Obituary: Trisha Noble

Trisha Noble, one of Australia’s first teenage pop stars in the 1960s, has died at the age of 76.

Born Patricia Ann Ruth Noble to showbiz parents, comedian Buster Noble and dancer Helen de Paul, she made her stage debut at the age of two.

But it was as a teenager that Patsy Ann, as she was then, caught the attention of promoter Lee Gordon. She then became a support act for touring pop star Ricky Nelson, and appeared on The Bobby Limb Show. She was then signed up as a regular performer on the pop music show Bandstand.

In 1962, she won a TV Week Logie Award for Best Female Singer. Her career then took her to the United Kingdom, where she continued recording and appeared on various variety shows. She made her acting debut in the film Death Is A Woman.

Later credits in the UK included The Dick Emery Show, Danger Man, Mickey Dunne, Who-Dun-It, Z Cars and Up Pompeii!

She then became known as Trisha Noble and moved to the US, performing a season in Las Vegas but was better known there for her acting roles, appearing on various American series including The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father, Baretta, Columbo, Matt Helm, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, McMillan And Wife, James At 15, Fantasy Island, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, The Love Boat, Executive Suite and Flamingo Road.

With her father in ill health, Noble returned to Australia in the early 1980s and starred in the Nine Network telemovie Body Business. She later appeared in Water Rats and All Saints and in the film Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. She also appeared in a number of stage productions, including Shout! and Ladies In Black.

Source: Noise11, TV Tonight, IMDB, Golden Years Of Australian Variety. TV Times, 12 January 1961, 21 October 1978.

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Ratings 2020: The final scorecard

OzTAM, the official ratings ‘umpire’, has released its final reports for the calendar year 2020.

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.

Nine Network ended the year on 27.8% (down 1.3 from 2019), followed by Seven Network (26.9%, down 1.9), ABC (18.4%, up 1.5), Network Ten (18.0%, up 0.9),  and SBS (8.9%, up 0.8). (6pm-12mn, 5 cities, Consolidated 28-days)

At individual channel level:

Nine (19.3%, down 0.8)
Seven (18.1%, down 0.9)
ABC (12.9%, up 0.9)
Ten (11.7%, up 0.2)
SBS (5.3%, down 0.1)
10 Bold (3.8%, up 0.4)
7Two (3.4%, down 0.1)
7Mate (3.3%, down 0.4)
ABC Kids/ABC Comedy (3.1%, up 0.3)
9Gem (2.9%, down 0.5)
9Go (2.7%, down 0.8)
10 Peach (2.4%, up 0.2)
9Life (2.0%, down 0.1)
7Flix (1.9%, down 0.2) and ABC News (1.9%, up 0.5)
SBS Viceland (1.4%, down 0.1)
SBS World Movies (1.1%, up 0.2) and 9Rush (1.1%, debut)
SBS Food (0.9%, down 0.1)
ABC Me (0.6%, down 0.1)
10 Shake (0.5%, debut)
NITV (0.2%, =)

During the year, Nine launched reality and documentary channel 9Rush and Ten launched youth entertainment channel 10 Shake.

Channels not included in the survey include  shopping channels  TVSNSpree, Extra and 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 2020 (Consolidated. 5 cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth):

