TelevisionAU Update 1-Feb-09

shanebourne FLASHBACK PICTURE #48:
These days Shane Bourne is known for his role in the police drama City Homicide and as host of Thank God You’re Here, but over a decade ago the comedian and former Hey Hey It’s Saturday contributor was host of the Nine Network‘s 1996 remake of the 1970s game show Blankety Blanks.  It was the second time the Nine Network had attempted to remake the show that Graham Kennedy made famous in Australia in 1977-78.  The first was in 1985 hosted by Daryl Somers.  Pictured: Shane Bourne and two of the show’s panelists, Rhonda Burchmore and Marty Fields.  Picture: TV Week, 30 Nov 1996
(Go to for full picture)

Melbourne: 1978, 1981, 1983
Sydney: 1969, 1974, 1985, 1986
Canberra: 1982
Brisbane: 1978
Western Australia: 1972


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1979: January 27-February 2

Stardom and the single man
TV Times talked to a cross-section of showbusiness bachelors about the pros and cons of single life while in the public eye. For Don Lane, currently in a relationship, there was a time when he would question if a girl was interested in Don Lane, the person, or Don Lane on TV. Actor Terry Donovan has had to combine his professional and social life with raising a son, Jason, but is enjoying being a bachelor. Ugly Dave Gray said it took some adjusting, after the end of his marriage to wife Gail, to getting out and being social again, but admits to being the marrying kind, and “I’d really like kids if I marry again.” For Sherbet singer Daryl Braithwaite, being single has the benefit of not having any responsibility, but the downside is that he tends to be the only member of the group to come home alone after being away on tour. But he is reluctant to get involved in a serious relationship again, for a while at least.

TV greets the Year of the Child
All networks are planning locally produced or imported programs focused on the International Year Of The Child (IYC), and most channels are planning increased quality and quantity for children’s programs:

ARVO (ABC): New series to launch in April. To go to air weekday afternoons 4.00pm-6.00pm, and will include children’s entertainment, such as Sesame Street, and reports and interviews with children about their own IYC projects. ABC is currently looking for a host for the program who gets on well with children, and bunyips, as ARVO‘s co-host will be a bunyip called Alexander.

Twin Towers (ABC): A new six-part children’s drama is in production, starring John Ewart, Tessa Mallos, Ray Meagher, Justine Saunders and Candy Williams. Storylines for the new series have been developed with contributions from children at a Sydney primary school.

Earth Patrol (ABC): New drama series to debut in June and will screen in combination with the Earth Patrol Club which will provide a forum for children’s involvement in community and environmental issues. Many of the episodes for Earth Patrol will be filmed in Sydney and Queensland.

Mad Dog Gang (Nine): New Zealand-based series to be screened in March.

Falcon Island (Nine): A Perth-based children’s drama about the search for a wrecked sailing ship off the coast of Western Australia.

The Gene Machine (Nine): Seven-part British series about how genes affect the lives of humans and animals.

A Gift Of Song: The Music For UNICEF Concert (0-10): The official launch concert for IYC that took place in New York on 10 January. Performers include the Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John, Kris Kristofferson, John Denver, Earth Wind And Fire, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart, ABBA and Rita Coolidge. To be screened in Australia possibly in February or March.

The Seven Network has also obtained local broadcast rights to a mammoth 20-hour telethon in aid of IYC which will be beamed direct from the United States over two days in June to more than 30 countries worldwide. Seven’s telecast is expected to include an Australian component featuring local personalities from the Seven Network, and rival network identities will also be invited to appear.

New shows for ’79
The four networks – ABC, Seven, Nine and 0-10 – all unveil some of the new and returning shows for the coming 1979 season.

johngregg ABC: New Australian-made drama with The Oracle (starring John Gregg, pictured), Patrol Boat, Twenty Good Years, Ride On Stranger and One Day Miller, a spin-off of the comedy series Tickled Pink. Another new drama, Golden Soak, based on the novel by Hammond Innes, a six-part series co-produced by ABC with British and German interests. Also to come this year are new episodes of British series Are You Being Served?, The Two Ronnies, Doctor Who, The Goodies and George And Mildred. Peter Wherrett presents a new ten-part series Marque: 100 Years Of Motoring tracing the history of the motor car industry and takes a peek at where it’s headed. There’s new episodes of Holiday With Bill Peach and Mastermind. And a new era in current affairs with Nationwide replacing the long-running This Day Tonight.

