Cover: Mel Gibson
Parliament snubs ABC series
The upcoming ABC series The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh seemingly hasn’t won many friends in high places — with the media launch planned for Victoria’s Parliament House banned by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, John Delzoppo. “I’ve seen a script, and it doesn’t paint parliament or parliamentarians in a particularly good light,” Delzoppo says. “I had to deny the request (to host the event) because we have strict guidelines that have been in place for a long time, and the launch of The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh was not in accord with those guidelines,” he told TV Week. “We won’t allow (Parliament’s) Queen’s Hall to be used for commercial purposes, political purposes or in any production where Parliament is ridiculed or satirised.” The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh, with cast including Aaron Blabey, Daniel Rigney, Monica Maughan and Graham Dow, is due to debut on ABC next month.
Rachel delivers her resignation
Rachel Blakely has quit Neighbours after three years in the role of Gaby Willis. “I’ve had a really good stint on a daily basis, and it was wonderful. But it’s time to move on,” she told TV Week. She is keen to develop her acting skills. “I’ll be taking classes and working on my craft, and hoping for other work. That’s all anyone can do. I’m not looking for work in another long-running show, though. If I was going to do that, I’d stay where I am, because I love it.” Blakely will record her last scenes in July but will be seen on screen until the end of August.
Bud’s acting crazy!
Last year, veteran actor and director Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell was hired to direct five episodes of Seven‘s Newlyweds, which featured Chris Gabardi as newly-wedded husband Peter Roberts. Now, the roles are reversed. Both Gabardi and Tingwell are appearing in the play Cosi, now playing in Melbourne. Gabardi plays Lewis, a university graduate who scores his first big directing job — his “cast” being a group of patients from a mental health institution. Tingwell plays Henry, one of the seven patients. “I am running around the stage quite a lot and doing things I haven’t done in years,” Tingwell told TV Week. “I’m having a marvellous time.” There is no word yet on whether Newlyweds will go into a third series — with series two ending with Allie (Annie Jones) finding out she is pregnant. “I think there will be another series,” Gabardi said. “There were so many loose ends at the end of the last series. I’d like to know what it’s like to be a father!”
Allan scores with ACP
Composer Allan Zavod isn’t concerned if nobody notices his hard work on A Country Practice. His incidental music for the series is not supposed to be noticed as such, but is meant to emphasise the action. “You can synchronise the music to feeling of a scene,” he told TV Week. “You can develop themes for each character and use music to support the emotions.” He was asked to compose the music for A Country Practice when it moved across to Network Ten. “When ACP was at Seven, no-one was doing the incidental music. They were using library music. Mike Perjanik composed the opening and closing theme music for ACP 12 years ago. I did consider making a bid to write a new theme, or to update the old one. But the series has changed channels and some characters, so for now there should be some things that don’t change.” Zavod, whose career began in the 1960s after graduating from the University of Melbourne, says his most successful money earner has been the 1987 horror movie The Howling III. “It certainly wasn’t the best film I’ve worked on,” he laughs. “But it’s always being played on cable TV in the US, to these millions of cult viewers. And every time it airs, I get paid royalties!”
- Blue Heelers star John Wood admits that he almost didn’t get the part of Senior Sargeant Tom Croydon because he had accepted a part in Paradise Beach! “There was a very strong chance of me joining Paradise Beach,” he told TV Week. “It really was just a matter of hours. I was asked to join Paradise Beach on a Wednesday. I rang my agent on the Friday at 3pm and said, ‘Tell them I’ll do it’. At 6pm on the same day I got the call from the people at Blue Heelers, so I was very fortunate to be able to change my mind and stay in my home town (Melbourne).”
- Former Neighbours star Peter O’Brien has paid tribute to Francis Bell, who played his on screen father Max Ramsay in the first two years of the long-running series. Bell fell to his death from the roof of an 11-storey building in Auckland after battling depression. “He was a very jovial character,” O’Brien (pictured with Bell in Neighbours‘ early days) told TV Week. “He had real personality and presence and loved people and life. That’s why this is all a bit difficult to understand… it’s really sad that he’s gone.”