	TITLE	                                             NET   TOT	        SYD	MEL	  BNE	  ADE	  PER
1	SEVEN'S AFL: GRAND FINAL: RICHMOND V GEELONG	     Seven 3,016,000	417,000 1,609,000 383,000 268,000 337,000
2	SEVEN'S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONS              Seven 2,294,000	272,000	1,279,000 275,000 197,000 272,000
3       SEVEN'S AFL: GRAND FINAL: ON THE GROUND              Seven 2,192,000    267,000 1,226,000 280,000 176,000 244,000
4       NRL GRAND FINAL DAY -MATCH                           Nine  2,106,000    848,000 610,000   493,000 75,000  80,000
5       STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 3RD -MATCH    Nine  1,894,000    769,000 302,000   620,000 106,000 98,000
6       2020 AUSTRALIAN OPEN D8 -NIGHT                       Nine  1,874,000    456,000 785,000   343,000 165,000 125,000
7       THE BLOCK -WINNER ANNOUNCED                          Nine  1,838,000    500,000 688,000   354,000 168,000 128,000
8       LEGO MASTERS -WINNER ANNOUNCED                       Nine  1,692,000    418,000 584,000   349,000 133,000 209,000
9       STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE NSW V QLD 2ND -MATCH    Nine  1,658,000    741,000 207,000   561,000 88,000  60,000
10      NEW YEAR'S EVE 2020: MIDNIGHT FIREWORKS-EM           ABC   1,614,000    860,000 452,000   159,000 80,000  63,000
11      STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 1ST -MATCH    Nine  1,606,000    727,000 223,000   518,000 84,000  54,000
12      MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA - THE WINNER ANNOUNCED          Ten   1,592,000    414,000 664,000   255,000 141,000 119,000
13      MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT -FINALE                       Nine  1,562,000    461,000 514,000   292,000 149,000 146,000
14      2020 AUSTRALIAN OPEN D14 -MEN'S FINAL                Nine  1,531,000    377,000 605,000   278,000 126,000 144,000
15      SEVEN'S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRE MATCH ENTERTAINMENT    Seven 1,487,000    163,000 855,000   204,000 117,000 148,000
16      LEGO MASTERS -LAUNCH                                 Nine  1,479,000    385,000 492,000   291,000 135,000 175,000
17      THE BLOCK -GRAND FINAL                               Nine  1,470,000    405,000 542,000   292,000 142,000 90,000
18      MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT -THE FINAL DINNER PARTY       Nine  1,447,000    424,000 495,000   246,000 146,000 136,000
19      LEGO MASTERS -FINALE                                 Nine  1,432,000    361,000 484,000   300,000 117,000 170,000
20      MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL: MELBOURNE CUP-RACE           Ten   1,412,000    321,000 701,000   211,000 82,000  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	CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: MELB STAGE 4 LOCKDOWN-PM              ABC NEWS 580,000 41,000  466,000 45,000  12,000 16,000
2       ICC WOMEN'S T20 WORLD CUP 2020 FINAL AUS V IND              9Gem     545,000 151,000 149,000 120,000 57,000 68,000
3       BLUEY-EV                                                    ABC K/C  530,000 118,000 162,000 119,000 56,000 76,000
4       BLUEY-AM                                                    ABC K/C  394,000 82,000  133,000 83,000  44,000 52,000
5       ICC WOMEN'S T20 WORLD CUP 2020 FINAL AUS V IND -PRE         9Gem     369,000 92,000  123,000 90,000  35,000 29,000
6       2020 AUSTRALIAN OPEN D9 -DAY -GEM                           9Gem     353,000 125,000 181,000 30,000  10,000 6,000
7       KANGAROO BEACH-EV                                           ABC K/C  351,000 91,000  93,000  80,000  21,000 66,000
8       USA VOTES: JOE BIDEN VICTORY SPEECH-PM                      ABC NEWS 326,000 64,000  152,000 56,000  30,000 23,000
9       PLANET AMERICA: USA VOTES SPECIAL-EV                        ABC NEWS 303,000 73,000  114,000 52,000  37,000 27,000
10      SEVEN'S AFL: TUESDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL                         7mate    299,000 34,000          61,000  76,000 128,000
11      PEPPA PIG: PEPPA'S PUMPKIN PARTY-AM                         ABC K/C  297,000 56,000  115,000 74,000  21,000 31,000
12      FIRE FIGHT AUSTRALIA CONCERT-MULTI                          7TWO     293,000 81,000  78,000  70,000  32,000 31,000
13      KANGAROO BEACH-AM                                           ABC K/C  293,000 75,000  71,000  66,000  23,000 58,000
14      THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE-PM                                  ABC K/C  287,000 53,000  73,000  66,000  38,000 56,000
15      BLUEY-PM                                                    ABC K/C  284,000 47,000  116,000 57,000  24,000 41,000
16      ABC NEWS SPECIAL COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC-EV          ABC NEWS 281,000 82,000  88,000  49,000  30,000 31,000
17      USA VOTES: JOE BIDEN VICTORY SPEECH ANALYSIS-PM             ABC NEWS 272,000 52,000  142,000 33,000  25,000 20,000
18      SEVEN'S CRICKET: FIRST TEST - AUSTRALIA V INDIA D3 S2 MULTI 7mate    266,000 96,000  137,000 7,000   26,000 
19      THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS STORY-AM                     ABC K/C  261,000 66,000  71,000  34,000  49,000 41,000
20      STICK MAN-PM                                                ABC K/C  254,000 64,000  70,000  54,000  26,000 40,000