peterluck Seven: A new series of Father Dear Father In Australia will also be joined by Australian versions of UK favourites Love Thy Neighbour and Doctor In The House. There’s new local drama this year with the Melbourne-based airport drama Skyways. Journalist Peter Luck (pictured) presents a new 16-part documentary series This Fabulous Century. New imported series include CHiPs, The Incredible Hulk, The Upchat Line, Return Of The Saint, The Professionals, The Unknown War and Lillie. A new mini-series, Centennial, traces the lives of seven generations of Americans living in the Colorado area and boasts the largest production budget ever for a TV series. Returning this year are overseas series The Sweeney, Quincy, Welcome Back Kotter, Good Times, The Muppet Show, Eight Is Enough, Mind Your Language and The Dick Emery Show. There will also be more locally-made specials featuring Norman Gunston, Julie Anthony and Malcolm Douglas.

60mins Nine: The long-awaited current affairs program 60 Minutes (pictured) makes its debut while returning favourites include The Mike Walsh Show, The Don Lane Show, The Paul Hogan Show, The Sullivans and The Young Doctors. New overseas drama with Vega$, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, The Source and mini-series The Immigrants. New US comedy series Taxi, WKRP In Cincinnati, Who’s Watching The Kids and Mork And Mindy. Returning US series include The Love Boat, Happy Days, Fantasy Island, Laverne And Shirley, Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-0, Donny And Marie and Family.

memory10 0-10: New Australian drama with the Melbourne-based Prisoner (pictured) starring Val Lehman, Peta Toppano, Carol Burns, Fiona Spence, Kerry Armstrong, Elspeth Ballantyne, Colette Mann, Sheila Florance, Patsy King and Mary Ward. New US comedy with Flying High and Grandpa Goes To Washington. New US drama includes Dallas, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, The American Girls, The Paper Chase, Sword Of Justice and Roots: The Next Generations, the next chapter to Alex Haley‘s saga of his ancestors’ early life in America. A three-part mini-series, Pearl, tells the events surrounding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. Returning US series include MASH, The Adventures Of Wonder Woman, Grizzly Adams, The Waltons, Project UFO, Alice and The Rockford Files.

Bush vet comes to town – again
Crawford Productions is to begin work later this year on a further thirteen one-hour episodes of drama Young Ramsay for the Seven Network. The series will again feature John Hargreaves as Peter Ramsay, the young city vet who goes bush. Co-star Serge Lazareff is also expected to return for the new episodes, though Barbara Llewellyn will not be returning. A replacement for Llewellyn has not yet been cast. It has been more than twelve months since the first series of Young Ramsay was shown in Melbourne.

malwalden The taming of a workaholic
In the five months since Brian Naylor resigned from Melbourne’s Seven National News, there had been plenty of speculation as to who would replace him. However, none of that speculation seemed to include the former reporter that had been filling Naylor’s position in the meantime, Mal Walden (pictured): “I must admit that all the newspaper reports at the time were very crushing for the ego. After all, I was doing the job at the time and it was embarrassing to be completely dismissed by the press. Even Pamela Graham, who was filling in my usual spot, got a mention. I just would have liked someone to acknowledge the fact that I was there.” As it turned out, Walden was the one that management wanted for the role, although it did take a lot of convincing from station manager Ron Casey to get him to accept it. A former country radio announcer, Walden came to radio station 3DB in Melbourne in the late-1960s. Then in 1970, after a year-long hitch-hiking tour through Europe and Asia, Walden joined 3DB’s sister TV station, HSV7, where he reported for the news, hosted the quiz show Jeopardy and filled in for David Johnston on the children’s program This Week Has Seven Days. In 1974, Walden was the first reporter to arrive in Darwin after the city had been devastated by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day. “Naturally it is one of those jobs you never forget, but as a reporting job it wasn’t hard. The news was everywhere. All you had to do was point a camera and put a microphone at someone’s mouth and you had a story. The big problem was getting the stories out of Darwin. I’d spend hours trying to get the reels of film on some sort of plane to Melbourne.”

abc_black2 To the rescue, with classics
ABC has purchased a package of more than 140 classic movies for screening on Saturday and Tuesday nights from next month. The package includes titles from three different sources, MGM, the Goldwyn estate and London Films. The first movie to be shown from the package will be Woman Of The Year, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, which will head a block of movies to be shown as the Spencer Tracy Festival. Geoff Daniels, head of ABC drama, explains the plan behind the purchase: “Our philosophy is that ABC can’t afford first-run movies – no way we can ever be in that. We want to build up an audience who are interested in these type movies. It’s worked successfully for BBC and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work for us.” The line-up of classic movies is part of a new-look evening line-up for ABC this year, following the axing of This Day Tonight, that will see comedy scheduled after the news at 7.30pm, followed by local or imported drama at 8.30pm and new current affairs program Nationwide at 9.30pm.

