The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on February 29, 1988 · Page 14
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia · Page 14

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Monday, February 29, 1988
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Page 14
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THE AGE, Monday 29 February 1988 Arts & Entertainment Edited by MICHAEL SHMITH The king The deal that will bring Graham Kennedy back to night-time television on the Nine Network was put to Kennedy's management last Monday; by late Friday night, it was signed and sealed. Considering how strenuously Kennedy has resisted other attempts to woo him back to the medium that he made famous, it was ridiculously simple. "But things can happen like that sometimes in this business," he sairL "The ideas that take months to get t gether never come off, whereas spur-oft the-moment things just fall into place. This deal could-even have been signed earlier, but there was a bit of haggling over some of my requests. A dressing room with a lavatory was no problem, but the helicopter for my exclusive use seven days a week took more than a little negotiating." Although Nine is being coy about precise details of the new Kennedy program, it is clear that it will be a late-night show, probably five mights a week at 10.30 pm in direct opposition to Clive Robertson's 'Newsworld on Channel 7 and the new Don Lane program, 'Late Night Australia', on Channel 10. It would not be a surprise if it turned out to be almost identical to 'News-world' because Graham Kennedy has already had a trial run at such a program, courtesy of Seven, in 1985; he filled in as host of that network's morning news show '11 AM'. His often irreverent comments on the news and a general refusal to maintain a pose of high decorum was a precursor of what Clive Robertson does now. Asked if the new show on Nine would be an '1 1 AM', but 1 1 ft hours later, Graham pointed out that he was unable to discuss details of the program. But he did agree that the format appealed to him. He said that his stint with '11 AM' had been "a most enjoyable, successful experience" and he said he had once joked to Seven executives that if Robbo ever committed suicide ("which he is always threatening to do, but he never keeps his promises"), he might be interested in taking over 'Newsworld. In more serious vein, Kennedy suggested that Nine's reluctance to divulge details of the show at this early stage might have something to do with the "rare deal" the network has found itself committed to. "Perhaps they are being skittish because of my unusual contractual requests. Under the terms of this rare deal, there is to be a dry-run of the show for a week before it goes to air. If, for any reason, I don't wish to continue with it, I can withdraw during this dummy Children's rid of the TELEVISION often gets childhood and adolescence wrong. It is easy to polarise things, so you have adults coming off as buffoons, constantly being trumped by their youngsters. Or you have the father-knows-best approach, which leads inevitably to mawkishness. 'The Bartons', I am delighted to say, gets it right under its inspired and sensitive producer, Jenifer Hooks. Here, at long last is a series that presents children as children: not collectively cutesy-pie little horrors with adult dialogue stuffed into their mouths, but pre- and postpubescent souls with all the atten-dent vices and virtues of their age group. Children with logic and charm, but also with fallibility, vulnerability, and (sometimes) wonderfully appalling bad taste. 'The Bartons', which begins on Channel 2 tonight at 5 pm, could so easily have been the sort of series to make you squirm (the publicity material makes it sound like 'Son of Neighbours'). Consider the Barton family: mother (Jennifer Jarman-Walker), father (Frankie J. Holden) and their four children: two teenage sons, Anthony (Michael O'Reilly), Paul (Matt Day), one smarter little sister, Elly (Olivia Harkin), and the youngest, seven-year-old Douglas (Ben Toovey). They live among the nature-strips, brick-veneers and clear skies of an outer-suburban territory by the name of Banksiawood. That's it on the surface. Underneath, however, is a much more sophisticated, less slick approach that instead of building into small dramatic peaks (on commercial channels, these would occur every eight minutes), consists of a less jagged but just as effective storyline in which the most dramatic thing might be the proposed felling of a tree. No trumped-up urban angst here. 1 ' reclaims his crown Interview JIM MURPHY ---. Graham Kennedy: the money is not important. run. I can also leave