We are just weeks away from honouring another industry legend into the Logies Hall of Fame.
As many readers know this site has campaigned long and hard for more women to be inducted, last year rewarded with Noni Hazlehurst’s honour. So we now have 2 women and 27 men represented.
Rather than stick to an old argument I thought I would broaden the wish list to those who deserve a nod, regardless of gender. In reality this year’s inductee is probably locked in.
But here are 10 suggestions that are still long overdue.
Ding Dong has been on Australian television since the late 1950s -and she still turns up for work on Studio 10 week in, week out, more than 50 years later. If sheer endurance isn’t her greatest asset, then it is surely her unassailable connection with heartland Australia and her knack for an honest punchline. She has been a barrel girl, go-go dancer, TV host, singer, actress, panelist and Gold Logie winner. Denise is an indelible, cherished part of Australian Television. #MakeThisHappen
Caroline Jones joined the ABC in 1963 and has never had worked for any other broadcaster in all that time. She was the first woman reporter on This Day Tonight, from 1968-72, and the first woman to anchor Four Corners, from 1972-81. She has been with Australian Story across its 20 year run, only stepping down late last year. The National Trust of Australia voted her one of Australia’s Living Treasures in 1997 and she was awarded an Order of Australia in 1988. The Hall of Fame still eludes her.
Generations of Australians grew up watching Daryl Somers as Nine’s next-gen of variety men following its roll-call of iconic Tonight show hosts. Aided by his longtime colleague Ernie Carroll, Somers kept us laughing for decades across Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Cartoon Corner and more, filling hours of Live TV without a script, to the amazement of international guests. He defied the odds and switched networks to make Dancing with the Stars a hit. How is he not in the Hall of Fame alongside Graham, Bert, Mike and Don is anybody’s guess.
Ask any female TV journo and they will tell you, Jana Wendt is just about always top of their list of iconic Australian presenters. Rising from a TEN News presenting gig to becoming the first female reporter on 60 Minutes, she became known for her tough “perfumed steamroller” interviews. She continued to captivate us on A Current Affair from 1988 – 1992 before later roles on Sunday, Dateline, Witness and the ABC. If there is anybody who could walk back into TV and command our attention it’s Jana.
A TV survivor, KAK has grown up on screen since first appearing in Queensland in 1967 -and she still doesn’t have a Logie! Those years on Good Morning Australia for a decade embedded her in our hearts across the country, and into infamy when parodied mercilessly by Gina Riley. Hosting Midday, her own self-titled morning shows for Nine, KAK loves to be spontaneous, just ask anyone from Peter Costello to John Stamos, and makes it all look so effortless. In recent years she has endured her own personal challenges, sharing her pain but staying classy. God bless KAK.
It’s not just TV stars who get inducted into the Hall of Fame, but sometimes TV shows too. TEN’s ground-breaking soap starring a parade of female actors (most of them without make-up) was an instant hit at home and abroad, where US fans held a public wake over the death of Franky Doyle. The parade of characters, Bea, Doreen, Lizzie, Vinegar Tits and The Freak live on in Foxtel’s Wentworth drawing in a new generation of fans.
Reg Grundy isn’t the only Reg we have to thank for classic Australian TV. Writer Reg Watson, now aged 90, created The Young Doctors (1976), Glenview High (1977), The Restless Years (1977), Prisoner (1979), Sons and Daughters (1981) and Neighbours (1985) -plus a few more to boot. TV Week has sold millions of magazines off the back of Reg Watson soaps. Time to show some gratitude on behalf of us all.
Producers don’t come much more prolific than the man behind Love My Way, Puberty Blues, Offspring, Rush, Tangle, The Secret Life of Us, Police Rescue, The Beautiful Lie, Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War, Paper Giants: Birth of Cleo and more.
It’s been 13 years since the Hall of Fame last inducted a TV executive, more recently preferring the “sexier” path of TV star. When it chanes course it need look no further than former Seven drama boss John Holmes. He was Head of Drama from 1994 – 2011. Under his helm he has executive produced a raft of Seven productions, many of them produced internally, including Blue Heelers, Home and Away, All Saints, Last Man Standing, Packed to the Rafters, City Homicide, Winners & Losers and Wild Boys. His longtime collaborator Bevan Lee would arguably be next in line.
Can we induct an entire team? How else do you separate Rob Sitch, Santo Cilauro, Jane Kennedy, Tom Gleisner, and producer Michael Hirsh whose extraordinary output of comedy and light entertainment has hooked us for decades: Frontline, The Panel, Thank God You’re Here, The Hollowmen, All Aussie Adventures and the odd hit film to boot. Living up to their name, this year they are flat out with Utopia, Have You Been Paying Attention? and a 15 year revival for All Aussie Adventures. Always quitting while they are on top, this team knows how to keep us wanting more.
TV historian Andrew Mercado agreed the gender imbalance still has a lot of ground to make up.
“Considering how few women are in the Hall of Fame, both Kerri-Anne and Denise Drysdale are overdue for recognition. Between them, they have each chalked up more hours of live TV than most blokes – and neither shows any sign of slowing down. Denise has deservedly won two Gold Logies already but it’s a crime that KAK still doesn’t have one,” he said.