Obituary: Cornelia Frances

Cornelia Frances, actress from many Australian dramas, has died at the age of 77.

English born and educated at a Catholic convent in Surrey, Frances’ earliest performances were limited to annual Nativity plays.

From the convent she went to drama school in London and scored some minor movie roles.

She then followed her boyfriend (later to be her husband) to Australia in 1965. She worked as an announcer on Perth television and toured Western Australia with the National Theatre Company. She returned to England to get married and then came back to Australia in 1970.

One of her first TV acting roles on her return was as fashion model Georgina Clausen in an episode of the ABC series Dynasty. She then reprised the role, renamed Cornelia Haysen, in the spin-off series Catwalk, made for the Seven Network.

“She can be hard and bitchy, which I’m not. At least I don’t think I’m bitchy. But she is so similar to me in so many ways that I have had no trouble playing her,” Frances told TV Week of her character in 1972.

YouTube: Classic Australian TV

Following guest roles in Boney, Ryan and Silent Number, Frances appeared in the film version of The Box.

In 1975, she played a bitchy character in a Reg Grundy pilot The Two-Way Mirror for the Nine Network. The pilot was not picked up for a series but the role led to her being cast by Grundy as the officious Sister Grace Scott in The Young Doctors.

The role of Sister Scott was to become one to define her career, although behind Sister Scott’s tough exterior there was some tragedy. Within the show’s first few months it was revealed that Sister Scott had been raped twice, once as a young nurse, and was left at the altar by a fleeing bridegroom. “It seems that every time she takes off her white uniform and gets dressed up, she either gets raped or left at the altar,” Frances told TV Times in 1977. She also defended her character’s gruff attitude. “Sister Scott is no bitch. She’s quite humane but is frightened to show warmth.”

One of the show’s most famous cliff-hangers was when Sister Scott accidentally stepped into an open lift shaft after giving a stern lecture to one of the young nurses. The character survived the accident with little more than a broken leg, but Frances was soon to leave the series after that storyline. She worked for Grundy’s again a few years later in Prisoner and Sons And Daughters (pictured with co-star Brian Blain) and then took on the recurring role of Morag Bellingham in the long-running Seven Network series Home And Away.

In 2001, Frances, no stranger to playing stern characters, took on the role of quizmaster in The Weakest Link. Her put downs of under performing or over-confident contestants led to the famous catchphrase as losing contestants were escorted out: “You are the Weakest Link… goodbye!”

Other TV credits included The Lost Islands, Tickled Pink, All At Sea, Homicide, Division 4, Skyways, Cop Shop, Pizza and Always Greener and as a presenter for the magazine show Peter Couchman’s Melbourne (pictured with Derryn Hinch).

Frances was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2017 and appeared on A Current Affair in a special interview earlier this year.

Cornelia Frances is survived by her son Lawrence Eastland.

Source: ABC, IMDB, Sydney Morning Herald. TV Week, 11 March 1972. TV Times, 5 February 1977.

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Sky News, WIN to launch new channel

Australian News Channel (ANC) and WIN Television have announced a content sharing agreement between ANC’s Sky News Australia and the regional WIN network.

WIN will launch a new free-to-air channel, Sky News On WIN, featuring a mix of live and time-shifted content from Sky News Australia. In return, Sky News Australia will have access to regional news from within WIN’s own local news bureaus for broadcast across its Foxtel platform. WIN News will also have access to Sky News Australia’s national affairs content when relevant to its local markets.

More details on programming on Sky News On WIN are to be announced closer to the launch later this year.

Sky News On WIN will broadcast on channel 83 (53 in Northern NSW) in WIN’s regional markets in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, statewide across Tasmania and in the Australian Capital Territory.

Australian News Channel is a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp Australia.



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TV Week Logie Awards — Nominations

TV Week has announced its nominees for the upcoming 60th annual TV Week Logie Awards.

