ABC’s Sixty-One, Here We Come!

Sixty-One, Here We Come!: Corinne Kerby and Evie Hayes

Sixty years ago, as we were coming to an end to 1960, ABC was planning an ambitious variety special to welcome 1961.

Sixty-One, Here We Come! was a 65-minute program produced at the studios of ABV2, Melbourne, and in a rare technical feat was relayed via microwave links for direct broadcast in Sydney.

American-born actress Evie Hayes, who hosted ABV2’s new year’s special a year before, was again called on for the new year festivities, scheduled to start at 11.00pm and just click over past midnight.

Also appearing in the show were Bob Horsfall, Corinne Kerby, the Tune Twisters, vocalist Billy French, drummer Billy Hyde (pictured, right) and six Victorian Ballet Guild dancers. Musical backing was provided by the ABC Melbourne Dance Band, conducted by Frank Thorn.

ABC presenter Kerby had pre-recorded her singing and comedy segments ahead of the live production as she was preparing for the birth of her and husband (and Sixty-One, Here We Come! producer) Oscar Whitbread‘s second child, due on New Year’s Day (The couple welcomed a daughter, born on 11 January)

The direct relay of Sixty-One, Here We Come! to Sydney came just weeks after ABC had also linked Sydney and Melbourne via microwave for telecast of the Davis Cup tennis.

But ABC was not to have New Year’s Eve all to itself. Even though New Year’s Eve fell on a Saturday, GTV9 produced a special edition of variety show In Melbourne Tonight, with Graham Kennedy. The special served as the show’s sign off before going into recess for a month.

Starting at 10.30pm and scheduled to run through to 12.10am, the special featured Toni Lamond and husband Frank Sheldon, Joff Ellen, Elaine McKenna, Panda Lisner, Geoff Corke, Jack Little, Philip Brady, Bert Newton, Bill McCormack, the GTV9 Ballet and Arthur Young and the GTV9 Orchestra.

Melbourne’s other TV station, HSV7, took an alternative approach to the live-to-air festivities — screening Top Professional Golf at 10.00pm, then Wrestling From Chicago at 11.00pm before the locally-made special The Year In Retrospect at 11.30pm. Brian Naylor hosted New Year’s greetings from 11.56pm, featuring various station personalities, through to 12.10am.

Looking back at 2020, Television.AU celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Some of the TV milestones covered this year:

The pandemic took out the TV Week Logie Awards, but we continued to cover the award presentations of 50, 25 and 10 years ago.

The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal was also impacted by the pandemic, cancelling its telethon for the first time in over 60 years.

There were further cutbacks at Network Ten, impacting news production and Studio 10. Nine’s regional news took an unplanned break when the pandemic hit a peak, but was to return in a reduced capacity. More positively, Nine News restored its Darwin bulletin, albeit hosted from Brisbane.

There were farewells this year to Seven News veterans Melissa Doyle and Brisbane newsreader Kay McGrath, and Seven Tasmania newsreaders Jo Palmer and Rachel Williams.

We also featured Melbourne Cup flashbacks to 1960 and 1990. We said farewell to Nine’s heritage TV studios in Willoughby after 64 years, and paid tribute to the studios of WIN in Mount Gambier on its sale to a local business identity.

During the year we added 67 TV listings to the Classic TV Guides archive.

While 2020 was hardly the year that any of us had planned for, and even though it now appears there might still be challenges with the pandemic in 2021, let’s hope for a Happy New Year and better times ahead!

Source: TV Times, 29 December 1960. The Age, 29 December 1960, 19 January 1961

Permanent link to this article:

Celebrate Christmas like it’s 1999

Television.AU wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas!

This year’s Christmas flashback is from 1999 — with young stars from the Seven and Ten networks and ABC getting into TV Week‘s Christmas spirit.

On the cover was Home And Away‘s Justin Melvey and Kimberley Cooper, and NeighboursBrooke Satchwell and Daniel MacPherson.

Also featured in the Christmas special edition are Kirrily White (All Saints), Lara Cox (Heartbreak High), Sophie Falkiner (Wheel Of Fortune) and Craig McMahon (Totally Wild).

Source: TV Week, 25 December 1999


Permanent link to this article:

WIN Mount Gambier studios sold

The historic studios and offices that have housed WIN in Mount Gambier for over 50 years have been sold.

The 4000-square-metre property, located on John Watson Drive, has been bought by prominent Mount Gambier business operator Peter Gazzard and an undisclosed Melbourne-based partner.

There are tentative ideas for re-development of the site over the longer term, potentially including a mix of residential, tourist and creative arts spaces — though nothing has been planned or committed to at this stage.

