TV At 60: TV comes to regional NSW

The official opening of NBN3, Newcastle, on 4 March 1962, marked the beginning of television in regional New South Wales.

Construction of the station’s premises in Mosbri Crescent, Newcastle, had been 18 months in the planning – culminating in a two-studio complex capable of producing large-scale “live” production as well as news bulletins, women’s and children’s programs, weather reports and commercials. Programs were then beamed from Mosbri Crescent to a 450-foot mast atop Mount Sugarloaf which would then broadcast the NBN3 signal to an area of over 420,000 people, stretching from Gosford and Sydney’s northern suburbs in the south, almost as far north as Taree and out west to Scone and Muswellbrook.

click to enlarge

But despite NBN3 being the region’s first television station, many locals were more than familiar with television. Much of NBN3’s coverage area also received fortuitous coverage of the Sydney channels – leading to a proliferation of high-mast antennas sprouting up on top of many homes to get a clearer picture of the Sydney-based signals.

To compete with the imposing signals from Sydney, NBN3 had a slate of local production from Mosbri Crescent. A Saturday afternoon teenage music program, Tempo, was hosted by local radio 2KO personality Allan Lappan. Ken Eady hosted women’s program Home At 3.

NBN3, Sunday 4 March 1962
3pm Big Fights
3.30 Victory At Sea
4pm Flight
4.30 Hopalong Cassidy
5.30 Tempo. Allan Lappan, Judy Stone, The Channel 3 Dancers.
6pm People Are Funny
6.30 News. Murray Finlay
7pm The Honeymooners
7.30 Whiplash
8pm Witness
9pm Yancy Derringer
9.30 Peter Gunn
10.30 Playboys’ Penthouse
11pm Evening Meditation
11.05 Close

NBN3 initially promised a schedule of around 56 hours of programming a week, starting transmission each day from around 2.30pm.

Next station to commence operation was CBN8, based in Orange and serving the Central Tablelands region of central western NSW, launching on Saturday, 17 March 1962.

CBN8’s signal was broadcast from a transmission tower atop Mount Canobolas which, at approximately 1400 metres above sea level, made it the highest transmission tower in Australia. This gave the station’s signal a wide coverage area, with reception of test transmissions recorded as far away as Canberra, the Blue Mountains and Sydney’s far western suburbs.

The station’s premises, a few kilometres east of Orange, were equipped with two indoor studios and an outdoor studio that was to be used for local agricultural displays and other programs of rural interest.

CBN8, Saturday 17 March 1962
6.15pm Faith For Today
6.45 Official Opening CBN8
7pm News, Sport
7.30 The Phil Silvers Show
8pm The BP Super Show. Horrie Dargie
9pm Palladium Spectacular
10pm Alfred Hitchcock Presents
10.30 Close

The new channel, owned in partnership with local radio station 2GZ, promised an initial schedule of around 35 hours of programming each week. Most programming was imported from the US but the station also established local programming, including a news service with bulletins each weeknight at 6.45pm and 10.00pm and at 7.00pm on weekends. The newscasts combined local news stories with national and international stories sourced via Australian United Press.

WIN4, serving Wollongong, the Illawarra region and the south coast of NSW, made its official debut on Sunday, 18 March 1962. The station’s first program on opening night was a news bulletin presented by Don Dive and which included a greeting to viewers by general manager Robert Lord.

The opening program also included a short film to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the new channel.

Other program highlights from the opening night included the 1944 movie Destination Tokyo and the variety show Playboy’s Penthouse, featuring Sammy Davis Jnr.

WIN4, Sunday 18 March 1962
6pm News, Newsreel, Weather. Includes opening message from WIN4 general manager Robert Lord
6.30 High Adventure
7.30 Movie: Destination Tokyo. 1944
9.30 Playboys’ Penthouse
10.30 Interlude
10.35 Close

WIN4’s regular weekday schedule commenced at 5.15pm with the children’s show The Channel 4 Club, hosted by Ralph Fairbrother, followed by various imported serials such as The Lone Ranger, Robin Hood and The Invisible Man before Don Dive presented a 15-minute news at 6.45pm.

Like its Newcastle-based counterpart NBN3, WIN4 also found itself having to compete with imposing signals from Sydney – and with its own signal creeping into the southern suburbs of Sydney the station faced opposition and a lack of co-operation in sourcing programs from the Sydney-based commercial channels.