The nominees for the awards’ highest honour — the Gold Logie — are Tracy Grimshaw (A Current Affair), Rodger Corser (Doctor Doctor), Jessica Marais (The Wrong Girl, Love Child), Grant Denyer (Family Feud, All Star Family Feud), Amanda Keller (The Living Room) and Andrew Winter (Love It Or List It Australia, Selling Houses Australia).

This year the publicly voted award categories go back to being titled “Most Popular”, and the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer is now for Most Popular New Talent.

The Most Outstanding awards for News Coverage and Public Affairs Report are now combined into one category, and Most Outstanding Entertainment Program and Most Outstanding Comedy Program are now gone.

Still to be announced is this year’s TV Week Logie Awards‘ Hall Of Fame recipient.

From Monday 25 June up until the end of the red-carpet telecast on 1 July, fans will be able to vote for the Gold Logie and other Most Popular award categories from the short list of nominees at the TV Week Logie Awards website:

The 60th annual TV Week Logie Awards will be held at their new home at The Star Gold Coast on Sunday 1 July and broadcast on the Nine Network and 9Now.

Public-voted Categories:

Amanda Keller (The Living Room, Network Ten)
Andrew Winter (Love It Or List It Australia/Selling Houses Australia,
Foxtel – Lifestyle)
Grant Denyer (Family Feud/All Star Family Feud, Network Ten)
Jessica Marais (Love Child, Nine Network; The Wrong Girl, Network Ten)
Rodger Corser (Doctor Doctor, Nine Network)
Tracy Grimshaw (A Current Affair, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Samuel Johnson)

Aaron Jeffery (Underbelly Files: Chopper, Nine Network)
Erik Thomson (800 Words, Channel Seven)
Luke McGregor (Rosehaven, ABC)
Ray Meagher (Home And Away, Channel Seven)
Rodger Corser (Doctor Doctor, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Samuel Johnson)

Asher Keddie (Offspring, Network Ten)
Celia Pacquola (Rosehaven/Utopia, ABC)
Deborah Mailman (Cleverman, ABC)
Jessica Marais (Love Child, Nine Network; The Wrong Girl, Network Ten)
Julia Morris (House Husbands, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Jessica Marais)

Amanda Keller (The Living Room, Network Ten)
Andrew Winter (Love It Or List It Australia/Selling Houses Australia,
Foxtel – Lifestyle)
Carrie Bickmore (The Project, Network Ten)
Grant Denyer (Family Feud/All Star Family Feud, Network Ten)
Tracy Grimshaw (A Current Affair, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Waleed Aly)

Dilruk Jayasinha (CRAM!, Network Ten; Utopia, ABC)
Matty Johnson (The Living Room, Network Ten)
Sam Frost (Home And Away, Channel Seven)
Sophia Forrest (Love Child, Nine Network)
Sophie Dillman (Home And Away, Channel Seven)

(Last year’s winner: Rob Collins)

Doctor Doctor (Nine Network)
Home And Away (Channel Seven)
Love Child (Nine Network)
Offspring (Network Ten)
Wentworth (Foxtel – Showcase)

(Last year’s winner: Molly)

Anh’s Brush With Fame (ABC)
Family Feud (Network Ten)
Gogglebox Australia (Foxtel/Network Ten)
Hard Quiz (ABC)
The Project (Network Ten)

(Last year’s winner: Have You Been Paying Attention?)

Have You Been Paying Attention? (Network Ten)
Here Come The Habibs (Nine Network)
Hughesy, We Have A Problem (Network Ten)
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell (ABC)
True Story With Hamish & Andy (Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: n/a)

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! (Network Ten)
Married At First Sight (Nine Network)
My Kitchen Rules (Channel Seven)
The Block (Nine Network)
Travel Guides (Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: The Block)

Better Homes And Gardens (Channel Seven)
Gardening Australia (ABC)
Selling Houses Australia (Foxtel – Lifestyle)
The Checkout (ABC)
The Living Room (Network Ten)

(Last year’s winner: The Living Room)

Industry-voted Categories:

