All in the family!
Some new arrivals are set to appear in Neighbours. The first will be a baby for Kerry Mangel (Linda Hartley, pictured) and husband Joe (Mark Little). Neighbours’ other new arrivals will be a new family – the Willises – headed by Doug Willis, played by veteran actor Terry Donovan, whose son Jason got his big career break in the series several years earlier. But with these new arrivals into the neighbourhood some existing characters have had to be written out – Des Clarke (Paul Keane) and Beverly Robinson (Shauna O’Grady) will leave the series in coming months and more are expected to go in the future. The cast shake-up is a bid by producers to reignite viewer interest in the show. While ratings are still strong in Melbourne, where the show wins its 7.00pm timeslot, Neighbours has dipped to low figures in Sydney, where it is now being beaten by Sale Of The Century and Hinch in the same timeslot.
The Seven Network’s Beyond 2000 is going to take a look at what Australia as a nation could be like in thirty years’ time. Could Sydney have a crime problem with the same magnitude as New York? Could one of Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s successors be getting a $2.5 million salary to run a country with a population of up to 200 million? But Australia 2020 is not necessarily about painting a picture of gloom and doom, but rather recognise the challenges that this country could face if change is not made now. The show will talk to high-profile Australians in different fields to discuss what the future could hold, but not one politician will be seen. “Politicians do not look 30 years ahead. There are no votes in being 30 years ahead,” says producer Peter Abbott.
Comedy Company comeback!
It is official! Network Ten’s hit show The Comedy Company is about to make a comeback after more than six months off-air. The deal between Ten and producer Ian McFadyen’s (pictured) Media Arts company was agreed two weeks ago and will see sixteen episodes screened later this year, most likely in the show’s traditional Sunday 7.30pm timeslot, up against 60 Minutes and Skirts. Ten’s current Sunday night comedy hour, Larger Than Life and Col’n Carpenter, are expected to be moved to a weeknight timeslot. In another announcement, Ten has announced it has picked up the rights to Media Arts’ new hospital-based comedy, Let The Blood Run Free. The new series, starring Brian Nankervis, Lynda Gibson, Peter Rowsthorn and Jean Kittson, will go into production later this year and will debut on Ten either late this year or early in 1991.
The Seven Network has announced that it has renewed comedy series Acropolis Now for a third series.
Former The Flying Doctors star Liz Burch (pictured) has taken on a new challenge – working for World Vision to help carry on the work of her sister, Rosemary, who died of a rare skin disease. “When they rang me to ask me if I’d like to do something, I guess I thought I could carry on where she left off. So that is why I went,” Burch tells TV Week. The actress has visited some of the most impoverished places in the world and has made a number of documentaries for the aid agency. “It’s the best thing I ever did. It’s changed me and also made me realise how lucky I am.”
60 Minutes reporter Jeff McMullen have just returned from Los Angeles where he had been following some of the city’s most notorious gangs – including the all-female gangs that have taken to the streets alongside their male counterparts. “The girls are constantly looking for trouble. They are like werewolves. When the sun sets, they climb into old Fifties cars to invade the neighbourhoods of rival gangs,” McMullen told TV Week. “They are out to impress their home boys and see how many notches they can get on their guns.”
John Laws says…
”My favourable comments recently about the premiere two-hour episode of Seven’s police drama Skirts (starring Tracy Mann, pictured) prompted a rush of mail from TV Week readers. And they all disagreed with me. It seems that Skirts – loosely based on British series The Bill – is seen as corny, contrived and lacking tension and credibility. I must admit that the first few one-hour episodes failed to live up to my expectations – but I didn’t think they were all that bad.”
Program Highlights (May 26-June 1):
Saturday: ABC presents Australian soccer’s premier awards night, The NSL Awards, held at the Hyatt International Hotel in Adelaide. HSV7 crosses to Carrara, Brisbane, for the AFL match between Brisbane Bears and Footscray.
Sunday: Sunday night movies are Roxanne (GTV9) and Out Of Africa (ATV10). Both are repeats. HSV7 presents the first part of mini-series Cross Of Fire. GTV9 then presents an overnight line-up of sport – the West German 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix from Nurburgring, the Monaco Grand Prix from Monaco and the Indianapolis 500 from the US.
Monday: Maurice Murphy, producer of classic comedies The Aunty Jack Show and The Norman Gunston Show, presents a new ABC series, Let’s Do Lunch… And Save The World. Murphy’s first lunch guest is comedienne Pamela Stephenson.
Wednesday: ATV10 presents a re-run of movie Fragments Of War – The Damien Parer Story, starring Nicholas Eadie and Anne Tenney, followed by a delayed telecast of the Rugby League State Of Origin – New South Wales versus Queensland – from Melbourne’s Olympic Park.
Thursday: In E Street (ATV10), Chris’ (Paul Kelman) eviction of a tenant has surprising consequences. David (Noel Hodda) returns to his TV career, and can Abby (Chelsea Brown) and Ernie (Vic Rooney) sort out their problems or will Vi (Bunney Brooke) win?
Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.
26 May 1990. Southdown Press.