2019: We remember…

Darius Perkins

Annalise Braakensiek

Jimmy Hannan

Carmen Duncan

Billy J Smith

Mike Willesee

Geoff Harvey

Michael Williamson

Bill Collins

Bryan Marshall

Richard Carter

Bruce Webster

Ben Unwin

Paul Cronin

Reg Watson

Patrick Ward

Roger Cardwell

Anne Phelan

Clive James

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/12/2019-we-remember.html

Back to the Millennium

New Year’s Eve television in Australia is usually a fairly low-rent mix of re-runs or B-grade filler not fit for broadcast during the high-pressure ratings season.

But the global excitement over the year ticking over from 1999 to 2000, twenty years ago, saw some gallant efforts to secure the nation’s viewers on the big night.

ABC was one of the worldwide consortium of 60 broadcasters to partake in 2000 Today, a 28-hour television event covering New Year’s midnight celebrations from around the world and capturing the first dawn breaking for the year 2000. The broadcast kicked off at 8.30pm AEDST, as Tonga, Kiribati and New Zealand were among the first cities to cross the 2000 dateline, and continued through to Samoa’s New Year approximately 24 hours later.

2000 Today was estimated to have reached a global audience of 800  million viewers.

The Nine Network countered 2000 Today with Millennium Live, involving a competing network of international broadcasters and anticipating a global audience of over two billion. Nine hit a snag at the last moment when the host organisation for the broadcast, Millennium Television Network, collapsed just days before the big event — leaving Nine to scramble together access to alternative satellite links to be able to maintain its 20+ hour telecast. Among its local presenters on Millennium Live were Eddie McGuire, Tracy Grimshaw, Rove McManus, Catriona Rowntree, Kim Watkins, Richard Wilkins and Helen Dalley.

Seven in Melbourne devoted New Year’s Eve to a telecast of the special AFL match, Ansett Australia Cup: The Millennium Match, live from the MCG, while Seven in Sydney and Brisbane broadcast the Clive James special A Night Of 1000 Years from the UK. (Melbourne got the Clive James special the following night)

Seven then followed with the special The Turn Of The Century: Rock The Millennium — A Celebration Of Song, then broadcast music videos overnight with AUS: Australia’s Ultimate Songs, counting down the greatest 100 Australian songs of the century.

The Ten Network as usual took a lower-profile approach to festivities, with a music video special Funk The Millennium, hosted by Sami Lukis from 10.30pm through to 3.00am.

SBS ran with its traditional New Year’s Eve screening of the German comedy Dinner For One, followed by documentaries, and the Italian film  Allegro Non Troppo going past midnight.

Looking back at 2019, Television.AU remembered the 60th anniversary of the TV Week Awards (which became what we now know as the TV Week Logie Awards), Operation Kangaroo and the launch of television in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

We looked back at the 1965 award-winning ABC special Birth, documenting the birth of the daughter of ABC producer Jim White.

Division 4 turned 50. It was 50 years since Graham Kennedy hosted his last In Melbourne Tonight, and since the world watched the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Prisoner turned 40, and it was also 40 years since the first test broadcasts for what we now know as SBS, and the launch of ABC’s Nationwide.

It was 30 years since the Seven Network’s ill-fated daytime ventures The Bert Newton Show and The Power, The Passion. It was also 30 years since the first Media Watch on ABC, and the Ten Network’s drastic relaunch as 10 TV Australia.

It was 20 years since we said goodbye to Eleven AM after 24 years on air.

We also once again looked back at the TV Week Logie Awards of 50, 25 and 10 years ago.

During the year we added 44 classic TV listings to the Classic TV Guides archive.

Next year marks some significant anniversaries, including 60 years of television in Tasmania and 40 years since the official launch of SBS and the relaunch of the 0-10 Network as Network Ten.

And Television.AU marks its 20th anniversary.

Happy New Year and best wishes for the year ahead!

Source: Wikipedia, Wikipedia. Sydney Morning Herald, 30 December 1999.


Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/12/back-to-the-millennium.html

50 years since the last Kennedy IMT

When Graham Kennedy announced his resignation from hosting Nine‘s In Melbourne Tonight at the end of 1969, it was of no great surprise. Kennedy, at 35, had been working in radio and then television for almost half of his life. In Melbourne Tonight alone had been running for 12 years, although at this stage Kennedy was down to hosting only two shows out of its five a week. He had decided secretly almost a year earlier it was time to go but was happy to keep everyone guessing for much of the year.

