1979: January 27-February 2

Stardom and the single man
TV Times talked to a cross-section of showbusiness bachelors about the pros and cons of single life while in the public eye. For Don Lane, currently in a relationship, there was a time when he would question if a girl was interested in Don Lane, the person, or Don Lane on TV. Actor Terry Donovan has had to combine his professional and social life with raising a son, Jason, but is enjoying being a bachelor. Ugly Dave Gray said it took some adjusting, after the end of his marriage to wife Gail, to getting out and being social again, but admits to being the marrying kind, and “I’d really like kids if I marry again.” For Sherbet singer Daryl Braithwaite, being single has the benefit of not having any responsibility, but the downside is that he tends to be the only member of the group to come home alone after being away on tour. But he is reluctant to get involved in a serious relationship again, for a while at least.

TV greets the Year of the Child
All networks are planning locally produced or imported programs focused on the International Year Of The Child (IYC), and most channels are planning increased quality and quantity for children’s programs:

ARVO (ABC): New series to launch in April. To go to air weekday afternoons 4.00pm-6.00pm, and will include children’s entertainment, such as Sesame Street, and reports and interviews with children about their own IYC projects. ABC is currently looking for a host for the program who gets on well with children, and bunyips, as ARVO‘s co-host will be a bunyip called Alexander.

Twin Towers (ABC): A new six-part children’s drama is in production, starring John Ewart, Tessa Mallos, Ray Meagher, Justine Saunders and Candy Williams. Storylines for the new series have been developed with contributions from children at a Sydney primary school.

Earth Patrol (ABC): New drama series to debut in June and will screen in combination with the Earth Patrol Club which will provide a forum for children’s involvement in community and environmental issues. Many of the episodes for Earth Patrol will be filmed in Sydney and Queensland.

Mad Dog Gang (Nine): New Zealand-based series to be screened in March.

Falcon Island (Nine): A Perth-based children’s drama about the search for a wrecked sailing ship off the coast of Western Australia.

The Gene Machine (Nine): Seven-part British series about how genes affect the lives of humans and animals.

A Gift Of Song: The Music For UNICEF Concert (0-10): The official launch concert for IYC that took place in New York on 10 January. Performers include the Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John, Kris Kristofferson, John Denver, Earth Wind And Fire, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart, ABBA and Rita Coolidge. To be screened in Australia possibly in February or March.

The Seven Network has also obtained local broadcast rights to a mammoth 20-hour telethon in aid of IYC which will be beamed direct from the United States over two days in June to more than 30 countries worldwide. Seven’s telecast is expected to include an Australian component featuring local personalities from the Seven Network, and rival network identities will also be invited to appear.

New shows for ’79
The four networks – ABC, Seven, Nine and 0-10 – all unveil some of the new and returning shows for the coming 1979 season.

johngregg ABC: New Australian-made drama with The Oracle (starring John Gregg, pictured), Patrol Boat, Twenty Good Years, Ride On Stranger and One Day Miller, a spin-off of the comedy series Tickled Pink. Another new drama, Golden Soak, based on the novel by Hammond Innes, a six-part series co-produced by ABC with British and German interests. Also to come this year are new episodes of British series Are You Being Served?, The Two Ronnies, Doctor Who, The Goodies and George And Mildred. Peter Wherrett presents a new ten-part series Marque: 100 Years Of Motoring tracing the history of the motor car industry and takes a peek at where it’s headed. There’s new episodes of Holiday With Bill Peach and Mastermind. And a new era in current affairs with Nationwide replacing the long-running This Day Tonight.

peterluck Seven: A new series of Father Dear Father In Australia will also be joined by Australian versions of UK favourites Love Thy Neighbour and Doctor In The House. There’s new local drama this year with the Melbourne-based airport drama Skyways. Journalist Peter Luck (pictured) presents a new 16-part documentary series This Fabulous Century. New imported series include CHiPs, The Incredible Hulk, The Upchat Line, Return Of The Saint, The Professionals, The Unknown War and Lillie. A new mini-series, Centennial, traces the lives of seven generations of Americans living in the Colorado area and boasts the largest production budget ever for a TV series. Returning this year are overseas series The Sweeney, Quincy, Welcome Back Kotter, Good Times, The Muppet Show, Eight Is Enough, Mind Your Language and The Dick Emery Show. There will also be more locally-made specials featuring Norman Gunston, Julie Anthony and Malcolm Douglas.

60mins Nine: The long-awaited current affairs program 60 Minutes (pictured) makes its debut while returning favourites include The Mike Walsh Show, The Don Lane Show, The Paul Hogan Show, The Sullivans and The Young Doctors. New overseas drama with Vega$, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, The Source and mini-series The Immigrants. New US comedy series Taxi, WKRP In Cincinnati, Who’s Watching The Kids and Mork And Mindy. Returning US series include The Love Boat, Happy Days, Fantasy Island, Laverne And Shirley, Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-0, Donny And Marie and Family.

memory10 0-10: New Australian drama with the Melbourne-based Prisoner (pictured) starring Val Lehman, Peta Toppano, Carol Burns, Fiona Spence, Kerry Armstrong, Elspeth Ballantyne, Colette Mann, Sheila Florance, Patsy King and Mary Ward. New US comedy with Flying High and Grandpa Goes To Washington. New US drama includes Dallas, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, The American Girls, The Paper Chase, Sword Of Justice and Roots: The Next Generations, the next chapter to Alex Haley‘s saga of his ancestors’ early life in America. A three-part mini-series, Pearl, tells the events surrounding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. Returning US series include MASH, The Adventures Of Wonder Woman, Grizzly Adams, The Waltons, Project UFO, Alice and The Rockford Files.

