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Thursday, July 5

Thursday, July 5

Free to air
Nanjing Night Net

Hamish and Andy’s Euro Gap Year, Nine, 8pm

So far we like what we’ve seen of Hamish Blake and Andy Lee’s new comedy, in which the popular duo unleash their good-spirited humour in famous – and occasionally unlikely – hot spots of the European holiday circuit. There was an entertaining race through London’s streets in which the tourists armed with a Ferrari and a GPS tried (and failed) to beat a pair of London cabbies, and a very amusing visit to Lapland, where a fearless Viking took the pair reindeer-racing and dipping into Arctic waters.

While many of their pranks won’t come as a surprise after last year’s similarly styled US travelogue, they’re delivered here with considerably more confidence and a better pace. The narration, delivered by a cockney lad who sounds like the spiritual godchild of a Guy Ritchie film, is a nice touch, but it’s Blake and Lee’s ability to have fun with the otherness of foreigners and their cultures without being patronising, smug or exploitative that is most appealing.

Island Feast with Peter Kuruvita, SBS One, 8pm

The late Keith Floyd used to make a mockery of a staple cooking show cliche by attempting to whip up meals in impossible settings. Sydney-based restaurateur Peter Kuruvita takes Floyd’s feats to a new level when he climbs an active volcano to prepare a meal. His only utensil seems to be a knife, banana leaves doubling as a preparation bowl and discards of a recent lava deposit as a mortar and pestle.

Later in a traditional village in Vanuatu, he helps prepare a feast (suckling pig with vegetables cooked in coals in a pit) and shares the legendary kava drink with the village men. By his own admission, Kuruvita comes close to over-romanticising the remote islands of Melanesia in this undemanding food and travel series.

Law & Order: SVU, Ten, 9.30pm

Earlier editions of the Law & Order franchise at least had some pulpy charms with their ripped-from-the-headlines plots, street-smart banter and glib moral lessons, invariably centring on wealthy, successful but rotten-to-the-core New Yorkers. With its po-faced detectives, clumsy and exposition-heavy dialogue and, frankly, ludicrous storyline, tonight’s episode is an example of how tired what was always the least satisfying spinoff has become. And should we add tasteless?

Rollins (Kelli Giddish) leaves a bar where a former colleague makes his feelings for the fetching detective known, only to witness what appears to be the kidnapping of a woman (subtle this show isn’t). The victim turns out to be a troubled teenager whose disappearance coincides with the appearance of dismembered corpses. That’s the detectives’ entry to the underground world of body modification in which a brotherly pair of upscale Manhattan professionals are involved.

Stephen Fry’s 100 Greatest Gadgets, ABC1, 9.30pm

I don’t suppose you can blame Stephen Fry for taking any work that’s offered but this superficial two-part series does him few favours. Tonight, we rush through the final 40 gadgets at whirlwind pace, accompanied by jaunty music, old television ads and various British celebrities – most of them strangers to Australian viewers – trying too hard to be funny in the manner of Grumpy Old Men/Women. Fry phones in his performance, presenting just a handful of the segments with a kind of weary despondency. If there’s anything positive to be taken away from this, it’s the realisation that Britain’s B-list celebrities are no wittier than ours. – Greg Hassall

Before the Game, One, 10.45pm

The AFL panel show has survived the move from Saturday to Thursday nicely. It remains the same mix of informed yet breezy discussion, which can often be funny and serious in the same breath, interviews, mash-ups and comedy, which is good news for the show’s modest but devoted audience.

Paul KalinaMovies

Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman (2004) Seven, noon

As the literary editor for the Los Angeles Chronicle, Rose should have seen it coming. Middle-aged, happily married for 25 years and oblivious to the realities advancing upon her, she floats through piles of fiction. It’s a smackaface moment when her husband, Nathan, the paper’s editor, tells her he’s leaving for the inevitable younger woman – in this case, Rose’s assistant and protege, Mindy. Ouch! What next!? Turning the SMH into a tabloid? Off with their headlines! You can tell Nathan is a bounder because he talks about taking the paper in a ”new direction” going forward into the realms of quality journalism, integrity, vision, multiplatform synergy and commitment. Less is more and let’s burn down the village to save it! Does Rose join the First Wives’ Club, turn cougar or fall back on trusted friends until an old flame appears out of the blue?