the program if I wish after three survey periods. "I have asked for these conditions in fairness to both parties; I am well. on the way to being 60 years old (Kennedy was 54 on 15 February) and may not have the stamina to do what I did 30 years ago. Also, perhaps because of advancing years, I become bored easily. For instance, although I enjoyed hosting '11 AM' and was asked to continue with it, I found the two-month stint long enough. Same with the game show ('Blankety Blanks') I hosted on the Ten Network; once the ratings got into the 40s, the fun was over for me. In fact, two years of that was six months too long, I believe. "I don't want to be one of those hapless TV performers who, because their show has failed, get paid each week for doing nothing so as to fill out their time. Nine says they don't allow failure and will stick with something until it does work, no matter how long it takes. My reaction to that is: 'What happened to 'Willing And Abel' then?" " Kennedy said he believed that greater audience interest in late-night television had prompted the approach from Nine. "In the past, post-10 pm was considered an arid zone in Australian television, but now there's a worthwhile show gets schmaltz TeleScope MICHAEL SHMITH Take tonight's episode, 'The Siege of Bartons' Bathroom'. The plot is of ridiculous simplicity: Elly locks herself in the family's one and only bathroom as a protest against her father's intention to fell their large gum tree, home to her cubby; the job to be done by the Bartons' neighbor, Laurie, a chain-saw wielding fellow intent on arboricide. Elly's neat bit of urban-terrorism leaves all the family caught short, as it were. We see (is this a first for children's television?) a rear view of the three brothers adding to the garden's citrus-count. Endearingly, characters are sketched, rather than Xeroxed. By episode's end, Elly was pretty easy to assess: the thinking one. This was confirmed by the next episode I viewed (No.6, 'The Great Billycart Aid Race'), in which Elly develops her social conscience and organises a fund-raising event to help Bob Geldof feed the world. I did think, though, that the billycart was almost as out of date as the hula-hoop or the Nehru jacket. I also viewed the 11th episode, 'Suspect', which deals with the subject of homosexuality. Paul, who reads rather than plays sport, fails the "poofter test", set by Anthony, who decides to make a man of his brother. "Mum, what's a poofter?" asks Douglas, who has overheard. "A derogatory and rude word used to describe a man who is homosexual," comes the reply. I am not sure I want my young children to find out about homosexuality in quite this way, via television at five pm. 111 ' v. fit, audience at that time: some 20 to 25 ratings points worth of people. Indeed, the Winter Olympics has caused the HUT (Households Using Television) figure to jump into the 30s, suggesting to program directors that people will keep their TV receiver on later if you give them what they want What they want in 1988, apparently, is skating perhaps there's a fortune to be made by reviving aU those Sonja Henie movies!" Graham Kennedy is making his comeback to late-night television, which he ruled for Melbourne TVs first 13 years as host of 'In Melbourne Tonight', because the proposed format appeals to him, not because he has been restless to work or bored with "retirement" in his luxury high-rise apartment overlooking Sydney Harbor. Knocking back offers of television work (always lucrative, rarely inspiring) has been a continual chore since 'Blankety Blanks' finished almost a decade ago. He is in the enviable position of not needing to work to pay the rent or buy the groceries. "The money I will be receiving for doing the show is not all that important to me; but it is obviously important to newspaper proprietors, for they always seem to instruct their staff to ask. (A Sunday paper asked my manager, Harry M. Miller, if I was going back to work because I was in financial difficulty.) The emolument is similar to what I received in 1975 when I last worked for the Nine Network, although there's been a slight adjustment for inflation. "If this show goes ahead, I will have worked for three Nine owners Sir Arthur Warner, Sir Frank Packer and Alan Bond (who, as yet, hasn't had the sword). "The program will be seen on all Channel 9 stations and affiliates throughout Australia. It will emanate from Sydney's TCN9. 