Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

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Westengland
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Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Westengland »

Listings of Australian produced television dramas on IMDb, in particular single plays, from the beginnings of regular broadcasting in 1956 to around twenty years later, have begun to become more comprehensive in the last year. This appears to be largely the work of one person, working from data available on the internet.

Although they have got titles and dates of first transmissions largely correct, they have left out a lot of writers, directors and producers and almost all studio crew members. Several cast credits of actors have been put up but mostly without characters portrayed added. There are various indications that the lister is unfamiliar with the sources available for Australian programme information and they are also unaware that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has only been known by that name since 1 July 1983, being the Australian Broadcasting Commission for exactly fifty-one years before that.

Nevertheless, the IMDb TV listings are an important, simple to access, reference to plays, serials and series produced by ABC-TV and the commercial channels in Australia. People with information to add to the listings, including credits and titles, will help to make them comparable to the better UK and USA IMDb listings.

The first couple of decades of television play production in Australia, was, in its own way, as interesting and important as the well-known histories of UK and US television drama from the same period. Its history has been neglected both outside and inside Australia - and, unfortunately, the networks' programme junking was even worse than in the UK, meaning that there's little surviving to actually see now - so there is a lot to do just establishing the what?, when?, where? and who? of the programmes before considering the how? and the why?
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Andy Marriott »

If you have relatives in Australia have them purchase and send you the DVD releases of Homicide and Division 4. Bloody brilliant stuff, but not available for export!

Homicide in particular is interesting, a rather primitive production. The usual mix of studio VT and film. Unlike most UK series it exists as VT not telerecording.
The quality is stunning. I believe that Australia started with 625, but with much the same tech that we had here. To see pictures in such high def from those old early 60's cameras is very odd!

More info about early Aussie tv is most welcome...
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Simon Mclean »

Oh, is there a DVD of Division 4? Excellent! Now, how to get a copy....?
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Westengland »

Yeah, Homicide and Division 4 were important series for Australian television as they showed how to develop a specifically Australian version of the TV Police Procedural series. Surprising that neither was shown on UK television (AFAIK) during their runs and both could have been/should be good choices for retro programming on a UK digital supplementary channel.

Australia had some disadvantages starting public television broadcasting in the mid-nineteen fifties, including having no twenty+ years public TV back-history as the BBC did, neither did it have any experienced staff at first, having to include UK and US immigrants with the early production teams; it also had some advantages, such as the expected knowledge of predecessors' mistakes and successes and being able to start with 625 TV transmissions.

Australia also had (and has) a different public broadcasting and commercial broadcasting set-up. Television first started to be broadcast free-to-air by a commercial station, TCN9 (which became Channel 9) in September 1956, ABC following at few weeks later as did other commercial companies. The commercial channels were city (ie state capital) stations to begin with, whereas the ABC, although restricted to Sydney and Melbourne at first, followed its brief of being Australia's national broadcaster (as with the USA, Canada, Germany and other federal countries, "national unity" is behind many state policies, including the media).

As this is a thread about IMDb listings for Australian TV drama, if you can, why not add any worthwhile information, including reviews, to the listings of the Australian programmes you know about.
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Westengland »

Here, as an example, is a selection of plays broadcast by ABC-TV in one year, 1964. They were shown on Wednesdays, almost all starting at 8:30 in the evening. I have not listed any plays with Australian subjects or by Australian writers (except for A Season In Hell as it cross-references to Pat Hooker's Ashes To Ashes notice) nor buy-ins from the BBC or ITV in order to show the range of drama produced in this one TV play slot:

The Giaconda Smile, Aldous Huxley - 1/1/64
A Man For All Seasons, Robert Bolt - 15/1/64
I Have Been Here Before, J. B. Priestley - 29/1/64
A Season In Hell, Patricia Hooker - 1/4/64
Hamlet, William Shakespeare - 22/4/64 (repeat - first broadcast on 17/6/59)
The Road, Nigel Kneale - 17/6/64
The Physicists, Friedrich Dürrenmatt - 8/7/64
Nude With Violin, Noel Coward - 15/7/64
Luther, John Osborne - 22/7/64
The Four-Poster, Jan de Hartog - 12/8/64
Six Characters In Search Of An Author, Luigi Pirandello - 19/8/64
The Sponge Room, Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall - 9/9/64
A Provincial Lady, Ivan Turgenev - 23/9/64
A Local Boy, Alun Owen - 21/10/64
The Typewriter, Jean Cocteau - 18/11/64
Everyman, Anonymous - 23/12/64

What is remarkable about the single plays produced on Australian television (mostly, but not exclusively, by the ABC) in its first twenty years (1956-1976), quite apart from their range and quality, as far as can be judged, is how little they have been discussed and written about in the years since - even in Australia, it seems. The above brief selection, of one year's production, may be the only current list of any kind of Australian television plays readily available.

