‘It felt like a real wedding to me’
The upcoming wedding of Neighbours characters Paul Robinson and Christina Alessi (pictured) could well serve as a dress rehearsal for real-life couple Stefan Dennis and Gayle Blakeney. “It’s a very beautiful wedding. We were both very happy with the way it was done. It was amazing how everyone got into the atmosphere,” Dennis told TV Week. “It felt like a real wedding to me,” Blakeney added. “Saying those words to each other, particularly when the person is your lover… it felt really nice. I’ve never enjoyed working on the show as much as I have in the month between the engagement and the wedding.”
E Street goes for a new doctor
Despite some media speculation, actress Julieanne Newbould (pictured) is not taking over the role of Dr Elly Fielding from Penny Cook in Network Ten’s E Street. She is, however, joining the series portraying a new character, Dr Virginia Travers. Both Cook and Newbould will work together in the series before Cook departs the series next month. “Virginia Travers turns out to be an old friend of Elly,” a spokesperson for E Street told TV Week. “Elly is not being killed off and she’ll be seen on air until May.” Newbould is a former star of The Restless Years, Prisoner, Kingswood Country and Kindred Spirits.
Now a cartoon brat takes on 60 Minutes
The all-important Sunday 7.30pm timeslot is about to come a heated battle as the networks fire up for the new ratings year. Coming up against Nine stalwart 60 Minutes is the new US cartoon series The Simpsons (pictured), which has been earning big ratings for the American FOX network up against ratings giant NBC’s The Cosby Show. Meanwhile, ABC is about to launch new episodes of the British series Rumpole Of The Bailey and Seven has expanded The Magical World Of Disney to a two-hour timeslot starting at 6.30pm. But 60 Minutes producer Warren McStoker isn’t worried. “Over the past 12 years, we’ve had all sorts of programs up against us, from furry aliens (ALF) to Greek fruiterers (Mark Mitchell’s Comedy Company character Con the Fruiterer) and even cops and robbers shows,” he told TV Week. “But we’re still here, we’re stronger than ever, and that’s the way we intend to stay.”
Jason Donovan is “devastated” by revealing stories about him being sold to the British media by his stepmother Marlene, following her recent amicable separation from his father, actor Terry Donovan. Marlene has appeared on British TV and featured in newspapers with a number of “tell all” claims about the famous star, accusing him of being “mean and selfish” with his money, ignoring his family and still being desperately in love with Kylie Minogue. “Her reasons were financial but I can’t believe that someone that I love and trust did something like that,” Jason told TV Week.
Gary Sweet (pictured) has had a hard time convincing the producer and stunt co-ordinator for ABC’s new action drama Police Rescue that he is able to doing all his own stunts. “I keep trying to impress on John (Edwards, the show’s producer) that it is relatively safe,” Sweet told TV Week. “I’ve broken plenty of bones playing sport, so you could say that my normal lifestyle is far more dangerous than jumping off cliffs. I come to work to relax.”
Actor Garry McDonald is back on TV – but this time, instead of battling with his geriatric mother, as he did on Mother And Son, he is the parent coping with two very alert children. The new series, Eggshells, debuts this week on ABC with McDonald playing the part of a divorcee whose life is constantly interrupted by his ex-wife (played by Judy Morris), his two current girlfriends, his handyman brother-in-law and his two children. Eggshells comes from writer Geoffrey Atherden, who also created Mother And Son.
Bush Tucker Man Les Hiddens, who returns this week with a new series of the popular ABC program, has admitted that he received a generous offer to join the Nine Network but turned it down, opting to stay loyal to ABC. “There’s more to life than money, mate,” he told TV Week.
John Laws says…
”Television made a real shish-kebab of the first week of the Gulf war and, gloomy as it was, it did contain all the elements of compulsive viewing. Thanks to the cable network CNN, Network Ten was able to come out the winner with its coverage of the initial 48 hours of the conflict, even though its professional success wasn’t mirrored by the ratings, which saw Nine gather the most viewers. It was, perhaps, troubled Ten’s finest hour as the war began. And yet what did CNN (and therefore Ten) really have over the opposition – just three reporters holed up on the ninth floor of a luxury hotel in Baghdad. There were no pictures at first; all we heard were the voices of the trio as the described what was going on, and poked their microphones out of the window to pick up the sounds of falling bombs and artillery. For the viewer, it was a case of look at a map of Baghdad and listen – and yet it worked. It was gruesome, fascinating, gripping television.”
Program Highlights (February 9-15):
Saturday: Nine’s flagship sports program Wide World Of Sports returns for another year for four hours of Saturday afternoon coverage.
Sunday: It’s the first day of the official ratings year. Nine’s Sunday regulars Business Sunday, Wide World Of Sports: Sunday Edition and the afternoon Sports Sunday are all back for the new year. Seven crosses to the Gabba in Brisbane for the AFL pre-season Foster’s Cup, featuring Brisbane Bears versus Collingwood. At 7.30pm, Network Ten presents the Australian debut of The Simpsons, featuring two episodes – ‘Bart The Genius’ and ‘Homer’s Odyssey’. Sunday night movies, the first major premieres for the year, are Young Einstein (Seven) and Alien Nation (Ten) – the latter leading into an ongoing series that debuts later in the week. Nine presents the first instalment of mini-series The Confessional. Meanwhile, SBS presents a half-hour documentary, What’s Funny About Melbourne?, and ABC presents the first of two documentaries on the issue of global warming. After The Warming, a co-production between Film Australia and American and British interests, takes viewers to the year 2050 as Earth has survived global warming.
Monday: Ernie Sigley and Denise Drysdale (pictured) are back for another year of Nine’s mid-morning program In Melbourne Today – and Ray Martin is back for another year of Midday With Ray Martin. Tony Barber and Alyce Platt are back for the new year on Sale Of The Century. ABC debuts new comedy series Eggshells, while 4 Corners and Media Watch return for 1991. The Nine Network starts following its late night news program, The World Tonight With Clive Robertson, with two hours of coverage dedicated to the Gulf war – while Ten’s overnight broadcast of CNN continues every night.
Tuesday: ABC’s consumer affairs program The Investigators returns for 1991.
Wednesday: David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz return for another year of The Movie Show on SBS.
Thursday: Seven crosses to Huntingdale Golf Club, Melbourne, for live coverage of the first day of the Australian Masters. Gary Sweet heads the cast in the debut of ABC’s new action drama Police Rescue.
Friday: Seven presents coverage of Day Two of the Australian Masters. Burke’s Backyard (Nine) and Gardening Australia (ABC) begin another year, while Les Hiddens begins a new series of Bush Tucker Man.
Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 9 February 1991. Southdown Press.