1 will be working with a co-host who can't be named because he's in Canada and mightn't have been told." Not Bert Newton, as had already been suggested? "Has it been suggested?" Kennedy said. "I find that surprising, in that Bert has expressed more than once a desire not to work for the Nine Network again. I am told that, for that reason, he wasn't even asked to participate in the 'Australia Day Live' show." Graham Kennedy said he did not know when the new show would begin, nor did he know the title of it ("though I imagine it will be called 'Graham Kennedy's something' "). "My only concern is that working weeknights means I will miss Robbo. I shall also miss Don but that won't be quite so much of a wrench." 7.00 Children's Programs. 10.0 School's Programs. Afternoon 12.00 EastEnders. (R) (S) 1.00 PGR. 1.10 Staying in Touch. 1.40 Hunter. 2.00 A New World For Sure. 2.30 Shakespeare Trilogy. 3.00 Sesame Street 3.55 Jimbo and The Jet Set 4.0 Play School. (S) 4.30 The New Adventures of Blinky Bill. 5.00 CO The Bartons. First of a new 12-part ABC children's series 5.30 You Can't Do That On Television. (R) Evening 6.00 Inspector Gadget Animated adventure series. (R) 6.30 Gems. British drama serial revolving around a fashion studio in Covent Garden. Alan and Maggie entertain and Paul has a visitor. With Cornelius Garrett and Steven Mann. 7.00 News, Sport, Weather. 7.30 The 7.30 Report Current affairs program with John Jost. 8.00 The Cavanaughs. US comedy series. Two of Kit's showbiz girlfriends disrupt the Cavanaugh household. With Barnard Hughes and Christine Ebersole. (G) 8.30 Mother And Son. Australian comedy series. Maggie, convinced that Arthur doesn't need her anymore, settles for a puppy who does. With Ruth Cracknell, Garry McDonald and Henri Szeps. (S) 9.00 Four Comers. Current affairs. With Andrew Olle. 9.45 Rubbery Figures. Return of the satirical puppet series created by cartoonist Peter Nicholson. 9.50 The Tracey Ullman Show. US variety series with comedienne, actress and singer Tracey Ullman. 10.15 News. 10.20 Blah Blah Blah. Youth series about the Australian entertainment scene. 11.50 Close. with JENNIFER KEYTE and GLENN TAYLOR Dance NEIL JILLETT Free By Four (Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Saturday) VARIETY, excitement, good dancing and the unexpected bonus of a new star rising out of the west You could not ask much more of a dance show, especially when admission is free (and not only for critics). But this summer evening of great entertainment by Australia's four senior regional dance companies also inspired a feeling of parochial chagrin. Mel-, bourne supplied the audience and the venue for the premiere, but all the talent came from elsewhere. We are without a company of a standard that could fit into this national dance celebration. As part of the Australian Bicentennial Authority's biggest dance project, 'Free By Four" is a curtain-raiser to 'Vast', which will go on national tour after a season beginning at the Palais, St Kilda, on Friday night 'Vast', choreographed by Graeme Murphy to a commissioned score by Barry Conyngham, will combine the 70 dancers of the four companies in one work. The Queensland Ballet was first on, with 'Summer' (a poolside wedding and party) and 'Winter1 (a rugby match) from 'The Four Seasons', choreographed by Jacqui Carroll to Vivaldi. This is light-hearted work, brightly costumed by John Nobbs, sparkles through a limited but never monotonous series of movements. Carroll's intentions are always clear, and her work is at its best in suggesting a sudden storm along city streets and in the Ocker exuberance (and foul play) of the football match.. Anthony Shearsmith made the most of opportunities for comic energy in the the match and in a bout of rough courtship, Queensland style, with Wendy Laraghy. The sporting theme continued in 'Black and Blue', performed by Murphy's Sydney Dance Company. This work, choreographed six years ago by the American Louis Falco, is full of punch and poignancy and bloody-nosed fun. Set to the rock of Harry Nils-son and Randy Newman oddly effective in its lack of aggression 'Black and Blue' is about the eternal triangle (Janet Vernon, Alfred Williams and Kim Walker) receiving a battering in the gymnasium and on the ropes. Falco's achievement is that, while stylising the steps, swipes and jabs of boxing, he never resorts to caricature or farce. And even when, as in the posturing, high-flying antics of the superb Paul Television F 6.00 Drak Pack. (R) 6.25 Mumbty. (R) 6.40 Cartoon Connection: Huckleberry Hound, New Fred and Barney Show, The Smurfs, Bicentennial Minutes, The Skatebirds. 9.00 Romper Room. 10.00 Ironside. (PGR) (R) 11.00 Eleven AM. Afternoon 12.00 FILM. Escape From Bahraine. 