(To be announced)

(Last year’s winner: Kerri-Anne Kennerley)

A Place To Call Home (Foxtel – Showcase)
Doctor Doctor (Nine Network)
Harrow (ABC)
Top Of The Lake: China Girl (Foxtel – BBC First)
Wentworth (Foxtel – Showcase)

(Last year’s winner: A Place To Call Home)

Romper Stomper (Stan)
Safe Harbour (SBS)
Seven Types Of Ambiguity (ABC)
Underbelly Files: Chopper (Nine Network)
Wake In Fright (Network Ten)

(Last year’s winner: The Kettering Incident)

Damon Herriman (Lance Gowland, Riot, ABC)
Ewen Leslie (Ryan Gallagher, Safe Harbour, SBS)
Hugo Weaving (Alex Klima, Seven Types Of Ambiguity, ABC)
Lachy Hulme (Blake Farron, Romper Stomper, Stan)
Rodger Corser (Hugh Knight, Doctor Doctor, Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Henry Nixon)

Elisabeth Moss (Robin Griffin, Top Of The Lake: China Girl, Foxtel – BBC First)
Kate Atkinson (Vera Bennett, Wentworth, Foxtel – Showcase)
Kate Box (Marg McCann, Riot, ABC)
Leeanna Walsman (Bree Gallagher, Safe Harbour, SBS)
Pamela Rabe (Joan Ferguson, Wentworth, Foxtel – Showcase)

(Last year’s winner: Anna Torv)

Aaron Pedersen (Frank Gibbs, A Place To Call Home, Foxtel – Showcase)
Alex Dimitriades (Doc Tydon, Wake In Fright, Network Ten)
Anthony Hayes (Mitch, Seven Types Of Ambiguity, ABC)
David Wenham (Jago Zoric, Romper Stomper, Stan)
Hazem Shammas (Ismail Al-Bayati, Safe Harbour, SBS)

(Last year’s winner: Damon Herriman)

Celia Ireland (Liz Birdsworth, Wentworth, Foxtel – Showcase)
Elsa Cocquerel (Michelle, Wolf Creek, Stan)
Jacqueline McKenzie (Gabe Jordan, Romper Stomper, Stan)
Jenni Baird (Regina Standish, A Place To Call Home, Foxtel – Showcase)
Nicole Chamoun (Zahra Al-Bayati, Safe Harbour, SBS)

(Last year’s winner: Debra Lawrance)

Crash The Bash (Foxtel – Nickelodeon)
Get Arty (Channel Seven)
Grace Beside Me (NITV)
Little J & Big Cuz (NITV)
Mustangs FC (ABC ME)

(Last year’s winner: Little Lunch: The Nightmare Before Graduation)

2017 AFL Grand Final (Channel Seven)
2017 Australian Open Men’s Final (Channel Seven)
Bathurst 1000 (Network Ten)
Jeff Horn v Manny Pacquiao (Foxtel – MAIN EVENT)
The 2017/2018 Ashes (Nine Network)

(Last year’s winner: Rio 2016 Olympic Games)

“Don Burke Special” (A Current Affair, Nine Network)
“Escape From Salt Creek” (60 Minutes, Nine Network)
“Haiti Uncovered” (Sunday Night, Channel Seven)
“Pumped” (Four Corners, ABC)
“The Siege” (Four Corners, ABC)

(Last year’s winners: “Sky News Election Coverage 2016” (News Coverage); “Australia’s Shame”, Four Corners (Public Affairs Report))

Michael Hutchence: The Last Rockstar (Channel Seven)
Struggle Street (SBS)
The Queen & Zak Grieve (Foxtel – Crime + Investigation)
War On Waste (ABC)
You Can’t Ask That (ABC)

Last year’s winner: Conviction

Source: TV Week

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Fan Cards of GTV9

Some rare TV memorabilia from the 1960s.

A range of fan cards from Melbourne’s GTV9 featuring some of the station’s star line-up.