After guest roles in Matlock Police, Division Four and The Truckies, singer-turned-actress Leila Hayes is about to play the mother of the hero in the new ABC series Twenty Good Years.

Janise Beaumont, a former Sydney journalist and reporter for The Mike Walsh Show and later The Steve Raymond Show, is a new addition to The Don Lane Show‘s on-air line-up.

In the four months since arriving in Australia from New Zealand, actor Sam Neill has been signed for three movie roles and a three-month stint in The Sullivans starting in May.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
“The spate of televised tennis matches shows no sign of abatement, but, it must be admitted that the tennis does at least keep out the more idiotic serials and crime movies which have dominated the afternoon box.” F. Rowley, NSW.

“Thank you ABC, from the bottom of my heart, for screening the TV movie Shimmering Light and the series Who Pays The Ferryman, the two most outstanding shows of the year.” G. Papadopoulos, NSW.

What’s On (January 27-February 2):
This weekend’s This Week Has Seven Days includes a segment on orienteering, a tour of the galleries and museums of the City of Boston and a discussion on psychiatry with a doctor from the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In the arts and crafts segment, Shirley Shackleton demonstrates the Fairisle knitting pattern.

On Sunday, ABC presents the cricket Fifth Test from Adelaide, and GTV9 presents World Series Cricket from VFL Park in Melbourne. HSV7 presents coverage of the 1979 Superbowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys which was played 21 January. This is followed by a documentary covering the activity in Saint Peter’s Square during the two-day wait for the announcement to be made and the coronation of Pope John Paul II.

ABC‘s 7.30pm line-up features a magazine program, Horse Talk, on Monday night with Heath Harris and Suzy Jarratt, while from Tuesday through to Friday is a repeat of the documentary series Australians At Large featuring Australians in far-removed parts of the world.

The Early Bird Show, Fat Cat And Friends and The Holiday Fun Show keep the kids amused in the early mornings, as well as the perennial Sesame Street and Play School. But with TV still basically in summer mode, afternoon TV is largely a sea of classic and black-and-white movies and sitcoms on HSV7 and ATV0 every weekday although ATV0 does include The Steve Raymond Show and GTV9 has more World Series Cricket.

Sunday night movies are repeats of The Chairman (GTV9) and Masquerade (ATV0). HSV7 presents Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll, the third part of the Ray Lawler trilogy featuring Bruce Myles, Peter Curtin, Carole Skinner, Sandy Gore, Christine Amor and David Downer. ABC presents a 50-minute special Australia Day concert featuring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 27 January 1979. ABC/ACP

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Ernie Bourne

erniebourne Veteran performer Ernie Bourne has died in Melbourne at the age of 82.

With a career dating back to the earliest days of Australian television, English-born Bourne appeared in early productions such as the courtroom drama Consider Your Verdict and the situation comedy Hey You! (pictured)

Bourne also starred in the popular ’60s children’s series The Magic Circle Club and its spin-off Adventure Island. Other TV credits include a raft of Crawford dramas such as Homicide, Division Four, Matlock Police and The Sullivans and historical dramas Against The Wind, Cash And Company and The Last Outlaw.

In the ’80s, Bourne had ongoing roles as prison chef Mervin Pringle in Prisoner and later as mechanic Rob Lewis in Neighbours.

As well as his lengthy list of television roles, Bourne was also an accomplished stage performer with roles in They’re Playing Our Song, Mame, Mack And Mabel, Anything Goes and Man Of La Mancha.

According to IMDB, Bourne’s most recent TV series roles were in children’s series Thunderstone and cop drama Blue Heelers. More recently, Bourne has featured in a series of commercials for a Melbourne sporting gear outlet.

And showbusiness runs in the family with daughter Sally, who also had an ongoing role in Prisoner, currently in the stage production Shane Warne The Musical.

Source: TV Tonight, Aussie Theatre, IMDB, Perfect Blend, Have Phaser Will Travel
Picture: From The Word Go! (ATV10)

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What’s a Logie worth…?

logie_bunney Bunney Brooke, who played the pragmatic Flo Patterson in Number 96 for much of its five-year run in the ’70s, had a varied career both in front and behind the cameras. After her years sharing Flat 3 at the infamous apartment block with Dorrie and Herb Evans (Pat McDonald and Ron Shand) and her pet budgerigar Mr Perky, she later appeared in TV series including The Restless Years, Skyways, Tickled Pink and Boy In The Bush, and played to a new generation of viewers in the children’s series Round The Twist and soapie E Street. She had movie roles in Newsfront and Dawn and also worked as a casting director for Crawford Productions in the 1980s, where she cast a relatively unknown Kylie Minogue for The Henderson Kids.

