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Magic has conquered the adolescent world of cinema entertainment,
writes Peter Craven.
SO NOW WE HAVE Eragon, the most recent in the line of fantasy
spectaculars that have made the transition from book to big screen
and laid claim to the attention of everyone from nine to 90 for the
simple reason that the teenage audience rules and fantasy has
conquered the teens.
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise is one of the mightier things
in the world, for a while there a Lord of the Rings opening was as
regular a fixture as the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, and then we
had Narnia, with its witch and wardrobe and lion who talked like God.
In Eragon we have a cute dragon called Saphira, who talks like a
girl (the attractive tones of Rachel Weisz), presenting herself to
young Eragon (Edward Speleers), who is destined to become a dragon
rider and free the land of the dark tyrannical reign of King
Galbatorix - the great John Malkovich, no less - and his evil
magician lieutenant Durza (Robert Carlyle).
In the process of becoming a hero Eragon must be apprenticed to the
old dragon rider Brom, who is played with consummate courtliness and
toughness by Jeremy Irons. There is an imprisoned maiden Arya, a
black lord Ajihad, who represents the forces of light, and Murtagh,
a boy descended from the forces of darkness who turns out to be good.
Eragon derives from a book published in 2004 by Christopher Paolini,
who was 15 when he started writing it. It and its successor Eldest
form the first two parts of a dragon trilogy, not yet completed,
which should have the now 23-year-old Paolini flying through the
world's bestseller charts and fuelling the next two movies with
enough sorcery for the fantasy to create its own El Dorado.
Eragon the film is a bit more likely to cast its spell if you're
nine rather than 90. Despite the best efforts of Jeremy Irons and
the endearing way the whole thing is in Lord of the Rings-
style "British" English, the plot is a bit jerkily adapted.
But Eragon does have a girl dragon, a blonde and modest male hero
and a couple of knights of stage and screen keeping up the classical
decorums of chivalry and villainy.
It's worth stopping to wonder at how the strange phenomena of
fantasy came to conquer the adolescent world of cinema
entertainment. For a while you could see every variety of suburban
kid sitting enthralled as someone such as Sean Bean or David Wenham,
replete with Dark Age clobber and leggings appropriate to the worlds
of hobbits and Mordor, said something like "Dark is the day and the
night comes on" in what turned out to be Peter Jackson's 10-hour
adaptation of Tolkien's epic.
Fantasy, through Peter Jackson and J.K. Rowling between them, has
created a kind of instant traditionalism. Dark Materials, Stephen
Pullman's epic about the good and evil continuum, is about to become
a film cycle with Nicole Kidman in the ensemble.
There was Lemony Snicket with Jim Carrey and Australia's Emily
Browning. Prince Caspian is about to be filmed. Things are under way
with a Jackson-less Hobbit. It's hard to imagine that cinema won't
eventually encompass everything from Artemis Fowl (the Irish Harry
Potter) to George MacDonald's 19-century sequence The Princess and
How did all this happen? For a long time when kids were growing up
they went from The Wind in the Willows and The Magic Pudding and the
Narnia books to the Famous Five and from there to whatever: Sherlock
Holmes or escape stories of World War II, Agatha Christie. After
that, Lord of the Flies, George Orwell, Holden Caulfield, the whole
The things of childhood - in particular fairies and dragons - were
put away until people had kids of their own.
One thing that intervened was the hippie rediscovery of Lord of the
Rings in the late 1960s, and it's not hard to imagine that this
worked like a drug in the water supply until it found its
directorial interpreters such as Peter Jackson or its supremely
successful popularisers such as J.K. Rowling, who could combine
wizardry with Enid Blytonism.
In the meantime it helped that George Lucas could put chivalry into
space with the first wave of Star Wars films in the 1970s and maybe
the creeping supernaturalism of a great popular writer such as
Stephen King who became the Agatha Christie of his age also helped
Not that fantasy is horror. Fantasy is about the triumph of the good
and the dream of restoring order. Kids like fantasy because it
carries them back to the Christian bedrock on which our civilisation
is based or to the tremendously articulated forests of folklore that
interpenetrated it and grew up around it. Even when the vision is of
the Devil's Party, as in Pullman's Dark Materials, it's a still
version of Paradise Lost.
It's not the only way of conceiving the world, of course, but kids
could do worse than lions that roar in the name of the Good and
dragons that breathe fire and speak in the voices of girls.
Eragon is now showing.
December 16, 2006
It may not have the perkiness of "Babe," that hoof-warming winner of
1995, but "Charlotte's Web" -- another movie featuring an
animatronic pig -- plays to its biggest strength: the magic of a
good story simply told.
E.B. White's children's book -- starring Wilbur the curly-tailed
runt, his human friend Fern and that spinner of silky acclamations ,
Charlotte -- has been charming kids into bed since Dwight Eisenhower
was president. Those kids, who passed it along to their children,
can rest assured the movie, featuring Dakota Fanning and an off-
screen cast that includes Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey and Robert
Redford, shares their reverence.
The runt you can root for: Fern (Dakota Fanning) bonds with Wilbur
(voiced by Dominic Scott Kay) in the gentle -- and winning -- new
remake of E.B. White's classic tale. (By Lisa Tomasetti -- Paramount
Produced by Paramount and Walden Media -- the educational multimedia
outfit that also brought you "Holes" and "The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" -- the movie feels old-
fashioned but not dated, savvy but not snarky. Director Gary Winick
("13 Going on 30") seems mostly to have instructed his actors to
stay out of the story's way. But even if the performers, at times,
sound as if they're doing a casual read-through before the actual
show, their relaxed spirit is subtly satisfying. (And frankly, it's
a respite not to have the likes of Robin Williams voicing characters
in a postmodern fever sweat.) "Charlotte's Web" also bypasses all
that riffing and referencing that has become the pop culture uber
alles mantra of so many films from Pixar and its various imitators.
There are some of us for whom the mere sight of Fanning evinces a
groan -- she's been the go-to Cute Girl for more movies than we'd
care to remember. But as Fern, mercifully, she's just right: a sweet-
natured, bighearted kid whose only motivation is the well-being of
her adopted pet. That Meryl Streep Jr. authority -- the young
actress's frosty professionalism, which has made us wonder if she's
actually experienced childhood -- stays dormant. Instead, we delight
in her disarmingly funny moments -- literally trying to keep the lid
on her rambunctious piglet in class or wheeling him around town in a
pram. She's a girl again.