Given the ages of some of the presenters, the cards are estimated to date to 1965.

#3 Miffy Marsh

#4 Geoff Corke

#5 Ron Blaskett

#6 Jack Little

#7 Maurie and Wayne Kirby

#12 Philip Brady

#14 Joff Ellen

#15 John Royle



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Seven’s Motel promised daytime sizzle

Brenda Senders, Noel Trevarthen, Walter Sullivan, John Faasen

The Seven Network‘s bold — and third — attempt to produce a daytime soap opera was met with comparisons to popular overseas dramas Peyton Place and Coronation Street.

With a generous budget and a cast list of 16, Motel was a serious attempt to crack the daytime market as an alternative to cheaper game and chat shows. It came some years after Seven’s earlier attempts at producing a daytime serial — the short-lived Autumn Affair (1958-59) and The Story Of Peter Grey (1961)  — and only months after ABC had settled in with its rural drama Bellbird.

YouTube: Classic Australian TV

Motel was a half-hour weekday series produced at the studios of ATN7 in Sydney. It told the story of the comings and goings of the Greenfields Motel, a fictional motel located somewhere between Sydney and Canberra. Despite the country location, the proximity to the two cities gave the show some licence to pursue characters in politics and to reveal some scandal. TV Week‘s preview of the series promised “scorching stuff” and “scenes guaranteed to rattle the censor and shock the viewers”. Columnist Ann Gillison summed it up: “All in, Motel caters, as every serial should, for our delight in gossip and scandal and our fascination with how “the others” live and, as any serial must, provide regular escapist distraction.”

In light of what was to come with sexy prime time soaps in the 1970s, Motel was probably quite tame although at the time the benchmark for Aussie serials had been set with Bellbird, so the bar for controversy was pretty low.

Jill Forster and Noel Trevarthen

The motel in the series was run by middle-aged couple Hal and Mary Gillian (Walter Sullivan and Brenda Senders). Their eldest son Rod (New Zealand actor Noel Trevarthen) ran an advertising agency but was somewhat dependent on his wife, Gaye (Jill Forster), the daughter of a wealthy businessman (Tony Bazell). Gaye was the typical soapie schemer who was frequently unfaithful to her husband.

The Gillians’ eldest daughter Liz (Gae Anderson) was secretary to a government minister, Paul Drennan (Brian James), and was also his mistress.

Harold Hopkins and Maggie Gray

The younger Gillian son, Chris (Gregory Ross), was the rebellious teenager, mixing with the local gang led by Bruce Jackson (Harold Hopkins). Somewhat more stable was the second Gillian daughter, Sue (Janne Walmsley), married to the local chemist (played by Jack Thompson in his first TV acting role).

Other characters were motel employees Maria (Margot Reid) and Janie (Maggie Gray), motel owner Alec Evans (John Faasen) and church minister Reverend Larcombe (Ross Higgins).

Margot Reid and Gregory Ross

But the show’s stand out was the local matriarch Bunty Creighton, played by 80-year Enid Lorimer, making her Australian TV debut. English-born Lorimer was an actress in Australian radio serials as far back as the 1920s. In the early 1950s, with television soon to come to Australia, she went back to her native England to learn television and stayed for over 10 years before returning to Australia in time for her 80th birthday.

Bunty was described as “acid-tongued, straight-shooting, opinionated, nosy and everything that goes to make up a character we will love, dislike and respect”. She was wealthy, sharp-witted and manipulative. Very much the typical soap opera nasty and in some respects compared to cantankerous Ena Sharples (Violet Carson) from Coronation Street.

Enid Lorimer

Despite production being based in Sydney, Motel had its debut in Melbourne — appearing first on HSV7 on 13 May 1968 in tandem with another new Australian show, Marriage Confidential, which presented re-enactments of marriage counselling sessions loosely based on real-life cases. Motel was scheduled for 12.30pm to avoid any clash with Nine’s US soapie Days Of Our Lives. Motel then debuted in Sydney two weeks later and Brisbane in June. It was also picked up by some regional stations but despite its growing coverage it never really caught on with the viewers and was quietly dropped after 132 episodes.