WIN also had to educate local viewers with existing or older sets that they may need to convert to be able to receive the Channel 4 frequency as the technical specifications of the frequency differed from what was in the original broadcasting standards formed several years earlier.

The last commercial station in the Stage Three rollout in regional New South Wales was RTN8, Lismore, commencing transmission on 12 May 1962, from studios at Goonellabah and transmitter at Mount Nardi. Shareholders in RTN included radio stations 2MW (Murwillumbah) and 2LM (Lismore) and local newspaper publishers.

Stage Three also saw the introduction of regional ABC stations: ABHN5 Newcastle (5 June 1963), ABCN1 Orange (31 March 1964), ABRN6 Lismore (20 April 1964) and ABWN5A Wollongong (28 October 1963).

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Obituary: Shane Warne

Legendary cricketer Shane Warne has died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 52.

ABC reports that he was holidaying with four people in a luxury villa on Koh Samui. He was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, could not be revived

In a career spanning over two decades, Warne set a world record of 708 Test wickets and and has taken more Ashes wickets than any other Australian. He was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 2010 he hosted his own talk show, Warnie, for the Nine Network. He was a cricket commentator for Nine up until 2018, then for Sky Sports and Fox Cricket.

He was a contestant in the second series of Ten‘s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and made cameo appearances in Kath And Kim (as “Shane Warne Impersonator”, Wayne) and Neighbours. He also made guest appearances on The Real Housewives Of Melbourne, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, The Footy Show and Cricket 360.

His life was recently profiled in the Amazon Prime documentary, Shane.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has offered a state funeral to Warne’s family.

YouTube: Prime Video AU & NZ

Source: ABC, IMDB


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The end of the road for Neighbours

After 37 years, it’s over. Neighbours has been axed.

The show’s producer, Fremantle Australia, has ended weeks of speculation following the show’s dumping by UK broadcaster Channel 5 — a major financial partner in the series.

Despite a massive outpouring of support from fans across the United Kingdom and Australia — including a petition of more than 61,000 signatures — Fremantle has conceded that it is unable to find an alternative funding partner for the series that began in 1985 and has run for almost 9000 episodes.

Production is to end in June. Channel 5 is expected to finish airing the series in the UK in August, with 10 Peach to be some time after — due to the series airing at fewer episodes a week in Australia.


1984: New series Neighbours announced by Seven Network. To be produced at HSV7, Melbourne for the Grundy Organisation. Pin Oak Court in the Melbourne suburb of Vermont South, is selected as the exterior location for “Ramsay Street”.

March 1985: First episode airs across the Seven Network — continuing to air weeknights at 6.00pm (Melbourne, Adelaide), 5.30pm (Sydney) and 7.00pm (Brisbane)

Mid-1985: The Seven Network axes Neighbours following poor ratings in Sydney, despite strong ratings in other cities.

September 1985: The Ten Network announces it has picked up Neighbours and will shift production to the ATV10 studios in Nunawading and maintaining Pin Oak Court as the street’s exterior.

January 1986: Neighbours launches on Ten, screening at 7.00pm.

April 1986: Neighbours wins its first TV Week Logie awards: Most Popular New Talent (Peter O’Brien) and Most Popular Program In Victoria.

October 1986: Neighbours debuts on BBC1 in a daytime timeslot.

July 1987: The wedding of Scott Robinson and Charlene Ramsay (Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue) creates the show’s most defining moment.

January 1988: BBC1 extends Neighbours to an evening re-run at 5.35pm. It goes on to top the national ratings.

March 1988: Kylie Minogue makes Logies history, collecting four awards on the night including the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality On Australian Television. She also becomes the youngest ever to win the Gold Logie.

July 1989: Neighbours reaches its 1000th episode.

March 1990: Craig McLachlan wins Neighbours‘ second TV Week Gold Logie

March 1992: Ten moves Neighbours to the 6.30pm timeslot.

September 1993: Episode 2000

October 1994: The Kennedy family (played by Alan Fletcher, Jackie Woodburne, Benjie McNair, Kym Valentine and Jesse Spencer) move into 28 Ramsay Street.

January 1998: Episode 3000

May 2002: Episode 4000

May 2005: Neighbours is inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards‘ Hall Of Fame.

June 2006: Episode 5000

February 2008: Neighbours switches from BBC to Channel 5 in the UK

August 2010: Episode 6000

January 2011: Ten moves Neighbours to its new secondary channel, Eleven.

October 2014: Episode 7000

March 2015: Neighbours celebrates its 30th anniversary with a reunion of past cast members

September 2018: Neighbours presents Australian television’s first legal same-sex wedding.

