1995: December 23-29

tvweek_231295Dieter’s giant leap… out of Summer Bay
After 864 episodes over four years, Dieter Brummer (pictured) has taped his last scenes for Home And Away — but it was not an emotional exit, with just a simple “thanks very much, everybody,” as his fellow cast mates wished him well. “I don’t get super-emotional about too many things,” he told TV Week. “It was a hard decision to go. You’ve got to weigh up so many things. Obviously, financially it’s been quite a secure job and it’s been great coming to work every day and being with your family. But, basically, all the people I grew up with on the show have left.” Despite the low-key exit on his last day of filming, Brummer did manage to surprise revellers at the show’s Christmas party later that day, when he arrived with a new “Romper Stomper-style” haircut.

pennycookerniedingoPenny and Ernie’s odd couple sitcom
Penny Cook and Ernie Dingo (pictured) are not just colleagues on the travel show The Great Outdoors but both are to lead the cast of a new sitcom in planning for the Seven Network. Ally & Doo tells the story of a bohemian house-sharing with an indigenous Australian basketball coach. A source told TV Week: “It is character-driven, and the humour comes from tensions and battles between the sexes and races — the attitudes of white Australia towards the blacks. They’re like the Odd Couple with romantic overtones. It’s probably time TV presented a positive black Australian role model.” The project has already filmed three pilots, with a fourth to go ahead in February. If Seven gives the green-light, Ally & Doo will become a 13-episode series. The network says that whatever happens with Ally & Doo, Cook and Dingo will continue in their reporting roles for The Great Outdoors.

Jo Beth to step in
With Jane Hall now presenting Breakfast Time for Foxtel‘s fX channel, Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show host Jo Beth Taylor is to take over as host of Nine‘s Weddings series. The change has also partly come about as Nine has decided to halve the number of episodes of Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show for 1996. Taylor will also starring on stage in the return season of The New Rocky Horror Show, due to open in Brisbane in February before touring nationally.


  • Nine‘s recently-axed morning show Ernie And Denise was said to be replaced by a Beauty And The Beast-style panel show to be hosted by John Blackman. A pilot for the new project was produced earlier this year, but Nine has now knocked it back. At this stage it appears that there will be no replacement production for Ernie And Denise.
  • Lots of uncertainty continues to reign around the future of Nine‘s Midday. While co-host David Reyne was widely believed to be dropped from the show over the summer break, he has just signed a 12-month contract with Nine. What plans the network has for Reyne, whether it be Midday or another project, appears unknown. Meanwhile, Richard Wilkins and Kerri-Anne Kennerley are now believed to be no longer in contention for replacing Reyne on Midday — but rumours persist that Don Lane could be likely to join co-host Tracy Grimshaw on the Midday set.
  • Artist Services, Steve Vizard‘s production company, is believed to be piloting a sitcom for Network Ten. No details are known at this stage but production of the pilot is set to take place before the end of the month.
  • Actress Sigrid Thornton is to host the Melbourne-based component of the World Vision Telethon, scheduled to air this week on the Nine Network. Having already visited Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Kenya for World Vision, she told TV Week that her most recent trip to Bangladesh was the worst poverty she had ever seen. “These people were doing it very, very hard,” she said. “They were living in tiny huts built over what was really raw sewage.”
  • Former Home And Away star Laura Vazquez has completed work on the US telemovie The Beast and is now preparing for a three-month stint in the UK, hoping to strike up a recording contract.


  • And, what’s Christmas without the traditional cross-network TV Week photo shoot? This year’s Christmas festivities feature Steve Bastoni (Police Rescue), Zoe Carides (GP), Jo Bailey (Looking Good), Eliza Szonert (Neighbours), Lisa McCune (Blue Heelers), Richard Grieve (Neighbours) and Plucka Duck (Hey Hey It’s Saturday) in a retro-themed lounge room to tie in with the upcoming 40th anniversary of Australian television.