I Do (2006) SBS Two, 10.05pm

Charlotte Gainsbourg’s tough fragility is nicely utilised in this formulic romancer, which has more depth and substance than similar American flicks. Fortysomething Luis Costa (Alain Chabat) is being pressured by his elderly, control-freak mother to marry. He is a professional nose – a perfume creator with rather more couth than Patrick Suskind’s Perfume hero, Grenouille. Luis prefers being single but to get the family off his back he hires the savvy Emma (Gainsbourg) to masquerade as his fiancee – charming his siblings and mum but agreeing to do a runner on the day of the wedding. You can see it coming and it duly arrives but there’s a secondary plot involving Emma’s need for the money and her own desires. The idea of contractual obligations in business and private matters sustains well – even if the outcome is never in real doubt. Comedy veers towards farce but restraint and a tender riff in the finale get the film home enjoyably.

Moliere (2007) SBS Two, 11.40pm

A semi-farcical account of the life and times of Jean Baptiste Poquelin, the revered 17th-century playwright. Moliere is obliged to pretend to be a pious cleric during his stay at M. Jourdain’s chateau so as not to arouse the suspicions of his employer’s yummy wife, Elmire (Laura Morante), while Jourdain plots the seduction of yummy young widow, Celimene. A spirited retread of Shakespeare in Love features Romain Duris in the title role.

Doug Anderson

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Wednesday, July 4

Wednesday, July 4

Free to air
Nanjing Night Net

Rugby League: State of Origin, Game 3, Nine, 7.30pm

Pubs across the state will be full of drinkers with their eyes glued to the television. Homes will resonate with groans and cheers. Will the Blues put an end Queensland’s six-year winning streak? Probably not, but whatever the result, all that emotional exuberance will be good communal catharsis.

Speed of Life, SBS One, 7.30pm

In the mid-’90s, the cool kids in the playground watched Gladiators on Saturday nights. On the show, men and women with biceps the size of chihuahuas tried to bludgeon each other off suspension bridges and such like. Mike Whitney was the referee (”GLADIATOR! ARE YOU READY?”) and hosts provided hyperbolic narration.

Replace the human competitors with cobras and praying mantises and you have Speed of Life. A voice-over introduces us to a spitting cobra (”five feet of muscle … and menace!”), a chameleon (”a master of disguise!”) and a bird of prey (”a black-winged menace!”). Even a guinea fowl gets the treatment, lauded for its super-bird speed.

The footage doesn’t need the histrionics. The chameleon suckers a bug with a tongue longer than its body. An African cat leaps more than three metres into the air. Without all the zap-and-kapow, these would be extraordinary moments. As it is, they feel like overblown special effects from a B-grade superhero movie. But, as with Gladiator, the drama sucks you in.

Junk Food Mums, ABC2, 8.30pm

Past the age of about eight, most of us learn that pointing and laughing is not a reasonable way to deal with fat kids. Nor, I would suggest, is it the way to treat their mums. Masquerading as a concerned documentary, this program throws its energies into provoking disgust and derision for mothers of overweight children.

The narration is fairly innocuous, but the footage is deliberately cruel. It shows a child eating chips from the floor with a dog. Later, it lingers as a two-year-old repeatedly drops the f-bomb. Implicit in all this is blame. While it is fair to suspect the parents of these children have made mistakes (who hasn’t?), the program fails to examine the bigger issues of social and educational inequity.

Life’s Too Short, ABC1, 9pm

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s comedy is always hard to watch. It’s the Brent effect; the character so full of delusional self-importance, they make the audience squirm.

Life’s Too Short feels even more uncomfortable because its lead character is a short-statured actor. This is not a problem in itself, of course, but the show does feature a great deal of dwarf slapstick. Warwick Davis, playing himself in a mock reality show about his hobbling career, clambers up bookshelves to reach high objects, falls out of large cars, and gets stuck in a bathroom because the doorhandle is over his head.

Comedians often say no joke is taboo as long as it’s really, really funny. Life’s Too Short is funny, but maybe not quite funny enough.

Dumb, Drunk and Racist, ABC2, 9.30pm

Tourism Australia won’t be using this as promotional material any time soon. Four Indians tour Australia with journalist Joe Hildebrand to discover the truth behind India’s stereotypes about Aussies.

Their findings are often disturbing – though not in the ways the Indians expect. Sure, the odd Australian thug will bash an Indian but they’re not necessarily racist. Mostly they’re just drunk.

It is a far from rosy picture but more accurate and balanced than the one the Indians have seen in their media. As they explore Melbourne – infamous for attacks on Indian students – they learn that Australians, though far from perfect, are as mixed a bunch as any other race.

It can be hard to watch, especially as a drunk hurls racist obscenities, but Hildebrand brings a nice, light touch, showing through banter that stereotypes of all kinds are dangerous.