Mr Gazzard told ABC that as a child growing up in the region, he fondly remembers the studio’s heyday as home to local channel SES8. He visited the studios as a five-year-old attending the station’s children’s show, and his father advertised his local car yard on SES8’s opening night.

In later years, his wife Carolyn Gazzard was employed as a presenter at the channel, hosting local programs including Woman’s World, Cartoon Connection and Music Express, and presenting news and weather reports.

Mr Gazzard told ABC that while SES8’s successor WIN has vacated the building, it has left behind some of the old equipment and items of local TV memorabilia that he hopes can be included as part of any new development. “We would love to retain the heritage of the SES8 days,” he said.

SES8 was South Australia’s first regional commercial station when  it commenced operation from the John Watson Drive site in March 1966, broadcasting through south east South Australia and across the border into Western Victoria.

SES8 was purchased by WIN Corporation in 1999 and re-branded as WIN. It opened a secondary channel, WIN Ten, in 2004.

WIN continues to be the local commercial TV monopoly in the area and since the advent of digital television has broadcast local relays of all three commercial networks. Most of the networks’ secondary channels are also carried locally by WIN.

WIN has now relocated its local offices to the Mount Gambier CBD, while on-air co-ordination for its multiple channels is now conducted from the MediaHub facility in New South Wales. The TV transmission towers that are located at the John Watson Drive site will remain and are currently under a long-term lease.

YouTube: sirmechie

Source: ABC, Commercial Real Estate, Herbert Commercial

Permanent link to this article:

Shimmering Light took ABC to the surf

Beau Bridges (centre) in Shimmering Light

In the late 1970s, ABC entered into a joint venture with Trans-Atlantic Enterprises in the US to produce six telemovies for broadcast in Australia and for sale overseas.

While the telemovies were filmed in Australia, they would feature American actors in lead roles — a common tactic to attract overseas interest in selling Australian-made productions.

One of the six telemovies was Shimmering Light, the story of an American university graduate whose decision to pursue his love of surfing in Australia put him in conflict with his father, who wants him to take a more traditional career path with a job in his company.

The telemovie, filmed on location in Sydney, had the original working title of Surf, and starred father and son actors Lloyd and Beau Bridges, playing the lead father and son roles. The pair had worked together before, such as on the 1960s adventure series Sea Hunt, when the younger Bridges was a teenager, but this was their first time playing major roles together.

Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges

The supporting cast included Australians John Meillon, Ingrid Mason (The Young Doctors, Blankety Blanks), Mark Hembrow (The Young Doctors), Wendy Playfair, Patrick Ward (The Unisexers, Number 96, Cop Shop) and Victoria Shaw. Although the younger Bridges performed some of the surfing scenes himself, the more technical or risky routines were performed by surfing champion Mark Warren as his stunt double.

Ingrid Mason, Beau Bridges

Shimmering Light also included a soundtrack from American band Fever.

The telemovie aired across Australia on ABC on 12 December 1978. According to Wikipedia, it was also sold for broadcast in the United Kingdom and Europe and on cable television in the United States.

Mark Warren (main photo)
(Click to enlarge)

The other telemovies made under the ABC/Trans-Atlantic partnership were Barnaby And Me (featuring actors Sid Caesar and Juliet Mills), Because He’s My Friend (Karen Black), No Room To Run (Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin),  Puzzle (James Franciscus) and She’ll Be Sweet (Tony Lo Bianco and Sally Kellerman).

Source: TV Week, 9 December 1978. TV Times, 9 December 1978. Wikipedia, IMDB


Permanent link to this article:

AACTA Audience Choice Awards Winners

In celebration of the 10th year of the AACTA Awards, AACTA this year supplemented the peer-voted film and television awards with the Audience Choice Awards.

The Audience Choice Awards allowed the public to vote for their favourites from six categories covering the last ten years. Voting from a short list of nominees was held during October.

On Wednesday night, the winners were announced during AACTA’s Best of the Decade: Australia Decides telecast on the Seven Network. Out of the six award categories, Network Ten claimed three — with Offspring winning Favourite Australian TV Drama and its lead actor Asher Keddie winning Favourite TV Actor Of The Decade. Former MasterChef contestant Poh Ling Yeow won Favourite TV Contestant Of The Decade.

Hugh Jackman

Poh Ling Yeow, MasterChef, Network Ten

Celeste Barber

Asher Keddie

Red Dog

Offspring, Network Ten

Mick Fanning Punching a Shark, 2015

AACTA’s Best of the Decade: Australia Decides will be repeated on Foxtel Arts on 6 December at 9.30pm AEDST.