Bush vet comes to town – again
Crawford Productions is to begin work later this year on a further thirteen one-hour episodes of drama Young Ramsay for the Seven Network. The series will again feature John Hargreaves as Peter Ramsay, the young city vet who goes bush. Co-star Serge Lazareff is also expected to return for the new episodes, though Barbara Llewellyn will not be returning. A replacement for Llewellyn has not yet been cast. It has been more than twelve months since the first series of Young Ramsay was shown in Melbourne.

malwalden The taming of a workaholic
In the five months since Brian Naylor resigned from Melbourne’s Seven National News, there had been plenty of speculation as to who would replace him. However, none of that speculation seemed to include the former reporter that had been filling Naylor’s position in the meantime, Mal Walden (pictured): “I must admit that all the newspaper reports at the time were very crushing for the ego. After all, I was doing the job at the time and it was embarrassing to be completely dismissed by the press. Even Pamela Graham, who was filling in my usual spot, got a mention. I just would have liked someone to acknowledge the fact that I was there.” As it turned out, Walden was the one that management wanted for the role, although it did take a lot of convincing from station manager Ron Casey to get him to accept it. A former country radio announcer, Walden came to radio station 3DB in Melbourne in the late-1960s. Then in 1970, after a year-long hitch-hiking tour through Europe and Asia, Walden joined 3DB’s sister TV station, HSV7, where he reported for the news, hosted the quiz show Jeopardy and filled in for David Johnston on the children’s program This Week Has Seven Days. In 1974, Walden was the first reporter to arrive in Darwin after the city had been devastated by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day. “Naturally it is one of those jobs you never forget, but as a reporting job it wasn’t hard. The news was everywhere. All you had to do was point a camera and put a microphone at someone’s mouth and you had a story. The big problem was getting the stories out of Darwin. I’d spend hours trying to get the reels of film on some sort of plane to Melbourne.”

abc_black2 To the rescue, with classics
ABC has purchased a package of more than 140 classic movies for screening on Saturday and Tuesday nights from next month. The package includes titles from three different sources, MGM, the Goldwyn estate and London Films. The first movie to be shown from the package will be Woman Of The Year, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, which will head a block of movies to be shown as the Spencer Tracy Festival. Geoff Daniels, head of ABC drama, explains the plan behind the purchase: “Our philosophy is that ABC can’t afford first-run movies – no way we can ever be in that. We want to build up an audience who are interested in these type movies. It’s worked successfully for BBC and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work for us.” The line-up of classic movies is part of a new-look evening line-up for ABC this year, following the axing of This Day Tonight, that will see comedy scheduled after the news at 7.30pm, followed by local or imported drama at 8.30pm and new current affairs program Nationwide at 9.30pm.

After guest roles in Matlock Police, Division Four and The Truckies, singer-turned-actress Leila Hayes is about to play the mother of the hero in the new ABC series Twenty Good Years.

Janise Beaumont, a former Sydney journalist and reporter for The Mike Walsh Show and later The Steve Raymond Show, is a new addition to The Don Lane Show‘s on-air line-up.

In the four months since arriving in Australia from New Zealand, actor Sam Neill has been signed for three movie roles and a three-month stint in The Sullivans starting in May.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
“The spate of televised tennis matches shows no sign of abatement, but, it must be admitted that the tennis does at least keep out the more idiotic serials and crime movies which have dominated the afternoon box.” F. Rowley, NSW.

“Thank you ABC, from the bottom of my heart, for screening the TV movie Shimmering Light and the series Who Pays The Ferryman, the two most outstanding shows of the year.” G. Papadopoulos, NSW.

What’s On (January 27-February 2):
This weekend’s This Week Has Seven Days includes a segment on orienteering, a tour of the galleries and museums of the City of Boston and a discussion on psychiatry with a doctor from the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In the arts and crafts segment, Shirley Shackleton demonstrates the Fairisle knitting pattern.

On Sunday, ABC presents the cricket Fifth Test from Adelaide, and GTV9 presents World Series Cricket from VFL Park in Melbourne. HSV7 presents coverage of the 1979 Superbowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys which was played 21 January. This is followed by a documentary covering the activity in Saint Peter’s Square during the two-day wait for the announcement to be made and the coronation of Pope John Paul II.

ABC‘s 7.30pm line-up features a magazine program, Horse Talk, on Monday night with Heath Harris and Suzy Jarratt, while from Tuesday through to Friday is a repeat of the documentary series Australians At Large featuring Australians in far-removed parts of the world.

The Early Bird Show, Fat Cat And Friends and The Holiday Fun Show keep the kids amused in the early mornings, as well as the perennial Sesame Street and Play School. But with TV still basically in summer mode, afternoon TV is largely a sea of classic and black-and-white movies and sitcoms on HSV7 and ATV0 every weekday although ATV0 does include The Steve Raymond Show and GTV9 has more World Series Cricket.

Sunday night movies are repeats of The Chairman (GTV9) and Masquerade (ATV0). HSV7 presents Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll, the third part of the Ray Lawler trilogy featuring Bruce Myles, Peter Curtin, Carole Skinner, Sandy Gore, Christine Amor and David Downer. ABC presents a 50-minute special Australia Day concert featuring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 27 January 1979. ABC/ACP

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2009/01/1979-january-27-february-2.html

1 comment

  1. Phew!
    What an exhausting group of television viewing!
    Though I might request a replay of Shirley with that Fairisle knitting pattern… 😛

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