 Top TV Shows of 1995: 

Rank Regular Programs Network Viewers
1 This Is Your Life Nine 2004000
2 ER Nine 1894000
3 Lois & Clark Seven 1868000
4 National Nine News (Sunday) Nine 1848000
5 60 Minutes Nine 1836000
6 Home Improvement Seven 1820000
7 Blue Heelers Seven 1765000
8 A Current Affair Nine 1728000
9 National Nine News (M-F) Nine 1727000
10 Gladiators Seven 1708000
Rank Specials Network Viewers
1 Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie Nine 2222000
2 Very Best Of The World’s Worst Drivers 2 (repeat) Nine 2172000
3 Eilish: Life Without Kate Nine 2099000
4 Roswell Incident: Aliens Revealed Nine 1986000
5 Secrets Revealed Seven 1942000
6 Sale Of The Century 15th Anniversary Nine 1931000
7 Rudy Coby: Coolest Magic Seven 1804000
8 Very Best Of The World’s Worst Drivers 2 Nine 1802000
9 The Beatles Anthology (Part One) Seven 1798000
10= 50 Fantastic Years (Part One) Nine 1700000
10= World’s Greatest Magic Seven 1700000

Program Highlights (Melbourne, December 23-29):
juliamorris_0003Saturday: Documentary Sail Of The Century (5pm, Nine) relives 60 Minutes reporter Charles Wooley‘s nightmare aboard yacht Rav 4 Celeste in the 1994 Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race. Wooley was to file reports for 60 Minutes from the yacht, owned by 60 Minutes executive producer John Westacott, but the yacht hit a squall and was blown off-course by another storm, threatening the lives of those on board. Rob Guest hosts Pacific Power’s Carols In The Domain (8.30pm, Seven), including appearances by Julia Morris (pictured), Julie Anthony, Noni Hazlehurst, John Waters, Peter Cousens, Jennifer McGregor, the Sydney Philharmonic Choir, the Sydney Youth Orchestra, the Victorian Boys Choir — and Santa. A one-hour version of Hot Shoe Shuffle (9.30pm, ABC), the first Australian musical to hit London’s West End, features David Atkins and Rhonda Burchmore at Queen’s Theatre.

raymartin_005Sunday (Christmas Eve): Ray Martin (pictured) hosts Carols By Candlelight (9pm, Nine), live from the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, featuring Marina Prior, Peter Cupples, Denis Walter and Rhonda Burchmore. Sunday night movies are The Eagle Has Landed (repeat, Seven) and A Christmas Reunion (Ten).

Monday (Christmas Day): The usual Christmas Day fare — specials and movies — dominate the day’s TV. Even the early morning Agro’s Cartoon Connection (6.30am, Seven) includes Christmas specials The Greatest Adventure: Stories From The Bible, Silent Night Holy Night and Mole’s Christmas. Among the special programs during the day are the John Martin/Bank SA Christmas Pageant (9.30am, Seven) from Adelaide, and An Australian Christmas At Darling Harbour (12pm, Seven). Carols By Candlelight (11.30am, Nine) is given a repeat. The Compass special From Snow To Sunburn (9.15pm, ABC) takes a look at Australia’s summer celebration of Christmas which includes singing Christmas carols that feature words about snow and mistletoe. The Queen’s Christmas Message is broadcast on SBS (7pm), ABC (7.20pm) and Nine (11.30pm).

billwoods_0002Tuesday: Live coverage of the start of the Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race (12pm, Ten) is hosted by Bill Woods (pictured) with commentators Rob Mundle and Peter Gilmoure. The Second Test: Australia versus Sri Lanka (3.40pm, Nine) begins from the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with only two hours of coverage permitted into Melbourne, and afternoon coverage continuing through to Saturday.

Wednesday: In Law Of The Land (7.30pm, Nine), a football match ends in tragedy. The 3-hour World Vision Telethon (8.30pm, Nine) is hosted by Richard Wilkins in Sydney and Sigrid Thornton in Melbourne, and features appearances by Jo Beth Taylor, Rebecca Gibney, Margaret Urlich, Rachel Ward and Jack Jones.

Thursday: In another episode of Law Of The Land (7.30pm, Nine), Alex (Rebecca Frith) stumbles into a mysterious sect called The Chosen Ones.

Friday: In Talk To The Animals (7.30pm, Seven), Steve Oemcke visits a new attraction at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast; Jane Holmes goes to the Camperdown Children’s Hospital where animals from a farm are there to help cheer up the sick children; and Richard Fitzgerald enjoys a dip in a unique pool at Surfers Paradise, which is home to 400 tropical fish.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 23 December 1995. Pacific Publications Pty Ltd.




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