December 2018: Episode 8000

2020: Neighbours becomes one of the first productions in the English-speaking world to resume under COVID-safe conditions

March 2020: Neighbours celebrates its 35th anniversary with a five-episode spin-off, Neighbours: End Game.

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SBS WorldWatch to launch on 23 May

SBS has announced that its new world news channel, SBS WorldWatch, will launch on Monday 23 May.

The new channel, not unlike the previous World News Channel that ran between 2002 and 2009, promises international news bulletins in more than 35 languages from 45 countries, including 16 new programs.

SBS عربي News

SBS WorldWatch will also be the free-to-air home for its new locally-made bulletins,  SBS عربي News (Arabic) and SBS 中文 News (Mandarin), that were launched on SBS On Demand last week.

SBS 中文 News

SBS WorldWatch will be SBS’ sixth free-to-air TV channel, adding to SBS, SBS Viceland, SBS Food, NITV and SBS World Movies.

YouTube: SBS Australia

Source: SBS

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UK Channel 5 dumps Neighbours

Australia’s longest-running drama Neighbours has been dealt a blow with news that the show’s UK broadcaster, Channel 5, has not renewed the show.

Digital Spy reports that Channel 5 has issued a statement confirming that it will cease broadcasting the soap: “Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer. It’s been a much-loved part of our schedule for more than a decade, and we’d like to thank the cast, Fremantle and all of the production team for their fantastic work on this iconic series.”

“We’d also of course like to thank the fans for their loyal support of Neighbours across the years.

“We recognise that there will be disappointment about this decision, however our current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has strong appeal for our viewers.”

Neighbours has been a staple of UK television since it debuted on BBC1 in an afternoon timeslot in October 1986. The addition of a 5.35pm re-run in 1988 saw the show become a major ratings hit, bumping local soaps Coronation Street and EastEnders from the top of the ratings.  At its peak, Neighbours was watched by around 20 million Brits every day and the show’s cast were invited to appear at a Royal Variety Performance in 1988.

Channel 5 took over airing the series in 2008. Although the show’s audience is a fraction of what it was in the 1980s, it still ranks as one of Channel 5’s highest-rating programs. It recently moved Neighbours‘ evening screening from 5.30pm to 6.00pm, replacing fellow Aussie soap Home And Away which was bumped from the channel’s prime time schedule.

With Channel 5 being a major investor in Neighbours‘ production, the decision to dump the show casts a cloud over its future. For many years the show has enjoyed a much higher following and profile in the United Kingdom than it has in Australia, where it has been out of the mainstream since being pushed to multi-channel Eleven (now 10Peach) in 2011.

Network Ten has made a statement to TV Tonight that it intends to continue its association with Neighbours should production company Fremantle find another international broadcast partner.

In 2020, Neighbours attracted worldwide attention as one of the first dramas in the English-speaking world to resume production after widespread COVID-19 lockdown. Last year it attracted less complimentary coverage when a number of past and present cast members spoke out about a workplace culture of racism.

Neighbours screens Monday to Thursday evenings at 6.30pm on 10Peach, and continues to air in Ireland, New Zealand and Belgium.

Source: Digital Spy, Sky News UK, TV Tonight


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Ratings 2021: The final scorecard

OzTAM, the official ratings ‘umpire’, has released its final reports for the calendar year 2021.

The reports include consolidated audience figures for the Top 20 programs, Top 20 multi-channel programs, the most time-shifted programs and where each free-to-air network and channel ended the year. Plus there are rankings for the Top 20 Subscription TV programs and time-shifted programs.

Free-to-air reports cover Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Subscription TV reports are national.

Seven Network regained top spot for the year with 29.5% (up 2.6 from 2020), followed by Nine Network (27.5%, down 0.3), Network Ten (17.6%, down 0.4), ABC (17.0%, down 1.4) and SBS (8.4%, down 0.5). (6pm-12mn, 5 cities, Consolidated 28-days)

At individual channel level:

Seven (20.3%, up 2.2)
Nine (19.5%, up 0.2)
ABC (11.7%, down 1.2)
Ten (10.9%, down 0.8)
SBS (5.1%, down 0.2)
7Mate (3.8%, up 0.5)
7Two (3.5%, up 0.1) and 10Bold (3.5%, down 0.3)
ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus (2.8%, down 0.3)
9Gem (2.6%, down 0.3) and 10Peach (2.6%, up 0.2)
9Go (2.4%, down 0.3)
ABC News (2.0%, up 0.1)
9Life (1.9%, down 0.1)
7Flix (1.8%, down 0.1)
SBS Viceland (1.4%, =)
9Rush (1.1%, =)
SBS Food (0.9%, =) and SBS World Movies (0.9%, down 0.2)
10 Shake (0.6%, up 0.1)
ABC Me (0.5%, down 0.1)
NITV (0.2%, =)

During the year, ABC converted ABC Comedy to ABC TV Plus on 1 January 2021.

