Retired Sydney newsreader Brian Henderson (pictured) is returning to TV after ten years… but don’t expect to see him on screen.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the 81-year-old is coming out of retirement to narrate a documentary for Foxtel based on the 1977 Granville train disaster.  It is a news story he remembers well, not least the horrifying images that came from the event:

“The rescuers were amazingly brave and persistent.  Some of the pictures were very good in the sense of quality of picture.  I suppose what I remember is a mixture of things.”

The derailment of the commuter train from the Blue Mountains headed for Sydney claimed the lives of 83 people and injured hundreds.

The disaster and subsequent coronial investigation was dramatised for television in the 1998 mini-series The Day Of The Roses.

New Zealand-born Henderson started his career in radio, before moving to TV in its earliest days at Australia’s first TV station, TCN9 Sydney.  He hosted a music program, Accent On Youth, which formed the foundation for Bandstand, one of Australia’s first pop music shows.  Bandstand ran for 14 years and scored Henderson a TV Week Gold Logie in 1968 for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television.

As well as hosting Bandstand, from the mid-1960s through to his retirement in 2002, Henderson was the front man for TCN9’s evening news.  For most of his 46 years at the news desk it was Sydney’s most watched news bulletin.  It was a ratings position that the station later struggled to maintain as successors came and went.

Since his retirement he still casts a critical eye over the evening news bulletins:

“I still watch Nine News, I want to see how Peter [Overton] is going.  But I like to keep a check on the lot,  I watch the ABC. It’s a hard habit to break and anyway, news is interesting.”

“I try to watch it as a viewer, but I’m like an ex-footballer.  I’ll think, that’s the wrong emphasis, or sometimes thinking they can’t do another bloody whale story, they’ve done two this week.  It intrudes into my resolution to watch as a viewer.”

The Train: The Granville Rail Disaster is expected to screen on Foxtel early next year.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald


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