Blue Heelers star Lisa McCune won the Gold Logie at the 39th annual TV Week Logie Awards.

The presentation, on Sunday 18 May 1997, was hosted by Daryl Somers and held at Melbourne’s new Crown Entertainment Complex. The venue would go on to host the Logies for the following 20 years.

The Gold Logie was the first for McCune, who had played Maggie Doyle in the popular Seven Network series since it began in 1994. She fought off competition from fellow nominees Daryl Somers, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Blue Heelers co-star John Wood and reigning Gold Logie winner Ray Martin. McCune’s win ended Martin’s four-year Gold Logies winning streak.

McCune also won the Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress, while colleague Martin Sacks won the Silver Logie for Most Popular Actor.

After the presentation, McCune paid tribute to her co-star and fellow Gold nominee Wood. “I kind of feel I owe him this award,” she told TV Week. “He was up for Gold and he has been so fantastic. So have the rest of the cast.”

Blue Heelers also won the Logie for Most Popular Series, while Tasma Walton won Most Popular New Talent.

The Seven Network also had public-voted wins for Full Frontal (Most Popular Comedy Program), Eric Bana (Most Popular Comedy Personality), Better Homes And Gardens (Most Popular Lifestyle-Information Program), Agro’s Cartoon Connection (Most Popular Children’s Program) and its coverage of the 1996 Olympic Games from Atlanta (Most Popular Sports Event).

The Nine Network had wins with Hey Hey It’s Saturday (Most Popular Light Entertainment Program), with host Daryl Somers winning Most Popular Light Entertainment Personality. A Current Affair won Most Popular Public Affairs Program, and The Footy Show (AFL) won Most Popular Sports Program.

Leading the industry-voted categories is the Gold Logie for the TV Week Logie Awards Hall Of Fame — awarded to actor Garry McDonald. McDonald was met with a standing ovation when he took to the stage to accept his award. His career dated back to the late 1960s but his first leading role was in the comedy series Snake Gully With Dad And Dave in 1972. This was followed by The Aunty Jack Show, starring as Kid Eager and then as self-confessed TV megastar Norman Gunston. The success of the Norman Gunston character led to The Norman Gunston Show on ABC, which in turn led to a Gold Logie win in 1976 — the first time that the Gold Logie was awarded to a fictional character. Other credits included ABC comedies Flash Nick From Jindavick, Wollongong The Brave and The Of Show.

His next major role was as frustrated Arthur Beare in the ABC comedy Mother And Son that ran for six series over ten years. There were also lead roles in Eggshells and drama series Fallen Angels — both for ABC.

His Hall of Fame award was presented to him by Mother And Son co-star Ruth Cracknell. Given that much of his career revolved around ABC, in his acceptance speech, McDonald lamented brutal cutbacks being made to the broadcaster by the federal government — a concern that still resonates 25 years on.

The Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actor was awarded to Water Rats star Colin Friels. “If there was any award I wanted to win, it was this one,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I am touched, honestly, that my peers would give me their nod. It is lovely to be appreciated by other actors.”

Water Rats also won Most Outstanding Achievement In Drama.

Frontline star Alison Whyte was awarded the Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actress.

ABC also had wins with Somebody Now: Nobody’s Children Seven Years On for Most Outstanding Documentary. The documentary featured journalist David Goldie re-uniting with two of the subjects from his 1989 documentary on youth homelessness, Nobody’s Children, and finding out if their lives have changed in the years since.

ABC News won Most Outstanding Achievement In News for its reporting of the Port Arthur Massacre, in which 35 people were killed and 23 others were wounded.

ABC comedy series Club Buggery, hosted by Roy and HG (John Doyle and Greig Pickhaver), won Most Outstanding Achievement In Comedy.

The Nine Network’s Sunday won Most Outstanding Achievement In Public Affairs for its report “The Prisoners Who Waited”.

The Seven Network won Most Outstanding Achievement In Sport for its coverage of Kieren Perkins’ 1500m victory at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Performers on the night included Human Nature, and a comedic duet from Don Lane and Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush‘s Tim Ferguson. There was also an all-star parody of Riverdance, featuring Daryl Somers, Noni Hazlehurst, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Mike Whitney, Tania Zaetta, Isla Fisher, Pete Smith, Glenn Ridge, Larry Emdur, Geoff Harvey and Humphrey B Bear, choreographed by Logies co-producer David Atkins.

International guests at the awards included Star Trek‘s Patrick Stewart, Daniel Davis (The Nanny), Laura Innes (ER), David James Elliott (JAG), Michael T Weiss (The Pretender) and comedian Ben Elton.

TV Week Logie Award Winners 1997: Public Voting Categories:

Gold Logie — Most Popular Personality On Australian TV: Lisa McCune

Silver Logie — Most Popular Actor: Martin Sacks (Blue Heelers)
Silver Logie — Most Popular Actress: Lisa McCune (Blue Heelers)

Most Popular Series: Blue Heelers

Most Popular Light Entertainment Program: Hey Hey It’s Saturday
Most Popular Light Entertainment Personality: Daryl Somers (Hey Hey It’s Saturday)

Most Popular Comedy Program: Full Frontal 
Most Popular Comedy Personality: Eric Bana (Full Frontal)

Most Popular Public Affairs Program: A Current Affair
Most Popular Lifestyle-Information Program: Better Homes And Gardens
Most Popular Sports Program: The Footy Show (AFL)
Most Popular Sports Event: 1996 Olympic Games
Most Popular Children’s Program: Agro’s Cartoon Connection
Most Popular New Talent: Tasma Walton (Blue Heelers)

TV Week Logie Award Winners 1997: Industry Voted Categories:

Gold Logie — Hall Of Fame: Garry McDonald

Silver Logie — Most Outstanding Actor: Colin Friels (Water Rats)
Silver Logie — Most Outstanding Actress: Alison Whyte (Frontline)

Most Outstanding Achievement In Drama: Water Rats
Most Outstanding Documentary: Somebody Now — Nobody’s Children Seven Years On
Most Outstanding Achievement In News: Port Arthur Massacre, ABC News
Most Outstanding Achievement In Public Affairs: “The Prisoners Who Waited”, Sunday
Most Outstanding Achievement In Comedy: Club Buggery
Most Outstanding Achievement In Sport: Kieren Perkins’ 1500m Victory, 1996 Olympic Games

Source: TV Week, 17 May 1997, 24 May 1997.

The 62nd annual TV Week Logie Awards, Sunday 19 June, 7.30pm, Nine/WIN and 9Now.

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