So long, Summer Bay…
Melissa George (pictured) was all smiles… and tears… as she bid farewell to Home And Away after three years as former street kid Angel. “I’ve been fortunate enough to see a little girl grow into a lady,” said producer Russell Webb, referring to George joining the cast as a 16-year-old, before handing her a bunch of flowers and a farewell gift from the cast and crew — a gold ring inlaid with precious gems. “Thank you for being so beautiful, you’ve been a great family,” she responded. George will soon be off to the UK to discuss plans for a department store to stock her nightwear label, An Angel At My Bedside. George’s final on screen appearance in Home And Away, scheduled for late August, will coincide with the show’s 2000th episode.
GP’s party turns into a wake
Past and present cast members of GP had gathered for a celebration of the taping of the show’s 300th episode — unaware that only hours later would come the news that ABC would not be renewing the series into 1997. The shock decision came after a meeting between ABC’s head of drama, Andy Lloyd James, and head of television, Penny Chapman, where it was decided to cancel GP to make way for other projects. “It is the ABC’s philosophy to continue to explore new areas of drama and to open up new Australian visions for our audience,” Lloyd James said. “In the coming year we have some very exciting new series going into production, both in Sydney and Melbourne, and for that reason we will be unable to renew GP after the end of the year.” GP, which first aired in March 1989, will end as ABC’s second-longest running drama series behind Bellbird, which ran for ten years until 1977.
Blue Heelers’ X-Files Secret
Geoff Paine, whose past credits have included Neighbours, A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors, Halifax fp and The Comedy Company, is now joining Blue Heelers in a guest role. He comes into Mount Thomas as criminology professor Roman Kellerman, who has an affair with Maggie Doyle (Lisa McCune). But PJ (Martin Sacks) uncovers some secrets about Maggie’s new man. “Roman is not what he seems, and it’s not smooth sailing,” Paine (pictured with McCune) told TV Week. “Something quite unexpected happens between Maggie and Roman. It’s quite an explosive ending. The last episode you see Roman in is an extraordinary episode, quite supernatural in many ways… very much like The X Files.”
Erik’s legendary journey
Pacific Drive star Erik Thomson (pictured) is enjoying success on both sides of the Tasman at the moment. The Scottish-born, former New Zealand actor moved to Australia when he scored the role of Brett Barrett in Pacific Drive, but has since scored a role in the US series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys — which is being filmed in New Zealand. “Fortunately, they have managed my work on Pacific Drive so that I can go back to New Zealand to work on Hercules any time that I am needed,” Thomson told TV Week. Hercules: The Legendary Journeys airs in Australia on Network Ten.
- Sale Of The Century hosts Glenn Ridge and Nicky Buckley have celebrated the show’s 16th birthday — a milestone that defies the predictions of many when Ridge took over as host from Tony Barber in 1991. Derryn Hinch, whose Seven Network current affairs show was up against Sale at the time, insisted, “We’ll kick their teeth in” — just a few months before his own show was axed.
- The Seven Network has hired former Echo Point star Martin Henderson (pictured), currently appearing on screen in Network Ten‘s sports drama Sweat, for a three-week guest role in Home And Away. Seven is keen to hear whether or not Ten will renew Sweat for a second series. If Ten opts not to proceed then Henderson may become a longer term cast member in Home And Away.
- Money reporter Patrick Lindsay is to be host and executive producer of a one-hour special, Alternatives. The magazine program is based on alternative lifestyles and will feature reporters Joy Smithers, Michael Willesee Jnr and Catriona Rowntree. If the special is a success then Nine may spin-off the show into a series.
- Some nervous times at Nine at the moment with budgets being slashed on existing shows and some other upcoming projects being canned completely. Speculation is mounting that owner Kerry Packer is making a push into the Fairfax newspaper business which could see Nine sold off if cross-media ownership rules are not changed.
TV’s National Top 10 (Week Commencing 16 June 1996):
Source: AC Nielsen Australia Pty Ltd
|2||Better Homes And Gardens||Seven||Tue||2233000|
|4||The Great Outdoors||Seven||Tue||2127000|
|8||A Current Affair||Nine||M-F||1882000|
|10||National Nine News||Nine||Sun||1831000|
Program Highlights (Melbourne, July 6-12):
Saturday: Beyond 2000 (3.30pm, Ten) reports on a giant x-ray machine that is helping to fight the war against drug smuggling; and the unseen dangers from volcanic ash that is causing planes to crash. Wimbledon (10.40pm, Nine) features the Women’s Singles Final and Men’s Doubles Final.
Sunday: AFL Today features Sydney Swans versus Geelong (1pm, Seven), live from Sydney, followed by Fremantle versus St Kilda (4pm, Seven), live from Perth. In Banjo Paterson’s The Man From Snowy River (6.30pm, Nine), Kathleen (Wendy Hughes) and Matt (Andrew Clarke) plan a romantic night but are interrupted by many things, including a crying baby. Sunday night movies are Addams Family Values (Seven), Halifax fp: Sweet Dreams (Nine), Shining Through (repeat, Ten) and Doctor Who: The Movie (ABC). Wimbledon (10.35pm, Nine) comes to a close with the Women’s Doubles Final and Men’s Singles Final.
Monday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Lou (Tom Oliver) and Cheryl (Caroline Gillmer) can’t talk without arguing; and Karl (Alan Fletcher) continues his quest to find his real father. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shannon (Isla Fisher) and Alex (Nick Freedman) get back together. In the series return of Pacific Drive (11.35pm, Nine), Flood (Brian Vriends) steps up his insidious stalking of Laura (Simone Buchanan).
Tuesday: Elizabeth Hayes hosts a documentary, A Time To Live (8.30pm, Nine), following the stories of four people faced with the knowledge they have a terminal illness and will end their lives in Sydney’s Sacred Heart Hospice. In Blue Heelers (8.30pm, Seven), PJ (Martin Sacks) and Maggie (Lisa McCune) must examine the events of the past to solve an allegation of childhood abuse. Patrick Lindsay hosts the one-hour special, Alternatives (9.30pm, Nine).
Wednesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Steven (Adam Willits) hopes Travis (Nic Testoni) isn’t suspicious about his relationship with Kelly (Katrina Hobbs). In Pacific Drive (11pm, Nine), Martin (Joss McWilliam) fights to save Laura (Simone Buchanan) from the consequences of shooting Flood (Brian Vriends).
Thursday: In Getaway (7.30pm, Nine), Rebecca Harris goes kayaking on Sydney Harbour; and later, cricketer David Boon takes her on a tour of his home town, Launceston. In Mercury (8.30pm, ABC), Gibbo (David Roberts) is given a story that threatens the Leader of the Opposition. The final episode of internet series HTTP:// (9.20pm, ABC).
Friday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Karl (Alan Fletcher) receives a call from the wife of his biological father, Ron (Tony Hawkins); and Libby (Kym Valentine) finally meets Darren Stark (Todd MacDonald). Friday Night Football (8.30pm, Seven) features West Coast Eagles versus Fitzroy, live from Perth.
Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 6 July 1996. Pacific Publications Pty Ltd.