Tom’s accent is on variety
Canadian-born Tom Burlinson has tackled Irish, English and American accents in various roles since leaving the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1976, but has found that playing Mickey Pratt in the 0-10 Network’s The Restless Years has presented the biggest challenge. “Mickey’s Australian accent is one of the hardest,” Burlinson said. But while Burlinson (pictured with co-star Penny Cook) admits to not always being keen on some of the tasks he called on to do as Pratt, he says there is a certain amount of leeway in the way he interprets the script and does accept the show’s widespread appeal: “Whether The Restless Years is good or not, the fact is that it has mass appeal and many viewers accept it as real. One therefore has a responsibility, particularly to adolescents who watch the program.” However, Burlinson has said that after a year in the show he is ready to move on. “I don’t want to become a TV star, I want to be a working actor. One of the main reasons I want to leave The Restless Years is that I want to work in other areas such as films and stage.”
Big Country in the gun!
In ten years of production, ABC’s documentary series A Big Country has generated as many stories off-screen as it has on-screen. On many occasions its reporters and crew have come close to injury and death. In 1970, producer John Mabey and crew visited Jim Jim Plain, near Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, to investigate the latest methods of capturing buffalo. They found a hunter and asked for an interview. “I walked up to this man and said ‘I’m John Mabey from the ABC. I’d like to talk to you about buffalo hunting,” Mabey recalls. “He looked at me and then slowly reached down to his holster, pulled a .45 automatic from it and pointed it at my head. He said ‘See this hole? Well you’ll feel one like it if you don’t get out of here now.’ Apparently Four Corners had been through the area some weeks before, filming cruel methods of hunting buffalo, and this chap obviously didn’t see eye to eye with the report.” An earlier incident, recalled by producer and reporter Ron Iddon, saw the crew on a chartered single-engine flight from Geraldton, Western Australia, to the Abrohlos Islands, 70 kilometres of the WA coast. On their way back to Geraldton the plane’s engine cut out: “All of a sudden it was very quiet. I was sitting two seats back and I remember looking at the pilot who was busy pushing and pulling things. We were flying at 150 metres and I remember watching the altimeter registering our rapid descent. When we got down to 31 metres I remember thinking ‘we’re going to crash.’ We were miles from any land and then only seconds from impact – the engine fired.” The mid-air drama lasted about 90 seconds, but as Iddon said: “It was the longest minute-and-a-half I can remember.”
Cronin on nostalgia radio trip
As well as revisiting the 1940s in his role of Dave Sullivan in The Sullivans, actor Paul Cronin (pictured) is tackling nostalgia on Melbourne radio with a new weekly program, Remember When. The three-hour program, on Melbourne’s 3AW, examines the events of the times from 1938 through to the present day. It is Cronin’s first radio show but, according to 3AW’s Leveda Lynch, he settled right in: “He was nervous for the first five minutes and then he began enjoying himself. We all thought he was very good, and we had a great reaction from the public.” Remember When is scheduled to run for 13 weeks while football is off-season, but if ratings indicate public support then it may continue.
Rolf Harris for ABC
Rolf Harris will visit Australia in December to discuss plans for seven one-hour variety specials to be produced by ABC in mid-1980. The format of the shows will be discussed at the meetings, but Executive Producer Ric Birch said: “Rolf’s management are very keen to do them although nothing has been signed yet. We’ll be thrashing out all the details in December.” The specials are likely to be made in Sydney, though Birch said that they would like to spend a week on location for filming, but this may be restricted by Harris’ scheduled club appearances in Sydney.
Actress Pat McDonald scarcely had her leg out of plaster, after a knee operation in August, when she was off to Perth to appear in a telethon. Next week she flies to Adelaide for another.
Nine Network’s Pete Smith, a devoted football hater, has won the Anti Football League’s medal for least service to football in 1979. The award was presented at an empty Melbourne Cricket Ground two days before the VFL Grand Final.
John Walton, the young actor who has starred in The Young Doctors and The Sullivans, is returning to the stage to play the title role of Hamlet with the Melbourne Theatre Company.
Clive Hale (pictured), the host of ABC’s Nationwide, has admitted that it has taken some adjustment to settling in to the new show after ten years on This Day Tonight, where he was often known to ad-lib or editorialise: “The sort of flippancy on This Day Tonight would look out of place on a more serious program like Nationwide. I must admit that after ten years on TDT, I enjoy being less flippant.” A budding artist off-screen, Hale has admitted to wanting to approach ABC management about ideas for arts programs.
Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”When I read in TV Times that Peter Lochran had been nominated for a Sammy as best actor, I felt really pleased. In my opinion, he is the best actor on Australian TV, and thoroughly deserves recognition. The Young Doctors is the best show on TV and it deserves to win all the awards it can.” F. Gregory, NSW.
“I want to thank TEN10 Sydney for putting on the late John Wayne’s movies. I have been a fan of his for a long time and I enjoyed every last one of his movies.” N. Hunter, NSW.
“I was very disgusted with a program on ATV0 Melbourne recently called So You Want To Be A Centrefold. I realise that this adults-only rated program was on at a reasonable hour, but I do think that the only reason it was shown was for men to gloat over. It made me sick to see those girls flaunt themselves in front of the camera. It seemed to me that this program was encouraging young girls to become nude centrefolds. I think that females should think of themselves as being more than just cheap pin-ups for men’s girlie magazines.” S. Pye, VIC.
“I would like to thank TEN10 for screening East Of Eden, starring the late James Dean. It is the most superb performance by any actor I have ever seen.” L. Madkasoa, NSW.
“If ABC has a transmission fault, they apologise and play some peaceful music while repairs are under way. If our local commercial channel, RTQ7 (Rockhampton), has a fault they just put a silly picture on the screen… no apology, no music.” R. Ramming, QLD.
What’s On (October 20-26):
HSV7 presents live coverage of the Caulfield Cup race meeting on Saturday afternoon, hosted by Bill Collins. ABC presents live coverage of International Men’s Hockey, from Melbourne’s Royal Park West.
Singer-songwriter Leon Berger represents Australia in the Pacific Song Contest, held in Christchurch, New Zealand, and shown in a delayed telecast on ABC on Saturday night.
On Sunday afternoon, ABC presents live coverage of the Castrol Six Hour Race from Amaroo Park, while ATV0 crosses to Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion for the Custom Credit Indoor Tennis Championships with commentators Ray Warren, Bill Bowrey and John Newcombe.
This Fabulous Century (HSV7, Sunday) looks at the growth of Australia’s population over the last 80 years – from 3.7 million in 1901 to almost 14 million in 1979. Host Peter Luck looks at the elements that make up Australia’s population, including racial composition and class structure.
On Monday night, HSV7 crosses to the Perth Concert Hall for a direct telecast of the crowning of Miss Australia 1980 and Miss Australia Charity Queen. ATV0 presents a repeat screening of the movie version of the former TV series The Box.
Same as last week, TV Times lists American shows including My Three Sons, WKRP In Cincinnati, Diff’rent Strokes, Angie and Happy Days in place of Family Feud and The Sullivans due to industrial action at GTV9, though The Young Doctors appears to be back in the schedule.
Sunday night movies: Some Kind Of Miracle (HSV7), The French Connection (GTV9), The Paper Chase (ATV0). ABC presents Mismatch, the second in the series of Australian plays, starring Jane Harders, Stephen O’Rourke, Margo Lee, John Bluthal and Michael Aitkens.
Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 20 October 1979. ABC/ACP