Cover: Aaron Jeffery, Sophie Heathcote (Water Rats)

Sigrid set for murder
The Seven and Nine networks have been in battle over the latest project to come from producer Hal McElroy. Murder Calling, a 26-part series based on Jennifer Rowe‘s Verity Birdwood mystery series, was initially in development between McElroy’s company, Southern Star Xanadu, and the Seven Network. When Seven decided the series should take on a Murder She Wrote style, Southern Star took back the project without Seven’s financial assistance. The series was then pitched to both Nine and Ten, with Nine picking it up. Murder Calling is set to star Sigrid Thornton as private investigator Birdwood. Production on the series is due to start in the second half of the year.

gladiators_0003‘Daryl’s a dead duck!’
Following last week‘s comments from Daryl Somers that “Gladiators is gone”, two of the Gladiators, Vulcan and Delta, have fought back — though with tongue firmly in cheek. “We’ve got the dumb duck and now we’re coming to get you and your program, man,” Vulcan (clutching Hey Hey It’s Saturday‘s Plucka Duck) said in his over-the-top manner. “That’s it! It (Hey Hey) is finished! Leave it to the fit and good looking people. Six-thirty Saturday night is our timeslot. It is time for you to go. Hasta la vista, baby!” Delta responded to Somers’ claims that Gladiators is mostly only popular with children. “I get a lot of fan mail from over 18-year-olds right up to 45-year-old and even some grandmothers,” she told TV Week. “I can only challenge Daryl to come over and watch us film and have a go at a few things. If he thinks this is kids’ stuff, I can guarantee him it’s not.”

dieterbrummer_0002Dieter exposes naked truth
Former Home And Away star Dieter Brummer (pictured) is set to bare all, behind some strategically placed fig leaves, in Seven‘s upcoming special, The World’s Greatest Nude Moments. The show, hosted by Frankie J Holden, is set to uncover various aspects of nude culture — including the nudist colony where the special is being filmed, plus the world’s only nude city (it’s in France) and HG Nelson exploring the merits of nude volleyball and skiing. Brummer’s segment is based on the various activities one should or shouldn’t do while nude. “I can’t remember it all, but it’s things like you shouldn’t do iron ore smelting or fry eggs nude,” he told TV Week. “It’s pretty funny, and basically anything you can do clothed, you can do nude.”


  • Former Echo Point star Diarmid Heidenreich, now appearing as a pizza delivery boy in a series of commercials, is set to host a new children’s game show for Nine. Challenger is to be produced at Nine’s Brisbane studios. Meanwhile, Seven is to launch a new action game show for kids called Timemasters.
  • Some of the names set to be making guest appearances in Nine‘s late night soap Pacific Drive include Sarah Chadwick, Tony Bonner, Ross Newton and Chris Haywood.
  • Aaron Pedersen is to star in The Territorians, a two-hour telemovie for the Seven Network that tells the story of an Aboriginal policeman and the city detective he works with while investigating a series of murders in the Outback.
  • Suddenly noted to be absent from program schedules are Seven‘s newly-launched variety-game show Talking Telephone Numbers and Ten‘s Beyond 2000. The latter was bumped to the 4.30pm Saturday timeslot earlier this year.
  • scottmajor_0001Former Heartbreak High star Scott Major (pictured) takes on a controversial role in this week’s GP. Major plays the part of a 17-year-old lover of a pregnant, 39-year-old woman, to be played by Tracy Mann. “I’m a big believer in the idea that age doesn’t matter,” he told TV Week.
  • Speculation is that Home And Away is to be struck by an earthquake. Scripts haven’t been written yet so the earth won’t be moving until late in the year.