We'd like to point out -- before we give the impression "Charlotte's
Web" will induce audiences to slumber -- that Wilbur and his
barnyard friends move with the same snappy fluidity of Babe and his
counterparts. We enjoy snouts, maws and jaws moving in perfect sync
with human words -- it's as though we're watching live-action
cartoons. And it's fun to watch Wilbur splashing in mud puddles or
trying repeatedly to ram a wooden fence with the slapstick
resilience of a Keystone Kop. The animatronic style is a cut above
those flicks of yore in which animals did the walking while off-
screen humans did the talking (remember the 1973 musical version
of "Charlotte's Web" featuring the voices of Debbie Reynolds as
Charlotte and Paul Lynde as Templeton the rat?). This version feels
almost quaint, practically hands-on, in light of the computer-
generated thrill rides that dominate most animation films.
That's no shortcoming -- quite the opposite, in fact. The lack of
technological fireworks gives audiences the opportunity to
concentrate on the integrity of the story, in which farm girl Fern
saves Wilbur -- the unwanted 11th pig of a 10-teated mom. And it
better highlights the story's thoughtful themes: Charlotte's
justification, for instance, for her killing and, uh, blood-sucking
of flies (circle of life, kids) and Wilbur's appreciation of the
spider's inner beauty. (To some of us, though, spiders will always
be spiders, even if they do talk like Julia Roberts.)
Remember the peaceful atmosphere of bedtime storytelling? The kind
that allows parent and child to take satisfaction in the story, not
the teller? That's how "Charlotte" draws you into its web.
Charlotte's Web (98 minutes, at area theaters) is rated G.
By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 15, 2006
The Short childrens fantasy film; To The Planet was shot in
Richmond,Melbourne –in October 2006.
PLOT: A set of goddesses intervenes in the affairs of a dying planet
to rescue two stranded children and bring them to a new world.
This fantasy film involvied live action and animation.
Shooting took place in a green screen studio and involved Visual
Effects, Special Effects Makeup and A.D.R.
Casting Specifications for the following characters:
The needed `LOOK'
A tall, slim, athletic woman, mid twenties to early thirties (or to
look the age bracket), model dancer build, must be flexible, fiery
and proud character. Required to have naked upper body (no sexual
connotations or intentions). Character also required to be bald
(bald cap), will have to endure heavy make up – final look an
elegant woman of solid GOLD…
(There is no need for heavy acting experience but some would help;
the look is more important than the experience and our decision will
be based on physical aspect rather then CV)
The GIRL with NO NAME: (dialogue)
The needed `LOOK'
A 13-year-old girl (or to look the age bracket) fiery tomboy
character: tempestuous, explosive personality, yells a lot: her
features are required to be hauntingly beautiful, native to a desert
planet. Must be athletic enough to fill role- final look an alien
child with solid blue eyes wearing tattered red robes and strange
The needed `LOOK'
A young slim boy- 7-9 (or to look the age bracket) submissive
inquisitive character, soft lovable features; required to have a
bald head and shaved eyebrows, extensive makeup needed, must be
confidant to play the role and interact heavily with the lead girl-
final look; a pale alien child with black eyes and a strange full
D'CASSIOUS of 13: (dialogue)
The needed `LOOK'
Model look – late twenties to late thirties, (or to look the age
bracket) flowing brown hair, tall, large build (not over weight –
healthy and strong) with striking facial features, calm and powerful
female character, otherworldly, always with a beautiful warming
The needed `LOOK'
Teenage girl 16- early twenties (or to look the age bracket) slight
and beautiful, fair in all features including hair: character; a
stern child like goddess old beyond her years, carries an inner
heaviness, narrator of the trailer.
More Information Later ....
Play School has been entertaining children for 40 years. Lenny Ann
Low probes the secret of its success.
It is 9.40am in the foyer of ABC's Ultimo headquarters and four
businessmen waiting for an appointment are intently watching a pipe
cleaner, some feathers and a gumnut pod being turned into a baby
bird. The men's serious expressions mirror the concentrated bird-
making activity of Jay Laga'aia as he smiles from a foyer TV
screening today's episode of Play School.
Seconds later, the businessmen's contact arrives. But they linger,
for the briefest of moments, to savour the creation of the gumnut
bird's beak, before shaking hands and bustling off to the lifts.
Such is the power and influence of Play School, a TV institution
that turns 40 this Tuesday. Generations have grown-up glued to its
twice-daily delivery of songs, stories, dressing up, playing, films
through the windows, animations and things to make and do. Even in
adulthood it is hard to shake the bonds made with Play School in
Anyone who watched children's TV from an early age remembers the toy
stars of the show - Big Ted, Little Ted, Humpty and Jemima, among
many others. More than 70 cheery-faced actors have appeared on the
program and most people have a favourite, whether it's Lorraine
Bayly, Justine Clarke, John Hamblin, Simon Burke or Noni Hazelhurst.
Since it was first broadcast, in black-and-white at 10.05am on July
18, 1966, Play School has become a ubiquitous and trusted part of
early-childhood learning and entertainment. And, perhaps just as
significantly, a saving grace for multitudes of parents seeking 30
minutes of peace.
The show began soon after the ABC began broadcasting the BBC
original (axed in 1988). A decision was made to replace the British
themes and accents and develop a home-grown version more relevant to
Australian children. It is now the second-longest-running children's
TV program in the English-speaking world (the BBC's Blue Peter is
the longest), with 1781 episodes recorded. Inducted into the Hall of
Fame at this year's Logie Awards - the third show given this honour,
after Four Corners and Neighbours - it is watched by about 1 million
children a week.
The program's philosophy is simple: children learn through play. Yet
Play School is far from simple to make. Metres away from the foyer,
at a rehearsal for a coming episode, the delicate science of making
Play School is being nutted out. June Buckingham, Play School's
education consultant, "resident four-year-old" and a member of the
program's team since 1979, is quietly singing along as presenter
Karen Pang performs Zoom and swoops a plane made from a plastic
bottle through the air.
Minutes later, Pang and co-presenter Matt Passmore paint a green
caterpillar and a brown dog using stencils. The production team is
silent, watching the presenters' every move, while Pang and Passmore
maintain a light, breezy air, teasing each other as they slip on
elephant costumes made from silver air-conditioning tubes and
cardboard ears for a segment about holiday travels.
