runs in the five months since he left Seven National News: “I think when we settle in, we will have a very strong team.” Pearce, 74, is now preparing for a somewhat less strenuous role as director of community affairs for the channel.

An ATV0 news team had a lucky escape when a light plane in which they were travelling crash-landed. Reporter Malcolm Gray, cameraman Clive Banfield and the pilot of the chartered plane were shaken but not injured and the news story they were working on still managed to get to air that night.

Philip Brady is said to be staying at GTV9 despite rumours of him accepting a very generous offer to join ATV0‘s Peter Couchman Tonight.

Former The Young Doctors star Cornelia Frances has been snapped up for a guest role in the Seven Network‘s Cop Shop.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
“After watching Steve Raymond‘s show for a few weeks, I have found it the most informative, entertaining show on Australian TV. His interviews are extremely interesting and he does not have the same old guests and panels as on The Mike Walsh Show week after week.” T. Barnett, NSW.

“Why did they stop making Chopper Squad? My family and friends thoroughly enjoyed the series, and to me it showed a great deal of realism.” A. Gosen, QLD.

“The Bill Peach special about China (ABC) is just the sort of TV program the communists love to see produced about a communist country. It presents the Chinese people as one big happy family. The multitude of refugees from China and South Vietnam who have risked their lives to escape communist tyranny are eloquent witnesses to what conditions are really like in communist countries. Let us have TV programs that tell the whole truth about communist nations.” W. Maguire, QLD.

What’s On (January 20-26):
More cricket during the week with the Sheffield Shield and the 3rd One-Day International on ABC and World Series Cricket on GTV9.

On Sunday afternoon, ATV0 presents a three-hour live broadcast from Torquay Beach hosted by Ray Burgess. Included in the telecast is coverage of surfing events and the final of the Miss Victorian Beach Girl Quest.

ATV0′s The Restless Years is back for the new year, screening Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 7.30pm.

Later on Wednesday night, HSV7 presents an Australian TV adaptation of the play Kid Stakes. Set in 1937, it’s the first story in the Ray Lawler trilogy. The second story, Other Times set in 1945, appears on Friday night. The third play, Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll, will appear next week.

Friday (26 January) is Australia Day but, like the previous year, there isn’t much Australian content to be found on TV. In mid-morning, ATV0 screens the 1954 black and white movie King Of The Coral Sea, starring Rod Taylor, Chips Rafferty and Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, followed by re-runs of 1960s children’s series Barrier Reef and The Rovers. The only Australian programming found on the commercial channels in the afternoon is Skippy The Bush Kangaroo on GTV9 and a 1935 movie, Heritage, on ATV0. Even ABC isn’t making any concerted effort for Australia’s national day apart from the ten-minute Australia Day message from the Governor-General Sir Zelman Cowen followed by a re-run episode of the documentary series Wild Australia.

Sunday night movies are repeats of All The Fine Young Cannibals (HSV7) and Battle Of Neretva (ATV0). GTV9 has World Series Cricket through to 10.30pm while ABC presents the first of a six-part New Zealand historical drama, The Governor, which tells the story of former South Australia governor Sir George Grey who became an influential figure in the European settlement of New Zealand in the nineteenth century.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 20 January 1979. ABC/ACP

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