There was heaps of media speculation over his future at Nine into 1970. Kennedy’s manager Harry M Miller was said to have been in discussion with rival network Seven. There were also rumoured negotiations with Reg Ansett, proprietor of ATV0, Melbourne, on behalf of the 0-10 Network, and even reports that Kennedy and Miller were looking to set up their own independent production company.

By November it became official that Kennedy would indeed finish up at Nine, effective 31 December, with his last In Melbourne Tonight to be on 23 December. Meanwhile, Nine had been signing up names to take over Kennedy’s spot as host of IMT. Jimmy Hannan, who had left Nine five years earlier, had returned to the network as one of Kennedy’s successors.

Bert Newton, Stuart Wagstaff, Ugly Dave Gray and former Sydney Tonight host Don Lane were also locked in to host the new-look IMT in 1970, with each host taking on a different night.

A goodbye kiss from IMT barrel girl Honnie Van den Bosch

The final Kennedy-hosted IMT aired on 23 December 1969. The episode was largely in the typical format of the show, with little reference to it being Kennedy’s last.  That was until newsreader Eric Pearce appeared on screen to present Kennedy with a replica of the crown worn by King Henry IV. The replica had reportedly been worn by John Gielgud and Sir Laurence Olivier in Shakespearean films and by Robert Taylor in the movie Knights Of The Round Table. 

Eric Pearce crowns “the King”

Being crowned with the replica was symbolic of Kennedy’s famed title of “the King of Television”. After a tribute speech given by Pearce, Kennedy responded: “I’ve started to feel as though I’ve just passed away.”

Kennedy waves goodbye surrounded by the cast of his last IMT

He then gave a fond farewell to his many viewers: “I wish there was some way I could get through that glass and kiss you all.”

Journalists were discouraged and press photographers were not allowed in at all to witness the final show. TV Times did the best it could by taking pictures of the TV screen as the show went to air for its coverage of the occasion (above). Although the freshly-crowned Kennedy managed to sneak past the “blockade” and give a wave to photographers waiting outside (pictured, right).

In Melbourne Tonight did not fare well in its new format although it did survive long enough to mark its 3000th episode in October 1970. The show was eventually reduced to only two nights a week — those hosted by Stuart Wagstaff and Ugly Dave Gray — before being axed in March 1971.

Source: TV Times, 22 October 1969,  7 January 1970.

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/12/50-years-since-the-last-kennedy-imt.html

Classic TV Guides: Pardon, Miss Westcott

Pardon, Miss Westcott! was billed as Australia’s first locally-written musical production for television.

Pardon, Miss Westcott was set in the Rum Rebellion days of the early 1800s and told the story of Elizabeth Westcott, the daughter of an English inn-keeper deported to Sydney for a trivial crime. Playing the lead role was Wendy Blacklock, who had returned to Australia after working in the United Kingdom.

On her way to Sydney, Westcott attracts the romantic interest of army officer Richard Soames (played by stage and television performer Michael Cole).

After serving her sentence, Westcott opens a tavern and becomes a hit on the Sydney social scene, including crashing a party at Government House.

Also featured in the play were actors Nigel Lovell, Queenie Ashton, Chris Christensen, Nat Levison and Michael Walshe.

Blacklock later became well known to television audiences in the 1970s as dizzy housewife Edie “Mummy” MacDonald in Number 96.

Pardon, Miss Westcott was written by Peter Benjamin and Peter Stannard, co-writers of the Australian stage hit Lola Montez, and performed live to air from the studios of ATN7, Sydney at a cost of £5000. The performance was recorded for delayed broadcast on GTV9, Melbourne, in December 1959.

The Melbourne screening of Pardon, Miss Westcott! is among the latest additions to Classic TV Guides:

Source: IMDB. TV Times, 18 December 1959

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/12/classic-tv-guides-pardon-miss-westcott.html

Ten News Perth signs Monika Kos, farewells Narelda Jacobs

Two weeks ago Monika Kos signed off from hosting Seven‘s Today Tonight in Perth after 22 years, as the current affairs show came to end after 25 years.

Network Ten has now announced that Kos will take over as principal anchor for Ten News First in Perth from next month.

The move comes as Ten’s current Perth newsreader Narelda Jacobs takes on a national TV profile as a panellist on Studio 10, based in Sydney.

In a statement issued by Ten, Kos said: “Narelda has been the face of 10 News First Perth for over a decade and I’m proud that she has been given this opportunity on Studio 10 to showcase her talent to the rest of Australia. As a fellow West Australian, it’s an honour to be filling her seat and to be entrusted with such an important role.