Channels not included in the survey include shopping channels TVSN, Spree, Extra and (now defunct) OpenShop, racing channel and community TV stations C31 (Melbourne) and 44 (Adelaide).

Top 20 programs on Free-to-Air for the year 1 January to 31 December 2021 (Consolidated. 5 cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth):

  TITLE	                                                   NET   TOT	     SYD      MEL	BNE	ADE	PER
1 SEVEN'S AFL: GRAND FINAL: MELBOURNE V WESTERN BULLDOGS   Seven 3,051,000    396,000 1,669,000 216,000 283,000 487,000
2 SEVEN'S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONS                  Seven 2,713,000    314,000 1,489,000 153,000 272,000 486,000
3 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: OPENING CEREMONY               Seven 2,654,000    838,000   939,000 380,000 254,000 244,000
4 SEVEN'S AFL: GRAND FINAL: ON THE GROUND                  Seven 2,280,000    288,000 1,332,000 141,000 205,000 314,000
5 NRL GRAND FINAL DAY -MATCH                               Nine  2,206,000  1,119,000   315,000 561,000  85,000 126,000
6 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 9 - NIGHT                  Seven 2,077,000    610,000   722,000 360,000 192,000 192,000
7 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 1ST -MATCH        Nine  1,933,000    870,000   251,000 614,000  89,000 110,000
8 THE BLOCK -WINNER ANNOUNCED                              Nine  1,907,000    568,000   645,000 352,000 183,000 159,000
9 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 2ND -MATCH        Nine  1,873,000    977,000   150,000 547,000  87,000 112,000
10 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: OPENING CEREMONY-LATE         Seven 1,815,000    541,000   680,000 191,000 192,000 212,000
11 NRL GRAND FINAL DAY -PRESENTATION                       Nine  1,797,000    962,000   209,000 462,000  64,000  99,000
12 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 12 - NIGHT                Seven 1,795,000    493,000   618,000 334,000 171,000 178,000
13 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE NSW V QLD 3RD -MATCH       Nine  1,742,000    903,000   156,000 503,000  90,000  91,000
14 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 8 - NIGHT                 Seven 1,703,000    517,000   564,000 300,000 162,000 160,000
15 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: COUNTDOWN TO OPENING CEREMONY Seven 1,665,000    511,000   616,000 235,000 146,000 156,000
16 THE BLOCK -GRAND FINAL                                  Nine  1,610,000    461,000   556,000 311,000 146,000 137,000
17 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 2 - NIGHT                 Seven 1,591,000    460,000   549,000 258,000 161,000 164,000
18 2021 WIMBLEDON D12 -WOMEN'S FINAL -BARTY V PLISKOVA     Nine  1,547,000    549,000   464,000 217,000 126,000 190,000
19 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 9 - AFTERNOON             Seven 1,529,000    503,000   434,000 343,000 114,000 136,000
20 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 9 - EVENING               Seven 1,524,000    445,000   533,000 302,000 145,000 98,000

Top 20 programs on the Free-to-Air digital multi-channels (Consolidated. 5 cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth):