In 1975, Brooke won a TV Week Silver Logie for Best Australian Actress for the year 1974. (Pictured, above, accepting her award presented by Hollywood great John Wayne)

logieaward_silver It’s not always easy to put a monetary value on items such as these, especially as for the recipient it can be the reward for many years of hard work and dedication to their craft and so its value can often be worth more than just a dollar amount. But earlier this week, someone has found a price as that same Silver Logie (pictured) sold on eBay for $2225 after a seven-day auction that attracted nineteen bidders. Given that Brooke died in 2000, it is not entirely known how the award came to be in the hands of Queensland-based eBay seller “hippopawn”.

Source:, Australian Television Information Archive, IMDB, eBay

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1979: January 20-26

tvtimes_200179 That was the year that was!
For Mike Walsh (pictured), the king of daytime TV, 1978 earned him an even greater following and more accolades including a Gold Sammy for best male TV personality and the award for best light entertainment series. Highlights for The Mike Walsh Show during the year included guest appearances by Peter Ustinov, Derek Nimmo and English comedian Jimmy Edwards. “Looking back, 1978 was a most successful year for us and we will have an even bigger and better line-up this year, especially on the international scene.”

bartholomewjohn Young Doctors on the go!
Two of the stars of the Nine Network‘s The Young Doctors are set to leave the popular series with one of them rumoured to be signed up for the Seven Network‘s new series Skyways. Sydney-based Bartholomew John (pictured), who plays Dr Chris Piper, is about to depart the series for a visit to the US before settling in Melbourne but is not about to confirm his future plans: “All I can say is that I have a star role in a new series and that I am going to live in Melbourne.” Meanwhile, fellow The Young Doctors star Tony Alvarez is set to finish in the series next month with plans to embark on a music career. And another The Young Doctors star, Joanne Samuel, who was written out of the series late last year, is also heading to Skyways which is due to begin production in March.

stormboy Blockbuster movies in TV line-up
TV Times columnist Noel Risby previews some of the big movie titles headed for TV in the new year. The Nine Network is set to feature the Australian movie Caddie, starring Helen Morse, Jack Thompson and Jacki Weaver, the 1970 classic Love Story and other titles including The French Connection, The Three Musketeers, Harold And Maude and Harry And Tonto. Some of the movies coming up on Seven will be Australian titles Petersen and Storm Boy (pictured) and imported titles Great Expectations, Mandingo and the 1977 remake of King Kong. The 0-10 Network promises the Academy Award winning Dog Day Afternoon, action-packed titles Mr Majestyk and Dirty Harry, musical Mame and controversial – though most likely to be heavily edited – titles Last Tango In Paris and Deliverance. The network also promises Woody Allen‘s Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask.

ericpearce End of the news for Eric
The tears flowed at the studios of GTV9 as veteran newsreader Eric Pearce (pictured) made his final farewell from the newsroom. It was actually the second time Pearce has retired from reading news – the first was in 1972 but he was then lured back to Nine in 1976 in an attempt to stop viewers switching over to rival Seven National News with Brian Naylor who, ironically, has now been signed up to replace Pearce at Nine. Naylor admitted being nervous at starting afresh at Nine after many years at Seven but has been having regular off-air runs in the five months since he left Seven National News: “I think when we settle in, we will have a very strong team.” Pearce, 74, is now preparing for a somewhat less strenuous role as director of community affairs for the channel.

An ATV0 news team had a lucky escape when a light plane in which they were travelling crash-landed. Reporter Malcolm Gray, cameraman Clive Banfield and the pilot of the chartered plane were shaken but not injured and the news story they were working on still managed to get to air that night.

Philip Brady is said to be staying at GTV9 despite rumours of him accepting a very generous offer to join ATV0‘s Peter Couchman Tonight.

Former The Young Doctors star Cornelia Frances has been snapped up for a guest role in the Seven Network‘s Cop Shop.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
“After watching Steve Raymond‘s show for a few weeks, I have found it the most informative, entertaining show on Australian TV. His interviews are extremely interesting and he does not have the same old guests and panels as on The Mike Walsh Show week after week.” T. Barnett, NSW.