1961 adventure stars Yul Brynner and Sal Mineo. (PGR) (R) 2.00 Quincy M.E. US drama series. (PGR) (R) 3.00 Bewitched. US comedy series. (R) 3.30 Tom and Jerry. (R) 4.0 Wombat (C) 4.30 Lassie. (C) (R) 5.00 Wheel of Fortune. Quiz show. 5.30 Press Your Luck. Quiz show, hosted by Ian Turpie. (G) Evening 6.00 Home and Away. Australian drama serial. The antics of her young grandson are not at all what Floss had bargained for. (G) (S) Includes results of Tatts 2 Draw No. 1147. 6.30 News, Sport, Weather. 7.00 Hindi at Seven. Current affairs program. 7.30 A Country Practice. Australian drama serial about a rural community. Jo's friend is having more problems with his father; Alex and Terence announce their engagement. With Josephine Mitchell and Di Smith. (G) 9.30 Hunter. US detective series. Hunter and McCall spend a night in a remote mansion with a family of murder suspects. With Stepfanie Kramer, Fred Dryer. (AO) 10.30 Newsworld. Presented by Clive Robertson. 11.30 It Ain't Half Hot Mum. British comedy series with Michael Bates. (PGR) (R) 12.00 News Overnight All-night news transmission, including Today. 2.00 Daybreak. 4.00 Newsworld. (R) 5.00 Daywatch. By BARBARA HOOKS CO The Bartons. (2, 5pm). Mother and Son (2, 8.30pm). Winter Olympics Clos-ing Ceremony (9, 8.30pm). TV stars as follows: w worth considering excellent not to be missed Afternoon 3.00 TV Ed. 4.00 Vox Populi. (R) 4.30 Kaleidoscope. 5.00 The Smoggies. (C) 5.30 Legends of The World. Canadian series. Evening 6.00 Don Quixote. Cartoons. 6.30 World News. 7.00 Three Ladies and Their Hot Dog Stand. German series. 7.30 Nasser. Final of a new three-part British documentary on the life of the late President of Egypt as seen through the eyes of former newspaper editor Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, Nasser's close friend and advisor from 1952 to 1970. Tonight civil war in the Yemen; the brief union between Egypt and Syria; Nasser's arms deals with the Soviet Union; the death of the president 8.30 A Woman's Pale Blue Handwriting. Repeat of a two-part Austrian drama series about the difficulties experienced by the Jews in both Germany and Austria in the 1930s. 10.35 Global Report British documentary which takes an alternative look at 1987. 12.10 Close. (Girt Not Jov overcomes the tvrannv Hi Alfred Williams in 'Black and Mercurio, the choreography goes far beyond the repertoire of the ring, the choreography still retains its pugilistic mood. 'Quirkshuffle', choreographed by Leigh Warren and performed by the Australian Dance Theatre, of which he is artistic director, was the show's least successful item. It is a series of 1920s jazz dances put together as a tribute to Walt Disney's early cartoons. Although a pleasant enough piece, it seemed pallid in the context of the whole program. 'Quirkshuffle' would perhaps be at home in a small theatre; but its low-key comedy and fussy, Op-Art costumes were swamped by the size of the Bowl. The surprise of the program, and its most orthodox offering, was the finale, 'Allegro Brilliante', danced with flashy confidence by five couples of the West Australian Ballet Good reports of this company have drifted across the Nullabor; Garth 6.00 Early News. 6.30 Business Today. 7.00 Today. 9.00 Home Shopping Show. 9.30 Here's Humphrey. 10.00 Young Doctors. (R) 10.30 The Sullivans. 11.00 News. 11.30 Loving. (PGR) Afternoon 12.00 The Midday Show with Ray Martin. (PGR) 1.30 Days of Our Lives. (PGR) 2.30 The Young and The Restless. (PGR) 3.30 General Hospital. (PGR) 4.00 C'mon Kids. (C) 5.00 Crossfire. Quiz show. Hosted by Greg Evans. 5.30 The Addams Family. US comedy series. (B&W)(G)(R) Evening 6.00 News, Sport, Weather. 6.30 A Current Affair. Hosted by Jana Wendt. 7.00 Sal of The Century. Quiz show, with Tony Barber. (S) 7.30 The Cosby Show. US comedy series. Rudy learns a lesson when she tries to play Cliff and Clair against each other to get her own way. (G) 8.00 A Different World. US comedy series. Unorthodox tactics are used when Denise plays dating games; and Whitley runs for dorm monitor. With Lisa Bonet. (G) 8.27 Crime stoppers. 8.30 Winter Olympics. Coverage from Calgary. Events include, hockey, figure skating, speed skating, Nordic combined, bobsleigh, followed by The Closing Ceremony. Commentators: Mike Gibson, Darrell Eastlake, Jayne Tonill and Christopher Dean. 12.00 FILM. Once Upon a Spy. 1980 comedy stars Eleanor Parker. (PGR) (R) 1.55 FILM. Chamber of Horrors. 1966 drama stars Patrick O'Neal. (AO) (R) 3.55 FILM. The Gong Show Movie. 1980 drama stars Chuck Barns. (PGR) (R) 5.30 Gary Coleman Show. Cartoons. (R) Blue': full of punch and poignancy and Welch and Barry Moreland, his successor as artistic director, have been hailed as wonder-men for the standards they have inspired and polished. Yet over here we still think of Perth as producer of millionaires and cricketers rather than artists. On Saturday this first-rate little company showed how uninformed such thinking is. 