“I look forward to immersing myself in a newsroom that’s as enthusiastic and passionate about reporting issues that matter to Perth as I am. Whether reporting on local, interstate or international events, it will be a privilege to be part of a team that delivers them to you first. It’s a new chapter for me and I cannot wait to join the team.”

Jacobs, who has been fronting the 5.00pm news for Ten in Perth since 2008, presents her last bulletin this Friday 13 December.

Kos will join sports presenter Tim Gossage and weather presenter Michael Shultz at Ten from a date to be confirmed in January.

The signing of Kos is another high-profile news get for Ten. In recent years the network has recruited Lisa Wilkinson for The Project, and Jennifer Keyte and Chris Bath for Ten News First.

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/12/ten-news-perth-signs-monika-kos-farewells-narelda-jacobs.html

Adelaide newsreader John Riddell signs off

Adelaide newsreader John Riddell has presented his last Seven News bulletin before going into retirement.

It marks the end of 30 years at Seven News in Adelaide for Riddell, and a career spanning 45 years.

He started at Messenger Newspapers in Adelaide before working in radio at 5DN and the Macquarie Radio Network. He made his TV debut at TVW7, Perth, before joining NWS9 in Adelaide in 1981.

He moved to Seven News in 1990 and since 2005 has read the 6.00pm news with Jane Doyle.

Source: Seven News, Adelaide Now


Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/12/adelaide-newsreader-john-riddell-signs-off.html

Nine wins 2019

The Nine Network has claimed victory the ratings year for 2019 (OzTAM, 5 cities, 6pm-12mn).

It is Nine’s first win since 2006 and ends the Seven Network‘s 12-year run of overall wins.

For the weeks 7 to 48 — covering the period from 10 February to 30 November, and excluding the weeks around Easter — the Nine Network claimed 29.3% market share, followed by Seven (29.0%), Ten (17.2%), ABC (16.6%) and SBS (7.9%).

For the primary channels: Nine (20.4%) was ahead of Seven (19.3%), ABC (11.8%), Ten (11.7%) and SBS (5.1%).

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.

Nine started the year with its first 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.

Married At First Sight, The Block, Australian Ninja Warrior and new franchise Lego Masters were highlights for Nine in the reality portfolio.

The NRL State Of Origin and NRL Grand Final were also huge rating performers — all played in prime time.

The Seven Network took over as lead cricket broadcaster last Summer but it didn’t seem to give it the same leverage going into the ratings year. It still had success with another series of My Kitchen Rules and House Rules. And although it falls outside of prime time, the AFL Grand Final was the most watched program of the year.

Seven has also claimed victory in the lower rating but highly coveted breakfast battle — with Sunrise easily topping Nine’s Today, which never really recovered from a change to its presenting line-up at the start of the year, and ABC News Breakfast.

The Ten Network recorded year on year growth towards the second half of the year — largely attributed to an 11th season of MasterChef Australia, the return of Australian Survivor, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and new novelty act The Masked Singer.

Regular series Gogglebox Australia and Have You Been Paying Attention? have also been top performers for Ten.

Ten’s coverage of the Melbourne Cup race — its first since 2001 — was its most watched program of the year.

ABC and SBS — traditionally not as focused on ratings as their commercial network rivals — have yet to provide any rundown of their ratings year.

The 2020 ratings year begins on 9 February and continues through to 28 November, with a two-week break over the Easter period.

Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2019. 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: https://televisionau.com/2019/12/nine-wins-2019.html

The end for Today Tonight… again

Viewers on the east coast may have thought that Seven‘s Today Tonight ended years ago — but in Adelaide and Perth, local editions of the show have continued up until this week.

The Adelaide version, fronted by Rosanna Mangiarelli, wound up on Thursday night. The Perth edition, hosted by Monika Kos, finished on Friday.

It marks the end of a 25-year brand for the network. Seven launched Today Tonight in January 1995 as individual programs in each state, replacing the national Real Life. The early editions of Today Tonight aimed to tackle investigative journalism and more serious topics to reverse the trend set by A Current Affair to settle on more tabloid fare.  But viewers didn’t easily flock to the new show and eventually Today Tonight plummeted to the same depths that it was trying to avoid.

YouTube: Rewind The Cassette

In its new guise Today Tonight (with Naomi Robson) picked up in the ratings — and won a Logie in 2002 for Most Popular Current Affairs Program — but also became a magnet for controversy, largely due to its sensationalist style of current affairs and had been hauled up to the broadcasting authority and taken to task by Media Watch on a number of occasions for misleading reporting.

