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ABC TV farewells Head of Publicity

When an ABC Head of Publicity says goodbye after 14 years, and recalls some of the damage control she's had to deal with.

lesnaABC TV farewelled Head of Publicity Lesna Thomas last night at a function at its headquarters in Ultimo.

Thomas (centre, in pink) leaves the ABC after 14 years in the role, during which time she has seen enormous change  from a single channel to multichannel broadcaster.

She thanked her staff, former staff, bosses, colleagues and journalists -many of whom were in attendance.

“I’ve worked under 3 MDs, 7 directors and 4 acting directors of television, and I’ve seen change galore,” she said.

“I’m tempted to do a ‘Confessions of the Head of Publicity’ routine as I’ve plenty of tales to tell. But I fear that’s not a good idea and it might be something I will regret. But I do have wonderful memories of working on great TV programmes with many talented people.”

She acknowledged the myriad of ABC departments she had worked with on a daily basis including Genre Heads, Commissioning Editors, Business Affairs, Classifiers, Programmers, Commercial Division, Accounts and Scheduling.

“I also have great memories of having to handle many issues and crises during that time. Just a few that come to mind are things like the worldwide frenzy that went on several 24 hour news cycles courtesy of The Chaser team, taking on the security surrounding George Bush, and dozens of other world leaders here for the APEC Summit.

“It ended up with them being arrested and charged.

“The infamous Chaser Make a Realistic Wish children’s cancer episode always will stay with me.”

There was the memory of a Summer Heights High plot where a lead character Annabelle Dixon resembling Sydney teenager Anna Woods who had tragically died at a Big Day Out concert.

“Even the names were similar, but the programme was in the can way before the Big Day Out was even staged. But the issue had to be dealt with.

“Then of course there was John Safran‘s re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ at Easter a couple of years ago.”

Four Corners investigations and 7:30 were also mentioned for “making us think about our society more.”

“But they all add up to the joys of working in such a creative, volatile,  and vital environment and I have to admit I’ve loved every minute of it.”

ABC is yet to announce a permanent replacement.

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