Meanwhile, quietly and carefully in the background, a heavily
tattooed crew member gathers Big Ted, Little Ted, Henny Penny,
Jemima, Scrap and Meeka from the set and installs them safely in
large padded cages lined up against the studio wall. "The toys are
the real stars," Passmore says. "They're the ones who get the most
Rehearsal over, the Play School team gathers at a long table for
notes. It takes eight weeks for an episode to be made and the
process involves an outliner, a writer, designers, musicians and a
phalanx of directors and producers, headed by Claire Henderson, ABC
TV's head of children's programs, and Virginia Lumsden, executive
producer of children's television.
Lumsden says there is no precise formula for Play School's creation,
which is the most interesting thing about it. "We're all doing it to
engage and to entertain our preschoolers," she says. "So the real
formula, ever since the program's institution, is that children do
learn through song and games. We reflect the experiences that they
may have knowledge of, but also experiences that they have no
Back at the table, cast and crew discuss how to deal with Jemima's
inability to sit unassisted in the "tent" made from a table and a
piece of fabric. Buckingham also cuts the number of "zooms" in
Pang's song and suggests she show "amazement not fright" when Pang
sees the caterpillar.
Their efforts reveal Play School to be tightly scripted and well
rehearsed, with few things left to chance. If something does go
wrong, however, Pang says it can be the highlight of an
episode. "Sometimes, when you're unsure of it, that's your best
work," she says. "Kids love that."
Passmore says, laughing: "Yeah, we make the kids look good."
For Lumsden it is the mix of the presenters' ability to "look down
the endless black hole of the camera" and connect with the viewing
child, along with the detailed knowledge of the production team,
that makes the show.
"For instance, we use alliteration, rhythm of language and very few
personal pronouns. It's 'mixing' or 'painting on Play School today',
not 'I'm doing mixing' or whatever," she says. "Because we really
want the child to feel that, in this world, we are all doing the
activity. It isn't an obvious thing, but if you started putting
in 'I'm going to do this', children would be very disgruntled. We're
perpetually working on things like that."
Despite this precision, Lumsden says there are viewers who don't
agree with everything the program does. "We might reflect in a
little story that a baby is breastfed or that a baby is bottle-fed
or the father feeds the bottle. And some people might write in and
say, 'Oh no, you've got to show breastfeeding because breast is
best,' which we do indicate sometimes, although not all the time,
because that may not be people's position."
Criticism of Play School hasn't always been so mild. In 2004, an
episode featured a segment involving a young girl with her two mums.
Narrating the film, the girl said: "My mums are taking me and my
friend Meryn to an amusement park."
The segment caused an uproar. The Prime Minister and various
frontbenchers and newspaper columnists decried the issue of same-sex
parents being represented on the show.
However, the most controversial chapter in the program's history was
perhaps its revamp four years ago. The set was changed, the titles
changed and an extra window was added. More shocking to many viewers
was the hiring of five new presenters and the dropping of long-time
presenters Angela Moore, David James and Benita Collings.
"To this day, we still don't know why," says Collings, who appeared
on a record 401 episodes over 30 years and is still a presenter at
Play School concerts. "It was sad. I'd had a lot of fun, though.
When we left, we, along with a lot of ABC production people outside
Play School, were not happy with the changes that were made. I can
say that now. Interestingly, we've since heard that they've gone
back to the old way. Very subtle, simple things, like how a
presenter would look off [camera] to introduce another presenter.
"But the show retains that unique one-on-one communication with
children. And that's its true success."
Play School's 40th birthday will be marked by a conventional episode
featuring Passmore and Leah Vandenberg. The birthday celebrations
will occur on the same day, far from the ABC's Sydney studio, at a
free Play School concert on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.
Play School airs on the ABC on weekdays at 9.30am and 3.30pm.
Justine's Fan Group is at:
July 19, 2006
NYE harbour fireworks 'biggest ever'
The one million spectators expected to flock to Sydney Harbour on
New Year's Eve will be treated to the world's biggest ever fireworks
display, event organisers say.
The $4 million celebrations are being dubbed a Diamond Night in the
Emerald City, with the event also ringing in the anniversary of the
Harbour Bridge, which celebrates its 75th birthday in March.
The family show at 9pm (AEDT) is themed to the children's classic
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
At 9.08pm (AEDT), children will be asked to simultaneously click
their heels while an icon of Dorothy's red ruby shoes is projected
on the eastern pylons of the bridge.
Four water barges, double the number from last year, will launch
fireworks for the family show, while six barges, two more than last
year, will do the same for the midnight show.
As hundreds of thousands of dollars go up in clouds of dazzling
light and smoke, 12 computers will be used to launch 11,000 shells
and 10,000 shooting comets to create a total of 100,000 individual
Pyrotechnicians have designed eight special shells, 25cm in diameter
and weighing more than 10kg each, to be launched from four barges at
midnight to commemorate the 75th birthday of the Harbour Bridge.
On the bridge itself, 86 firing points have been affixed to launch
more than 3,000kg of fireworks into the sky.
The bridge will feature the largest ever illuminated icons - an
emerald inside a 110 metre wide coathanger, commemorating the Sydney
The light show will also include a much larger surprise display,
The first light show effects will begin as early as Friday night.
A light system will project questions onto the bridge reflecting
aspirations for the new year.
From 1pm on New Year's Eve, aerial, water and pyrotechnic events
will take place every hour until the midnight event.
However high winds blowing north or south could postpone the
fireworks displays because of safety concerns.
"At the end of the day the weather becomes our only variable," event
producer Katrina Marton said.
But rain will not affect the show and could actually enhance its
effects, she said.
"Because you get that lovely reflection off the rain and also cloud
provides you with a lovely backdrop for the lighting," Ms Marton
Some Sydney streets will be closed from 4am on New Year's Eve, with
Macquarie Street closing at 10am.
All public vantage points will be closed to spectators once they
Event details and vital transport information is available on
Thursday Dec 28 14:19 AEDT
A repeat screening of "Out There" is on the ABC weekdays at 11-35am .