Permanent link to this article:

Nine Perth signs Monika Kos

Nine News has signed up former Seven and Ten presenter Monika Kos to front a new Perth-based bulletin, Nine News At 5.

Kos said in a statement issued by Nine: “It’s a privilege to join the team at Nine and I’m humbled to have this opportunity to once again bring viewers the news that matters to them, in what has been an extraordinary year for all of us. I’m excited to call Nine my new home, at the top of the terrace in the city, and I hope you’ll join us from Monday at 5pm.”

Kos presented Seven’s Today Tonight in Perth for over 20 years before it was axed at the end of last year. She then became the chief newsreader for Ten News First in Perth in January this year, but made redundant in September when Ten shifted presentation of the Perth bulletin to Sydney.

Nine News At 5 starts on Nine Perth on Monday, providing a lead-in to Nine News with Michael Thomson at 6.00pm. The two-hour news block competes with Seven News‘ local bulletins at 4.00pm and 6.00pm, and Ten’s 90-minute news from 5.00pm.

Source: Nine News

Permanent link to this article:

The 10th AACTA Awards

ABC, Network Ten and Foxtel were the winners in the television category in the 10th AACTA Awards.

ABC’s six-part series Stateless won a total of 13 awards — seven awards at last night’s presentation at The Star, Sydney, as well as six awards presented at the AACTA Industry Awards function on the weekend.

ABC was also represented with wins by Mystery Road and Bluey.

Network Ten and Foxtel took out the remaining television awards, leaving SBS and the Seven and Nine networks not coming away with any.

AACTA Award for Best Drama Series: Mystery Road (ABC)

AACTA Award for Best Telefeature or Mini Series: Stateless (ABC)

AACTA Award for Best Comedy Series: Upright (Foxtel)

AACTA Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Program: Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell (ABC)

AACTA Award for Best Entertainment Program: Have You Been Paying Attention? (Network Ten)

AACTA Award for Best Factual Entertainment Program: Gogglebox Australia (Foxtel / Network Ten)

AACTA Award for Best Lifestyle Program: The Living Room (Network Ten)

AACTA Award for Best Reality Program: Masterchef Australia (Network Ten)

AACTA Award for Best Children’s Program: Bluey (ABC)

AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama: Fayssal Bazzi (Stateless)

AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama: Yvonne Strahovski (Stateless)

AACTA Award for Best Comedy Performer: Tim Minchin (Upright)

AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama: Darren Gilshenan (Stateless)

AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama: Cate Blanchett (Stateless)

AACTA Award for Best Direction in a Television Drama or Comedy: Stateless – Episode 1: The Circumstances in Which They Come

AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television: Stateless – Episode 1: The Circumstances in Which They Come

AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in Television: Stateless – Episode 1: The Circumstances in Which They Come

AACTA Award for Best Editing in Television: Stateless – Episode 1: The Circumstances in Which They Come

AACTA Award for Best Sound in Television: Stateless – Episode 1: The Circumstances in Which They Come

AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Television: Stateless – Episode 6: The Seventh

AACTA Award for Best Production Design in Television: Stateless – Episode 1: The Circumstances in Which They Come

AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Television: Stateless – Episode 1: The Circumstances in Which They Come

AACTA Award for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television: Maralinga Tjarutja

AACTA Award for Best Subscription Television Presenter: Rebel Wilson (Lol: Last One Laughing Australia)

The inaugural AACTA Reg Grundy Award, established to support new voices in screen entertainment and fast track original productions, was won by Steve Bedwell, Bryan Cockerill and Geraldine Coy. The trio received a $50,000 prize comprised of cash and development funds to create their winning television entertainment concept, Seven Pups.

AACTA will follow up its awards with AACTA’s Best of the Decade: Australia Decides, celebrating a decade of Australian screen and highlights from the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel. Ceremony will be on Seven, Wednesday 2 December at 8.30pm and repeated on Foxtel Arts, Sunday 6 December at 9.30pm AEDT.

Source: AACTA

Permanent link to this article:

Obituary: Betty Bobbitt

Betty Bobbitt, best known for her role of Judy Bryant in the series Prisoner, has died at the age of 81. She had been in hospital since suffering a stroke last Wednesday.

Her son Chris reported the news on social media earlier today.

Born in the US, Bobbitt came to Australia in the early 1960s to work on the Melbourne-based variety show Daly At Night. She then appeared in an ABC play, Flight Into Danger, in 1966, followed by guest appearances in cop shows Homicide and Matlock Police. “I played anything from madams in whorehouses to housewives with children. I have very happy memories of my cop show days,” she told TV Week in 1992.