Despite the east coast versions being axed in February 2014, Seven’s strength in Adelaide and Perth saw the current affairs format continue there until this week. Both editions will now be replaced by an extended Seven News bulletin as happened in the eastern states.

YouTube: AM News Videos

Seven’s other current affairs brand, Sunday Night, also came to an end earlier this week after an 11-year run. This leaves Seven without any current affairs lineup, with the portfolio covered by news programs Seven News, The Latest and Sunrise.

The Nine Network has sought to capitalise on this lack of current affairs depth by running promos emphasising its range of news and current affairs titles including Nine News, Today, 60 Minutes and A Current Affair.



Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/11/the-end-for-today-tonight-again.html

Obituary: Clive James

Clive James, the Sydney-born writer who became a cultural icon, has died at the age of 80.

He died at his home in Cambridge on Sunday, almost ten years after he was diagnosed with leukaemia and emphysema.

Starting his career in the 1950s at the Sydney Morning Herald, James made the move to the United Kingdom in the early 1960s, becoming part of a growing cultural wave of Australians into the country. He was appointed television critic for The Observer newspaper in 1972 and while he continued to become a prolific poet, writer and author, he eventually made his way to TV with his own show, Clive James On Television for the ITV network, shown in Australia on ABC. The show took a comical look at some of the most bizarre and unusual TV moments from around the world, with a particular focus on the physical endurance game shows popular in Japan.

Other TV credits in the UK included Saturday Night Clive, Clive James In…, Clive James’ Postcards From…, The Clive James Show, Review Of The Year and the documentary series Fame In The 20th Century.

In 1988, James made a return to Australia to be one of three co-hosts for the four-hour special Australia Live, showcasing a day in the life of Australia via satellite link ups to 70 locations across the country.

In 1996 he made a guest appearance as a postie in Neighbours.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1992 and an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2013.

Clive James is survived by wife Prue Shaw and two daughters. His funeral was held on Wednesday.

Source: IMDB, ABC, Wikipedia, United Agents


Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/11/obituary-clive-james.html

Obituary: Anne Phelan

Actress Anne Phelan, best known from Bellbird and Prisoner and more recently in Winners And Losers, has died at the age of 71.

With a career starting in 1968, Phelan went on to a successful career in stage, film and television, displaying a range from comedy to drama to musical theatre.

Early TV credits included guest appearances in the Crawford Productions cop shows of the 1970s — Division 4, Homicide, Matlock Police and Ryan. In 1974, she scored the ongoing role of Kate Ashwood (pictured) in the long-running ABC rural series Bellbird. She stayed with the series for three years.

She also starred in the TV adaptation of the musical The Sentimental Bloke (pictured with Jon Finlayson and Laine Lamont), made for ABC in 1976.

After Bellbird wound up in 1977, Phelan and a number of her Bellbird colleagues found new roles in Prisoner. Phelan played a couple of minor guest roles in early episodes of the series before she was cast as Myra Desmond, a former inmate and representative of the Prison Reform Group who ends up back inside and elevated to the role of ‘top dog’.

She had the leading role of “Mumma Darcy” in the mini-series The Harp In The South and Poor Man’s Orange and made guest appearances in Special Squad, Starting Out, Mother And Son, GP and The Bartons.

She was one of the cast of the Nine Network soap Family And Friends and played the part of Mrs Fuller in the sitcom Col’n Carpenter.

Other credits included Late For School, Law Of The Land, Simone de Beauvoir’s Babies, Blue Heelers and The Micallef Program. 

By 2000, her career had come full circle — returning to ABC for its rural drama Something In The Air. She played the part of Monica Taylor in the series for two years.

Later guest roles included Neighbours, The Librarians, Marshall Law, The Worst Year Of My Life, Again! and Sleuth 101.

Her last major TV role was as Dot Gross in the Seven Network drama Winners And Losers.

As well as her acting achievements, Phelan was a tireless supporter for charities, including patron of Positive Women, a support organisation for women living with HIV.

She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007 for services to the arts and for her support for women living with HIV, refugees and asylum seekers.

Well after Prisoner‘s demise in 1986, Phelan continued to support fans of the show, including an appearance at Prisoner‘s 25th anniversary held at the former ATV10 Nunawading studios in 2004, and one of her last public appearances was earlier this year at a cast reunion for the show’s 40th anniversary.

Source: ABC, TV Tonight, IMDB, It’s An Honour. TV Guide, 27 June 1971.


Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2019/10/obituary-anne-phelan.html