Two Restless Years old
It is two years ago since newspaper ads appeared about a new series from the 0-10 Network, The Restless Years: “an action-packed story of what happens to today’s school leavers when they go out in the world to try and get jobs.” TEN10 general manager Ian Kennon described it as “a show about life.” Two years later, who would have thought that the road to employment was so fraught with danger? Are real-life teenagers attempting suicide, getting pregnant, having miscarriages, ending up in prison and being raped, bashed, robbed and murdered with the same regularity as the kids in The Restless Years? And it’s not just the young characters having a rough time – Miss McKenzie (June Salter) and Dr Bruce Russell (Malcolm Thompson) have had their fair share, too. In fact, in two years the show has been so turbulent that only four of the original cast members – Salter, Thompson, Zoe Bertram and Nick Hedstrom – still remain.
No more blues for Ugly Dave
Bright times are ahead for Ugly Dave Gray (pictured). He and his new wife, Val, are expecting their first baby next month, and in the new year he will be hosting a new game show, Celebrity Tattletales, for the Seven Network. The new show, set to run in the 6.00pm timeslot, marks a return to TV for Gray a year after the demise of Blankety Blanks. But for Gray, it was worth the wait: “Some people will grab anything to get their head back on TV. That’s fatal. I’ve had two offers of my own show but neither was suitable. Then the Grundy Organisation offered me Celebrity Tattletales. I think this is it. I hope people don’t compare it to Blankety Blanks – it’s a different show. But I’m sure gimmicks and catchphrases will come out of the blue.”
Plumber’s pin-up has million dollar plans!
Cheryl Rixon (pictured) has come a long way since her first modelling job, posing for the cover of the WA Plumbers’ Annual, paid her a mere $40. The former star of the sexy soap The Box now lives in Manhattan, models in London and New York, and is looking to buy a beach house in California. The 25-year-old, who earned $250,000 for posing nude for Penthouse magazine, is well on the way to her first million: “I should reach it in 1980 as it’s going to be a big year for me. I’ve spent three years in America getting myself established and setting things up, and next year should be the beginning.” Rixon plans to use some of that million to set up her own production company to make TV variety specials, but in the meantime she has been starring in Stephen Spielberg’s comedy, Used Cars, and is set for a part in the new $30 million epic, Flash Gordon.
The milkman who came in from the cold
During his school years in New Zealand, Alan Dale (pictured) had a yearning to get into showbusiness. He had sung, acted, danced and played musical instruments and, at the age of 18, had tried to get a job as a radio announcer but was told he was too young. The thought of going overseas to further his showbusiness prospects was daunting, and not affordable. He instead went into the car industry, starting as a salesman and working up to manager. A chance meeting with the local milkman later led to him ditching the car business and picking up a milk run: “I thought, what a way to earn a living, trotting around keeping fit delivering milk for a few hours.” When Dale heard about a vacancy at a local radio station, Radio Hauraki, he tried to get the job. He was unsuccessful, but did eventually end up with the midnight-to-dawn shift and later the afternoon show. The radio announcing job led to an offer to star as a radio manager in a new local TV series, Radio Waves, for TV2. The series was cancelled after 72 episodes, but “I didn’t really want to go back to radio so I decided to hell with it. I’ll go to Australia. I’d had a taste of acting by then.” Dale is now well-known to Australians as Dr John Forrest in the popular Nine Network series, The Young Doctors.
There will be no expense spared in the production of the 0-10 Network’s new soap Arcade. Apart from three production teams, a cast of around 30, authentic props and studio scenery, an average of 180 extras will be employed each week. The new series is set to debut in January.
Former Young Talent Time cast member Jane Scali will be joining the cast of ABC’s The Saturday Show when it returns to air in the new year. As well as The Saturday Show, Scali is currently in rehearsals for the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Cinderella.
Jonathan Coleman of Simon Townsend’s Wonder World has attempted to break the record for the biggest interview of all time. The interview, with the 120,000-strong crowd at the recent 2SM Rocktober concert in Sydney, has been submitted to Australian Guinness Bureau of Records.
Comedy writer Mike McColl-Jones, who has worked with the likes of Graham Kennedy, Don Lane and Peter Couchman, has compiled a book, My Funny Friends, featuring anecdotes and photographs from his twenty years of working in television.
Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I am 16, and I feel that a lot more should be done to promote Australian child actors and singers. Look at America, they have many fine talents like Brooke Shields, Leif Garrett and Tatum O’Neal. Australia has also got some good talent but it is not put to use. There should be more shows like Young Talent Time, where children and teenagers can display their talent.” J. P., VIC.
“There is one thing I must beg of NBN3 (Newcastle). Please, oh please, don’t put Norman Gunston on again. I really feel embarrassed looking at that zany grin, and all those bits of sticking plaster all over his face. Please, do me a favour and send him to Hong Kong, or somewhere like that.” D. Dickey, NSW.
“In reply to F. Gregory (Viewpoint, 20 October 1979), Peter Lochran may be one of the best actors on TV, but certainly not the best actor (even though he is gorgeously handsome – is this what you’re going by to pick a good actor?). The Young Doctors is one of the most popular serials on TV at the moment, for sure. But why? Maybe it’s because all those dinner invitations from handsome doctors to the nursing staff keep all the women wrapped up in the show. I’ll tell you what, it’s certainly not the acting that keeps everyone involved.” J. Stanley, QLD.
“S. McLaughlan’s letter (Viewpoint, 27 October 1979) is a gross example of generalisation. Molly Meldrum (pictured) does not “rave on” through the entire show. In fact, on most shows, he only puts in an appearance for 10 minutes to do his Humdrum segment.” K. Manton, NSW.
What’s On (December 1-7):
HSV7’s tennis coverage continues throughout the week with the final days of the Toyota Women’s Classic on Saturday and Sunday, followed by the NSW Women’s Classic from Monday through to Friday. Commentators include Peter Landy, Allan Stone and Garry Wilkinson.
GTV9 crosses to Brisbane for live coverage of the cricket First Test, between Australia and the West Indies, on Saturday through to Wednesday. Coverage starts at 11.50am, with breaks at 2.00pm and 4.40pm, and ending at 7.00pm.
60 Minutes (GTV9, Sunday) presents its final show for the year, and New Faces with Bert Newton moves to Monday nights.
ATV0’s Eyewitness News, now with Michael Schildberger and Peter Hanrahan, is cut to 30 minutes at 6.00pm from Monday, with a new 8.30pm news bulletin launched for the summer period.
ABC’s daytime schools programs finish up for the year on Friday, and the weekly magazine program Statewide At Six, with David Johnston, also presents its final edition.
ATV0’s morning show Everyday, with Roy Hampson and Annette Allison, finishes up for the year on Friday, as does the 7.00pm magazine show Peter Couchman’s Melbourne.
Sunday night movies: The Deadly Tower (HSV7), Future Cop (GTV9), Midnight Man (ATV0).
Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 1 December 1979. ABC/ACP