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-EV                       ABC K/C  379,000              251.7%
2            BLUEY-EV                       ABC      372,000              318.9%
3            KANGAROO BEACH-EV              ABC K/C  288,000              456.1%
4            VERA-EV                        ABC      267,000              40.4%
5            VERA S9-EV                     ABC      261,000              41.0%
6            LEGO MASTERS -WINNER ANNOUNCED Nine     258,000              18.0%
7            ROADKILL-EV                    ABC      243,000              64.5%
8            LEGO MASTERS -LAUNCH           Nine     241,000              19.5%
9            LEGO MASTERS -TUE              Nine     240,000              23.2%
10           THE SALISBURY POISONINGS       SBS      237,000              92.3%
11           KILLING EVE-EV                 ABC      219,000              103.7%
12           LEGO MASTERS -MON              Nine     217,000              19.4%
13           WAR OF THE WORLDS (DRAMA)      SBS      213,000              100.8%
14           LEGO MASTERS -FINALE           Nine     212,000              17.4%
15           KANGAROO BEACH-AM              ABC K/C  209,000              248.0%
16           MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT -THU    Nine     206,000              20.8%
17           FURTHER BACK IN TIME FOR DINNERABC      205,000              36.8%
18           HALIFAX-RETRIBUTION            Nine     205,000              40.6%
19           THE GOOD DOCTOR - TUE          Seven    200,000              55.6%
20           FREEMAN-EV                     ABC      196,000              27.6%

Top 20 Subscription TV Programs (national):

             TITLE                                CH          TOT
1            LIVE: T20: AUS V IND GAME 2          FOX CRICKET 469,000
2            LIVE: ODI AUS V IND GAME 2           FOX CRICKET 456,000
3            LIVE: T20: AUS V IND GAME 1          FOX CRICKET 452,000
4            LIVE: T20: AUS V IND GAME 2          FOX CRICKET 448,000
5            LIVE: T20 INNINGS BREAK              FOX CRICKET 416,000
6            LIVE: ODI AUS V IND GAME 1           FOX CRICKET 404,000
7            LIVE: T20 INNINGS BREAK              FOX CRICKET 398,000
8            LIVE: ODI AUS V IND GAME 2           FOX CRICKET 393,000
9            LIVE: AUS V IND 2ND TEST DAY 1       FOX CRICKET 392,000
10           LIVE: ODI AUS V IND GAME 3           FOX CRICKET 388,000
11           LIVE: AUS V IND 1ST TEST DAY 3       FOX CRICKET 383,000
12           LIVE: T20: AUS V IND GAME 1          FOX CRICKET 378,000
13           LIVE: AUS V IND 2ND TEST DAY 1       FOX CRICKET 377,000
14           LIVE: NRL: BRONCOS V EELS            FOX LEAGUE  371,000
15           LIVE: AUS V IND TEST TEA BREAK       FOX CRICKET 367,000
17           LIVE: NRL: ROOSTERS V EELS           FOX LEAGUE  363,000
19           LIVE: NRL: STORM V RAIDERS           FOX LEAGUE  355,000
20           LIVE: T20: AUS V IND GAME 3          FOX CRICKET 354,000

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

             TITLE                                CH/NET      TIMESHIFT TO 28 DAYS % INCREASE ON OVERNIGHT
1            BLUEY                                CBeebies    177,000              1761.3%
2            BLUEY                                CBeebies    156,000              802.7%
3            THE UNDOING                          FOX SHOWCASE154,000              1271.3%
4            THE UNDOING                          FOX SHOWCASE145,000              508.7%
5            BAD EDUCATION                        FOX SHOWCASE144,000              1009.7%
6            BLUEY                                CBeebies    143,000              3083.5%
7            BLUEY                                CBeebies    141,000              3055.6%
8            THE UNDOING                          FOX SHOWCASE141,000              611.0%
9            BLUEY                                CBeebies    136,000              3377.7%
10           THE UNDOING                          FOX SHOWCASE132,000              465.0%
11           BLUEY                                CBeebies    131,000              631.9%
12           BLUEY                                CBeebies    130,000              5271.4%
13           BLUEY                                CBeebies    129,000
14           THE UNDOING                          FOX SHOWCASE128,000              562.4%
15           BLUEY                                CBeebies    127,000              7878.0%
16           BLUEY                                CBeebies    127,000              479.1%
17           MCMILLION$                           FOX SHOWCASE121,000              612.6%
18           THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT                 FOX One     118,000              733.1%
19           BLUEY                                CBeebies    118,000              445.8%
20           PAW PATROL                           Nick Jr.    115,000              625.1%

Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2021. 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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30 years since Chances

In the decade following the end of The Sullivans and The Young Doctors, the Nine Network had little success in establishing a successful serial drama. The TV graveyard of the 1980s and early ’90s is littered with Nine’s drama corpses — Starting Out, Kings, Possession, Prime Time, Taurus Rising, All The Way, Family And Friends.

