Mike McColl Jones, one of television’s leading writers from the golden age of variety, has died at age 86.

He was working as a travelling salesman when he scored a trial gig writing jokes for Graham Kennedy on In Melbourne Tonight. What began as a trial went on to become a professional relationship lasting on and off around 20 years. In a TV Times interview in 1973, he credited Kennedy as being the fastest ad lib thinker he’d ever met: “I might write three words which are the bones of the situation. He might get three jokes or three minutes (out of it).”

YouTube: Phil Strachan

At Kennedy’s funeral in 2005, he wrote and read a speech in the form of a fax sent from Kennedy in heaven.

He also wrote for Bert Newton, Don Lane and Mary Hardy, worked on 25 TV Week Logie Awards presentations and two Royal Command performances.

Although much of his career was at GTV9 in Melbourne, he also wrote for Peter Couchman Tonight at Ten and Tonight Live With Steve Vizard at Seven.

1973: Mike McColl Jones, Graham Kennedy

He wrote six books, including Graham Kennedy. Treasures. Friends Remember The King, released in 2008.

In 2017 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list “for service to the performing arts as a comedy writer for television.”

Source: TV Times, 10 November 1973, 16 December 1978, 23 December 1978, 1 December 1979. Baptcare, TV Tonight, Marlowes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.