“Why did they stop making Chopper Squad? My family and friends thoroughly enjoyed the series, and to me it showed a great deal of realism.” A. Gosen, QLD.

“The Bill Peach special about China (ABC) is just the sort of TV program the communists love to see produced about a communist country. It presents the Chinese people as one big happy family. The multitude of refugees from China and South Vietnam who have risked their lives to escape communist tyranny are eloquent witnesses to what conditions are really like in communist countries. Let us have TV programs that tell the whole truth about communist nations.” W. Maguire, QLD.

What’s On (January 20-26):
More cricket during the week with the Sheffield Shield and the 3rd One-Day International on ABC and World Series Cricket on GTV9.

On Sunday afternoon, ATV0 presents a three-hour live broadcast from Torquay Beach hosted by Ray Burgess. Included in the telecast is coverage of surfing events and the final of the Miss Victorian Beach Girl Quest.

ATV0′s The Restless Years is back for the new year, screening Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 7.30pm.

Later on Wednesday night, HSV7 presents an Australian TV adaptation of the play Kid Stakes. Set in 1937, it’s the first story in the Ray Lawler trilogy. The second story, Other Times set in 1945, appears on Friday night. The third play, Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll, will appear next week.

Friday (26 January) is Australia Day but, like the previous year, there isn’t much Australian content to be found on TV. In mid-morning, ATV0 screens the 1954 black and white movie King Of The Coral Sea, starring Rod Taylor, Chips Rafferty and Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, followed by re-runs of 1960s children’s series Barrier Reef and The Rovers. The only Australian programming found on the commercial channels in the afternoon is Skippy The Bush Kangaroo on GTV9 and a 1935 movie, Heritage, on ATV0. Even ABC isn’t making any concerted effort for Australia’s national day apart from the ten-minute Australia Day message from the Governor-General Sir Zelman Cowen followed by a re-run episode of the documentary series Wild Australia.

Sunday night movies are repeats of All The Fine Young Cannibals (HSV7) and Battle Of Neretva (ATV0). GTV9 has World Series Cricket through to 10.30pm while ABC presents the first of a six-part New Zealand historical drama, The Governor, which tells the story of former South Australia governor Sir George Grey who became an influential figure in the European settlement of New Zealand in the nineteenth century.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 20 January 1979. ABC/ACP

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1979: January 13-19

tvtimes_130179 Not just bunging on an act!
Cop Shop‘s Detective Danni Francis spends her time putting criminals behind bars, but her alter ego Paula Duncan (pictured) has also spent plenty of time behind bars of a different sort:  “When I was little my parents ran hotels for a living, so I was brought up behind bars.  Right behind them – they never let me anywhere near the licenced premises.  But the atmosphere was great and life was a lot of fun.”  With ambitions of a showbusiness career dating back to childhood, she was successful in gaining entrance into the National Institute Of Dramatic Art (NIDA), but for reasons she still does not know, was not accepted for a second year.  Despite the setback, Duncan went on to appear in ABC‘s production of Pirates Of Penzance and made guest appearances as a singer on The Barry Crocker Hour before being cast in a regular role on the ABC series Certain Women in 1973.  Duncan then appeared on soap dramas Number 96 and The Young Doctors before auditioning for a role on The Sullivans.  “I missed out on the role because I was too young but Crawford Productions later offered me the role on Cop Shop.” 

ABC will buy stunning Shakespeare showcase
has announced it will purchase the 37 plays that comprise the complete dramatic works of William Shakespeare, to be produced over the next six years between BBC and Time Life Films in a project worth over $A12 million.  The task of presenting all 37 plays is a feat that has only been achieved in the theatre twice in the last 400 years and marks one of the most ambitious dramatic productions in the history of BBC.  No dates have been scheduled for the screening of the plays in Australia but ABC’s acting controller of programs, Grahame Reynolds, said they will probably screen at the rate of one a month.  The first play, Romeo And Juliet, premiered on BBC last month and is to screen in the US later this month.