  TITLE	                                                   NET        TOT     SYD     MEL     BNE     ADE    PER
1 BLUEY-PM                                                 ABC K/TVP  705,000 149,000 217,000 140,000 75,000 123,000
2 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 13 - NIGHT FEED 2          7mate      697,000 188,000 245,000 131,000 66,000  66,000
3 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 11 - NIGHT FEED 2          7mate      645,000 156,000 239,000 138,000 63,000  50,000
4 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 15 - LATE NIGHT FEED 2     7mate      638,000 141,000 249,000 118,000 66,000  64,000
5 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 13 - EVENING FEED 2        7mate      589,000 204,000 186,000 123,000 42,000  34,000
6 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY -1 - LATE NIGHT            7mate      588,000 203,000 194,000  62,000 68,000  61,000
7 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 1 - LATE AFTERNOON FEED 2  7mate      527,000 152,000 196,000  76,000 59,000  44,000
8 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 10 - NIGHT FEED 2          7mate      499,000 125,000 153,000 102,000 61,000  57,000
9 SEVEN'S AFL: SATURDAY AFTERNOON FOOTBALL                 7mate      492,000  49,000 245,000  34,000 73,000  91,000
10 BLUEY-EV                                                ABC K/TVP  487,000 142,000 136,000  85,000 46,000  78,000
11 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 12 - EVENING FEED 2       7mate      481,000 148,000 142,000 118,000 35,000  39,000
12 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY -1 - NIGHT                7mate      476,000 166,000 144,000  62,000 60,000  44,000
13 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 14 - EVENING FEED 2       7mate      466,000 107,000 180,000 119,000 30,000  30,000
14 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 5 - NIGHT FEED 2          7mate      463,000 156,000 139,000  86,000 44,000  38,000
15 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 3 - NIGHT FEED 2          7mate      459,000 136,000 120,000  92,000 47,000  65,000
16 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 11 - LATE NIGHT FEED 2    7mate      440,000 109,000 159,000  69,000 46,000  57,000
17 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 2 - NIGHT FEED 2          7mate      438,000 145,000 128,000  78,000 46,000  40,000
18 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 15 - NIGHT FEED 2         7mate      433,000         239,000 143,000         51,000
19 TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: DAY 10 - EVENING FEED 2       7mate      411,000 105,000 129,000 101,000 42,000  34,000
20 BLUEY-AM                                                ABC K/TVP  410,000 113,000 121,000  69,000 39,000  68,000

Top 20 Time-Shifted Free-to-Air Programs (Time Shift to 28 Days, Consolidated 28 Day % Increase on Overnight):

  TITLE                                       CH/NET        TIMESHIFT TO 28 DAYS % INCREASE ON OVERNIGHT
1 BLUEY-PM                                    ABC K/TVP     604,000              594.0% 
FISK-EV ABC TV 464,000 85.3%
BLUEY-EV ABC K/TVP 359,000 280.2%
THE HANDMAID'S TALE SBS 294,000 220.3%
LEGO MASTERS -WED Nine 281,000 36.7%
LEGO MASTERS -LAUNCH Nine 262,000 31.3%
BLUEY-AM ABC K/TVP 247,000 150.5%
BLOODLANDS SBS 206,000 216.8%
LEGO MASTERS -TUE Nine 199,000 27.5%
LEGO MASTERS -MON Nine 198,000 26.1%
MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT -THU Nine 180,000 23.4%
INNOCENT-EV ABC TV 177,000 50.9%
DES-EV ABC TV   174,000 42.2%
LEGO MASTERS -SUN Nine 169,000 21.0%

Top 20 Subscription TV Programs (national):

  TITLE                                         CH             TOT
1 LIVE: NRL: PF STORM V PANTHERS                FOX LEAGUE     472,000
3 LIVE: NRL: SF PANTHERS V EELS                 FOX LEAGUE     447,000
5 LIVE: AFL PF#1 MELBOURNE V GEELONG            FOX FOOTY      432,000
13 LIVE: AUS V IND 3RD TEST DAY 3               FOX CRICKET    377,000
16 LIVE: AUS V IND 3RD TEST DAY 4               FOX CRICKET    371,000
19 LIVE: STUMPS: THE ASHES WRAP                 FOX CRICKET    366,000

Top 20 Time-Shifted Subscription TV Programs (national) (Time Shift to 28 Days, Consolidated 28 Day % Increase on Overnight)

1 MARE OF EASTTOWN        FOX SHOWCASE  171,000                1357.7%
2 MARE OF EASTTOWN        FOX SHOWCASE  164,000                1196.2%
3 MARE OF EASTTOWN        FOX SHOWCASE  149,000                 966.4%
4 MARE OF EASTTOWN        FOX SHOWCASE  146,000                 891.4%
5 BLUEY                   CBeebies      146,000                 746.9%
6 MARE OF EASTTOWN        FOX SHOWCASE  137,000                 794.2%
7 MARE OF EASTTOWN        FOX SHOWCASE  130,000                1239.5%
8 BLUEY                   CBeebies      126,000                4293.9%
9 BLUEY                   CBeebies      116,000  
10 BLUEY                  CBeebies      114,000                3175.3%
11 BLUEY                  CBeebies      114,000  
12 BLUEY                  CBeebies      104,000                2192.9%
13 BLUEY                  CBeebies      103,000  
14 BLUEY                  CBeebies      101,000                 708.6%
15 BLUEY                  CBeebies       98,000  
16 BLUEY                  CBeebies       97,000  
17 MARE OF EASTTOWN       FOX SHOWCASE   96,000                 812.3%
18 THE WHITE LOTUS        FOX SHOWCASE   95,000                 944.9%
19 DEATH IN PARADISE      BBC First      95,000                 149.8%
20 BLUEY                  CBeebies       95,000  

Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2022. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of OzTAM.