Nine’s next gamble in the genre was Chances — an adults-only drama with salaciousness not seen on Australian TV since the days of Number 96 and The Box. The series presented an opportunity for production company Beyond International (Beyond 2000) to diversify its portfolio to include drama.

Chances was based around a suburban family, the Taylors, whose lives are changed forever following a $3 million lottery win at the end of the first episode, airing on 29 January 1991. The original cast included John Sheerin, Brenda Addie, Jeremy Sims, Natalie McCurry (pictured), Cathy Godbold, Tim Robertson, Ann Grigg, Deborah Kennedy, Rhys Muldoon, Dennis Miller, Mercia Deane-Johns, Mark Kounnas, Michael Caton, Leverne McDonnell, Yvonne Lawley and Simon Grey.

YouTube: Robert Pugsley

Playing out at two one-hour episodes a week at 8.30pm, what followed was a procession of stories surrounding the Taylor family and their various connections as the windfall is being splurged, interspersed with affairs and glimpses of boobs and bums. The frequent appearance of the buttocks of scheming advertising executive Alex Taylor (Sims) became regular comic fodder on sketch comedy Fast Forward.

Although Chances‘ ratings started off strong, audience interest soon faded. The casual nudity was not enough to keep people tuned in. A murder mystery was introduced to bump off one of the main characters, but it was not enough to keep viewers interested.

YouTube: tapesalvage

Nine soon chopped the show’s budget, trimming it from two episodes a week to one and a shift to a later timeslot. This led to a lot of the regular cast being written out, with an increased focus on the adventures of Alex Taylor (Sims pictured with guest star Annie Jones). This seemed to give the producers licence to largely dispense of the serious drama and ramp up their imaginations, creating bizarre storylines almost to a level of parody. Vampires, secret agents, underworld figures, ‘hands on’ sex therapists, amorous pool boys and Egyptian goddesses all became par for the course.

But the fun was over after two years, with Nine axing the show towards the end of 1992 and the remaining episodes played out at 11.00pm.

A selection of episodes from Chances‘ more bizarre era was released on DVD.

Source: Super Aussie Soaps, Andrew Mercado. TV Week, 19 January 1991. Broadcasting In Australia, Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, 1991.

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Lorrae Desmond in Australia Day Honours

Actress and performer Lorrae Desmond has been awarded a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the 2021 Australia Day Honours List. Her honour is in recognition of “significant service to the performing arts as an actor, entertainer and singer”.

Desmond, who was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1970, has worked in the United Kingdom and Australia, and in the 1960s entertained Australian troops in Vietnam, the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya and Somalia.

Her ABC variety show, The Lorrae Desmond Show, earned her a TV Week Gold Logie in 1962. She was the first female, and the first ABC personality, to be awarded a Gold Logie.

Later credits included In Melbourne Tonight, Jimmy, Jack Benny In Australia, The Graham Kennedy Show, Number 96, Arcade and then a decade as Shirley Gilroy in the Seven Network series A Country Practice.

Other familiar TV names included in this year’s honours list include:


Greg Chappell MBE — “For distinguished service to cricket as a leading player, captain, coach and administrator at the elite level, and to a range of charitable foundations.” Chappell is a former cricket commentator for the Nine Network and in the 1980s was a documentary presenter on TVQ0, Brisbane.


Craig Foster — “For significant service to multiculturalism, to human rights and refugee support organisations, and to football.” Foster is a football commentator and analyst for SBS.

The late Maureen Anne Kerridge — “For significant service to the television industry, to the arts, and to charitable organisations.” Formerly Maureen Plavsic, she was the first woman to become head of a television network in Australia, as Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director and Executive Director, of the Seven Network from 2000 to 2003. She passed away late last year.

