Remembering the Juniors

brianandthejuniors Melbourne’s The Age newspaper reported on Friday that the former child stars of the variety series Brian And The Juniors are gathering for a reunion in Melbourne next week – the first such reunion since the show wound up back in 1970.

The talent quest, one of the first variety programs on Melbourne television, began as Swallow’s Juniors on radio station 3DB in the early-1950s, hosted by the station’s breakfast announcer John Eden

Brian Naylor took over hosting the program shortly before it moved to television, appearing on HSV7 from 1957.  This YouTube clip, taken from a Made In Melbourne special made by HSV to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2006, includes Naylor’s recollection of the circumstances surrounding his appointment as the show’s host.  The clip also includes some early footage of the program and even some backstage ‘home movie’ footage taken by one of the cast member’s parents during rehearsals.

In 1964, Swallow’s Juniors changed its name to Brian And The Juniors and moved from Saturday to Sunday afternoons.  The program was later also relayed to stations across regional Victoria.  Over the program’s twelve year run on TV it is estimated that as many as 100 ‘Juniors’ appeared on the program, including later household names including Ernie Sigley and Patti Newton (nee McGrath).

Brian And The Juniors ended in 1970 when Naylor was promoted to the role of chief newsreader for HSV7.  However, the concept of a variety program featuring a junior cast was revisited when the 0-10 Network launched Young Talent Time in 1971 – a program that also featured some former Juniors cast members including Debbie Byrne, Jane Scali and Jamie Redfern.

brianandthejuniors2 The reunion of the ‘Juniors’ will sadly not include the host Brian Naylor, who with his wife Moiree was killed in the Kinglake bushfires in February this year.  Tim McKew (pictured, with Naylor), a former Junior and these days a cabaret performer as a Noel Coward impersonator, told The Age: “(The reunion) had been organised before Brian’s sad demise.  He was a charming man, great with us children, never patronising.  We remember him very fondly.”

The Age, 5 June 2009. 
TV Week, 20 December 1969. 
TV Times, 28 January 1970.

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  1. Previous member of Brian and the Juniors Margaret Burns would like to know reunion details. Please contact me on [email protected] if you can help!

      • Carol Shepherd on 19 February 2014 at 12:19 AM
      • Reply

      I didnt see you at the reunion and only just saw this message. If you would like to contact some of the other past members, I have some details. Cheers

        • Bev on 30 November 2020 at 11:20 AM
        • Reply

        Hi Carol,
        Would you please clarify if the Swallows Juniors song began, “We are the Swallows, swallows….. ” OR “We are the Juniors, Juniors….” Wanting to clear up a disagreement.

  2. Looking for Janet Brown from the show in 1960s. Classmates from CLC East Melb arranging class [email protected]

    • Carol Shepherd on 19 February 2014 at 12:13 AM
    • Reply

    Margaret Burns, If you would like to get in touch, please reply to this thread and I will pass your details on to a few of the others. Cheers Carol

    • Trudy on 13 June 2014 at 9:49 AM
    • Reply

    My father in law, Alan Hardy was the drummer on swallows junior and I believe he announced his engagement on air and I would love to find that footage for their 50 th wedding anniversary. Thank you
    Trudy Hardy

    • Ian Crombie on 27 August 2015 at 7:27 PM
    • Reply

    Our family, were friends with the Cooper family. Jack, Elvie, and Gary. Gary, I think, later married Glenda Holmes, who was part of the Juniors in the 60’s. I’ve often wondered whether Glenda went on to bigger and better things, in the industry, or happily settled into family life. It would be great to hear some news of Glenda and Gary.
    Best regards, Mr Ian Crombie, Moama, NSW.

    • elizabeth ellem on 20 October 2015 at 8:31 AM
    • Reply

    hi i appeared on brian and the juiors talent show i think around 1966 67?i would love to be able to show my grandchildren some footage if i could ,,,weeliz my name was ,,or elizabeth reed back then
    regards elizabeth ellem (married name )

    1. Hi Elizabeth

      Unfortunately the chances of that are unlikely. Read here for more information.

    • Neil on 13 July 2022 at 8:55 AM
    • Reply

    Laurie Harnett was a Junior, he started on the radio show and carried on with the TV show. Laurie lived across the road from me, he was a great singer.

    • Anne Connolly/Craig/sanguinetti on 26 February 2023 at 12:22 AM
    • Reply

    My memory of ‘swallows juniors ‘ goes way back to Peter Doyle, Patti McGrath, Lynne Campbell, Olivia Newton John, pat Carroll. Amazing memories

  1. […] set about transporting him into the land of show business with his first gig on national TV with Brian and the Juniors during the […]

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