I have not seen this series before,even though there has been 2
Some information I googled for below on the cast of "Out There":
Douglas Smith b 1985 ,who looks a bit like Chris Egan (Nick Smith
from Home and Away or Chris Foy (Matt in Blue Water High) has
also played Gregg in Sleepover Club.
Jade Ewen played Shanti Das in The Bill
Molly McCaffrey played Cecile Bliss in Neighbours from 2000 -2003
Richard Wilson, b 1984 Leicester, UK has a new movie "Clubland"
coming out next year, with Khan Chittenden and Rebecca Gibney
He has also been in All Saints and Mcleods Daughters and The
Proposition with Noah Taylor and Oliver Ackland
Genevieve Heeney is a 1999 Nida graduate
and David Roberts an accomplished actor plays Bruce Lane in "The
Secret Life of Us"
"Out There* an ABC/BBC coproduction is currently screening on
the ABC ,each morning at 11-35, before the midday news.
I just tuned in 10 minutes before the end so dont know much
about the show, but it features Australian Wildlife, horses and some
touching scenes using sign language,might be worth a look at over the
I was checking the IMDB for this and noticed a few Home and Away
names including Jeff Truman and Oliver Ackland
Jeff Truman was a script writer and also played Sam Barlow in 2
Oliver Ackland played Steven Ross
(Adam Willits also played Steven)
Out there's IMDB is at:
I am trying to recall the name of a television programme that I loved
as a child. I don't recall much of the details of the show, but I do
remember that the basic plot to the show involved a group (perhaps
only two or three) of children who were in some sort of magical land
wherein they had to search for golden and silver letters and numbers
in order to complete some task -- it may have been to get home, I
I realize that this is a vague description at best, but I am hoping
that someone here knows what I am talking about.
H2O Just Add Water ,is about 3 teenage girls who stumble upon an
ancient mermaid,and are transformed into mermaids.
Each girl has acquired unique powers over water,(H2O)
Filming of it's second season is underway now on Australia's Gold
Coast for The Ten Network and Disney Channel.
An active community for the series is at:
Some of the younger supporting cast are:
Cleo Massey who appears in eps 1 and 7, of "Monarch Cove"
and as Chrissy in an Independent film,"Humidity Rising"
and in Episode # 2 of the Award Winning Mortified
Cleo's Fan Group is at:
Joey Massey who has acted in "Aquamarine"
with Joanna Levesque.
Joey Massey, is the younger brother of Cleo
Joey's Fan group is at:
and Trent Sullivan
Trent and Joey Massey, play brothers
in "The Condemned" with Stone Cold's Steve Austin
Trent's fan group is at:
BLUE ROCKET PRODUCTIONS - POSITIONS 2007
Blue Rocket produces awesome cartoons for TV, broadband and mobile.
We are located in Hobart, Tasmania. Our studio is situated in the
historic Salamanca precinct just a meteorite's bounce from the
waterfront. Endless artsy fartsy cafes, galleries, and parks are
It is in this amazing setting that we are about to commence our next
production, Pixel Pinkie, a 26 x 12 minute cartoon series for TV.
The series is being produced in Flash and tells the story of a young
girl named Nina who gets a mobile phone that has a digital genie in
it… named Pixel Pinkie (strangely enough). Pixel Pinkie causes Nina
no end of trouble and lunacy… about 26 episodes of it in fact. We
could go on and we probably will but read this next bit instead.
We will have a number of opportunities over the coming months for
stunningly talented and enthusiastic people to work on Pixel Pinkie.
You must be:
Creative and enthusiastic with great communications skills;
Able to work both independently and as part of a team;
Able to take direction;
Passionate about making cartoons; and
Prepared to wear a seagull costume at short notice or at the very
least, wear a beak at all times and make seagull noises. (No artsy
fartsy noises thank you.)
All positions are based in our Hobart studio (except for Storyboard
Relocation costs and expenses are not paid. Applicants must be
We are keen to hear from interested space adventurers for the
following positions for a February or March start:
Assistant Layout Artist *
Digital Painter *
Animation Runner *
Production Assistant – Technical *
Applications close Thursday 25 th January 2007.
We will be recruiting for other positions a little later on. Please
Positions marked with * are considered entry level positions.
Applicants with limited industry experience but able to demonstrate
creative and/or technical skills (where required), commitment and
enthusiasm to learn are encouraged to apply.
The following positions will be available for an end of April start.
Recruitment will commence in early to mid March for these positions.
Please DO NOT apply for these position now.
Animators – junior *
Nine may 'bone' the semi-bare bear
Humphrey B: Potentially nomadic bear.
HUMPHREY B. Bear — the pantless, fun-loving, honey-eating children's
television character who has been an institution at Channel Nine
since 1965 could become the latest celebrity to be "boned" by Eddie
McGuire since his ascent to chief executive of the network.
Nine holds the Australian rights to Here's Humphrey and, under the
deal, can repeat each episode three times.
Nine is about to exhaust its limit of repeats — the end is just
weeks away should it start broadcasting the show on a daily basis —
and is yet to commission a new series from Adelaide-based Banksia
Productions, the owner of the international Humphrey B. Bear
That has left the door open for Nine's rivals, particularly Seven,
to swoop on Humphrey.
When contacted about Humphrey's demise at the network (where he
first appeared as "Bear Bear" on May 24, 1965 on Adelaide's NWS
Channel Nine), McGuire said "we don't negotiate through The Age. We
are in a production break at the moment and we'll discuss Humphrey
in due course". Pushed further on Humphrey's possible exit at the
station, McGuire expressed surprise at The Age's interest:
"You're ringing me about Here's Humphrey, mate. You're ringing me
about Humphrey. I'm just not in a position to discuss Here's
Humphrey at the moment."
A source within Banksia Productions said rumours that Ten was
chasing Humphrey were "off the mark", and said a move to Seven
was "much more likely", as it was the only commercial station
without a major long-term commitment to a locally made children's
program. "But there are certainly two networks showing interest in
signing Humphrey," the source said.
Nine has stopped screening the children's show this year and has
signed a two-year deal with the makers of Hi-5. The network has also
stopped promoting Here's Humphrey as one of its children's
television programs on the Channel Nine website.
Banksia's Stewart Lamb confirmed that Nine's contract was about to
run out but refused to comment on speculation that rival commercial
networks had begun negotiations for the bear.
"Overseas production of the show is our primary focus at the moment
and we have a big overseas deal ready for the next six months. After
that, we will see about Australia."
