TEN Melbourne publicist Trish Ricketts passed away last week following a battle with cancer, aged 62.
Her association with TEN began in the late 1960s when she appeared as a contestant on Blind Date, hosted by Graeme Webb. After mentioning she would love to work in television she was offered a secretarial position at ATV-0 Nunawading.
With the exception of a brief period when she left TEN, only to return soon after, her entire adult working life was with one station, moving into Publicity where colleagues remember her as one who has seen it all.
News presenter Mal Walden told TV Tonight, “She was not only a very classy lady with a great sense of humour, she was also someone you could rely upon as a sounding board be it of a personal or professional nature. Knowing that she would respect your confidence was a great attribute in the competitive area of television, and it was that reputation built on fairness and trust that set her apart from the others.
“One her greatest assets was her knowledge of the industry and the fact that she survived so many years at TEN and so many trends over those years. That sort of experience publicity departments simply can’t buy these days.
“She was here for Prisoner, Neighbours, Holiday Island, the success of TEN’s hourly news with David Johnston and Jana Wendt and Jo Pearson, the arrival of Eddie McGuire, Bruce McAvaney, Steve Quartermain, the 80s with the blockbusters like Carson’s Law, Return to Eden, The Thorn Birds, Dismissal, Bodyline and Breakout, the 90s with The Comedy Company, the terrible time when we went into receivership and then The Simpsons-led revival into the nineties.
“She was very much of the ‘old school’ in manners, attitude, in everything. She came up through the ranks, she came up the hard way by being at the forefront of it all. She’s left behind a wealth of memories and many friends and a family who simply adored her.
“I met her in 1987 when she kind of took my hand after I was sacked from Seven in the Fairfax takeover, and she guided me through all the public backlash that followed that event which gave me a lot of support at the time,” said Walden.
In 2004 Ricketts assisted Walden with his ATV history book From the Word Go but neither realised until after publication one of the archival photos from 1967 dating series Blind Date was herself as a teenager.
“It was a coincidence that of all the pics taken from the publicity department at the time, that here was one of the very few pics that survived. So I got it framed for her and gave it to her as a gift,” he said.
“She looks a bit like Twiggy!”
Chief Programming Officer, David Mott said, “Trish was simply an extraordinary person who was the face of warmth and caring over her 30 years at TEN..and a bloody brilliant publicist!
“The stories she told of this industry and the ones she could….but didn’t.
“She loved the business and the business loved her. A consummate professional, an ‘old school’ publicist that could work a room as only Trish could!
‘She loved Australian dramas but she was the master of getting a pretty girl and a horse on the front page of a paper for years when we had the Melbourne Cup.
“Trish was truly a remarkable publicist, a classy lady who made an impression on all she came in contact with.
“We miss you Trish.”
TEN’s Melbourne Marketing and Publicity Manager Stephanie Bansemer-Brown said Ricketts knew how to work a room and how to engage with people, recognising the value of connecting with people on a personal level.
“She was a consummate professional. She was my friend, my colleague. When I came over to TEN as a kid she guided me and I would ask questions and she was just so wonderful. A truly generous person,” she said.
“She worked on basketball, racing, Good Morning Australia, co-ordinated Logies, she loved working with Dramas like After the Deluge and CrashBurn. And she did Celebrity Big Brother even though it challenged her. When Ice-T and girlfriend Coco were doing an Australian press tour she thought “They were a little bit alternative,” but she took it all in her stride.
“She was a beautiful person, a sensational publicist and one classy lady.”
Jo’an Papadopoulos, Network Head of Publicity, remembers her as, “A smart, sassy lady with a twinkle in her eye and a turn of phrase that packed a punch.
“Not everyone leaves a mark, an impression, an impact on this industry, Trish did all this and more. Publicity has lost a little fizz in the bubbly, she will be missed by us all, but certainly never forgotten.”
I would also like to add that Trish was an avid reader of TV Tonight. I will fondly remember her taking me under her wing during one crazy TEN function full of corporate sponsors, where I barely knew anybody. And her ‘old school’ ways of having a conversation with you about upcoming shows always left you remembering them and filing a story the next day.
A funeral will be held in Melbourne tomorrow.