'Allegro Brilliante', set to a fragment of Tchaikovsky's Third Piano Concerto, is a typical example of the great George Balanchine's bravura neoclassicism, dangerously fast and loaded with technical tricks. There were a few fluffs in this performance (though I would put them down to the particular peril of dancing to recorded music), and the Westralians, with their assorted shapes and sizes, did not look the ideal ensemble for Balan-chine. But it was still a performance of J 6.00 Daybreak. 6.30 Good Morning Australia. 940 Good Morning Melbourne. (PGR) 10.00 Fat Cat and Friends. 10.30 Day-watch. 11.00 Another World. (PGR) Afternoon 12.00 Santa Barbara. (PGR) 1.00 The Bold and The Beautiful. (PGR) 1.30 FILM. The FBI Story. 1974 drama stars Robert Foxworth. (PGR) (R) 3.30 Home Sweet Home. (PGR) 4.00 Ridgey Didge. (C) 540 MASH. (R) 5.30 Perfect Match. Quiz series, hosted by Cameron Daddo. Evening 6.00 News, Sport, Weather. 7.00 Neighbours. Australian drama serial. Paul and Gail make an unusual bet (S) 7.30 Tour of Duty. US drama series set during the Vietnam War. BRAVO Company is ordered to escort a group of villagers to a new location. With Terence Knox. (PGR) 8.30 FILM. The Stepford Children. 1987 science fiction. A recently married woman living in a suburb outside New York realises that her female friends seem to be too good to be true. It stars Barbara Eden and Don Murray. (AO) 10.30 Late Night Australia. Hosted by Don Lane. (PGR) 11.30 TJ. Hooker. US drama ' series. Hooker tries to pursuade a female priest to break her vow of silence and testify against the man who raped her. With William Shatner. (AO) 12.30 Melba. US comedy series about a black career woman who keeps in contact with the family who had employed her mother as a servant With Melba Moore. (PGR) 1.00 Night Shift Music videos, artist profiles. All-night transmission. (AO) 5.00 Marine Boy. Cartoons. (R) 5.30 Magical World of GigMR) IIP SE212 of distance iMMIIl bloody - nosed fun. which our national company, the Australian Ballet could have been proud. It brought the princely Ronnie Van Den Bergh back to Melbourne. He partnered Natasha Middleton, who left no doubt that she was the unheralded and unchallengeable star. She is a dancer with the sort of laser personality that transfixes an audience the second she comes on stage. She is a natural show-off, perhaps the most valuable talent a dancer can have, and she exploits it to invest her technical skill with a joyful enthusiasm. Indeed, enthusiasm, a determination to make sure the audience enjoyed watching as much as the performers enjoyed dancing, was the signature tune of the whole program. By putting on this show, by bringing together fine dancers from around the country, the ABA has proved that in the entertainment business, the tyranny of distance can occasionally be overcome. Carleton's joke on the media Review PAUL SPEELMAN R; ICHARD CARLETON ('60 Min utes', Channel 9, 7.30 pm) last night unveiled a stunning hoax he had pulled on his journalis tic colleagues in Sydney and, through them, the public. And he did it through a spirit named Carlos, a "channeller" (a medium), and the ready cooperation of 'A Current Affair. 'Terry WiUesee Tonight', the 'Today' show, radio and newspapers. (The papers got interested after Carlos threw a glass of water over George Negus on 'Today'.) All this publicity resulted in Carlos packing out a 500-capacity hall at the Opera House for his "one and only" Australian appearance, because the Australian media recognised, according to Carleton, as among the most cynical in the world failed to check facts and were totally hoodwinked. You see, Carlos and his ''channeller", and the entire Australian tour, were created by Carleton and an American cynic called Randy. They picked up their two principal actors off the streets, literally, and coached them; they used a trick to allow the "channeller" to lose his pulse each time his body was taken over by Carlos; they sent out elaborate but falsified press kits and set up press conferences; they organised the Opera House function. And not one cynical journalist twigged, not Michael WiUesee, not brother Terry, not George, no one; and that despite clues scattered by Carleton and Co: a video of an "interview" on a non-existent radio station in New York, and fake cuttings from fake US newspapers. Carlos and Co. had been sold as famous in the US and nobody checked. Carleton's elaborate hoax paid off spectacularly and provided a valuable lesson for everybody' in the media: check your facts. And I cant wait for next week when those duped will explain how. J,'

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