Valerie (Val) Lehman — “For significant service to the performing arts, and to wildlife conservation.” Lehman came to fame as ‘top dog’ inmate Bea Smith (pictured) in Prisoner. She won three TV Week Logies for the role of Smith. Other TV credits included A Fortunate Life, Tandarra, Power Without Glory, The Flying Doctors, Blue Heelers, Something In The Air, Neighbours and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

Graham Ross — “For significant service to the broadcast media, particularly to horticulture, and to the community.” Ross was an ABC presenter in the 1970s and ’80s, and since 1995 is a presenter on Seven’s Better Homes And Gardens.


Vicki Tiegs — “For service to the community of the Illawarra”. Tiegs is a former publicity manager and executive at WIN Television in Wollongong and Rockhampton.

Glenn Wheeler — “For service to the broadcast media, and to the community.” Wheeler is a former segment presenter on Seven’s The Morning Show.

Katie Woolf — “For service to the broadcast media in the Northern Territory.” Woolf is a former segment presenter from Ten Darwin.

Former ABC journalist Kerry O’Brien (pictured) was initially to be awarded an AO in this year’s honours. He has since written to the Governor-General to reject the honour in protest at the elevated recognition of tennis champion Margaret Court, a winner of 24 Grand Slam tournaments.

Court, who retired from tennis in the 1970s, was honoured for her sporting achievements in 2007. She is to be elevated this year to the higher ranking of Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), again in recognition of her tennis career. Court has been a controversial public figure in more recent times for divisive and discriminating comments aimed at the LGBTQ+ communities.

O’Brien said that Court’s higher honour, while a recognition of her sporting achievements, “may serve to erode the hard-fought gains made over decades in reducing the impact of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Court’s honour was also criticised by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan, and a former Order of Australia recipient, Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo from Canberra, has handed back her 2016 award in protest.

A total of 844 Australians have been recognised in this year’s Australia Day Honours.

Source: The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC

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Obituary: David Evans

David Evans, former regional television and ABC radio presenter, died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 78.

He began his media career at radio station 2VM in Moree, NSW, in the early 1980s.

He moved to television in 1984, as newsreader at NEN9 (now Prime7) in Tamworth in 1984. He stayed in the role until 1999.

He then presented Saturday Breakfast on ABC Local Radio until his retirement in 2014.

In 2007 he was honoured with an Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours, for service to the community, particularly as a contributor to the establishment of the Tamworth Waler Memorial.

David Evans is survived by his former wife Judy, his sisters Joan and Barbara and his brother John.

YouTube: Australian TV Fan

Source: ABC, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

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Obituary: Gaynor Bunning

Gaynor Bunning, one of the early stars of Melbourne television, died last week in Mooloolaba at the age of 82.

She had been suffering from dementia.

Born in Geelong, she began performing at the age of four. By the time she was 11-years-old, she was a member of the radio variety show, Swallow’s Juniors.

When television arrived, she was one of the performers on the request show Teenage Mailbox, appearing with Heather Horwood and Ernie Sigley. The program later became The Teenage Show, airing for an hour on Saturday afternoons. In 1962 she hosted The Gaynor Bunning Show on ABC.

She also appeared on variety shows including On Board The Southern Cross, Fancy Free, Bandwagon, The Bobby Limb Show, In Melbourne Tonight and Penthouse Club.

She then married and moved to Queensland where she ran a business with her husband.

Years later, she reunited with Ernie Sigley and appeared as a guest judge on Pot Luck.

Pot Luck: Gaynor Bunning (seated, right), with Anne Wills (left) and Ernie Sigley (second left)

Gaynor Bunning is survived by husband Graham Whyte, two sons and their families.

Source: TV Tonight, IMDB, History Of Australian Music. TV Times, 28 July 1960, 27 October 1960,  1 August 1962, 7 October 1972. TV Radio Extra, 8 August 1987

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Digital TV turns 20

It is 20 years today since Australian television first entered the digital age with the commencement of digital transmission in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Digital television marked the most significant change in television viewing since the introduction of colour in 1975. With the advent of high definition, widescreen television, there was a lot of information to take in about the technology and the options available. Though for many, the choice was simplified by the pure expense of digital equipment. The cheapest option to access digital TV was by connecting a standard definition set top box to an analogue TV — and that would still set you back around $700.

Viewers wanting to plug in a high definition set top box could be looking at closer to a $1000 price tag, and that box would only serve to downgrade the picture to be displayed on a standard analogue TV.