There are some details about most of the plays on IMDb and further information will be added for all of them and the other Australian TV single dramas on IMDb.
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Simon Coward »

Westengland wrote:Surprising that neither was shown on UK television (AFAIK) during their runs and both could have been/should be good choices for retro programming on a UK digital supplementary channel.
The latter is a fair point, but in Division 4's case it was probably too late - a black-and-white series just as both BBC and ITV were changing to colour, although that wouldn't have affected the last few dozen episodes.

One other thought: there may well have been exceptions, which I will be embarrassed to have forgotten, but I struggle to remember any imported drama in the 1960s and 1970s which wasn't made on film. Both Homicide and Division 4 were, like most British detective series of the 60s and 70s, taped in the studio with inserts filmed on location. Perhaps that counted against them here.
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Simon Coward »

Westengland wrote:What is remarkable about the single plays produced on Australian television (mostly, but not exclusively, by the ABC) in its first twenty years (1956-1976), quite apart from their range and quality, as far as can be judged, is how little they have been discussed and written about in the years since - even in Australia, it seems. The above brief selection, of one year's production, may be the only current list of any kind of Australian television plays readily available.
It's a point, but with the exception of Patricia Hooker's play, all of the plays you listed were also produced for British television, some more than once. But how many of those productions are or have been discussed and written about over here?
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Westengland »

The plays produced for UK television single-play series - The Wednesday Play,Play For Today, Armchair Theatre, Theatre 625 and their series have been written and talked about since they were first broadcast, as, increasingly, are other play series. The development of internet groups (such as The Mausoleum Club) means they are slowly being discussed by a bigger, international, audience.

Of the 1964 ABC plays I listed above, Kneale's Road has been a subject on the MC and elsewhere. If the titles broadcast in the period I've drawn attention to (1956-1976) were better known outside Australia then they would have no doubt picked up discussion references of one kind or another.

I don't know why Australian broadcasting historians haven't done more to research and publicise what's been produced on Australian TV and Radio, as opposed to histories of the mediums, the ABC and the commercial stations; the subject is still developing there but I would have thought the single plays, to remain with my example, would have been an prime choice for local study in Australia and being brought to the notice of the international television world.

An example: without exception, AFAIK, all the supposedly "definitive" (sic) print listings of Shakespeare TV plays published by the elect group of Shakespeare scholars in the UK and USA (albeit not one known for its ability to comprehend the world outside its tight little in-group) have ignored English-language TV Shakespeare produced in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the Commonwealth.

Independent historians and collectors in Australia seem mostly concerned with individual series and programmes. There is a need for the kind of programme and company research work and publication that's become an established discipline in The UK - amongst other things, the Australians need an OzKaleidoscope (a chance for some brand exporting?).

One sub-genre nobody seems to have picked up on is Australian-set television dramas made in the UK, all with largely Australian actors and crews, either ex-pats or visitors, of which there were enough to justify some study today.

As for versions of UK television plays broadcast on other countries: there is an interesting Canadian example: the alternative dramatisation of The First Night Of 'Pygmalion' shown on CBC in 1975, after a BBC version in 1969 (see thread on those programmes).
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Simon Coward »

Westengland wrote:The plays produced for UK television single-play series - The Wednesday Play,Play For Today, Armchair Theatre, Theatre 625 and their series have been written and talked about since they were first broadcast, as, increasingly, are other play series. The development of internet groups (such as The Mausoleum Club) means they are slowly being discussed by a bigger, international, audience.
But that's not what you said initially - you seemed to be implying that the Australian ones were not discussed but the British ones are and had been for some time. But the Kneale play is about the only one from your list that's had much of a mention on MC, for instance, and that's mainly because it's Kneale, not for any other reason.

