Network Ten‘s morning show Studio 10 had a special episode on Friday to pay tribute to the year 1977.

It was a time of loud fashions, glamorous hairstyles, disco music, emerging technology and some dubious facial hair. Studio 10‘s hosts — Natarsha Belling, Joe Hildebrand, Denise Drysdale, Ita Buttrose and Jessica Rowe (pictured) — and guest panellist, former pop star and TV host Ronnie Burns were all decked out in their best 1970s finery while they revisited some of the highlights of 1977.

TV historian Andrew Mercado and remembered the era of Number 96, which came to a close in 1977, and its ample displays of nudity. Showbiz reporter Craig Bennett also recalled Number 96 and its Melbourne-based counterpart The Box, while also remembering The Restless Years and US shows like Happy Days, The Love Boat and Laverne And Shirley.

denisedrysdalegarrymeadowsThere were flashbacks to the Studio 10 cast as they were in 1977… including baby pictures of Belling and Hildebrand and a young Jessica Rowe. Denise Drysdale was reminded of her portrayal of a busty nurse (pictured with co-star Garry Meadows) in the 1970s prison comedy The Bluestone Boys, and Ita Buttrose revisited her days as editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly and remembered the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations that year.

Studio 10 reporter David Robinson — still yet to be born in 1977 — was in classic ’70s garb as he hosted the Studio 10 remake of game show Blankety Blanks — the top-rating Australian-made program of 1977. Jonathan Coleman took on the role of resident Blankety Blanks panellist Ugly Dave Gray and some of the dubious humour that made the original show famous at the time.

We were reminded of some of the big news events of the year — including the Granville rail disaster in Sydney that claimed the lives of 83 people — and some of the cutting edge technology making its way into everyday lives, with advertisements of early Apple computers, colour televisions, gaming consoles and VCRs.

Segments from the episode of Studio 10 are currently available on TenPlay.

Meanwhile, some of the other significant TV events of 1977:

  • The Seven Network successfully bids for exclusive Australian rights to televise the 1980 Olympic Games from Moscow. The network paid $1 million in the deal, outbidding rival offers from ABC and Nine.
  • Countdown celebrates its 100th episode.
  • Roots, the multi-million dollar US mini-series, receives the highest ratings of the decade.
  • Seven televises the VFL Grand Final live to Melbourne for the first time.
  • The final episodes of drama series Homicide, The Box, Number 96 and Bellbird.
  • Hotel Story, a Crawford production for the 0-10 Network, begins production in Melbourne. The series was axed before the first episode had even gone to air.
  • The Federal Government investigates a proposal to establish a domestic satellite system, enabling instant transmission of television and other communications across Australia and in particular to remote areas.
  • The Nine Network’s World Series Cricket launches in opposition to the traditional test cricket coverage on ABC.
  • Don Lane (The Don Lane Show) and Jeanne Little (The Mike Walsh Show) won Gold Logies at the TV Week Logie Awards.



23 thoughts on “Studio 10’s salute to ’77

  1. former pop star and TV host Robbie Burns were all decked out…… Just making a correction here, it is in fact “Ronnie”, not Robbie Burns!

  2. Oooooh-Aaaaaah! Jeeeeaaaaanie Liiiiittle! I really don’t know how anyone could put up with her grating voice on the Mike Walsh Show! Even visiting comic George Burns couldn’t make her out! If anyone remembers that edition(they’ve used that segment often when looking back on the MWS days) and the look on Burns’ face as he tried to comprehend Little! He was truly non-plussed! I have to say though, on one occasion where she actually sang, she proved she could hold a tune, She could’ve had a successful career as a singer. If I recall, she died destitute, a sad end for her indeed.

    1. She did have some success in musical theatre/cabaret work after working in TV.

      She is still alive but been very ill with Alzheimers for a few years now.

  3. I obviously heard wrong, but Alzheimers is, in effect a living death, as in its final stages, the sufferer has no recollection of anything, including his/her own identity, It’s still a sad end for Jeannie Little. Whether daughter Katie has followed in her mother’s footsteps, I have no idea.

    1. Studio 10 featured an interview with Jeanne’s daughter maybe last year or the year before. Sadly Jeanne has little recollection of much at all due to Alzheimers. Such a sad outcome for a lady who was so lively.

    1. @Andrew M!
      Yes, it was Barry! I think Jeannie talked about him(jokingly of course, daaaahlings!) much in the same way Phyllis Diller talked about her husband, “Fang”.(Fang, what kind of name is that for a husband? Really!) As for Barry, did he ever make any appearances in public? I don’t think he did.

    1. That, I know already, Andrew M.! But the way Phyllis Diller talked about him(it?)….. Barry Little sort-of copped the same treatment, but nowhere near the near-malicious way Diller gave it out(whew!). At least Fang didn’t say anything in return…. he couldn’t! Ha-ha-ha!(for reasons you’ve already given).

  4. @Andrew B.
    Though Barry Little would be in a retirement home, that you’ve read this detail in the Daily Telegraph doesn’t auger well for the veracity of the story. Put plainly, you can’t trust what you’re likely to read in the Murdoch gutter-rags!

    1. @Andrew M
      Facts are something very, very rare in Murdoch’s gutter-rags! The reap their ill-gotten gains in stories of sleazy, salacious sensationalism!

  5. The biggest memory I have was night moves it featured an abba special abit like a mini Beatles anthology great memories fromthat year the most vivid memory news flash the grandville train disaster and the elvis special

    1. I also recall(watching a grainy colour signal from Station ATN-Sydney at my home in Stockton, in 1980) A Night Moves documentary on John Lennon, aired not long after his assassination. The host was Lee Simon. I moved to Port Stephens in 2001.

  6. @Andrew M.
    Yep! John Lennon got a heck of a lot of coverage at the time. Probably a lot more than George Harrison did when he passed away in 2001. SBS had run a doco on Harrison(aired it a few times I think, I’ve seen it at least twice) some time back. Wait long enough it might pop up again in SBS’s schedule.

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