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World Record confirmed for Seven News

They may not be household names through much of Australia, but Rick Ardon and Susannah Carr, Seven‘s newsreading team in Perth have long thought to have set a record for longest-serving newsreading team in the world.

They read their first bulletin together for what was then Seven National News in 1985 and last week celebrated their 37th anniversary on air together. It is estimated that they have presented around 8000 news bulletins together.

Now, the Guinness Book of World Records has made it official and confirmed the Perth newsreaders as the world’s longest-serving TV news anchor duo. Their record surpasses the 32-year run of American NBC anchors Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons that ended in 2012.

Ardon, formerly a print media reporter, had been a reporter and news presenter at Seven since 1978. Carr had been working at the ABC, and was its first female television newsreader in WA, before joining Seven.

Both have won Logies for their popularity with Western Australian viewers, and Seven News has long been the dominant news service in Perth, winning the 6.00pm timeslot every week since OzTAM ratings began in 2001

Their longevity together is in contrast to their rivals at Nine, which has had an ever-changing newsreading line-up as it plays second fiddle to Seven in the local ratings. Offers for the pair to move across to Nine have been refused.

YouTube: 7NEWS Vault

Both have been involved in news coverage for the wider Seven Network. Carr was in London to cover the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997 and more recently was a news anchor for Seven’s coverage of the Lindt Cafe siege when Seven’s Sydney studios were forced offline. Ardon has recently covered the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Seven West Media WA chief executive Maryna Fewster paid tribute to the pair’s achievement: “There are West Australians who can’t remember a time that Rick and Susannah weren’t bringing them their nightly news. That relationship with our viewers is invaluable. I congratulate them on their well-deserved recognition and join with the wider Seven West Media team and broader community in celebrating their continued success.”

Source: Perth Now, The West Australian, Guinness World Records

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TV names in Australia Day Honours

The Australia Day 2022 Honours List recognises 1040 Australians for their achievements in various fields including community service, science and research, industry, sport and the arts.

Some of this year’s recipients with connections, past or present, to television:


Dylan Alcott OAM — “For distinguished service to paralympic sport, particularly to tennis, and as a role model for people with disability, and to the community through a range of organisations.” Alcott has a high media profile, including appearing as a host on ABC‘s Invictus Games Tonight and The Set, as sports commentator and former panellist on The Footy Show for the Nine Network and as a contributor to Network Ten‘s The Project. At the 2019 TV Week Logie Awards he won the Graham Kennedy Award For Most Popular New Talent. Alcott was also named 2022 Australian Of The Year.

Maggie Beer AM — “For distinguished service to the tourism and hospitality industries as a cook, restaurateur and author, and to aged welfare.” Beer was a co-host on ABC‘s The Cook And The Chef and has been a guest judge and presenter on MasterChef Australia. Since 2015 she has been a judge on The Great Australian Bake Off.

Deborra-lee Furness — “For distinguished service to children as an adoption advocate, to not-for-profit organisations as an ambassador, and to the arts.” Furness was working at GTV9 in Melbourne before launching an acting career with a guest appearance on Division 4, later followed by roles in Prisoner, Kings and early episodes of Neighbours. She had the lead role in the ABC prison drama Correlli, where she met her future husband, a then unknown Hugh Jackman. Other television credits include The Flying Doctors, SeaChange, Halifax fp, Fire, Stark, GP and Hyde & Seek.

John Hartigan — “For distinguished service to the media industry, to Indigenous welfare, and to sport.” Hartigan is the former Chair of Australian News Channel, Foxtel and regional broadcaster Prime Media Group.


Delta Goodrem — “For significant service to the not-for-profit sector, and to the performing arts.” Goodrem had childhood roles in Hey Dad!, A Country Practice and Police Rescue before taking on an ongoing role in Neighbours. She was a judge on The Voice and The Voice Kids and hosted two Christmas With Delta Goodrem specials. She also made guest appearances in The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, The Block, House Husbands and a Neighbours reunion special in 2015. In 2018 she played the lead role of Olivia Newton-John in the Seven Network mini-series Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You.