For the full digital experience, such as a widescreen TV with an integrated high-definition tuner, the price was around $8000.

Government legislation also did its best to make digital TV undesirable by limiting its functionality. Commercial channels were not permitted to start up secondary channels. ABC and SBS could do so but there were strict restrictions on what those channels could actually offer. Although technology was developed to incorporate interactive features such as home shopping, this was not to form part of the digital television platform.

Networks were permitted, however, to offer multi-view channels for sports coverage. This was an option used to some extent in the early days but was not widely adopted. Networks were also not exactly leaping to provide high definition or widescreen coverage of sporting events, even though this genre seemed a perfect fit for a high-definition, widescreen format.

It is probably no wonder that digital TV was not being taken up by the wider population, and the shutdown of analogue television, then intended for 2008, was fast approaching. The government had little option but to lift some of the content restrictions and to allow commercial networks to offer multiple channels to make digital TV more desirable. This allowed a revamp of ABC2 and launch of ABC News 24, and led to the first generation of commercial channels, including 7TWO, GO!, 7mate, Gem, One HD and Eleven. SBS also replaced its World News Channel with SBS Two.

The networks also formed an alliance, Freeview, to promote the benefits of digital television content and technology to encourage a higher uptake.

In markets of smaller populations, such as Tasmania, Darwin and Mildura where there were only two commercial operators, the existing operators were given the option to operate a third digital-only channel as a joint venture. This encouraged a higher take up of digital television in these markets.

The proposed 2008 shutdown of analogue television was then postponed to be between 2010 and 2013, with markets across Australia shutting down analogue signals one by one.

By the end of the first decade of digital, all networks had established high and standard definition secondary channels and community TV was eventually allowed a piece of digital spectrum.

For more on the first decade of digital television in Australia, this post was written in 2011.

In the second decade, networks have used MPEG4 technology to squeeze more channels into their available bandwidth. The Seven Network has now added 7flix, Openshop and, Nine has added 9Rush and shopping channel Extra, and Network Ten has launched 10 Shake and added shopping channels Spree and TVSN. Ten also shifted its long-running drama Neighbours to its Eleven channel (now 10 Peach). The show continues to be one of the channel’s best performers, though it commands a much smaller audience than it did on the main channel.

SBS has expanded to include NITV, SBS Food and SBS World Movies. It has also replaced SBS Two with SBS Viceland and converted it to high-definition. Both ABC and SBS have also added their radio networks to their digital television signals.

There have been casualties along the way. 7Food, picking up the Food Network franchise after SBS let it go, was not to last long. Nine also had only a short run of its new channel yourMoney, a joint venture with Sky News Australia. ABC2 became ABC Comedy in 2017 but it now becomes ABC TV Plus from today. Seven’s shopping and niche content channel TV4ME was also a short-lived venture. Network Ten ditched its sports channel One HD and turned it into a general entertainment channel, now 10 Bold. Experimental transmission in 3D in 2012 were also to be a one-event wonder.

But, in the beginning, to assist viewers in making choices and being informed about digital television, Digital Broadcasting Australia, a conglomerate of broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and technology providers, released a brochure to help educate viewers:

(Click on the images to enlarge)

The Nine Network also published a brochure to help viewers along:

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Happy New Year from The Sullivans

Happy New Year and a handy 1978 calendar from The Sullivans — Grace (Lorraine Bayly), Dave (Paul Cronin), Harry (Michael Caton) and Rose (Maggie Dence).

Sadly, as well as World War II still playing out, it would not be a happy year at home for the family, with Rose tragically drowning during a New Year’s Eve celebration in an episode airing in May.

On a more positive note, The Sullivans collected five TV Week Logie Awards in March — including Most Popular Australian Drama and individual awards for Cronin, Bayly, Caton and Vivean Gray. In October the series won three Sammy Awards:Bayly for Best Actress In A TV Series, Tony Morphett for Best Writer TV Series, and The Sullivans winning Best Drama Series.

Source: TV Week, 7 January 1978


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2020: We remember…

Tom Long

Grant Goldman

Ron Haddrick

Ronne Arnold

Ron Graham

Maggi Eckhardt

Quentin Fogarty

Ralph Baker

Rob Gaylard

Geraldine Dillon

Paul Murphy

Gerald Stone

Joy Westmore

Jeanne Little

Betty Bobbitt



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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

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