But Mr Lamb did say that keeping Humphrey on Australian television
was important. "He's been on Australian TV for 42 years and we don't
want that to end," he said.
Humphrey is almost as big a star in China, South America and Spain
as he is in Australia, and Banskia flies in presenters from overseas
to make Mandarin and Spanish versions of the show.
Nine last attempted to axe Humphrey in 2000, but backed down in the
face of a viewer backlash.
Humphrey has won two Logie awards and was awarded Citizen of the
Year at the 1994 Australia Day celebrations.
February 13, 2007
Tim Harding makes a mighty fine rapper in Hi-5's latest release ...
for a beaver.
The children's entertainers new DVD, Have Some Fun, features the
singer and guitarist dressed up and rhyming Snoop Dog-style to The
"I'm bringing the hip-hop vibe to kids around the world," he said
while promoting the DVD, which hits stores on Wednesday.
After performing with world sensation Hi-5 since 1999, Harding said
he was too tough to embarrass, even in a fluffy beaver suit.
"We perform in all sorts of get-ups, but I just remember that I'm
here for a reason, to entertain kids," he said, before he singled
out the poor Scottish accent of fellow Hi-5er Nathan Foley's
highland cow character which also appears on the new DVD.
Occasionally, he admitted, the group's animal costumes are more
recognisable than others.
"Sometimes we just forget we're wearing them," he said.
"When something like Australian Idol is filming next door, we
definitely get some funny looks walking down the hallway."
Harding hinted that Have Some Fun could be the final appearance of
original Hi-5 member Kathleen de Leon Jones, who gave birth to a
daughter Mikayla in July last year.
"Legally she's on maternity leave, but at the moment Mikayla is a
bundle of joy and she's loving being a mum," Harding said.
Her replacement Sun Park is on a short-term contract to perform
alongside Charli Delaney, Kellie Hoggart, Foley and Harding on the
ninth Nine Network TV series which was filmed last year and goes to
air in 2007.
Hi-5, which airs on TV in 83 countries, tours New Zealand in April.
Tuesday Feb 20
Actors Hugo Weaving and Abbie Cornish are to honour what is
supposedly their profession's worst nightmare, kids and animals.
They will be celebrity guests for the third annual Voiceless Grants
Awards, which will present a total of $145,000 to 16 projects across
Australia based on animal protection and awareness issues.
As ambassador for Voiceless, Weaving will present the grant awards
at the Sherman Galleries in Sydney's Paddington on Thursday.
Cornish, who is about to star in the film The Golden Age with fellow
Aussie actor Cate Blanchett, is ambassador for the Voiceless
education arm, the Animal Club, which will present a $5000 award to
the school that has contributed the most to animal welfare.
"Children have a natural compassion for animals and anything that
can help foster this is a cause worth supporting," Cornish said.
"Animal Club informs school children about a broad spectrum of
animal protection issues."
An exhibition, Voiceless: I feel therefore I am, will also be opened
during the ceremony by former Midnight Oil rocker and Labor Arts
spokesman, Peter Garrett.
Tuesday Feb 20
The young and the embarrassed
Children's comedy Mortified - recipient of many awards - is in a
class of its own, writes Michael Dwyer.
MY DAD sang too loud at mass. There, it's out. He did have a
fabulous, warm, booming tenor voice, and the parish ladies would
lavish compliments as we made our agonisingly slow escape past the
prickle bushes every Sunday.
But me, I was mortified simply to be noticed, to stand out from the
crowd at that insecure age when a fleeting moment of conspicuousness
was only barely removed from your full-blown naked-at-assembly
This apparently universal rite of parental humiliation is the
cornerstone of Mortified.
It's a children's series aimed at the permanently embarrassed
prepubescent market, but its sitcom format, snappy comic dialogue
and cartoonish pace and devices make it a guilty pleasure for adults
who happen to tidy the living room between 4 and 4.30pm on
The key to its broad appeal is creator Angela Webber's dual
perspective as a mother very much in touch with her squirming inner-
child. She says the idea first occurred to her when she
spontaneously leapt to her feet to dance with her horrified 10-year-
old daughter in 2002.
"It wasn't just another idea," says producer Phillip Bowman, who
began developing the series with Webber that year.
"There was a very strong voice evident in the first treatment she
gave me, which only ran to a page and a half. I knew in many ways
that what I was buying was Angela's childhood, and also her
adulthood as a parent with her own daughters. Really, it was what
every producer is always looking for, which is a take on life."
This vivid first-person focus is crystallised in the narration of 11-
year-old Taylor Fry (Marny Kennedy). She reveals her aspirations and
anxieties to camera, the latter usually beginning with her immediate
family. Her father is a local men's wear battler known as the
Underpant King; her mother an intense New Age throwback; her sister
Layla a glamour-obsessed boy-magnet.
With her acute consciousness of the combined pressures of school
academia and popularity, the sometimes questionable support of best
friend Hector and the impossible perfection of her next-door
neighbour, Brittany, Taylor effectively mines her own seam of comic-
"Taylor speaking directly to camera was really important," says
Bowman, who admits that Malcolm in the Middle was an early reference
point. "It gives you direct access to her inner world and how she
feels about it. Her true feelings about any situation we could use,
as and when required, as a way of exposition. It's also a very big
A good example is when Taylor gives a bored, shorthand commentary
over breakfast as her mother and sister have a silent but ferocious
argument over her shoulder: "First, the helicopter arms . . .
followed by the forehead smack . . . yelling over each other . . .
pleading . . . memory loss . . . finally, the door slam. No
surprises," she sighs.
Direct access to Taylor's imagination also brings a heightened
realism to proceedings: talking animals and dramatised daydream
sequences are standard. When a CGI-assisted mouse confides he's a
reincarnated pacifist named Mahatma, he becomes a secret moral
accomplice in Taylor's plan to outfox the pest exterminator.
Young Melbourne actor Marny Kennedy shoulders her responsibility
with significant aplomb, especially considering the intense five-
days-per-episode shooting schedule on location on the Gold Coast,
with breaks for on-set tutoring. She won the AFI Young Actor Award
for her pains in November.
"I knew it was a big ask," Bowman says. "One little girl on screen
in almost every scene is atypical of kids' series. Blue Water High,
Saddle Club - they're terrific, but they tend to have an ensemble
cast. So I saw this as a potential problem, but it became the
strength because she is such a little star."