Sesame Street Australian-style
Children’s TV programming could receive a boost with plans for a big-budget locally produced series this year.  Great Treasures Marketing, a book distribution house with global interests and headquarters in Melbourne, is said to be keen to invest in a TV production based loosely on the successful Sesame Street series.  Melbourne-based writer Stan Marks, one of the panel of judges for the Penguin Awards who criticised the standards of children’s television production, was approached by Great Treasures Marketing to be involved in the TV series project.  The project has yet to be offered to a TV network.

annetteallison News lures Annette south
After 15 years in Brisbane television, Annette Allison (pictured) has accepted a lucrative offer to move south to Melbourne channel ATV0.  Allison was approached last year by ATV0 manager Mike Lattin, who had previously appointed her to host Brisbane BTQ7‘s daytime show when he was program manager there in 1977.  The 33-year-old will present the channel’s Eyewitness News alongside Bruce Mansfield and will also appear on the new daytime talk show Everyday.  “Everyday will go to air live and basically it’s a similar format to my previous BTQ7 show, Annette.  I think they are aiming the program at being a Women’s Weekly of Australian TV.”  Allison left BTQ7 on 7 January, fifteen years to the day since she joined the channel, and starts at ATV0 on 15 January.   “I haven’t taken this decision lightly.  I have to uproot everything and I consider it to be the major move of my life.”

Tim Evans
, a former co-writer for The Don Lane Show, will stay behind the scenes in his new role as producer of HSV7‘s The Penthouse Club.  The show will return soon for 1979, again with Ernie Sigley as host, but auditions are under way for a new female co-host to replace Mary Hardy who left the program last year.  The program is also being expanded this year to broadcast through Victorian regional stations as well as to Tasmania.

Chris Bartlett, voice-over man for Perth-based game show Family Feud, has left for Japan to work as assistant production manager on an American TV mini-series based on the best-selling book Shogun.

Actor Michael Caton is to reprise his role as Uncle Harry in The Sullivans, but as Caton said, “it’ll be a somewhat different Harry.  He has, er, been changed by circumstances, but he still has plenty of schemes.”

A one-hour documentary on Melbourne’s massage parlours is being produced by former This Day Tonight producer John McIntosh for screening on the Seven Network.  McIntosh is the husband of Sue McIntosh, formerly of the children’s series Adventure Island and a presenter on GTV9‘s children’s program You Me And Education.

peterhitchener GTV9 newsreader Peter Hitchener (pictured) has settled his differences with the channel and has renewed his contract:  “I am delighted to be staying at Nine.  (Incoming newsreader) Brian Naylor and I get on well together and I look forward to an interesting and exciting year.”


Viewpoint: Letters To The Editor:
“I am so annoyed with the amount of sport on TV!  We often see the commercials about Life Be In It, and how it’s better not to be Norm – “warming the set and cooling the tinnies.”  These ads are put on for people to realise that being part of a sporting team is better than sitting on one’s backside with a cold can and watching it on TV.” E. Fogarty, NSW.

“I am writing to complain about cricket taking over the time slots of regular programs, especially Countdown!  Consider those people who live in country areas, who have no choice of channels.” R. Hurditch, NSW.

“I can no longer contain myself.  When I saw that The Quest was to be appear at 11.00pm on Monday 4 December, quite frankly, I saw red.  With weeks between episodes, altered nights and times, TCN9 should be ashamed.  Don’t the powers-that-be recognise an above average program when they see it?” V. Longhurst, NSW.

What’s On (January 13-19):
More cricket on our screens with the 2nd One-Day International on ABC on Saturday, live from the Sydney Cricket Ground, World Series Cricket on GTV9 on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, the final of the Gillette Cup on ATV0 on Sunday, and the Sheffield Shield on ABC on Friday.

A re-run of the historic drama Cash And Company begins on HSV7 on Saturday night. 

Saturday’s late night movie on ATV0 is the 1962 thriller The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies.  The following night, HSV7′s late night classic is the 1958 sci-fi horror The Blob.

Sunday night movies are The Little Hut (HSV7), The Horsemen (GTV9) and The Family Way (ATV0).  ABC screens the telemovie She’ll Be Sweet, the fifth telemovie produced by the broadcaster in association with the US-based Transatlantic Enterprises.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 13 January 1979.  ABC/ACP

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1979: January 6-12

tvtimes_060179 TV’s Sportsman of the Year
ABC‘s annual Sportsman Of The Year awards night appears this week. ABC sporting commentator Norman May has nominated swimming champion Tracey Wickham and speedboat driver Ken Warby as outstanding achievers during the year 1978. May has also acknowledged Edwina Kennedy (golf), Jim Lynch (speed skating) and Mick Cronin (rugby league) as other possible contenders. The Sportsman Of The Year awards were started by ABC in 1951 and previous winners have included Marjorie Jackson (1952), Herb Elliott (1958, 1960), Richie Benaud (1961), Dawn Fraser (1962, 1964), Lionel Rose (1968) and Bart Cummings (1975).

