tvweek_041195Cover: Eliza Szonert (Neighbours)

Mike Munro, this is your past life!
This Is Your Life host Mike Munro has revealed this his own life has something of a colourful background, including a change to his name. Among his ancestors were Irish-born bushrangers, brothers Patrick and James Kenniff (though their original surname before settling in Australia was Cunniffe). The pair were well known in central Queensland for their unlawful activities in the late 19th century before finally being charged and convicted for the murder of two men in 1901. Munro’s great grandfather (Patrick and James’ uncle) was so ashamed by the brothers that he moved to a property called Munrook in northern NSW and changed his surname to Munro. “And then I was to be baptised as Michael Cunniffe Munro. But at the last minute… mum said to the priest, without dad knowing, to make the middle name Kenneth,” Munro said.

Death in Summer Bay?
Home And Away actor Dennis Coard is leaving the series. Writers are currently discussing storylines for his exit, widely tipped to involve a gruesome end for character Michael Ross. If this is the case it will be the second of Pippa’s (Debra Lawrance) spouses to meet an early demise. Her first husband, Tom (Roger Oakley), died in a car crash.

simonwestaway_0002A thorny question
The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years is the sequel to the world famous 1983 mini-series The Thorn Birds. But one person not impressed with the production is the original book’s author, Colleen McCullough. She was unable to stop producers proceeding with the project (as it was part of the contract for the original mini-series) and is unhappy that characters that had been killed off in the book are being recycled. Filmed in Queensland over ten weeks, The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years features Richard Chamberlain and Amanda Donohoe with Australians including Simon Westaway, Michael Caton, Julia Blake, Peter Ford and James Costas.”It’s obviously the biggest thing that I’ve been involved with to date, and that was very exciting,” Westaway (pictured), who takes on the role played by Bryan Brown in the original, told TV Week. “It’s always hard making a sequel to anything, but having Richard Chamberlain in this endorses it, and it’s wonderful. The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years is due to air on the Nine Network in the new year.


  • Completing the line-up of doctors for next year’s series of GP is Leah Vandenberg, a graduate of the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Vandenberg joins Steve Bisley, Zoe Carides and fellow new cast member Melissa Jaffer.
  • The Nine Network is keeping quiet about its new late-night soapie Pacific Drive, but storylines being leaked to the media include a murder in the first episode and a gay love scene further down the track. “Melrose Place-style murder and mayhem is the brief for the show,” one source has told TV Week.
  • melissageorgeandrewhillMelissa George and former Home And Away castmate Andrew Hill are pictured at a function announcing that pay TV network Foxtel will be screening the Seven Network soap from episode one.
  • This week’s telecast of the AFI Awards from Melbourne is the first project for ABC from Steve Vizard‘s Artist Services production company. Magda Szubanski is hosting the presentation.

TV’s Top 20 (Week Commencing 15 October): 

Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers
1 60 Minutes Nine Sun 1992000
2 This Is Your Life Nine Thu 1966000
3 Movie: Patriot Games Nine Sun 1934000
4 Blue Heelers Seven Tue 1806000
5 The Nanny Ten Wed 1780000
6 The Great Outdoors Seven Tue 1741000
7 National Nine News Nine Sun 1729000
8 Burke’s Backyard Nine Fri 1716000
9 A Current Affair Nine M-F 1701000
10 RPA Nine Thu 1694000
11 Better Homes And Gardens Seven Tue 1667000
12 Our House Nine Wed 1663000
13 Getaway Nine Thu 1651000
14 Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show Nine Tue 1644000
15 National Nine News Nine M-F 1628000
16 Cybill Nine Mon 1626000
17 Gladiators Seven Sat 1611000
18 Sale Of The Century Nine M-F 1574000
19 The Simpsons Ten Wed 1533000
20 National Nine News Nine Sat 1518000

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

davidjohnston_0002“On the final 1995 edition of television’s best Australian rules football, the Seven Network‘s Talking Footy, journalist Mike Sheehan remarked that anyone who thought the football season was over should think again. It was just starting, he said. There would be more moving and shaking in the “off-season” than there ever was during the heat of battle. It’s just like the television industry, really. Supposedly it closes down from late November to early February, but that’s also usually the time when people jump networks, new shows get bedded in, and so on. In Melbourne, long-time news presenter David Johnston (pictured) and director of news Neil Miller are moving (from Ten) to Seven. In Sydney, Anne Fulwood has gone from Ten’s national late-night bulletin and is en route to a similar position at Seven. One of Ten’s prime-time presenters in Sydney, Juanita Phillips, is also out of there. Andrew Denton? On his show recently, he made a passing reference to “when this gig is over in about five weeks”, and obviously he wasn’t joking.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, November 4-10):
Saturday: The Melbourne Cup Carnival kicks off with Derby Day (10.30am, Ten), live from Flemington Racecourse, hosted by Tim Webster, Peter Donegan and Marie-Louise Theile with racecaller Dan Mielicki. Beyond 2000 (5.30pm, Ten) reports on a new IVF treatment that could end the need for long courses of fertility drugs and cut costs for infertile couples.

Sunday: The Mercantile Mutual Cup (11am, Nine) is given limited coverage, two hours, from the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Sunday night movies are Too Hot To Handle (repeat, Seven), The Bodyguard (repeat, Nine) and Witness To The Execution (Ten).

Monday: Four Corners (8.30pm, ABC) presents a special report leading up to the 20th anniversary of the dismissal of prime minister Gough Whitlam.

Tuesday: Seven hours of live coverage of Melbourne Cup Day (10am, Ten) from Flemington Racecourse. In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), a stunning Melbourne Cup breakfast entertains the residents of Erinsborough, until Joanna (Emma Harrison) picks the wrong horse. In Blue Heelers (8.30pm, Seven), while the rest of the country stops for the Melbourne Cup, Mount Thomas is hit by a string of burglaries. In GP (8.30pm, ABC), Sonia’s (Zoe Carides) relationship with Andy (Tom Burlinson) is tested when he is offered a job overseas.

Wednesday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), a depressed Joanna (Emma Harrison) meets up with an early childhood hero and decides to resurrect his career. In Bordertown (8.30pm, ABC), a magical nocturnal trip on Nino’s (Mitchell Butel) hand-made gondola makes Louise (Christine Tremarco) realise that Joe’s (Joe Petruzzi) brother is in love with her, but perhaps it is too late.

Thursday: Day One of the First Test (10.50am, Nine), Australian versus Pakistan, is live from Brisbane, taking a break for lunch with The Cricket Show (1pm, Nine), hosted by Michael Slater and Simon O’Donnell. The Melbourne Cup Carnival continues with Oaks Day (11am, Ten) at Flemington Racecourse. In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Billy (Jesse Spencer) finally has his learning disability diagnosed, much to the horror of Karl and Susan (Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne).

magdaszubanski_0002Friday: The First Test (10.50am, Nine) continues from Brisbane. Magda Szubanski (pictured) hosts the Australian Film Industry Awards (8.30pm, ABC), live from the Melbourne Town Hall. All Men Are Liars, Hotel Sorrento, Angel Baby and That Eye The Sky are nominated for Best Film. Leading the television category nominations are Halifax fp, Janus and Frontline.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 4 November 1995. Southdown Press


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