Flight Into Danger

She worked in the theatre and continued to make guest appearances on television, including shows Tell The Truth, The Penthouse Club and The Daryl And Ossie Show.

In 1979, she was cast as lesbian inmate Judy Bryant in Prisoner. What began as a short-term guest role became one of the show’s longest running over its eight-year run. During her time on Prisoner, Bobbitt and fellow cast members Colette Mann and Jane Clifton also formed a cabaret act, The Mini-Busettes, which toured Australia.

The Mini-Busettes

After she left Prisoner at the end of 1984, later TV credits included A Country Practice, Special Squad, The Flying Doctors, Frankie’s House, All Saints, The Games, Marshall Law and Blue Heelers.

Last year she made a guest appearance in Neighbours in a subtle nod to Prisoner for its 40th anniversary.

Source: IMDB, Betty Bobbitt, Betty Bobbitt. TV Week, 16 July 1977, 13 June 1981, 8 September 1984, 12 April 1992.

Permanent link to this article:

Nine wins 2020

The Nine Network has claimed victory the ratings year for 2020 (OzTAM, 5 cities, 6pm-12mn).

It is Nine’s second consecutive yearly win. Meanwhile, ABC overtook Ten to take out third place both in network and primary channel shares.

For the weeks 7 to 48 — covering the period from 9 February to 28 November, and excluding the weeks around Easter — the Nine Network claimed 27.7% market share, followed by Seven (27.2%), ABC (18.4%), Ten (18.0%) and SBS (8.8%).

For the primary channels: Nine (19.4%) was ahead of Seven (18.5%), ABC (13.1%), Ten (11.9%) and SBS (5.3%).

Some minor adjustments to shares may occur as consolidated 28-day viewing numbers for the last few weeks of the ratings year is taken into account.

Like in 2019, and before the pandemic hit, Nine started the year with its coverage of the Australian Open tennis. Although the two weeks of competition are outside of the ratings calendar, the event provides an ideal springboard for promotion and viewer momentum into the ratings year — as Seven often found in previous years.

The Block (Winners Announced: 1.792 million), Lego Masters (Winner Announced: 1.692m), Married At First Sight (Finale: 1.562m) and Lego Masters (Launch: 1.479m) topped Nine’s ratings in the reality portfolio. Ten’s relaunch of MasterChef Australia (Winner Announced: 1.592m), introducing three new judges and bringing back past contestants, paid off and boosted its numbers. The second season of The Masked Singer (The Final Reveal: 1.247m) also delivered well for Ten.

It was a tough year for Seven, with former hits My Kitchen Rules and House Rules both dropping off the radar, the new contest Plate Of Origin barely rating a mention, and the anticipated boost to come from the Olympic Games not eventuating, with the games postponed to 2021. Seven did experience some growth in the second half of the year, with its first hosting of reality franchises Big Brother and Farmer Wants A Wife delivering solid results.

The NRL State Of Origin (1st Match: 1.606m, 2nd: 1.658m, 3rd: 1.894m) and NRL Grand Final (2.106m) were high raters in sports, but they were all outranked by Seven’s coverage of the AFL Grand Final (3.016m), which was hosted in Queensland on account of the pandemic and played in prime time for the first time. Ten’s coverage of the Melbourne Cup (Race: 1.412m) was its highest sports ranking but has little impact on prime time.

The 2021 ratings year begins on 7 February and continues through to 27 November, with a two-week break over the Easter period.

Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2020. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM.


Permanent link to this article:

ABC Comedy to become ABC TV Plus

ABC has announced its plans for 2021, including a raft of new dramas, factual series, comedy and entertainment shows and arts programming across its various channels and iView.

YouTube: ABC TV & iView

Included in the changes is the relaunch of prime-time secondary channel ABC Comedy as ABC TV Plus.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, ABC TV Plus, launching at 7.30pm on 1 January 2021, “will celebrate Australian culture and content every night of the week. Complemented by an exciting suite of international shows, ABC TV Plus will cater for all Australians with diverse new programs, from Saturday stand-up comedians to primetime premieres of religion, science and natural history documentaries, along with the best of the arts – three nights a week. ABC TV Plus will warm the heart, challenge the mind and tickle the funny bone, with the premiere of new comedy series Why are You Like This, which follows three 20-something friends as they hilariously navigate life’s complexities.”

Why Are You Like This

The change marks the end of ABC Comedy, which replaced ABC2 prime-time in December 2017.

ABC TV Plus will be found on Channel 22 on free-to-air TV and VAST, Channel 134 on Foxtel and Channel 126 on Optus.

Source: ABC

Permanent link to this article: