The girl who leads Norman a merry dance
Pamela Gibbons
has emerged as one of Australia’s most versatile performers, whether it be acting, singing, dancing or choreographing. A former member of Ronne Arnold’s contemporary dance theatre with stage acting roles to her credit and a six-month stint in Number 96, Gibbons recently had the female lead in the ABC drama The Oracle and a dancer and choreographer for The Norman Gunston Show since it started on ABC in 1975, and has followed the show to the Seven Network. Gibbons and Gunston (both pictured) will appear in this week’s The Norman Gunston Show in a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers-style song and dance routine. Working with Garry McDonald (Gunston) has given Gibbons a new confidence in aspiring to a higher standard, such as taking on the role in The Oracle, starring opposite John Gregg, and is now keen to tackle some of the classics of the stage: “That would be a step forward in confidence. I’d particularly love to play Chekov’s The Three Sisters. The words are so beautiful.”

Kennedy’s comeback in TV comedy?
Graham Kennedy may return to TV in a comedy series being developed for the Seven Network by RS Productions, producers of The Naked Vicar Show. Kennedy has already featured in a series of radio plays produced by RS and aired on ABC. The new TV series, Comedy Playhouse, will be made up of seven half-hour situation comedies, though producers Tony Sattler and Gary Reilly declined to comment on reports that Kennedy would feature in the series. Since Blankety Blanks wound up production late last year, Kennedy has made a movie – The Odd Angry Shot – and hosted one edition of Sydney TEN10’s Saturday night variety show.

tanyahalesworth Tanya: Why I came back to TV
Twenty years after becoming one of ABC’s first female TV presenters and after a six-year absence from TV, Tanya Halesworth has returned to host a new ABC series, Sunday Spectrum. So what prompted Halesworth’s departure from TV, as host (pictured) of Nine’s all-female current affairs program No Man’s Land?  “My youngest son was two, and, well, I’m just the sort of person who hates to miss something I’ll never experience again, and I had a fear of missing out on my boys’ childhood. I’m not unique. It’s the sort of situation most women who work find themselves in.” Halesworth agreed to host Sunday Spectrum as it was “the first suitable, meaning part-time, offer I’ve had since deciding I could come back to work. And I think the program is something that is needed on TV at the moment.” Sunday Spectrum is a two-and-a-half-hour program of local and overseas content on general subjects and the arts.

Pop singer Frank Howson and former Early Bird Show co-host Mike McCarthy are working on two children’s series for the Grundy Organisation. Howson’s project, The Magic Trucking Company, has a strong rock music element and is aimed at eight to 12 year olds. McCarthy is developing a new format that producer Godfrey Philipp is not ready to give any details on at this stage. Grundy’s are also planning a children’s drama aimed at breaking down barriers between children of different nationalities.

corneliafrances Cornelia Frances is set to make a return to TV after her departure from the role of Sister Scott (pictured) in The Young Doctors last year.  The actress has had talks with Crawford Productions and is to appear in Cop Shop and Skyways for the Seven Network.

ABC producer Brian Adams has just completed an 80-minute special, in conjunction with Munich’s RM Productions, following the life of Dame Joan Sutherland from her home in Switzerland to touring across the US, Europe, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea and Australia. The special, Joan Sutherland – Life On The Move, airs on ABC nationally in August.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I read that black and white shows will not come back. It’s a shame. What difference does it make to watch a black and white movie or serial once a week? Give us repeats of Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Wanted Dead Or Alive and Surfside Six. Can’t one channel give it a try and watch the ratings?” T. Thompson, NSW.

“Having seen for myself the idiotic antics of Ron Blanchard introducing young viewers to his ARVO program and making them wait for Play School and Sesame Street while he converses with a puppet called Alexander the Bunyip, I have decided that ABC is no better than the commercials in providing suitable children’s TV.” K. Lochin, NSW.

“I would just like to say something to the people who think Ian Meldrum is a hopeless compere. Who was it who put the drug specials on TV to help teenagers in these sorts of jams? Who was it who spent all his time and effort in these specials? That’s right – Ian Meldrum. Also, who is it who is now involved in the ‘Save the Whale’ campaign and who is getting all your kids into it as well so that the whales won’t become extinct.  Right again – Ian Meldrum.” D. Lane, VIC.

What’s On (May 26-June 1)
ATV0 launches a new 7.00pm game show, $10,000 Winner’s Circle, hosted by Sandy Scott.

Overseas stars Jack Lemmon, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Chevy Chase, Leif Garrett and Glen Campbell are some of the guests to appear in this week’s The Norman Gunston Show on HSV7.  Also appearing are Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, Johnny Farnham and Pamela Gibbons.

ATV0 screens the highly-anticipated first two parts of the US mini-series Roots: The Next Generations, the sequel to the mini-series Roots that earned top ratings around the world two years earlier. The mini-series airs in two-hour episodes this Monday and Thursday evening and continues in the same timeslot over the coming weeks.

The final episode of drama series The Oracle screens on ABC.

On Wednesday night, GTV9 presents a one-hour special on the Billy Graham Sydney Crusade.

Actress Jacki Weaver is the guest star in this week’s Capriccio on ABC, also featuring the Claire Poole Singers, the Carlson Chorale, Daniel Barenboim and George Golla.

Sunday night movies: Eleven Harrowhouse (HSV7), Hustling (GTV9), Dirty Harry (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 26 May 1979.  ABC/ACP

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