Some of the actors certainly went on to greater things. Jack Thompson went on to a hugely successful career, particularly in movies, both in Australia and overseas.

Noel Trevarthen, Jill Forster, Greg Ross, Brian James, Enid Lorimer, Ross Higgins and Harold Hopkins all continued to appear in later TV series and productions.

The Seven Network had two other attempts to have an Australian-made daytime drama series. Until Tomorrow, starring Hazel Phillips, Babette Stephens and Barry Otto, was produced in Brisbane for the Reg Grundy Organisation but had only a short life in 1975, and The Power The Passion was produced at HSV7 in Melbourne for a brief run in 1989.

It seems Seven finally got the hint and has not pursued the ambition of a daytime series ever since.

Source: TV Week, 1 June 1968, 8 June 1968, 15 June 1968, 22 June 1968. Super Aussie Soaps




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Behind The News celebrating 50 years

ABC‘s children’s current affairs program Behind The News is approaching its 50th birthday.

It was long thought that Behind The News began in 1969, until it was realised that it actually began under a different title, Current Affairs, in June 1968. The first program was hosted by Peter Sumner.

YouTube: Behind The News

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Behind The News, on 5 June ABC News will be offering Australian children to opportunity to be part of the news. Each metropolitan ABC newsroom will host a BTN rookie reporter who will file a story relevant to children. The story will feature on the ABC News website and be broadcast during the 7.00pm news.

Children will also be hosting guest spots on ABC Local Radio, presenting a weather bulletin on ABC News Breakfast, and a full week of news bulletins on many of the ABC Radio Afternoons programs, all around the country.

There will be special programs on ABC ME, starting on Sunday 3 June at 9.00am, when the BTN hosts appear in a special News To Me program. On the 50th anniversary date, 5 June, ABC ME will air an anniversary edition of BTN at 10.00am, a special kids version of Q&A at 4.30pm, hosted by BTN’s Amelia Moseley (pictured) and featuring children on the panel and in the audience, and the first episode of BTN will also screen at 7.00pm.

ABC will present a half-hour documentary looking back at the history of BTN to air on 5 June at 6.00pm, followed by an encore of the Q&A special at 6.30pm.

For online audiences, there will be special features showcasing BTN’s rich archive, as well as a series of short-form video features to mark the anniversary.

To round out the celebrations, BTN is hosting a party at ABC Adelaide, where local children, the BTN team and alumni, and other ABC luminaries will mark this milestone.

Source: ABC


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Obituary: Charles Slade

Former television journalist and newsreader Charles Slade has passed away.

After a successful career in aviation, Slade made the move to media in the early 1980s. He started at Melbourne’s Fox FM before joining Network Ten‘s Good Morning Australia and Eyewitness News in Melbourne.

YouTube: Rewind The Cassette

After leaving Ten he moved to ABC to host its weekly Sports Arena program.

He joined National Nine News in 1994 and stayed for ten years as a senior reporter. Among his accolades at Nine was sharing a TV Week Logie Award in 2001 for most outstanding news coverage of the World Economic Forum protests in Melbourne.

Source: Nine News, The Age, Wikipedia


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Obituary: Cathy Godbold

Former television actress Cathy Godbold has died at the age of 43 after a ten-year battle with cancer.

The daughter of former TV and radio presenter Rosemary Margan, Godbold was was making headlines before she was even born as news of her mother’s pregnancy made the magazines. She was then pictured in TV magazine features with her mother from a very young age.

As a teenager she studied at the Victorian College of the Arts. Her first TV acting role was in the children’s drama anthology More Winners, later followed by the Nine Network series Chances.

She later played leukaemia patient Meg Bowman in Home And Away.

The experience from researching and playing that role led to Godbold taking an active role in fundraising for cancer research, including organising a warehouse party for teenagers to raise money for a children’s cancer support charity.  “I want to do more and more.  I want to help find a cure,” she told TV Week in 1993.