0_black2 All change at Channel 0
It appears almost certain that Melbourne channel ATV0 is set to change to ATV10 by the end of 1979. To facilitate the change, Gippsland station GLV10, based in Traralgon, will need to move to the Channel 8 frequency to free up the Channel 10 position for ATV. A spokesman for the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs said in Canberra that all parties involved in the changeover had agreed and it was now a matter of technical planning to bring the change to fruition. The Minister’s spokesman said there was no request for TVQ0 Brisbane for a similar changeover, meaning that they will be the only member of the 0-10 Network to be on the Channel 0 frequency after the Melbourne changeover.

johnstanton ‘Old Lace’ gives star a new face
Actor John Stanton, formerly of Homicide and The Box, is barely recognisable in his new role as a crazed murderer (pictured) in the Melbourne Theatre Company‘s new production of the comedy classic Arsenic And Old Lace. Stanton, his wife Jill Forster and daughter Polly have just returned to Melbourne after a lengthy stay in Sydney due to his recent stage commitments and Forster’s recently-completed role in The Restless Years.

Despite mounting pressure for a sequel to 1978’s popular Against The Wind, the show’s production company has denied any possibility for a follow up series.

Actor Ken James is believed to have been approached for a role in the new Seven Network drama Skyways, but is apparently only keen to take on the role if it departs from his former TV role as Tony Wild, the bumbling actor in The Box.

English-born actor Sean Myers is back in Australia for guest roles in The Sullivans and Cop Shop. The return marks a comeback for the actor who suffered a near-fatal road accident when on a visit to the UK in 1972 which left him in a coma for five weeks with a lengthy recovery afterwards.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
“It is about time we got another commercial TV station in Canberra. All we get on CTC7 is sport, nearly seven days a week. Don’t we get a choice of what we want, rather than what the station wants us to see?” Name and address supplied, ACT.

lorrainebayly “Australia’s leading actress, Lorraine Bayly, (pictured) gets $1000 a week (TV Times, 2 December 1978) but to me, as the Yanks say, that’s just peanuts. She burns up more than energy when she acts, and in The Sullivans she gives us a bit of the heart and soul of our past. I, for one, am very grateful for her.” M. Allen, SA.

“It is quite obvious that the summer non-ratings period is upon us, the benighted victims of Mr McNair’s inventiveness. One only has to read the program guide to see that in most cases the discerning programmers employed by the TV stations have all gone on holidays. There is one exception. Praise God that in this three-month desert of TV entertainment we have an oasis in the form of ABC!” H. Smith, NSW.

“I would like to complain about the time – 10.45pm – that the Dennis Lillee special, Twenty Five Steps, was put on by CBN8 (Orange) and MTN9 (Griffith). Children like to watch shows like that, especially if they are interested in sport, but when they have to get up early it is just impossible for them to stay up that late.” K. Riley, NSW.

What’s On (January 6-12):
ABC has live coverage of the cricket Fourth Test from Sydney’s SCG from Saturday through to Thursday (with a day’s rest on Monday). GTV9‘s World Series Cricket continues from Melbourne’s VFL Park, with West Indies v The World on Monday and Tuesday, and West Indies v Australia on Friday.

HSV7‘s marathon of tennis coverage comes to an end with the Australian Hardcourt Championships from Hobart on Saturday and Sunday.

The 0-10 Network‘s afternoon variety show The Steve Raymond Show returns for a new year, hoping to gain some viewers in the off-season before it’s main opponent, The Mike Walsh Show, returns on Nine.

ATV0′s evening line-up takes an interesting turn with movies scheduled each weeknight at 7.30pm – The Wackiest Ship In The Army, Marriage On The Rocks, The Sound And The Fury, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea and Up Periscope.

Sunday night movies, all repeats, are All The Brothers Were Valiant (HSV7), How To Steal A Million (GTV9) and Rampage (ATV0). Meanwhile, ABC presents the debut of the British series All Creatures Great And Small.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 6 January 1979. ABC/ACP

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The Year Ahead

60mins Each week during the year 2008 we featured the corresponding week from thirty years ago, 1978, as reported in TV Times magazine.

We will continue the theme into 2009 as we look at events from television from the year 1979, including:

  • The networks’ contributions to the International Year Of The Child.
  • The long-awaited launch of the Nine Network‘s expensive current affairs gamble, 60 Minutes (pictured) and the 0-10 Network‘s new drama Prisoner.
  • The first glimpse of multicultural television from the Special Broadcasting Service.
  • The Seven Network‘s new airport drama Skyways, and a new project for the 0-10 Network from the creators of Number 96.
  • A TV comeback for Graham Kennedy?