I think the problem with the list was that most of the plays on it were not television plays first, they were stage plays first and adapted for television. And usually, I certainly wouldn't claim 'always', it's the original productions in the plays series you mention which get the bulk of the discussion and the analysis, not the adaptations.

I would have thought that different productions of the same written-for-television play are few and far between, particularly in this country, but whether that's true internationally I don't know and it may well be that countries who were later to television than we (or the Americans) were used that situation to their advantage and were able to re-make existing television plays more often than we ever did.

I do know that a small number of Rod Serling television plays, including "Noon on Doomsday", "Come in Razor Red" (a.k.a "The Strike"), "The Rank and File" (all these from Armchair Theatre) and "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (Sunday Night Theatre) were re-made for British television, but they were most definitely the exception.
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by stuartfanning »

Cash and Company, the Aussie Bushranger series from the 1970's, is getting its first DVD release anywhere in April 2014 from Umbrella Entertainment.

http://www.umbrellaent.com.au/p-3859-cash-company.aspx

Was aired here Sundays in London (LWT). Here is the open and first scene, from an episode, which may jog some memories.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4I5Xem5apU
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by fatcat »

Westengland wrote:Yeah, Homicide and Division 4 were important series for Australian television as they showed how to develop a specifically Australian version of the TV Police Procedural series. Surprising that neither was shown on UK television (AFAIK) during their runs and both could have been/should be good choices for retro programming on a UK digital supplementary channel.
Division 4, Jonah, Delta (and I think?) Homicide did have regional showings in the UK by a few companies.Along with some take up of the soap Bellbird
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by murphy1961 »

Andy Marriott wrote:If you have relatives in Australia have them purchase and send you the DVD releases of Homicide and Division 4. Bloody brilliant stuff, but not available for export!

Homicide in particular is interesting, a rather primitive production. The usual mix of studio VT and film. Unlike most UK series it exists as VT not telerecording.
The quality is stunning. I believe that Australia started with 625, but with much the same tech that we had here. To see pictures in such high def from those old early 60's cameras is very odd!

More info about early Aussie tv is most welcome...

I don't know why the DVD releases for Homicide, Division 4 and the other Crawford shows are so hard to get, even here in Australia you have to buy them on-line. Why they don't export them I don't know, you would think they would allow them to be sold in shops and overseas to get the greatest exposure, I would have thought it was a rather small market for them and the more accessible they were to potential buyers the better. They've just released Vol 7 (Eps 157 to 182) of Homicide so they must be selling OK, I can't be the only one buying them. Hopefully Matlock Police will soon follow.

Regarding early Aussie TV series up to 1977 (not plays or serials/soaps) there is a website called TV Eye that has a lot of info.

http://www.classicaustraliantv.com/
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Ben M »

Most coverage of Australian television is dominated by the soaps and the mini-series.

I wonder if someone somewhere has a complete episode guide to the likes of Cop Shop and Carson's Law.

And the reluctance of Crawford's to sell their DVDs overseas is inexplicable.
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by The Black Nun »

The music to Division 4 is burned into the fabric of my brain. The title sequence was always the cue for my parents to send me to bed.

Never actually seen an episode though.
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by stuartfanning »

stuartfanning wrote:Cash and Company, the Aussie Bushranger series from the 1970's, is getting its first DVD release anywhere in April 2014 from Umbrella Entertainment.

http://www.umbrellaent.com.au/p-3859-cash-company.aspx

Was aired here Sundays in London (LWT). Here is the open and first scene, from an episode, which may jog some memories.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4I5Xem5apU
The follow up series: Tandarra is being released by Umbrella in May 2015.

http://www.dvdwarehouse.com.au/tandarra ... 10729.html
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by Jezza »

Is it called "Homicide: Life on the Street", if so, it's going dirt cheap on Amazon! (in the used and new section)
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Re: Australian Television Drama Listings - IMDb

Post by paul.austin »

The loss of most of Channel 10's "Number 96" is really tragic. Specially since the B/W episodes were much more daring and "edgy". Ten, Seven, and Nine really regret junking most of their pre late seventies programming (across all genres). Some stuff has been recovered from early domestic recordings but only a tiny percentage relative to what was junked.
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