It’s Melissa and Melissa
It was three years ago that Melissa Bell and Melissa Tkautz (pictured) were rival competitors in the Miss Teen Australia contest — which Bell ended up winning.  Now the two former teen pageant stars are rivals of another sort in Network Ten series E Street, with their characters both keen for the attention of Constable Max Simmonds (Bruce Samazan).  Tkautz has returned to the series after what was reported to be a bitter feud with the show’s producer, Forrest Redlich.  “The split wasn’t as big as everyone thought,” Tkautz told TV Week, adding that the feud was triggered by a misunderstanding from a magazine article written about her.  “That’s all old history now,” she said.  Former Neighbours star Melissa Bell is coming into E Street as Bonnie Tait, although it is Bell’s second appearance in the series as she had an earlier role as Janine before moving on to the role of Lucy Robinson in Neighbours.

‘Why I said no to Jana’s job…’
Midday host Ray Martin has denied industry gossip that suggested he was the ‘loser’ in the planned reshuffle at Nine that would see Mike Willesee and Mike Munro take over from Jana Wendt in A Current Affair, while he would stay on at Midday.  Martin has told TV Week that he had knocked back an offer for Wendt’s job some months earlier.  “As much as I like current affairs and the program, I kept saying to myself, ‘Are you going to be happy?  Is this really going to please you?’.  I don’t think it would have.  The longer I go, the harder it is to break away from Midday.”  But as well as Midday, Martin’s new arrangement with Nine does include a series of interview specials — the first is titled Good Blokes And Superstars, due to go to air later this month.

A fairytale ending
Anne Charleston and Maggie Dence have both quit the long-running Neighbours and are heading to the United Kingdom to work the Christmas pantomime circuit.  Dence, who plays headmistress Dorothy Burke in Neighbours, will be starring as the fairy godmother (pictured) in Cinderella, while Charleston will be playing the part of Bow Bells in Dick Whittington.  As to her exit from Neighbours, Dence is confident her character will not meet a dramatic end.  “I’m very confident of not dropping dead,” she said.  “The producers have told me I’ll be pleased with her exit.”  Meanwhile, Charleston’s character Madge Bishop splits from fiance Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver) and heads to Brisbane to live with her daughter Charlene and son-in-law Scott (formerly played by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan).  For Charleston, the seven years that she played Madge far exceeded her initial expectations.  “My original Neighbours contract was for three months, with a three-month option on top of that,” she said.  “I thought at the time I’d be lucky to be working for six months.  All of a sudden I was on a runaway train!”


  • MTV host Richard Wilkins (pictured) has described his new role as quizmaster for Nine‘s new game show Keynotes as “the most demanding job I’ve ever had to do”.  “I have renewed respect for the Glenn Ridges and Tony Barbers,” he said.  “It’s a real challenge.  In the early days I did have mixed feelings about it.  But I guess, being a music game show, it made sense for me to be involved.”  Keynotes will debut soon as the summer replacement for Sale Of The Century.
  • Former Sale Of The Century host Tony Barber is headed for a TV comeback with speculation he has been in discussion with Network Ten about hosting a new version of the classic quiz show Jeopardy.  It is suggested that Barber’s recent trip to the US was to discuss options with the company which owns the rights to the format, but he isn’t giving much away to TV Week.  “I was at Channel Ten last week and had talks with Gavan Disney (producer of Healthy Wealthy And Wise and New Faces),” he said.  “At this stage, all we’ve talked about is the possibility of me being involved with New Faces as a regular judge.”
  • Actor Steve Bastoni is soon to marry actress Sarah Lambert, but on-screen he’s getting plenty of practice at tying the knot.  In this week’s episode of Police Rescue his character Yiannis ‘Angel’ Angelopoulos weds Helena (Gia Carides, pictured) in a traditional Greek ceremony.  And in the recently-completed feature film The Heartbreak Kid, he took the plunge with Claudia Karvan.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here
Who Killed Malcolm Smith? (ABC) is a confronting and sobering film from the producer-director (and husband and wife) team Nicholas Adler and Caroline Sherwood.  A direct follow-on from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, it places the blame for Smith’s death — officially, he committed suicide — on society in general and leaves open the question of whether the royal commission achieved anything other than drawing attention to the problem in general.”

Loose Talk:

  • “I love to catch the peak hour train so I can smell men’s armpits.” — Jane Turner (pictured), Fast Forward, Seven Network.
  • “Barry (Humphries) isn’t a poofter, but he gives a good impression of one.” — Sir Les Patterson (Barry Humphries), Barry Humphries Profile, ABC.
  • “We know what a goldsmith does.  We know what a blacksmith does.  But to find out what a Dick Smith does, here he is..!” — Steve Vizard, Tonight Live, Seven Network.
  • “It’s a cheaply produced tome of pornography… and not necessary.” — Ron Wilson (about Madonna‘s Sex book), Good Morning Australia, Network Ten.

Program Highlights (Melbourne, November 8-14):
Sunday:  Sunday Afternoon With Peter Ross (ABC) is presented live from ABC’s Picnic In The Park event at Parramatta, Sydney.  Nine crosses to Adelaide for seven hours of live coverage of the Australian Grand Prix.  Sunday night movies are Total Recall (Seven), Reversal Of Fortune (Nine) and Legal Eagles (Ten).  ABC presents the one-hour film Who Killed Malcolm Smith?, following on from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Monday:  Children’s series The Miraculous Mellops debuts on Ten.  In Healthy Wealthy And Wise (Ten), Jim Brown travels to Kawau Island, 50 kilometres north of Auckland, Iain Hewitson meets internationally renowned chef Ken Hom, Lyn Talbot gets a tour around Movie World on the Gold Coast, and Jacki MacDonald meets fashion designer Kate Kelly.  Four Corners and Media Watch present their final editions for 1992.

Tuesday:  In the series final of GP (ABC), Donna (Tracie Sammut) is now a teenager, displaying rebellious behaviour and developing a friendship with Jeff (Brett Blewitt), and there’s tension in the Browning family as to how to raise her.

Wednesday:  In Hey Dad! (Seven), Arthur (Matthew Krok) is chosen to play a white rabbit in his school play.  In E Street (Ten), Penny (Josephine Mitchell) confronts her worst fears as Charlie (Pru McGuire) remains missing.

Thursday:  In Police Rescue (ABC), at Angel’s (Steve Bastoni) buck’s night celebrations, Nipper (Steve Bisley) meets up with an old adversary, Johnny Blackett (Phillip Gordon), whom he arrested more than six years and has just been released from prison.  Nipper suspects Blackett when his home is burgled, his kids followed and the family cat strangled.  In E Street (Ten), the nightmare deepens for Penny (Josephine Mitchell) as a clue to Charlie’s (Pru McGuire) whereabouts emerges.

Friday:  In Neighbours (Ten), Marco’s (Felice Arena) irresponsible behaviour places Cathy (Elspeth Ballantyne, pictured) in grave danger, while Pam (Sue Jones) is stunned by Jill’s (Lyn Semler) announcement.

Saturday:  The final edition of Foreign Correspondent (ABC) for 1992.  In Live It Up (Seven), Dr Derek Llewellyn-Jones looks at insomnia and sleeping pills, Tracy Bowden reports on hormone replacement therapy, and Trish Goddard visits pain management clinics.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  7 November 1992.  Southdown Press.

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