‘I miss him very much’
A Country Practice star Georgie Parker (pictured) speaks to TV Week about the death of a close friend from AIDS and is angry at the myths, misunderstandings and misinformation surrounding the disease.  “We were very, very close and his work was magnificent,” she told TV Week of the friend, who she has asked not be named out of respect to his mother.  “He was always painfully thin, but always jolly – and he was a great raconteur.  He used to tell the most wonderful stories.  I miss him very much.”  But while AIDS can force couples to be brutally honest with each other, she is angry at the amount of ignorance about the disease.  “The education system here is supposed to be the best in the world when it comes to AIDS, but you still get enormous numbers of people who think you can contract it by sitting on the toilet.  Now, I think that’s criminal.  They (also) immediately connect AIDS with homosexuality, exclusively, which is a complete farce.”

saleofthecentury_1991 New team set Sale
Glenn Ridge
and Jo Bailey (pictured) have emerged as the new host and co-host of Nine’s Sale Of The Century following the sudden departure of Tony Barber and Alyce Platt from the program. The new presenters, who only met for the first time when they attended TV Week’s photo shoot, are enthusiastic and confident about their new roles.  “It really is a huge credit to Nine and Grundys that they’ve selected us,” Ridge told TV Week. “They could have gone for people who were already well known, so it was absolute shock when I found out I’d been selected.” Ridge comes to Sale after a career in regional radio and television. He had hosted a music show Breezin’ for Bendigo channel BCV8, and at Ballarat’s BTV6 he had hosted children’s and music shows including TV Week Logie winner Kids Only. New co-host Bailey had only recently joined Sale Of The Century as a model and had no idea she was being considered as Platt’s replacement. “When I auditioned, they didn’t tell me what it was for,” she said.

‘We’ll kick its teeth in!’
While Sale Of The Century’s new host and co-host are confident of success, their rival over at Seven, current affairs host Derryn Hinch is less confident of the show’s future.  “I don’t believe Sale will last long without Tony Barber… I really can’t see who could possibly replace him,” Hinch told TV Week. “But I hope it’s still there at the end of the year because I think we’ll kick its teeth in.”

sheilaflorance Brave Sheila soldiers on
Veteran actress Sheila Florance (pictured) has not let her health battles, including three recent cancer operations, stop her making a return to TV as a special guest star on Ten’s Col’n Carpenter, marking her return to the Ten studios where she worked on Prisoner for several years. “I’m looking forward to seeing if there is anyone left at Channel Ten,” she told TV Week.  “It was one of the saddest days when I left Prisoner because those crews with whom I worked, they were like my sons.” The 74-year-old actress, with more than 60 years in showbusiness, has also just completed her first starring role in a film.  A Woman’s Tale, written for her by Paul Cox, tells the story of an elderly woman dying of cancer. “There is nothing uncomfortable in this for me,” she told TV Week. “This woman is me.  It’s absolutely honest.  Every day of filming was a delight.”

craigdonovan Briefly…
Former Neighbours star Jason Donovan, back in Australia to promote his new single I’m Doing Fine, has made a guest appearance as the enigmatic surfie “Craig Donovan” (pictured) in Fast Forward’s soapie send-up Dumb Street. “The great thing about Fast Forward is that, even though I take my career seriously, at the end of the day we’re all there to have fun,” he said.

After only a few months on-air, Network Ten’s new game show Let’s Make A Deal is about to celebrate handing out $1 million in cash and prizes. Comedian Vince Sorrenti has settled into his new role as game show host. “The producers have always let me do what I wanted,” he told TV Week.  “After the learning process I am now starting to have some real fun. I don’t see Let’s Make A Deal as a game show. It is entertaining people who wouldn’t normally watch a game show.”

Actor Gary Sweet has admitted that many of his previous roles have been “limited”, but his new role as photojournalist Larry in the ABC mini-series Sign Of The Snake he says is his most interesting.  “Larry is a thoughtful, creative photographer who is economical in his speech,” he told TV Week. “Because he is not talkative, you suspect there is something bubbling under the surface of Larry.” Sign Of The Snake, which also stars Linda Cropper, Lily Chen and Bob Peck, is set in China during the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Although it is set in China, most of the filming was completed in Sydney. “There is no way we would be allowed to set foot in China,” he said.

John Laws says…
”It’s hard to know what to make of comedian Andrew Denton’s new Live And Sweaty series on ABC. It’s aimed at extracting laughs from the world of sport and, like much of Denton’s previous efforts, it’s laced with satirical, over-the-top humour and razor-sharp asides. In the first program, Denton kisses a woman’s toes and later announces he’ll collect celebrity sweat – a signal for guest Craig McLachlan to offer some from his underarm. In the midst of all this mayhem, Live And Sweaty suddenly got serious and we saw reporter Debbie Spillane, sitting at a desk, reading a straight and serious “sports update”. It was all a little confusing.”

Program Highlights (April 13-19):
Saturday:  Rick Astley, Jimmy Barnes, Choir Boys, Debbie Byrne
and Tommy Emmanuel are guest stars in this week’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday (Nine).

Sunday:  Seven’s afternoon of sport includes NBL, Westside Melbourne versus Brisbane Bullets, followed by Brisbane Bears versus Geelong in AFL and then motor racing with the Australian Touring Car Championship.  Sunday night movies are Planes Trains And Automobiles (Seven), The Untouchables (Nine) and Married To The Mob (Ten).

Monday:  Seven presents a two-hour telecast of the John Farnham Chain Reaction Concert, taken from his recent Australian tour.  The program is simulcast on radio station Triple M.

Tuesday:  Dr Nikki Tanner (Judy McIntosh) has fallen in love with Sean Bracey (Marcus Graham) in GP (ABC)… but she knows the affair is a disaster as the distraction is affecting her work and she fails to respond to a crisis call.  Bracey then invites her to go with him to Paris.

Wednesday:  ABC presents Frank Sinatra The Final Concert, recorded last month at the National Tennis Centre, Melbourne.  The concert also features Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Seven presents the two-hour Comedy Festival Charity Gala from Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre, featuring Wendy Harmer, Richard Stubbs, Steve Vizard, Garry McDonald, Barry Humphries, Mark Mitchell, Ian McFadyen, Maryanne Fahey and Kim Gyngell with cast members of Fast Forward, the D Generation and Acropolis Now. The comedy event is a fund-raiser for the Salvation Army.

Thursday:  In The Flying Doctors (Nine), Jackie Crane (Nikki Coghill) and Guy Reid (David Reyne) are involved in a sensitive dilemma when a young mother is diagnosed as terminally ill, but refuses to accept her illness because there is nobody to care for her daughter. The episode features guest star Shane Connor.

Friday:  Seven crosses to Sydney for the live telecast of the AFL game between Sydney Swans and Essendon.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  13 April 1991.  Southdown Press

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