- Network Ten‘s Heartbreak High could be set to move timeslots. At a cost of $240,000 per episode, it’s reported to be the costliest hour of drama on television and may have to find a new timeslot if it can’t get the ratings to justify its plum position of 6.30pm Sunday. By comparison, A Country Practice comes in at around $200,000 an episode, ahead of Blue Heelers. Seven’s in-house production Home And Away comes in as the cheapest, at $100,000.
- The Nine Network has given the green light to three two-hour spin-off telemovies from Singapore Sling, the drama that screened earlier this year starring John Waters and Deborra-Lee Furness. Waters is confirmed for the spin-off projects, but Furness will not be appearing. A new female lead is yet to be cast.
- The Comedy Company may have been some years ago, but Mark Mitchell, whose character Con The Fruiterer became one of the show’s most famous, has never been busier. He is currently hosting ABC‘s children’s game show EC Lift Off as Mr Fish, the schoolteacher character he played in the original Lift Off series. He is also hosting episodes of Fawlty Towers for the Seven Network, has played the part of a sleazy photographer in Paradise Beach, and has completed a starring role as former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange in the new telemovie, Fallout.
Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here
“The major problem about referring to something as a “history”, then trying to cram it into a television hour, is that you are bound to overlook one or more figures central to your topic. Such is the case with Punchlines: A Seriously Funny History. The title suggests a look back at comedy down the years, but in this country surely you could not do that without at least one mention of the name Paul Hogan. He did, after all, write and star in Australia’s most successful movie, and it was a comedy. You’d have to take more than a passing glance at Barry Humphries. You’d have to devote a few minutes, rather than seconds, to Graham Kennedy. And, from the new wave, what about acts such as the manic Doug Anthony All Stars? Punchlines: A Seriously Funny History skims over Humphries and Kennedy and doesn’t even mention Hoges or the Dougs, so low marks for the title. The show itself, however, does take a lingering look at the Melbourne comedy scene over the past 20 years or so, with an emphasis on some of the acts to emerge from the venues that sprung up, then closed down or expanded somewhere else, in the area around what now is one of the city’s most famous restaurant rows, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.”
Program Highlights (Melbourne, May 21-27):
Saturday: Craig McLachlan, performing songs from the musical Grease, is one of the acts in the Royal Variety Performance (8.30pm, Seven), held late last year at the Dominion Theatre, London, attended by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.
Sunday: Sunday night movies are City Of Joy (Seven), Fever (Nine) and Kindergarten Cop (repeat, Ten).
Monday: In Healthy Wealthy And Wise (7.30pm, Ten), Tonia Todman transforms a terracotta pot, Jim Brown visits Queensland’s Glasshouse Mountains, Ronnie Burns looks at a large cacti collection, and Iain Hewitson cooks fresh perch. Former South Australian premier Don Dunstan guests on The Talk Show (7.30pm, SBS). New South Wales and Queensland battle it out in the Rugby League State Of Origin (9.30pm, Nine).
Tuesday: In Blue Heelers (7.30pm, Seven), when Tom (John Wood) goes on leave, the Blue Heelers worry that he may be transferred to Melbourne — and the tough attitude of Tom’s replacement Charlie Glover (John Jarratt) leads to confrontation with the officers . In GP (8.30pm, ABC), William (Michael Craig) falls for an unhappily-married woman, then treats her husband after he suffers a stroke.
Wednesday: The one-hour special Punchlines: A Seriously Funny History (8.30pm, ABC) recounts a generation of Australia’s comedic history, including interviews with Rachel Berger, Judith Lucy, Ian McFadyen, Rod Quantock and Mark Little.
Thursday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Mark (Bruce Samazan) is both shocked and angered to discover his mother, Sally (Helen Rollinson) is near death. In Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten), Iain Finlay reports on a new robotic arm developed in Holland that will improve life for the physically impaired, Anthony Griffis looks at a talking greeting card which records personal messages, and Dr Caroline West demonstrates a unit that uses hot air to reduce the volume of household garbage.
Friday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shane’s (Dieter Brummer) attempt to make money brings disastrous results for Alf (Ray Meagher). Friday Night AFL (8.30pm, Seven) features live coverage of West Coast Eagles versus Sydney Swans from the WACA, Perth. The Sound Of Music, the 1965 movie classic starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, makes a repeat screening (8.30pm, Ten).
Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 21 May 1994. Southdown Press.