Vale: Mike Leyland

mlMike Leyland (pictured, right), who co-hosted the legendary Aussie travel show Ask The Leyland Brothers with his brother Mal has died, aged 68.

Leyland died of complications of Parkinson’s disease this morning.

The show ran on Australian television from 1976 until 1984, watched by more than 2.5 million people at its peak, but the two explorers and documentary filmmakers appeared on other travel shows on several networks through to the early 2000s. Mike started his career as a news cameraman at NBN.

On most of their programmes, the brothers would respond to viewer letters about far-flung places around the country, capturing their travels on a Super 8 camera in a show punctuated by its singalong theme tune. In either a Kombi van or a 4WD, the two were contemporaries of 1970s documentary bush trackers including Jack Absalom, Malcolm Douglas, Harry Butler, Alby Mangels and Les Hiddins.

The family success also spawned a magazine, and theme park north of Newcastle but its spiralling costs sent the brothers bankrupt in the early ’90s.

In 1980 the brothers were awarded the MBE for services to the film industry.

Mike Leyland is survived by his wife, Margie, his daughters and seven grandchildren.

Source: AAP,


  1. Sad to hear. While it wasn’t the best travel show on tv but it had a great aussie favour to it and was quite educational. Most importantly it was free of all the sponsored segments that saturate current travel shows. If they pitched their show today they’d only get support from Channel 31.

    Wasn’t there a more recent Leyland travel show with a daughter/son-in-law travelling around with the senior Leyland couple (May have been Mal)?

  2. The Leylands were like the precursors to Steve Irwin, but were more sensible
    in terms of what they got up to, but also far less charismatic and less financially successful and entrepreneurial as Irwin was.

  3. Very sad to read this, I remember watching these guys as a kid and absolutely loved every second of it. The brothers were excellent reporters and the show definitely ahead of it’s time. RIP Mike.

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