The adult talent is also pretty conspicuous, on screen and off. For
early script development, Bowman employed feature film writer Paul
Leadon, now an executive producer at Channel Ten. A more visible
trump card is veteran director Pino Amenta (The Sullivans, Flying
Doctors, All Saints), whose striking touch earned Mortified another
nomination at last year's AFIs.
Such industry accolades are piling up. Mortified won first prize in
the Live Action section at the Chicago International Children's Film
Festival in November, and days before the second series premiered on
Channel Nine in February, it won two New York Festivals Television
Programming and Promotion Awards, including the Grand Award for Best
Youth Program out of 29 countries.
Co-production deals with Disney and the BBC have helped ease the
series into Italy, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, the UK and numerous
networks through Asia and the Middle East. "It's selling well,"
That's partly due, one suspects, to the highly unlikely exoticism of
the humble Fry household. If there's a significant criticism to be
made of the otherwise realistic reflection of the travails of the
Aussie everykid, it's in the family's outrageously privileged
beachfront real estate. For all the admirable values Mortified
espouses, this undertow of unattainable aspiration must surely jar
with the average, struggling suburban mortgagee.
"That's an interesting observation and one we were hoping you
wouldn't make," Bowman says with a chuckle. "OK, look, you might
have noticed the house is pretty shabby? The back story we had was
that they were left the house by a grandparent. They don't have any
disposable income. They do struggle with their rates and taxes. We
did hope people didn't read the wrong message.
"When you're making a series in Australia, you don't want kangaroos
hopping down Collins Street, but you do want to show the best of
what we've got, and I think we did that."
Given the essential transience of its cast and target audience,
however, no amount of international attention can guarantee an open-
ended run for Mortified. Twenty-six episodes are in the can so far
but, perhaps mercifully, prepubescent angst is a finite commodity.
"We do have a little girl who's nearing puberty and so going to
change quite dramatically," Bowman says. "If we move forward
reasonably quickly we can manage that, but two years down the track,
if we were still shooting, we might have a problem. But we could
still be Mortified. We could still find 26 more good reasons to be
mortified by mum and dad at 14, believe me."
Mortified screens Wednesdays at 4pm on Channel Nine.
March 1, 2007
Aussie TV Children is a companion group to
Aussie TV Men and Aussie TV Women ,
Featured Australian Children on the group home page are
Hannah Ling (Sleep Over Club)
Cleo Massey (H20 Just Add Water)
Joey Massey (H20 Just Add Water)
Marny Kennedy (Mortified),
Trent Sullivan (H20 Just Add Water
and Sleep Over Club)
Indiana Evans (Snobs and Home and Away)
More in the Links Area
|current or of old terry please .|
Terry <modelpower2006@...> wrote:
Aussie TV Children is a companion group to
Aussie TV Men and Aussie TV Women ,
Featured Australian Children on the group home page are
Hannah Ling (Sleep Over Club)
Cleo Massey (H20 Just Add Water)
Joey Massey (H20 Just Add Water)
Marny Kennedy (Mortified),
Trent Sullivan (H20 Just Add Water
and Sleep Over Club)
Indiana Evans (Snobs and Home and Away)http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Aussie_TV_Children/
More in the Links Area
Don't be flakey. Get Yahoo! Mail for Mobile and
always stay connected to friends.
--- In Aus_Childrens_TV@yahoogroups.com, marian slight
> current or of old terry please .
> Terry <modelpower2006@...> wrote: Aussie TV Children is a
companion group to
> Aussie TV Men and Aussie TV Women ,
> Featured Australian Children on the group home page are
> Bindi Irwin
> Hannah Ling (Sleep Over Club)
> Cleo Massey (H20 Just Add Water)
> Joey Massey (H20 Just Add Water)
> Marny Kennedy (Mortified),
> Trent Sullivan (H20 Just Add Water
> and Sleep Over Club)
> Indiana Evans (Snobs and Home and Away)
> More in the Links Area
> Don't be flakey. Get Yahoo! Mail for Mobile and
> always stay connected to friends.
favoourite child stars for me current and old
current indiana evans
old garry pankhurst from the old skippy series .
Casting agent Cameron Harris is seeking a bub to play Kath & Kim
darling Epponnee Rae, daughter of Kim (Gina Riley).
The young actress should be 10-13 months and have a gorgeous round
face, brown hair and blue eyes, and the stage mum shouldn't be too
high maintenance (if that is possible).
Cameron is holding private auditions to prevent frenzied queues of
well-fed mums in G-string-revealing jeans snaking around Fountain Gate
Can you imagine the ruckus: "Look at moi, look at moi, darling! Smile
for the man! Now!"
Kraft seeks 'Happy little Vegemites'
Fifty years after the "Happy Little Vegemites" commercial first went
to air, Kraft has launched a national appeal to find the children
who appeared in the iconic advertisement.
The ad played on TV screens for decades and its accompanying jingle
is one many Australians can still recite.
But nothing is known of the eight youngsters who took part in it.
Vegemite brand custodian Janice Falzon said neither Kraft nor the
advertising company responsible for the commercial kept records of
those involved in the project.
However, she said Kraft wanted to track down any of the ad's
remaining stars, who would now be aged in their 50s and 60s, to say
"We're putting out a call across the country to see if anyone knows
of anybody," Ms Falzon told AAP.
"Hopefully someone reading a story might know someone.
"It might have been their uncle or their grandparents or themselves,
we just want to find them.
"We know the faces, everyone's familiar with the jingle but we don't
have any of the names of the kids.
"We want to complete our records, find out who they are, what
they've been doing."
However, those that do come forward to lay claim to a part in the
1956 commercial will have to prove their involvement.
Ms Falzon said the company had devised a series of secret questions,
which those on the set during filming would be able to answer.
The "Happy Little Vegemites" theme has been a long-running success
for Kraft, which will launch a new version on TV this Sunday.
"Even today it comes up in the top five ads," Ms Falzon said.
"Australians just have a real fondness for this ad."
The original Vegemite jingle:
We're happy little Vegemites
As bright as bright can be
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast, lunch and tea
Our mummies say we're growing stronger
Every single week,
Because we love our Vegemite
We all adore our Vegemite
It puts a rose in every cheek.