She played a starring role in the Seven Network sitcom Newlyweds. Other TV credits included Hey Dad, Frontline (as herself), Neighbours, Blue Heelers and The Saddle Club.

She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2007 and gave up acting but returned to the screen to portray her mother in the Graham Kennedy biopic The King.

Source: IMDB, Seven News. TV Week, 5 June 1976, 28 August 1993.

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Bert Newton and Anne Wills in Emmys speech

Bert Newton and Adelaide personality Anne Wills were surprise mentions at this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards, held earlier this week at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California.

Days Of Our Lives stars Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes, who have featured in the series on and off for almost 50 years and married both on and off screen, were honoured at the Daytime Emmys with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

In their acceptance speech they acknowledged the support of various daytime TV hosts in their home country, and also Australian friends Bert Newton and Anne Wills.

The Days Of Our Lives stars were popular guests at the TV Week Logie Awards (pictured) in 1977, hosted by Newton. They were later guests on Newton’s morning radio show and also toured Australia, including a visit to Adelaide where multi Logie winner Wills had interviewed them and hosted fan events.

YouTube: Classic Australian TV

YouTube: Victoria Harris

Days Of Our Lives, now in its 53rd year in production, is broadcast in Australia on the Arena channel on Foxtel and in regional areas on free-to-air on WIN Eleven.

Source: Wikipedia. TV Week, 9 April 1977.

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Taking commercial TV out back

It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when swathes of the country — mostly outback regions — were largely oblivious to commercial television that the more populated areas of the country had taken for granted for years.

While the rest of us might have been raving about the latest soaps and sitcoms, movie or mini-series blockbusters and watching commercial news and current affairs, viewers in outback and remote areas might have been lucky to have just had access to ABC.

Things started to change in the mid-1980s with the launch of the AUSSAT satellites, allowing ABC and commercial television services to cover essentially anywhere not covered by terrestrial (antenna) television.

The first remote commercial television service (RCTS) was GWN in Western Australia in 1986, followed by Imparja covering Northern Territory and South Australia in January 1988.

Queensland’s RCTS commenced thirty years ago this week, when QSTV debuted at 7.00am on Sunday 24 April 1988 and was officially opened that evening.

QSTV’s first week of programming (Click to enlarge)
Source: The Sunday Mail / Scene On TV

QSTV was owned by Telecasters North Queensland, operator of Townsville-based NQTV. While QSTV’s program guide largely mirrored that of NQTV, there were some opt-outs for programs specific to remote areas.

With access to content from all three commercial networks, programs to appear on QSTV’s first week of broadcasting included 60 Minutes, Neighbours, Sale Of The Century, A Country Practice, Midday, National Nine News, A Current Affair, Today, Sunday, The Curiosity Show, Beyond 2000, Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Sons And Daughters, mini-series The Last Bastion, Sydney rugby league and the official opening of World Expo 88.

In the 1990s as NQTV became QTV and then Ten Queensland as it aligned with the Ten Network, QSTV and its new sister station ITQ8 in Mount Isa followed suit and became known as Ten Satellite.

By the end of the decade, Telecasters had shifted Ten Satellite to become a Seven Network outlet, Seven Central, as it prepared to aggregate with the Central Australian satellite footprint covered by Imparja, focusing on Seven Network programming while Imparja affiliated with Nine and Ten.

Now owned by Southern Cross Austereo, the station is now known as Southern Cross Television and is available via the VAST platform to areas in all states (except Western Australia) that don’t have access to terrestrial television. Being an affiliate of the Seven Network it also carries secondary channels 7Two and 7Mate.

Since 2010, Southern Cross and Nine affiliate Imparja have jointly operated Ten Central, providing viewers of the VAST platform in the central and eastern states with access to a dedicated Network Ten signal.

Source: The Sunday Mail / Scene On TV, 24 April 1988. Wikipedia

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