‘By the time my son is a teenager I’ll be in a sewing circle’
A Current Affair host Jana Wendt (picture), mother of two-and-a-half-year-old Daniel, says that if he was to get a younger brother or sister then she would reconsider her role on television. “I think two children is a very large number if you want to keep working,” she told TV Week. And the ACA host admits it is quite a juggling act as TV’s first lady on camera, while being mum at home. “I think my son is conducting a campaign to stop me reading newspapers, which could jeopardise my job! That’s a struggle in the mornings – the struggle against listening to the radio, which you must do, and watching Here’s Humphrey. Sometimes both happen at the same time, which leads to both of us being confused. It works itself out.” And while Daniel things it’s pretty cool recognising his mum on TV now, she is asked will he feel the same when he is a teenager. “I don’t think that 13 years from now I’ll be in the business. By the time he’s a teenager I will be in a sewing circle. Yes, absolutely,” she says.
Fast lane Jane!
When Jane Turner isn’t raising laughs on Fast Forward, she is juggling two other very different roles. First, there is looking after her young son, Rupert – and then her other role is as the diplomat’s wife and the various official social engagements that come with that job. Turner and her husband John Denton met at Melbourne University, courted in Russia, married in Melbourne, had an 18-month “honeymoon” in Canberra and then moved to Bangladesh, where Denton is deputy head of the Australian High Commission in Dacca. The talented Turner came back to Melbourne to start on Fast Forward, and her husband will be following later in the year. “He’s always very supportive and encouraging,” she told TV Week. “We’re both so satisfied with our careers. You have to take the opportunities when they come and play it by ear. But it can be a drag. We miss each other, but it’s always been this way. One day we’ll compromise.” When she isn’t working on Fast Forward, Turner joins her husband overseas to mix with the elite on the diplomatic cocktail circuit. And after creating such Fast Forward characters such as the tongue-in-cheek Inga Harlot (pictured) and Doctor Van Noodle Rooter (“they’re loosely based on Scandinavians I met in Moscow.”), Turner is considering creating a Bangladeshi character. “Let’s see how they react to that!,” she says.
‘We felt like we were selling out’
Countdown Revolution’s Tania Lacy has spoken out after she and co-host Mark Little were sacked from the show for being anarchic. It’s a bizarre situation for the pair, considering it was for that particular quality they were hired to do the show in the first place. Lacy, a familiar face from ABC’s The Factory, said there had been a lot of problems leading up to the taping of the episode where she and Little staged an on-air strike. “It was a fight for our credibility,” she told TV Week. “We regard ourselves as credible performers and that is the heart of the issue. We were originally asked to present a revolutionary, comedic and anarchic pop program. We really believed in that concept, but suddenly some very ugly factors came into it. We felt like we were selling out, that we were puppets for the producers and record companies. Mark and I were not employed to sell records. We were also told to cool it with the clowning around and they also stopped us from saying what we believed in. We felt so strongly about it we thought the audience should know how we’re feeling.” The pair arrived for the Friday night taping carrying some quickly-made placards, reading ‘TV is a lie’ and ‘TV lip service’, which were handed out to audience members. The pair were later notified of their dismissal by fax. Actors Equity have taken up the case and Lacy and Little are hopeful they will be able to sit down with ABC management and deal with the issue face to face. The show’s former producer, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, says that while he wasn’t involved in the show by this stage, he defended the broadcaster’s actions: “Any performer knows you don’t air your grievances on camera. And that no one performer is bigger than the show itself. Any artist who abuses members of the production team in front of an audience, or tears up their script and refuses point blank to listen to the show’s director, or tries to encourage members of the audience or other performers to interfere with the production of the program – all over matters of either self-indulgence or ego – is definitely asking for trouble.”
The Flying Doctors star Alex Papps is set to kill his boy-next-door image with a role in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of This Old Man Comes Rolling Home. “It’s a play about a family living in Redfern in the Fifties. My character is one of the sons of the family who doesn’t work… he’s a real layabout. He seduces a young English girl, so I get to play ‘Mr Bastard’ this time around. He’s a lecherous type,” he told TV Week.
As a judge on Nine’s New Faces program, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum was so impressed with the performance of 17-year-old Queenslander Peter Andre (pictured, centre, with Meldrum and host Daryl Somers) that he immediately signed him up to his record label, Melodian Records. “Peter impressed us all and he has a unique voice that can be developed,” Meldrum told TV Week.
Darryl Cotton and Marty Monster found themselves unemployed when the Ten Network axed the long-running children’s program The Early Bird Show (which was known as Club 10 at the time of its axing). But now the pair have a new profile as presenters of a Sunday morning radio show on Melbourne radio station TTFM. “We’ve picked up the ratings by 200 per cent since we began three months ago. It’s a radio version of The Early Bird Show and it’s great fun,” Cotton told TV Week.
John Laws says…
”The recent repeat screening of ABC’s Bush Tucker Man series, first shown in 1988, scored excellent ratings. And no wonder. It was just as engrossing the second time around as it was the first. Which leads me to ask why is it taking so long for ABC to bring us a new series of the Bush Tucker Man?”
Program Highlights (July 14-20):
Sunday: SBS presents a new series of Anne’s International Kitchen, featuring Anne Luciano. Rowena Wallace (pictured), Richard Moir and Justin Rozniak star in The Big Wish, the third in the More Winners children’s series on ABC. GTV9 presents the debut of Unknown Australia, the five-part documentary series from Brisbane-based newsreader Dean Felton. After a six-month hiatus, The Comedy Company returns to ATV10 with a new format and some new faces. Sunday night movies are Without A Clue (HSV7) and Frantic (GTV9). ATV10 debuts the two-part mini-series Murderers Among Us – The Simon Wiesenthal Story. ABC’s Sunday Stereo Special is the Australian Ballet’s production of Spartacus, recorded in Melbourne with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted by Ormsby Wilkins.
Monday: Sale Of The Century (GTV9) presents the first in the week-long Celebrity Challenge, commemorating the show’s tenth anniversary. Taking part in the challenge are high-profile contestants including Bert Newton (pictured), Andrew Gaze, Simon O’Donnell, Peta Toppano, Gough Whitlam, Lisa Curry, Cameron Daddo, George Negus and Jennifer Byrne.
Tuesday: In Beyond 2000 (HSV7), Iain Finlay reveals a new technique for viewing 3D television without the need for special glasses, while Simon Reeve travels to Gothenburg, Sweden, to report on an electronic newspaper for the blind. SBS launches a new weekly sports program, The Sports Machine, hosted by Les Murray and a team of reporters looking at the playing fields, dressing rooms and board rooms of sporting clubs around Australia.
Wednesday: ABC’s Documentary Unit presents a controversial new film, The Devil You Know, examining the popular myth surrounding two drugs – heroin and alcohol.
Thursday: ABC’s The First Australians series presents a documentary on Arnhem Land rock group Yothu Yindi on their tour of North America with Midnight Oil.
Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.
14 July 1990. Southdown Press.