Tuesday Mar 13
A seething pack of bodies, many sporting Mexican sombreros and
guzzling beer, are pressed against the stage at the Schutzenfest
German Festival in Adelaide. A couple of crowd surfers emerge from
the mosh pit and skim across towards the stage, ambitiously
preparing to dive into the 3000-strong crowd. Soon after they leap
from the stage, two cops close in and arrest the pair.
It's a scene reminiscent of a Wolfmother concert, except that the
song that sends the crowd into a frenzy is far from your standard
guitar rock: "Wash your face in orange juice, clean your teeth with
bubblegum . . . brush your hair with a tooth brush . . . bellyflop
in a pizza . . ."
That was seven years ago and Peter Combe, the pre-school entertainer
who rose to national fame in the 1980s, is still relishing the
reverse chic that has made his early hits, such as Juicy Juicy Green
Grass and Spaghetti Bolognaise, suddenly cool among school leavers.
"They went crazy - it was almost like a religious experience," Combe
says. "Rather than just taking the mickey out of me, they were dead
serious. It was mass nostalgia and they were reliving their
childhood after a couple of beers."
Helped by his youthful zest, Combe's professional revival on the
university and pub circuit can be attributed to his early fans, who
are now in their late teens and 20s. He is hardly the icon of grunge
but that doesn't seem to worry his legion of young adult followers
who sing his tunes word for word from the mosh pit.
This month he will test his popularity in Melbourne at a gig at the
Corner Hotel, an unlikely venue for a bloke whose songs were first
pitched at three-year-olds.
Ben Thompson, the Corner Hotel's music co-ordinator, admits it's a
gamble. But he's willing to take the chance, having knocked back an
offer to stage the Australian Rock Paper Scissors Championships a
few years ago, which turned out to be a big hit.
"I didn't think it would work, but it ended up being massive. So,
that was a lesson learnt," he said. "I was sceptical about whether
Combe would work but we'll just have to see how it goes. We might
sell 100 tickets or 600 tickets."
If all goes well at the Corner, Combe is hoping to play some gigs at
the Esplanade Hotel this year and maybe the Big Day Out some
day. "Wouldn't it be fantastic to see people mosh to Juicy, Juicy
Green Grass?" he says.
"It's kind of a bit left field and people ask me why I would sing
kids' songs in a pub. Of course, that's the whole point. It's like
becoming a child again for 60 minutes and all those pretensions of
being cool and grown-up are stripped away."
It's still early days but he says his unexpected resurgence "feels a
bit like" Rolf Harris' career renaissance after he performed his
wobble board version of Stairway to Heaven on Andrew Denton's
program, The Money or The Gun, in 1990.
Combe is not quite up there with Harris. But he has released 20
albums since 1981 and sold 850,000 copies - even after the ABC
severed ties with him in 1992 - by selling them online from his
MySpace page. And he is in talks with the ABC about releasing a
compilation CD this year.
Like many other children's entertainers who can't afford the bells
and whistles that make the Wiggles, the Hooley Dooleys and Hi-5 such
successful performers, Combe has struggled to maintain his
popularity among the current crop of pre-schoolers.
He looks like a cross between a Hooley Dooley and a Wiggle, dressed
in a bright yellow top and crazy patterned pants. And although his
songs are catchy, toddlers are somewhat sedate during his live
performances - at least compared with the Wiggles, who evoke the
sort of frenzied reaction you'd expect at a Rolling Stones concert.
But fewer television opportunities for lesser-known acts, the
absence of a formal touring circuit, and minimal royalties paid to
artists and songwriters explains why there is a noticeable dearth of
competition in the children's music market.
Australian Record Industry Association figures show children's music
accounts for only a fraction of overall CD sales. Yet, although
worth only 0.5 per cent of the overall market, this still translates
into $2.4 million of the $483 million-a-year business.
The DVD market is far more valuable. According to GfK Australia
data, sales of children's DVDs in Australia have grown from $18
million in the year to March 2004 to $56 million in 2006, equating
to a 5 per cent slice of the market.
ABC for Kids music label accounts for about half of the Australian
children's music market, representing the Wiggles, the Fairies,
Justine Clarke and Bananas in Pyjamas. Although he refuses to
divulge any sales figures for these artists, ABC music head Rob
Patterson says the Wiggles represent the highest proportion of their
Patterson says the shelf life of a children's entertainer hinges on
whether "they have an extensive touring schedule or they continually
reinvent themselves by keeping up-to-date with trends".
Combe believes he has a five-year window before he is yet again
supplanted by the Wiggles, who first emerged in early 1990s, and may
become cool again when their first fans reach their late teens.
"It's hard to know whether this is a temporary window and all these
young kids brought up on my stuff will have their own children and
won't be able to go to the pub any more because they'll be too busy
changing nappies," says Combe.
Regarded as the king of the kids before the Wiggles and Hi-5 rose to
prominence, Combe's only rival was Playschool performer Don Spencer.
Combe's Toffee Apple album, released in 1987, launched the former
music teacher's professional singing career, which includes three
ARIA awards. Previously, he had filmed a BBC series in Britain
called Music Time in the late 1970s and later recorded a radio
series covering similar ground for the ABC.
"I pioneered the idea of children's music being adult-friendly,"
says Combe. "You can take out one of my albums during a long car
trip and hopefully you won't go quietly bonkers along the way with
the kids listening to things over and over again."
His popularity waned when the Wiggles debuted and he was eventually
dropped from the ABC For Kids music label. While the Wiggles perform
in large clubs, theatres and arenas, Combe is still booked into
schools and pre-schools.
"It's been much harder with the advent of the Wiggles and later Hi-5
because the children's market has actually contracted," says
Combe. "Sadly, children's music has been overrun by mass
merchandising and I think that's compromised the quality of it.
"I just have this passionate belief in the beauty of melodies and
the English language and that kids deserve the best you can possibly
give to them."
But even Combe can be seduced by the power of personal
merchandising. Asked whether he would object if there were demand
for a Peter Combe doll, he says: "If someone wants to do it, I
Combe performs at the Corner Hotel on Sunday. May 20.
May 8, 2007
The Group Home page Pic is Rolf Harris (left) and Combe's original
rival Don Spencer (above) and The Wiggles (pictured right in the
very early days).
