tvtimes_020679 Cover: Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy (George And Mildred)

Script competition strikes gold
Sydney’s TEN10 has received a mammoth response to its scriptwriting competition offering a grand prize of $10,000. Tom Miller, production co-ordinator at TEN, has been working through the applications: “We’re recording every entry and to date I’m up to 1450. I’ve read about two thirds of them and I’ve seen at least seven good ideas which could possibly go into a TV series.” The panel of judges to determine the best 25 entries received includes Bruce Gyngell of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, television personality Stuart Wagstaff, producer Pat Lovell and chief executive of the Victorian Film Corporation, Jill Robb. The top 25 entries will receive $200 and will be invited to write a script based on their concept. The best script wins $10,000, second $2000 and third $1000. The competition is estimated to cost TEN10 around $30,000. “But if we come up with three series ideas it’ll be worthwhile. That’s cheap, and it’s giving us an idea of what the public wants. I think the ideas could be worth a fortune.”

nonihazlehurstTV Follies of ‘79
A new ABC series, TV Follies, revives the Hollywood era of musicals and dance sequences. The four-part series features many familiar actors and actresses in less than familiar roles as they perform in the mini-musicals inspired by the classic era. Some of the stars to feature include Noni Hazlehurst (pictured), Debbie Byrne, Normie Rowe, Julie McGregor, Ian Turpie, Geraldine Turner, Gus Mercurio, Kathy Lloyd, Delilah and Max Cullen.

Hot on a cold role!
Actor John Meillon hopes his portrayal of a NSW Premier in a forthcoming ABC series will give him “an entirely different change of image.” Meillon will star in Timelapse, a thirteen-part series which is due to go into production next month. The plot involves the deep freezing the body of a murdered man and bringing him back to life 20 years later. The series is set in the year 1989 against a background of political intrigue involving a fictional NSW Premier. Timelapse will also feature Robert Coleby (Chopper Squad) and Kate Sheil (Birds In The Bush). Executive producer is Eric Tayler who has worked with Meillon on ABC dramas Bit Part and The Fourth Wish.

johncootes Footballer John lining up the goals
John Cootes
(pictured) left the priesthood five years ago and ended up pursuing a TV career, but says his religious training has helped him a great deal as a TV personality. “As a priest I listened to the problems of hundreds of people and learned to be a good listener. In my training I aimed to be tolerant and understanding and I like to believe I am both of these.” After leaving the priesthood, the former rugby league player became a commentator for NBN3 Newcastle and later joined TEN10’s Eyewitness News and from there went on to lead TEN10’s sports department as well as hosting the channel’s Saturday Night Live, a program previously hosted by John Singleton and, for one night only, Graham Kennedy. “It was a daunting prospect because people were naturally comparing me to Singleton and Kennedy. But I’m not either of them and I couldn’t do what they did. To me, Saturday Night Live is a variety sporting show with a touch of elegance.”

The first three of the Nine Network’s commissioned package of six telemovies, about the position of women in Australian society, are about to go to air. Say You Want Me, starring Belinda Giblin (The Box), Serge Lazareff (Young Ramsay) and Hugh Keays-Byrne, looks at the rape of a young wife by a businessman who has just signed her radio personality husband to a lucrative product endorsement contract. A Good Thing Going, featuring Veronica Lang and John Hargreaves, and The Plumber, starring Judy Morris, Robert Coleby and Ivar Kants, are also set to go to air.

HSV7’s Saturday Night Live booth announcer Peter Byrne has landed a role in the upcoming series Skyways.

Actress Angela Punch has signed up to appear in a new historical drama for ABC. The eight-part series, The Timeless Land, is a rare TV appearance for the actress who has normally focused on theatre and film work. Production commences in October.

On The Inside, the signature tune of the 0-10 Network’s Prisoner, has stormed up the Australian charts and is about to go gold (50,000 sales).

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”Lack of realism and attention to detail in Cop Shop turned me off the series a long time ago.” D. Price, VIC.

prisoner_franky “I have written to Viewpoint many times before but not once have I had my views published. I don’t really have much to say except that I think it is a shame that Carol Burns (as Franky Doyle, pictured) decided to leave Prisoner.” A. Murphy, SA.

“I have been a dog breeder and exhibitor for nearly 20 years and would really enjoy seeing a full coverage of the famous Crufts Dog Show, even though I doubt if any of the breed I am interested in would be exhibited, as there are very few of them overseas. I am referring to the Australian cattle dog. However, dog showing has a huge following, there’s an ever-increasing interest in this fascinating hobby.” B. Bearup, NSW.

What’s On (June 2-8):
On Saturday night, ABC presents Chicago, the first episode of TV Follies, featuring Max Cullen, Gus Mercurio, Noni Hazlehurst, Robyn Moase, David Atkins and Ron Blanchard.

A one-hour special, The Barry Humphries Show, screens on ATV0 featuring some of Humphries’ famous characters including Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson.

This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at some of the scandals that have rocked Australia – including the Oz magazine obscenity trial, the Bodyline cricket furore and the Braund Cancer Cure Scandal.

Guest stars in Peter Couchman Tonight (ATV0, weeknights) include Chelsea Brown, Normie Rowe, Fred Parsons and Peter Russell-Clarke.

HSV7 screens the premiere of documentary series This Rugged Coast, featuring Ben Cropp and his team as they circumnavigate the Australian coastline.

US mini-series Roots The Next Generations continues in two-hour episodes on Monday and Thursday nights on ATV0.

Sunday night movies: Catlow (HSV7), Say You Want Me (GTV9), The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 2 June 1979. ABC/ACP

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