Seminal writer / producer Jock Blair who produced classic Australian dramas Homicide and The Sullivans has died.
He began as a personal assistant to Graham Kennedy at GTV9, including writing occasional gags for the TV king, to scripting for Homicide, Division 4 and The Box. Hector Crawford made him a producer on Homicide, but writing took its toll and he decided to invite writers to assist in plotting each story.
Blair conceived and produced mega-hit The Sullivans and co-created Bluey, Skyways, and produced The Bluestone Boys, The Shiralee, Sara Dane, Golden Fiddles, Shadows of the Heart, Under Capricorn, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Grim Pickings, Paradise Beach, Tribe, The Violent Earth plus the films Robbery Under Arms and Playing Beatie Bow.
In addition to Crawford Productions he worked with the South Australian Film Corporation and PFTC / Screen Queensland, where he became the longest-serving staff member.
Producer Roger Simpson told TV Tonight, “We were both in our twenties in 1972 when Jock and I co-wrote “The Rape of Lennie Walker” – a two hour ‘special’ episode of Division 4. How’s that for a trusting producer? Hector Crawford was a true pioneer who luxuriated in risk – and gave Jock and me our starts. Nearly 50 years on, the only thing that stopped Jock writing was that ultimate critic who scripts our final notice. Jock leaves a mountain of credits and enduring friendships and loved every moment on this wild bucking bull they call the industry. Rest well my friend. With all my love to Joy and Molly. You will be remembered”.
Rick Maier, Head of Drama and Executive Production at 10 said, “You could hear Jock way before you ever saw him. It was the loudest most infectious laugh in television. An incredible influence on so many writers, directors and producers. A huge loss.”
Fremantle Head of Scripted Jo Porter said, “As a writer himself Jock Blair was a true creative producer, an incredible and generous mentor to so many and I feel very lucky to have worked with him early in my career. Jock was a wonderful story teller with a wicked self-deprecating humour – his favourite stories often involved the loves of his life his wife Joy and their children – and maybe the odd glass of red.”
Screenwriter Bevan Lee said, “Another one of the greats from the Crawford’s trained stable of television creatives is gone. Jock was not only a skilled practitioner, he was a true gentleman. I still remember him with the respect and fondness he earned in our time of working together.”
TV historian Andrew Mercado said, “My first job in television was on Paradise Beach working for Jock Blair and what a lovely experience that was. Jock was approachable, easygoing and loved to wander around the sets and backlot armed with a cheeky smile and a Marlboro cigarette. It was clear he loved making television and would throw open the doors of his own home for crew parties. Am thinking of his wife Joy and family at this very sad time.”
Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner said, “Jock gave a lot to the industry. He was an accomplished writer and producer. His first love was always writing and working with writers. He devoted a lot of his time to helping young writers master the craft of writing for television.”