TV’s Top 20 (Week Commencing 3 March 1996): 

Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers
1 Blue Heelers Seven Tue 2176000
2 ER Nine Thu 2092000
3 A Current Affair Nine M-F 1974000
4 National Nine News Nine M-F 1798000
5 Burke’s Backyard Nine Fri 1761000
6 National Nine News Nine Sun 1696000
7 National Nine News Nine Sat 1690000
8 The X Files Ten Wed 1681000
9 The Great Outdoors Seven Tue 1680000
10 Better Homes And Gardens Seven Tue 1659000
11 JAG Seven Mon 1591000
12 Who Dares Wins Seven Wed 1578000
13 60 Minutes Nine Sun 1518000
14 Sale Of The Century Nine Tu-F 1506000
15 Lois & Clark The New Adventures Of Superman Nine Tue 1486000
16 The Simpsons Ten Wed 1472000
17 The Nanny Ten Sun 1464000
18 Movie: Pretty Woman Seven Thu 1456000
19 Movie: Point Break Ten Sun 1452000
20 Weddings Nine Wed 1424000

Program Highlights (Melbourne, March 23-29):
Saturday: Gladiators‘ International Series (6.30pm, Seven) reaches its First Semi-Final, while the Ansett Australia Cup (8.30pm, Seven) reaches its Grand Final, featuring St Kilda versus Carlton. Comedy show Roy & HG (9.30pm, ABC) returns with a new series.

Sunday: In Talk To The Animals (6.30pm, Seven), Jane Holmes visits Australia’s first kitty kindergarten at the Seaforth Veterinary Hospital. This week’s episode of Naked: Stories Of Men (8.30pm, ABC) features Ghost Story, the story of a 14-year-old Chinese boy who is disturbed by recurring dreams after his mother commits suicide. Sunday night movies are The Man Without A Face (repeat, Seven), Forever Young (repeat, Nine) and The Lawnmower Man (repeat, Ten).

Monday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Danni (Eliza Szonert) is off to Sydney for three weeks to help launch a fashion label. In Water Rats (7.30pm, Nine), Billy Pope’s (Gary Waddell) girlfriend is found murdered on the eve of giving evidence in an enquiry into police corruption. In comedy series After The Beep (8pm, ABC), Jo (Geneviève Lemon) quits her job after a fight with her boss and arrives home to find her house has been burgled. In Pacific Drive (11.15pm, Nine), Bethany (Melissa Tkautz) keeps her distance from Adam (Mark Constable) and takes an HIV test.

Tuesday: In The Great Outdoors (8pm, Seven), Bridget Adams joins the festivities of the Cannstatter Volkfest in Stuttgart, Germany, and visits the Mercedes Benz Museum. The 68th Academy Awards (8.30pm, Nine) are on a delayed telecast from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. Films nominated for Best Picture are Apollo 13, Babe, Braveheart, The Postman and Sense And Sensibility.

Wednesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Dylan (Corey Glaistner) won’t talk about Shane’s (Dieter Brummer) death. In Fire (9.30pm, Seven), the West End firies have to consider mutiny on the fireground when confronted by an officer who appears to be mad.

Thursday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Jo (Emma Harrison) worries about her career as an aerobics instructor after she discovers Toadie’s (Ryan Moloney) motivation for joining her classes. Comedians Julia Morris and Jimeoin are among the cast of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala (8.30pm, Seven) from Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne.

Friday: Due to the upcoming weekend’s Victorian election coverage, Hey Hey It’s Saturday (8.30pm, Nine) makes another special Friday appearance. The one-hour special Rex Hunt Fishing Adventures In Japan (8.30pm, Seven) features Rex Hunt touring Japan, including fishing in the Nagara River, and tours the city’s aquarium which recreates different environments from around the world. The AFL Premiership Season kicks off with Friday Night Football (9.30pm, Seven), featuring Melbourne versus Geelong at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 23 March 1996. Pacific Publications Pty Ltd.



4 thoughts on “1996: March 23-29

  1. I remember Frankie J Holden’s Nude Moments being talked about on radio show Martin/Molloy.

  2. there was a show on the ABC back in the late sixties 1969 in fact called checkerboard I think that would fit in that category

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