> A seething pack of bodies, many sporting Mexican sombreros and
> guzzling beer, are pressed against the stage at the Schutzenfest
> German Festival in Adelaide. A couple of crowd surfers emerge from
> the mosh pit and skim across towards the stage, ambitiously
> preparing to dive into the 3000-strong crowd. Soon after they leap
> from the stage, two cops close in and arrest the pair.
> It's a scene reminiscent of a Wolfmother concert, except that the
> song that sends the crowd into a frenzy is far from your standard
> guitar rock: "Wash your face in orange juice, clean your teeth
> bubblegum . . . brush your hair with a tooth brush . . . bellyflop
> in a pizza . . ."
> That was seven years ago and Peter Combe, the pre-school
> who rose to national fame in the 1980s, is still relishing the
> reverse chic that has made his early hits, such as Juicy Juicy
> Grass and Spaghetti Bolognaise, suddenly cool among school leavers.
> "They went crazy - it was almost like a religious experience,"
> says. "Rather than just taking the mickey out of me, they were
> serious. It was mass nostalgia and they were reliving their
> childhood after a couple of beers."
> Helped by his youthful zest, Combe's professional revival on the
> university and pub circuit can be attributed to his early fans,
> are now in their late teens and 20s. He is hardly the icon of
> but that doesn't seem to worry his legion of young adult followers
> who sing his tunes word for word from the mosh pit.
> This month he will test his popularity in Melbourne at a gig at
> Corner Hotel, an unlikely venue for a bloke whose songs were first
> pitched at three-year-olds.
> Ben Thompson, the Corner Hotel's music co-ordinator, admits it's a
> gamble. But he's willing to take the chance, having knocked back
> offer to stage the Australian Rock Paper Scissors Championships a
> few years ago, which turned out to be a big hit.
> "I didn't think it would work, but it ended up being massive. So,
> that was a lesson learnt," he said. "I was sceptical about whether
> Combe would work but we'll just have to see how it goes. We might
> sell 100 tickets or 600 tickets."
> If all goes well at the Corner, Combe is hoping to play some gigs
> the Esplanade Hotel this year and maybe the Big Day Out some
> day. "Wouldn't it be fantastic to see people mosh to Juicy, Juicy
> Green Grass?" he says.
> "It's kind of a bit left field and people ask me why I would sing
> kids' songs in a pub. Of course, that's the whole point. It's like
> becoming a child again for 60 minutes and all those pretensions of
> being cool and grown-up are stripped away."
> It's still early days but he says his unexpected resurgence "feels
> bit like" Rolf Harris' career renaissance after he performed his
> wobble board version of Stairway to Heaven on Andrew Denton's
> program, The Money or The Gun, in 1990.
> Combe is not quite up there with Harris. But he has released 20
> albums since 1981 and sold 850,000 copies - even after the ABC
> severed ties with him in 1992 - by selling them online from his
> MySpace page. And he is in talks with the ABC about releasing a
> compilation CD this year.
> Like many other children's entertainers who can't afford the bells
> and whistles that make the Wiggles, the Hooley Dooleys and Hi-5
> successful performers, Combe has struggled to maintain his
> popularity among the current crop of pre-schoolers.
> He looks like a cross between a Hooley Dooley and a Wiggle,
> in a bright yellow top and crazy patterned pants. And although his
> songs are catchy, toddlers are somewhat sedate during his live
> performances - at least compared with the Wiggles, who evoke the
> sort of frenzied reaction you'd expect at a Rolling Stones concert.
> But fewer television opportunities for lesser-known acts, the
> absence of a formal touring circuit, and minimal royalties paid to
> artists and songwriters explains why there is a noticeable dearth
> competition in the children's music market.
> Australian Record Industry Association figures show children's
> accounts for only a fraction of overall CD sales. Yet, although
> worth only 0.5 per cent of the overall market, this still
> into $2.4 million of the $483 million-a-year business.
> The DVD market is far more valuable. According to GfK Australia
> data, sales of children's DVDs in Australia have grown from $18
> million in the year to March 2004 to $56 million in 2006, equating
> to a 5 per cent slice of the market.
> ABC for Kids music label accounts for about half of the Australian
> children's music market, representing the Wiggles, the Fairies,
> Justine Clarke and Bananas in Pyjamas. Although he refuses to
> divulge any sales figures for these artists, ABC music head Rob
> Patterson says the Wiggles represent the highest proportion of
> market share.
> Patterson says the shelf life of a children's entertainer hinges
> whether "they have an extensive touring schedule or they
> reinvent themselves by keeping up-to-date with trends".
> Combe believes he has a five-year window before he is yet again
> supplanted by the Wiggles, who first emerged in early 1990s, and
> become cool again when their first fans reach their late teens.
> "It's hard to know whether this is a temporary window and all
> young kids brought up on my stuff will have their own children and
> won't be able to go to the pub any more because they'll be too
> changing nappies," says Combe.
> Regarded as the king of the kids before the Wiggles and Hi-5 rose
> prominence, Combe's only rival was Playschool performer Don
> Combe's Toffee Apple album, released in 1987, launched the former
> music teacher's professional singing career, which includes three
> ARIA awards. Previously, he had filmed a BBC series in Britain
> called Music Time in the late 1970s and later recorded a radio
> series covering similar ground for the ABC.
> "I pioneered the idea of children's music being adult-friendly,"
> says Combe. "You can take out one of my albums during a long car
> trip and hopefully you won't go quietly bonkers along the way with
> the kids listening to things over and over again."
> His popularity waned when the Wiggles debuted and he was
> dropped from the ABC For Kids music label. While the Wiggles
> in large clubs, theatres and arenas, Combe is still booked into
> schools and pre-schools.
> "It's been much harder with the advent of the Wiggles and later Hi-
> because the children's market has actually contracted," says
> Combe. "Sadly, children's music has been overrun by mass
> merchandising and I think that's compromised the quality of it.
> "I just have this passionate belief in the beauty of melodies and
> the English language and that kids deserve the best you can
> give to them."
> But even Combe can be seduced by the power of personal
> merchandising. Asked whether he would object if there were demand
> for a Peter Combe doll, he says: "If someone wants to do it, I
> wouldn't mind."
> Combe performs at the Corner Hotel on Sunday. May 20.
> Annie Lawson
> May 8, 2007
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