An In Memoriam card accompanied last night’s credits on Neighbours, acknowledging his years helming the series from 1988 to 1992.
Battye also worked as writer, script editor and producer on many Crawfords and Grundys productions, including The Box, Division 4, Homicide, Chopper Squad, Bellamy, The Restless Years, Waterloo Station, Possession and Bluey.
Battye succeeded Neighbours creator Reg Watson in 1988.
He once told perfectblend.net, “Neighbours was in excellent condition when I took over from Reg, and my aim was to simply keep it as healthy as possible.
“I started out as an actor at the age of nine and continued acting until my early twenties, during which time I’d begun writing for theatre. Eventually employed by Crawford Productions in Melbourne as a writer for television, I became a script editor and ultimately, a producer. In 1977, I moved to Sydney to join Grundy Television, where I remained until 1995 as Senior Vice President of Drama Development.”
He co-composed the theme song to Sons and Daughters, and wrote numerous stage musicals, including Prisoner Cell Block H: The Musical and childrens pantomimes at the Alexander Theatre.
In more recent years he lived in The Philippines, continuing to compose music.
Rick Maier, Head of Drama, Network TEN said, “It is with great sadness we note the passing of our friend Don Battye. A prolific producer and writer, Don was highly respected throughout the industry, both for his work with Crawford Productions and Grundy Television. As Executive Producer of Neighbours (1988 to 1992) and many other popular shows for TEN, he may well have launched a thousand careers. Generous with his time and his knowledge, Don will always remain one of the best.”
Jason Herbison Executive Producer of Neighbours said, “Don was a true legend in the Australian television industry. Those of us who knew him will remember his brilliant mind, his clever wit, his warm friendship and his generous mentorship. Neighbours, and indeed many other programmes, owe him a huge debt and we remember that today.”