Also, the year 2009 is going to see some significant developments as well, most notably the launch of Freeview and more digital channels. The year will also mark fifty years of television in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, and twenty years since the first regional market aggregation in eastern Australia.

Happy New Year to you all, and hope that 2009 will be an excellent year.  Thank you for your comments during the year and, of course, any feedback or suggestions are always welcomed.

And a reminder, too, that the blog will continue to be in slow mode for the next couple of weeks.

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2008: We Remember…

Some of those that departed us this year:

Andrew Harwood

Bob McGready

Clinton Grybas

Heath Ledger

Jessica Jacobs

Kevin Heinze

Mark Priestley

Malcolm Searle

Michael Pate

Peter Leonard

Reg Lindsay

Rob Guest

Tanya Halesworth

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1978: December 30-January 5

tvtimes_301278 Holden rocks Hollywood
Mark Holden burst onto American TV screens in Hollywood’s Diamond Jubilee special. Within days the CBS network’s Hollywood offices were deluged with fan mail. But, despite his newfound attention, the Aussie pop star is keeping a low profile on the PR circuit. Besides, he has enough to keep him busy with writing and recording songs for his new album, working with a drama coach, and keeping various business appointments. And the phone doesn’t stop ringing. Holden’s new American album, to be released in 1979, will feature a new direction for him musically with a stronger focus on rock and roll.

The Dean Report
TV Times columnist Peter Dean looks back on the year 1978, describing it as a year ‘remarkable mediocrity, broken by the occasional oasis of quality’. Dean’s highlights of the year included imported series I Claudius, Are You Being Served?, The Incredible Hulk, Doctor Who and The Muppet Show. Current affairs program Willesee At Seven was the only Australian program to make his ‘best of’ list. Even big-ticket mini-series Holocaust, hailed as the TV event of the year, was reviewed by Dean as “a novelettish treatment of indescribable human agony, presented with slicknesss and flair, but failing to move or ignite.” Dean lamented the axe falling on current affairs programs This Day Tonight, Monday Conference and A Current Affair, and deemed Blankety Blanks the winner of the Vinegar Award for supremacy in bad taste. Sport had a bumper year with cricket, golf, tennis, racing, World Cup soccer and the Commonwealth Games.

bartholomewjohn Doctor on the glow
Feeling tired after a day at the office? Then go for a jog – that’s the advice given by Bartholomew John (pictured) the New Zealand actor appearing in The Young Doctors: “It’s the best way to get rid of tiredness. It wakes you up, sharpens your appetite – and puts the fridge out of reach so you don’t nibble.” He also suggests a quick dip afterwards, even in winter. “I’m certainly no Bondi iceberg but sometimes in winter, instead of going to the heated pool at the gym, I jump into the surf. But go for a run to warm up. It’s freezing in – but it is refreshing.”

The title of the new 0-10 Network drama series Prisoner has been changed to Women Behind Bars.

The second series of Father Dear Father, made in Australia for the Seven Network, is likely to be seen first in the United Kingdom where it is scheduled for screening in the new year.

Fred Parslow, who played Jarvis in The Sullivans, returns to Crawford Productions to play a guest role as a dodgy businessman in Cop Shop.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
Countdown is a very entertaining show and even my parents watch it sometimes, although they have the volume turned down low.” F. Allison, SA.

againstthewind “It is great that overseas networks have bought Against The Wind (pictured) as they now shouldn’t be so ignorant as to think that Australians only have koalas living in our backyard gum trees and kangaroos hopping in and out of shopping centres.” D. Hewett, VIC.

“Of all the Sunday night shows the various channels offer us, the ABC series Nicholas Nickleby, standards inestimably above the rest. With such perfect casting and brilliant overall production, shows like Nicholas Nickleby put the best of Australia’s and America’s dramatic offerings to shame.” E. Hawksford, NSW.

What’s On (December 30-January 6):
New Year’s Eve is Sunday, and ABC features British and American specials on the night before a New Year’s presentation at 11.59pm and music special Blood Sweat And Tears just after midnight. HSV7 presents New Year’s greetings at midnight, followed by a special edition of Nightmoves. GTV9 does little special for the evening with movies running through the night, and ATV0 closes down before midnight.

Sport continues throughout the week with the Australian Open from Melbourne, and Australian Hardcourt Championships from Tasmania, on HSV7, World Series Cricket on GTV9 and continuation of the cricket Third Test on ABC.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 30 December 1978. ABC/ACP

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