Jane Doyle — “For service to the broadcast media, particularly to television, and to the community.” With a background in print and radio journalism, Doyle made her television debut at ABC in Adelaide in 1987. She made the move to SAS7 in 1989 and continues to read Seven News in Adelaide.

Peter Ryan — “For service to the broadcast media as a journalist.” Ryan was a journalist with ABC with credits including ABC News, Lateline Business and Business Breakfast and was Head of ABC Television News and Current Affairs in Victoria for three years.

Source: The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

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Obituary: Judy Banks

Judy Banks, one of the early stars of Melbourne television, has died at the age of 86.

Showbiz reporter Peter Ford tweeted news of her passing on Saturday.

Banks was a stage performer dating back to the 1950s, with credits including Salad Days, Lock Up Your Daughters and Free As Air.

With the arrival of television in 1956, she became a performer on early variety shows like Bandwagon, Saturday Party, Personally Yours and In Melbourne Tonight. In the early 1960s, after Lock Up Your Daughters finished its run in Perth, she remained in the city for a while, appearing on local TV shows Three’s A Crowd and As The Fancy Takes Us as well as being a presentation announcer on ABW2.

In 1963, she starred with Michael Cole in the variety series Four For The Show, produced in Sydney and aired on ABC nationally.

YouTube: Emily McCarthy

In 1969, she hosted the breakfast show Fredd Bear’s Breakfast A Go-Go from Melbourne channel ATV0. The program, which also starred Colin McEwan, Michael McCarthy and Tedd Dunn as Fredd Bear, was popular with viewers with its mix of cartoons, music clips, studio skits and old serials.

Breakfast A Go-Go was axed at the end of 1971, with Banks and Fredd Bear remaining at ATV0 to host an afternoon show, The Wonderful World Of The Young (later Fredd Bear’s Super Cartoon Show).

Other television credits included Australian Playhouse, Homicide, The Flying Doctors and City Homicide and working as an assistant director and post-production supervisor on Frontline.

She also ran The Judy Banks School Of Television, a talent school and a media training business, for many years with her husband, former TV producer Bob Phillips (pictured above).

The couple later established the TV World museum on the Mornington Peninsula and presented a long-running program, Sugar And Spice, on local community radio station 3RPP.

Source: TV Times, 18 April 1962. 14 August 1963. Listener In-TV, 21 July 1973. Like No Other Business: 50 Years Of Oz TV, Bob Phillips, 2005. AusStage, IMDB, Peter Ford, MyTributes


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Sons And Daughters at 40

Barely two months after launching A Country Practice, the Seven Network had another soap, Sons And Daughters, ready to launch ahead of the start of the 1982 ratings season.

The critics predictably slammed it, but Sons And Daughters was destined for success, having been created by Reg Watson, who’d also created hits like The Young Doctors, The Restless Years and Prisoner. The new series also had an impressive cast of familiar faces, including former Number 96 star and one-time Gold Logie winner Pat McDonald, Tom Richards (Matlock Police), Leila Hayes (Homicide, Division 4, Bluey, Power Without Glory, Penthouse Club) and Rowena Wallace (You Can’t See Round Corners, Prisoner, Cop Shop). The cast also included Peter Phelps and Kim Lewis, both formerly of the recently axed The Restless Years, newcomers Ian Rawlings and Ally Fowler, and Brian Blain (The Bluestone Boys), Stephen Comey (Come Midnight Monday), Ann Henderson (I Can Jump Puddles) and Andrew McKaige (Cop Shop, Skyways).

Episode one, airing on Monday 18 January 1982 in Sydney and Melbourne, begins with a flashback to 1962, and teens David Palmer and his girlfriend Patricia (played by Rhett Walton and Jackie Woodburne) turn up late one night to a Sydney boarding house run by Fiona Thompson (McDonald). Patricia is heavily pregnant and no sooner are they settled into their room that Fiona is called on by an anxious David to assist with the sudden birth of twins — a boy and a girl.

The newborns are barely a week old when Patricia takes off with the girl, leaving David with the boy. Fiona volunteers to raise the boy, John, while David sets himself up financially.

