TV’s bravest star
Being confined to a wheelchair has had little effect on the enthusiasm of actress Louise Philip. Since her car accident, in late 1972 while on a break from the long-running series Bellbird, Philip has been paralysed from the waist down. In a recent national magazine poll, Philip was ranked third as one of the most admired women in Australia. As well as starring in TV series Cop Shop, Philip (pictured, with co-stars Terry Norris and Greg Ross) also runs a card shop in the Melbourne suburb of Glen Waverley. But such is her popularity in the series that when it appeared likely that she would leave the program, the fan mail begging her to stay was so overwhelming that her contract was renewed for a longer period than anyone else in the series.
Kelly rides again for TV
Former Crawfords producer Ian Jones admits that he has no idea who will play Ned Kelly in his upcoming mini-series The Last Outlaw. Jones and Bronwyn Binns are preparing the series for the Seven Network. Writing and pre-production is under way but Jones doesn’t want to comment on when production will start.
At last, Sheila steals the show
Sheila Florance has fought against the odds, suffering personal tragedy and plugging away in showbusiness for 45 years but was never a star. But now, since appearing in the 0-10 Network’s Prisoner, she is constantly recognised by people in the street, but doesn’t give any complaint of her past misery. “You can’t afford to let things get you down or you go under. I’ve always thought that way.” Working in London during the war, with two babies and another on the way, Florance learned that her English husband had been killed. While living in the Yorkshire countryside, she met her second husband, a Polish fighter pilot, Jan. Having suffered severe injuries during the war, Jan was on crutches when the pair married in the early-1950s. His health has deteriorated to the point where he is now a permanent invalid, but the pair battle on. Florance has also had two of her four children pass away, one son died in England and a daughter died later after the family had come to Australia. But for now, Florance is enjoying her new role as ‘lovable old rascal’ Lizzie Birdsworth (pictured) in Prisoner: “I think Lizzie is a gorgeous character. The public seem to like her, too, and when I watch the show I find she makes me laugh as well. I know that sounds peculiar as I play the part, but it’s true. When I watch Lizzie, I see nothing of myself at all – just a funny old lady. Lizzie and I are so completely different.”
Newcastle: That’s Australia all over!
Mr and Mrs Typical Australia are alive and well and living in Newcastle, NSW. The region, described once by former PM Sir Robert Menzies as “a microcosm of Australia,” is recognised by TV advertisers as the number one test market for new products and campaigns. So what Newcastle buys today Australia may well be buying tomorrow. As the only local commercial TV station in the region, NBN3 is the major outlet for advertisers wanting to reach this captive market of around 500,000 viewers throughout Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. The channel is watched by approximately 60 per cent of viewing audience, many of who also have access to watching TV channels from Sydney, and in the 1977-78 financial year achieved a profit of $1.3 million. General manager George Brown isn’t modest in discussing the success of the channel: “We are successful simply because we present 130 hours of good TV each week. We buy the best possible programs from any place at any time. We do things here before the rest of the Australian TV industry.” NBN3 also produces about 20 hours of local content each week, including breakfast and children’s shows, including a local version of Romper Room, a local one-hour news bulletin each weeknight (believed to be the first one-hour news bulletin in Australia), a weekly performing arts program and a two-hour Sunday sports show. The channel also produces the program Variety Italian Style which is shown nationally through the 0-10 Network. Program manager John Kidd said that NBN also conducts regular surveys with a panel of 1000 local viewers to determine how a program is performing: “Our viewers are very interested in news and current affairs. We were staggered, for instance, to see how well 60 Minutes did after only a short time on air. By and large, successful Sydney programs are successful in Newcastle, but if a program is dying you will see it in Newcastle first. We pulled out of Number 96 and The Box before Sydney because we thought those programs were dying.” NBN3 is also proud of its commitment to the local community, with considerable amounts of airtime given to promoting local community causes and charities.
While taping a drowning scene for the pilot episode of Paradise Village for the Seven Network, actress Suzy Gashler got caught in an undertow and had to be rescued by real lifesavers. Once recovered, she re-did the scene – in shallower water.
Actress Deborah Coulls has spoken out about the circumstances surrounding her sudden exit from The Restless Years, last year: “So much was written about me that was distorted. I came out of as a big-headed starlet who had been sacked for playing up. Nothing was further from the truth. The simple truth was that for one publicity call I overslept and was half an hour late. The day after the incident I was carpeted. In retrospect, though, it was obvious I was used as an object lesson for the rest of the cast.” Coulls is now starring as a flight attendant in the new Seven Network series Skyways.
Prisoner actor Jim Smillie is providing the voices for the characters of Swag the Emu and Professor Wombat for a new indigenous children’s program, The Bush Bunch, currently being considered for purchase by the networks. If it goes ahead the series is expected to cost around $40,000 an episode.
Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”How much longer do we have to have Tony Barber on Family Feud? A few people I have spoken to feel the same way, finding him at times quite childish, bordering in being conceited.” A. Eveele, NSW.
“We are fans of Cop Shop and are hoping that when George Mallaby leaves, he will return soon. We will miss him.” N & L Leoni, QLD.
“In my area we are unfortunate enough to only receive ABC and local CWN6. During the week I must admit we do get some good programs, but this entails staying up late or missing them because we have to get up early for work. But Friday, Saturday and Sunday when we like to have some entertainment and don’t mind staying up a little later we have very poor shows, particularly Saturdays and Sundays.” H. Slattery, NSW.
What’s On (July 21-27):
ABC’s Saturday Special is Rolf Harris In Concert, taped at the Perth Entertainment Centre and featuring Rolf Harris with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
ABC presents the final instalment of multicultural television programs from the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) on Sunday morning.
On Sunday afternoon GTV9 presents a replay of last Friday night’s Miss Universe 1979 pageant, held in Perth.
ATV0 begins a Monday night screening of police drama Matlock Police (pictured), featuring episodes from towards the end of the show’s run which had never previously screened though they were made three years earlier.
Marcia Hines, Jon English and The Little River Band are guest performers on The Paul Hogan Show, screening Wednesday night on GTV9. Later in the week, the final episode of Marcia Hines’ series, Marcia’s Music (ABC, Friday) features guest performer Doug Parkinson.
Sunday night movies: Monty Python And The Holy Grail (HSV7), The Alf Garnett Saga (GTV9), Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (ATV0).
Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 21 July 1979. ABC/ACP