The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia on May 21, 1987 · Page 47
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia · Page 47

Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 21, 1987
Page 47
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11 Thursday 21 May 1987 Green Guide THE BARTONS, a 12-part children's series in production for the ABC and expected to go to air in 1988, has nothing to do with convicts, nostalgia or the Bicentennial celebrations. Nor does it carry any heavy moral messages. It simply aims to be a light-hearted program about children, for children, that children can identify with and enjoy. The Bartons is a contemporary series about the everyday lives of a family of children and their friends and neighbors in a middle-class Australian suburb, seen through the eyes of a fairly normal 1 1-year-old girl, Elly Barton. It may sound like a junior version of Neighbors, but its producer. Jenifer Hooks, says that it is "neither soap nor satire". "There are no heavy issues like death or divorce. It is a contemporary drama with a lot of humor, about how kids grow up in suburbia. It deals with the issues of children's lives, their friendships, and the ac- C GENERATION DIED tion going on around their neighborhood. It is different to soap in that soap usually finds its drama in unnecessary human conflict. This is about a normal intact family. People don't fight much in it. It is, you could say, more refined than a soap." Robert Barton, the father (Frank Holden). is an upwardly mobile bank accountant. His wife (Jennifer Jarman-Walker) stays at home and looks after their four children and is happy doing that. Is there a message there? Of course there is, says Jenifer Hooks. "It is that looking after four children is a demanding but exhilarating job. As it happens, now that the youngest is seven, Mrs Barton is thinking of getting a part-time job, but the family aren't all that keen on the idea yet." None of the child actors in The Bartons has had any prior professional acting experience. Before finding the cast, the producers went through all the agencies and screened "hundreds of kids". In the end. letters were sent out to schools and the response "almost blew up the ABC switchboard". Then it was a matter of going around the schools interviewing, "workshop-ping", and screen-testing the applicants. Olivia Harkin, who plays Elly Barton, is an 11-year-old from Eltham College: Elly's best friend Anita is played by Rosemary Smith, also 11, who goes to PLC; Anthony, the oldest of the Barton children, is played by 16-year-old Michael O'Reilly, who goes to a Catholic boys' school in St Kilda; Paul is played by Matthew Day, a 15-year-old student at Princes Hill High School; and seven-year-old Douglas is played by Ben Toovey, who is nine and a student at the Ripponlea primary school. Jenifer Hooks said that having found the person to play the main role of Elly. it was then necessary to find other children who looked similar enough to make the family believable. Ms Hooks, who spent five years as a producer of SlilrPs Neighborhood and produced two of the Kaboodle series, said working with children without any acting experience was more difficult initially, but the children learned to fit into their roles very quickly. While they enjoy their acting experience, they are "definitely not encouraged to think of it as a future career," she said. The environment of the Barton children is Banksiawood. in the eastern suburban sprawl. This week, the crew was filming an episode called 'Elly Barton Saves the World' in which Elly, having seen a film of the Bob Geldof concert to aid the hungry, decides to hold a billy-cart rally among the local children to raise money for the same purpose. While this makes her sound unusually selfless for an 11-year-old, Peter Dodds, one of the directors of The Bartons, says that although Elly might seem something of a social crusader, she has "a healthy sprinkling of self-interest". Much of the filming is done from low angles as in a child's-eye view, and the dialogue the children use is the kind of scatalogical, truncated speech that real children use, he said. What The Bartons is not, however, is impossibly cute or twee, he says. It is made for children, but there is absolutely nothing in it that would make an adult sick. p:e:r;s:o:n;a l c o.m'p u ie r SHOW Eeatwvs in a special Tabloid Ljf tout in THE ACE on Erua29Alax IS7 The stage for this year's mammoth sales push will be the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne where the 9th Australian Personal Computer Show will be held from 31st May 3rd June. Compiled by 'Age' writers and authorities within the industry, this supplement will preview the show, highlight products and outline their professional and private application. Here's an ideal opportunity to help your company capture its share of an expanding market. By advertising, you will 'talk to' in a single day those prime executives involved in office equipment purchasing decisions. Consider the following: Biiiiksi V'ftunan Ths Age Trie S'jn Tfie Hfc'oiJ Tfie ec:SMn. potential reac'iesf reacntst reacrtssT Australian makers' (Victor) re-itfiesT Personal combers 78.000 51 26"i 24v: 12; Other computers, ot Computer peripherals 63.000 49 23 "4 26 11 Other Gtr.ce equ.pment 108.000 49 34 25 11 "Personally taken part in a business-decision to buy an item worth at least $1200. t Average Monday-Friday issue. Source Morgan Readership Survey October 1935-September 1986. Here's a chance to grab more business. See below for booking details. Phone or write to Christine Bell, 'The Age', 250 Spencer St., Melbourne. 3000. (03) 600 4211, Ext. 2617. AGE R 1 flPBillilifer7 I TEAC I r 1 TUNER I 1 TURNTABLE fMtures Mfi0 AM .- - m Ff4lirp holt H-' ip ' M mention. , r, .fajMftBBaMBB ' -fZrym rnoto Acto rl-iL't'-f nw-'if rn c and itll Sll '"e am ,"Kl'6n' if'Mo!,""1 I M ""S&'Se ,. .- g ' toliajm and magnetic J II -gSBBfc y J AMPLIFIER f " GRAPHIC features IOC Watts I EQUALISER RMS uf clean power 1 I" Five band grDPic oulpul f'ra inputs M equaliser a"'jv.s you for CD .incl video. 3 1 to tailui the sound facility to mn 4 jj " fiom any source to speakers attfc AS 8 IS " J33tou. SUSSi ; suit your ott sound si.iian-'i s jl TSjti ffiffjgffi Q II requirements jjjl i J25" mml0 CASSETTE DECK fil . COMPACT DISC Twin rassette system IJ New model features tAMm if ggBBsEfiOffiS"" fuSSsfc'p li;;h speed Dolhy m -.;--l3 and search facility, noise induction. Jl -k I Full digital display cont-iiiaui play t lr'.$&t$ I Ix shows track number funftton and auto S : lffijjpji I ' '''" SPEAKERS 1 1 HiS f II n- I laaer speaker system .vitr. 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