We are then brought back to the “current” day — 1982 — and find that David Palmer (Richards) has formed a family in Melbourne, including wife Beryl (Hayes) and now-20-year-old son John, and the older Patricia (Wallace) has married a wealthy businessman, Gordon Hamilton (Blain) and her daughter, Angela (Fowler) has a step-brother, Wayne (Rawlings). Fiona is still in the same boarding house in Sydney with one of her tenants, Jill (Lewis) living across the hall.

The Hamilton and Palmer families have existed oblivious to each other for twenty years, until a sudden turn of events sees John flee Melbourne to Sydney, reuniting with his “Aunt” Fiona. He also eventually meets and falls in love with Angela, not knowing that they are actually long-lost brother and sister.

What follows is an unravelling of past secrets, John and Angela becoming aware of their true relationship, the 1962 teen couple re-united and their respective families becoming increasingly involved in each others’ lives.

The series was produced at the studios of ATN7 in Sydney, but in a stroke of creative genius, Watson, acknowledging the challenge of the long-held ratings divide between Sydney and Melbourne, wrote the series based across both cities. Sydney being home to the wealthy Hamilton family, while Melbourne was home to the more grounded Palmers — and characters would seamlessly be seen to casually hop between cities or make excessive long-distance telephone calls as their dramas increasingly sat across both cities.

As the storylines developed and original cast members moved on, the traditional nuclear family structures from the early episodes was soon eroded and in their place became a tangled web of new characters and with that came more melodramatic and outlandish storylines that often required a suspension of disbelief. In amongst all this, the forever scheming Patricia, now famously dubbed “Pat the Rat”, had emerged as the show’s biggest drawcard. So when Wallace decided to quit the show in 1984, the writers were reluctant to let the character go completely. They had Patricia flee to South America under suspicion of murder and later returning home after some plastic surgery as a mystery newcomer, Alison Carr, played by Belinda Giblin.

Viewers seemingly went along with the ruse as Alison set about surreptitiously winding herself into Patricia’s affairs, but were perhaps less forgiving later when Wallace was convinced a couple of years later to make a comeback and have the “old” Patricia come face to face with the “new” Alison. The writers, looking for a twist to bring the two together, settled on Wallace appearing as Patricia’s long-lost twin sister, Pamela, but the reunion did little to arrest the show’s ratings decline and the axe soon followed.

Although the axe fell in November 1986, production did not end until March 1987 and it was months later before the 972nd and final episode eventually went to air. The last episode had the series coming full circle — a young expectant couple arriving at Fiona’s new boarding house just before the heavily pregnant female gave birth to twins — a boy and a girl — reminiscent of the first episode’s opening storyline. The series with the signature sepia tone that featured in the opening and closing credits and unironically in much of the show’s brown-centric sets, was soon to be replaced by a new series with a younger focus and a more varied colour palette — Home And Away.

Only four actors — Brian Blain, Ian Rawlings, Leila Hayes and Pat McDonald — stayed the distance in Sons And Daughters from start to finish. Over the years the changing cast list also included Sarah Kemp, Anne Haddy, Cornelia Frances, Antonia Murphy, Judy Nunn, Michael Long, Sean Scully, Ken James, Rona Coleman, Danny Roberts, Lisa Crittenden, Normie Rowe, Abigail, Ilona Rodgers, Nick Tate, Alyce Platt, Noel Hodda, Brett Climo, Sally Tayler, Annie Jones, Rima Te Wiata, Oriana Panozzo, Willie Fennell, Joanna Lockwood, Andrew Clarke, Lyndel Rowe, Moya O’Sullivan, Jared Robinson and Mary Ward.

The series collected eight TV Week Logie Awards, including a Gold Logie for Rowena Wallace in 1985 and the Logie Award for Most Popular Drama in 1983. Stephen Comey and Ian Rawlings collected individual Logies in 1983 and 1985 respectively, and Wallace won two Silver Logies for Most Popular Actress (1983, 1984) and two Logies for the peer-voted category Best Actress In A Series (1984, 1985).

Sons And Daughters has had a number of re-runs over the years and is currently showing again on weekday afternoons on 7TWO. All 972 episodes are also available on Seven’s streaming platform, 7Plus, and the first three seasons, covering the years 1982 to 1984, are available on DVD.

Source: TV Week, 16 January 1982, 8 May 1982, 6 November 1982, 18 December 1982, 25 June 1983, 10 September 1983, 4 February 1984, 21 July 1984, 12 January 1985, 10 October 1986. Woman’s Day/TV Day, 20 January 1982,  16 February 1982, 4 May 1982. TV Radio Extra, 22 September 1984.

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