Wonderworld was a magazine-style half-hour show created and hosted by Simon Townsend. It was the first Australian TV program to receive a “C” classification by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal (now the Australian Broadcasting Authority). The coveted “C” allows programs to be broadcast in a children’s timeslot (nominally 4pm to 5pm weekdays), and such broadcasts count towards the children’s TV quota which all Australian commercial stations must fill.
Network TEN immediately bought Townsend’s show, and stripped it Monday to Friday at 4pm, thinking at first it would merely fill their quota. But it soon achieved much more for the network, eventually becoming one of the most popular children’s shows in Australian TV history and attracting a huge adult audience.
The first episode went to air in Sydney on 3 Sept 1979. As ratings soared, other network stations and affiliates added it to their schedule until it was airing every weekday afternoon throughout Australia. In addition to Simon Townsend, many famous media faces got their first break on this show – including Jonathan Coleman, Angela Catterns, Phillip Tanner, Maurice Parker, Wednesday Kennedy. Under producer Harvey Shore, the show won five Logie Awards as the most popular “C”-rated show in Australia. At one stage it was out-rating TEN’s evening news. Finally, after 2,000 episodes over eight years of top ratings, the last show went to air on 3 Sept 1987.
In 1990, the Nine Network licensed the series and launched it under the title Wonder World! Harvey Shore was again executive producer, and again the show rated well and launched the careers of its star reporters, including Pascall Fox, Tony Johnston, Jodie Young and Catriona Rowntree. Nine’s version finished its three-series run in 1992, although episodes were still being repeated in New Guinea and Fiji in 2003.
Australia / 10 Network / x30m-e / 3 September 1979 – 1988
Producer: Harvey Shore
Memorable TV would like to thank Harvey Shore for his contribution to this entry.
Murcheson Creek (Channel 9 1976, Mark Edwards, Rowena Wallace)
In one off thriller Murcheson Creek Andrew Murcheson returns to his home town to take over his father’s medical practice (the town being named Murcheson Creek in honour of his family.) He begins an affair with an old flame Karen Fields and also finds himself stirring up secrets that should have stayed buried after trying to settle his father’s accounts.
Mark Edwards as Dr Andrew Murcheson
Rowena Wallace as Karen Fields
Abigail as Donna Lewis
Sandra Lee Paterson as Dr Myfanwy Mckenna
Director: Terry Bourke
Writer: Robert Caswell
Producer: Ross Hawthorn
Executive Producer: Bill Harmon
Network and Production Companies: Channel 9 – Cash Harmon
Duration: 1×90 minute episode
Aired From: 1976
Australian Gangster (Channel 7 2018)
Australian Gangster is a crime drama that will have a distinctly modern vibe. No real plot details have been released as yet but it’s being talked of a grand tale of crime in Western Sydney where glitz and glamour vie with drugs and laundered money. The behind the scenes crew have impressive pedigrees – it’s been written by Gregor Jordan (of Two Hands fame) and Romper Stomper author Malcolm Knox.
Producer John Edwards said “Just as Two Hands was an oblique take on a familiar form a generation ago, Australian Gangster will be a genre-bending crime drama series – confronting, affronting, touching and often laugh-out-loud crazy.”
Filming will begin early next year in and around Sydney.
Writer: Gregor Jordan, Malcolm Knox
Producers: Dan Edwards, John Edwards
Director: Daina Reed
Network and Production Companies: Channel 7 – Roadshow Rough Diamond – Screen Australia – Create NSW – Red Arrow International
Duration: Not sure as yet
Aired From: In production
And The Big Men Fly (ABC 1973, John Hargreaves, Frank Wilson)
Comedy drama And The Big Men Fly saw a young farm lad becoming a big star of Aussie rules football, his special skills involve him playing barefoot. In 1981 there was a sequel called And Here Comes Bucknuckle.
Made in black and white
Writer: Alan Hopgood
Producer: Oscar Whitbread
Director: Keith Wilkes
Network and Production Companies: ABC
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 1973
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