Women are making a comeback to leading roles on television — with Georgie Parker and Lisa McCune (pictured) starring in Fire and Blue Heelers respectively. Joining them are Rebecca Gibney (Halifax fp), Angie Milliken (The Feds) and Deborra-Lee Furness (coming soon in the ABC series Correlli). “The funny thing is we’re doing a turnaround,” Parker told TV Week. “Back to the Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn-type roles that were often villainesses. We’re actually returning to that era where it was just like a given that a great role could be played by a man or a woman. It’s a brave move for a lot of producers to have a woman character and not make her just the love interest or the victim.”
Gladiators captures Aaron
Blackout presenter Aaron Pedersen has quit the ABC and signed on as co-host of the Seven Network‘s new game show Gladiators. “I resigned specifically because I’d feel uncomfortable taking leave, promoting Gladiators and going back to the ABC. I’d like to do my own thing,” he told TV Week. Pedersen will join Kimberley Joseph, who controversially signed on to Gladiators just after starting work on Hey Hey It’s Saturday. “It was a huge decision,” she told TV Week. “Gladiators is going to put me up there and give me a chance to show my true colours and ability. Seven has offered me security. I’m pleased with my decision.” The 13-episode series will be produced at Brisbane’s Entertainment Centre and screen on Seven mid-year, up against Hey Hey It’s Saturday.
The growing pains of kids’ TV
More than 300 of the major players in children’s television from around the world will be in Melbourne this month, attending the five-day World Summit on Television and Children. The summit will address a wide-ranging list of concerns, including current standards and importance of children’s television, government support in terms of subsidies and regulation, the effect of the information superhighway, commercialism and violence on TV. For the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), hosting the summit is a recognition from the global TV industry of the success of Australian-made children’s television — with programs like Lift Off (pictured), Round The Twist and Winners sold to more than 90 countries and winning many international awards. “The awareness internationally of what is going on in Australia with children’s television is very high,” ACTF chairwoman Janet Holmes a Court told TV Week. The advent of new technologies and its impact on children is also to be discussed. “Our children can be plugged into all sorts of things and everybody is talking about what you can do and how you will be able to do it. But I don’t think enough people are addressing what will come out when kids do plug in,” said ACTF director Patricia Edgar.
- Rebecca Gibney (pictured), fresh from filming of the six Halifax fp telemovies for Nine, will be appearing soon in a guest role on ABC‘s GP. She will be playing the part of a distraught and dishevelled woman who gives birth to a stillborn child. “I’ll be playing that with no make-up and it will be very emotional, very traumatic and very different from Jane Halifax, who is very calm and sophisticated,” Gibney told TV Week.
- Peter Phelps, currently appearing in Fire, is taking on the role of criminal “Abo” Henry in the two-part ABC series, Blue Murder.
- Rumours of ABC taking over Heartbreak High from Network Ten have been denied — but there may more to the story. A spokesperson from ABC has admitted that cast from the show had been approached for a new series.
- Former Over The Hill stars Nic Testoni and Adrian Lee (pictured) will be joining Home And Away in extended guest roles. Testoni may also be familiar to younger viewers as a reporter on the former Network Ten show Level 23.
- Talk To The Animals reporter and self-confessed Star Trek fan Richard Fitzgerald has travelled to the US to interview William Shatner at his farm where he keeps champion American saddlebreeds. “When I arrived, he came galloping up to me wearing a cowboy hat and it took everything within me not to call him Captain Kirk,” Fitzgerald told TV Week.
TV’s Top 20 (Week Commencing 19 February):
|2||National Nine News||Nine||Sun||1674000|
|3||Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman||Seven||Mon||1657000|
|6||World’s Greatest Commercials||Seven||Sun||1544000|
|8||A Current Affair||Nine||M-F||1525000|
|9||National Nine News||Nine||Sat||1523000|
|10||National Nine News||Nine||M-F||1500000|
|11||The X Files||Ten||Wed||1497000|
|13||Movie: The Crying Game||Seven||Sun||1475000|
|17||Mad About You||Ten||Tue||1416000|
|18||Movie: Buried Alive||Ten||Mon||1414000|
Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here:
“A massive satellite dish on which to go in-line skating, right there in the backyard? What more could a teenager want? A space tracking station where teens and even pre-teens have free rein to log in to the computer systems and such? Even better… just about approaching perfection, in fact. Welcome to the world of Sky Trackers, the latest effort from the trail-blazing Australian Children’s Television Foundation. The series has its premiere here two days after the completion of the World Summit on Television and Children in Melbourne. Sky Trackers has already been sold everywhere from Iceland to Indonesia, and it will do nothing to harm the glowing reputation forged by the foundation through series such as Round The Twist (pictured) and Lift Off. The cast is excellent, particularly the teenagers Petra Jared as science-crazy Nikki Colbert and Zbych Trofimiuk as Mike Masters, whose scientific interests range about as far as a Jimi Hendrix lick.”
Program Highlights (Melbourne, 11-17 March)
Saturday: The Australian Rugby League (3.30pm, ABC) features the match between reigning premiers the Canberra Raiders and the South Queensland Crushers. The Sydney basketball match in the Magic Johnson All-Stars versus Australia tour is telecast live (9pm, SBS).
Sunday: The Athletics 2000 special On Track (6pm, ABC) profiles Australia’s hopefuls for the 2000 Olympic Games, including Cathy Freeman, Melinda Gainsford, Kyle Vander-Kup, Tim Forsyth, Alison Inverarity and Brenda Hanigan. Sunday night movies are Boiling Point (Seven), My Girl (repeat, Nine) and Big (repeat, Ten).
Monday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Helen (Anne Haddy, pictured) is instantly attracted to the newcomer in the neighbourhood. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Angel’s (Melissa George) inexperience with the wheelchair makes her frustrated and upset.
Tuesday: In Blue Heelers (8.30pm, Seven), Alex Bailey (Peter Hosking) returns to town after serving 10 years in jail for murder. He claims he only wants to see his son, but his presence keeps the police busy calming domestics and investigating a spate of burglaries. In Fire (9.30pm, Seven), the pyromaniac strikes again.
Wednesday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Helen (Anne Haddy) feels like a teenage girl before her big date. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shannon (Isla Fisher) wants Curtis (Shane Ammann) to be careful of Laura (Claudia Buttazzoni). In Deception (8.30pm, Nine), the next telemovie in The Feds, one policeman dies and another faces the end of her career when she becomes too close to the man she is trying to put behind bars.
Thursday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Philip’s (Ian Rawlings) depression heads him in the direction of a dating club. In Janus (8.30pm, ABC), Michael Kidd (Chris Haywood) attempts to discredit Sen-Sgt Peter Faithful (Simon Westaway).
Friday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Angel (Melissa George) takes her first triumphant step.
Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 11 March 1995. Southdown Press