Louise SchwartzkoffMovies

Knights of the South Bronx (2005) Seven, noon

Businessman Richard Mason (Ted Danson) sees his destiny as shaping the lives of tough inner-city kids at a high school in the Bronx. These youngsters enjoy gang war so it follows they will take to chess like ducks to a unicycle. Danson has elements of Mr Chips, Miss Jean Brodie and, of course, Sidney Poitier’s Mark ”Sir” Thackeray. The Knights of the South Bronx is the name the students on the school chess team adopt, and the feel-good factor is as obvious as the story, based, as they say, on actual events.

Open Hearts (2002) SBS Two, 11.45pm

This spartan story from Susanne Bier is among the more commendable examples of Dogma theory – elementary but not oversimplified. Bier’s narrative concerns Cecilie and Joachim, a young couple madly in love and looking optimistically at their future together. Their expectations are smashed when Joachim is struck down and seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver. Niels, a doctor at the Copenhagen hospital, breaks the news to Cecilie that her fiance has become paraplegic. The 23-year-old turns to Niels, who responds by becoming personally involved in her problems. Her affection transfers to Niels and they fall into a passionate liaison, complicated by the fact that the doctor is happily married and compounded by the fact that the driver of the car that injured Joachim was driven by Niels’s wife, Maria.

The Vicious Circle (1957) ABC1, 1.05am (Thu)

A film producer friend asks Dr Latimer (John Mills) to pick up movie star Frieda Veldon from the airport and drive her to Claridges. He does so then drives off to meet his fiancee Laura and best friend Ken. A colleague, Dr Kimber, phones and recounts how a disturbed patient claims to have seen a woman’s dead body beside a candelabra. Curious! The subsequent discovery of Frieda’s corpse in Latimer’s flat, with a candlestick nearby, adds to the mystery. As does the murder of Dr Kimber’s upset patient, Mrs Ambler, who, before she is killed, says she’s never heard of Dr Kimber. Things begin to look rather sticky for the good doctor when the film producer claims never to have asked Latimer to meet the dead actress. Special agents and international criminals begin to appear as this hectic and convoluted whodunit unfolds.

Doug Anderson

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Tuesday, July 3

Tuesday, July 3

Episodes … Stephen Mangan, Matt Le Blanc and Tamsin Greig.Free to air
Nanjing Night Net

Episodes, Nine, 9.30pm

It’s not impossible to make a successful US adaptation of a British comedy but they often end in disaster and that’s the premise of Episodes. A British couple – Sean and Beverly Lincoln (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) – have just won a fourth BAFTA for their sitcom. They’re approached by an LA network exec to remake the show for the US market. They agree and things go horribly wrong.

The meta-meta story here is that this is a US-British co-production, made for Showtime and the BBC by Hat Trick Productions (Outnumbered) and written by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik (Friends). It could have ended up as the kind of shemozzle that forms the premise for the series, but it works.

Matt LeBlanc stars as a fictional version of himself, the utterly inappropriate US star drafted into the lead role to make the new series ”more relatable”. LeBlanc (the real one) obviously relishes the opportunity to stretch his wings and he’s great, while the character is beautifully drawn. Like most Showtime comedies, this isn’t a laugh a minute but by the end of the second episode, which also airs tonight, it starts to hit its straps.

Too Fast to be a Woman? The Story of Caster Semenya, SBS One, 8.30pm

In 2009 South African athlete Caster Semenya won the 800 metres world championship in Berlin. Immediately, whispers about her became full-blown accusations. Was she actually a woman? That event is the starting point for a documentary encompassing a complex set of questions about gender identity and equality, about the politics of international sporting organisations and the way in which, when it comes to sport, how much of a natural advantage is too much.

Semenya is clearly not an ordinary woman but as several experts point out, no elite athlete is physically normal. They are all genetic freaks to some extent, so why are female athletes so pointedly targeted and harassed? Semenya is the most public but certainly not the only female athlete told she wasn’t sufficiently female to compete, based on some very dodgy guidelines. And beyond these questions, of course, is a human being – a teenager from a poor rural village who can’t believe an anonymous board of directors gets to decide whether or not she’s a woman and who just wants to run.

Archer, ABC2, 9pm

If Get Smart went R-rated – and animated – it might look something like this. Sterling Archer is an international spy with an inflated idea of his own abilities and a deeply misanthropic attitude. He works for an organisation run by his even more arrogant and misanthropic mother, Malory. Both the spies and staff spend a lot of their time drunk, on drugs, humping each other or fantasising about doing so. This is most definitely not family viewing. But, man, it’s a lot of fun.

It’s hard to capture on the page the dizzy joy of Archer’s rapid-fire dialogue, wildly intersecting storylines and sheer lewd lunacy. Tonight Malory is being blackmailed by the head of the KGB, who wants to marry her, which means Archer must go undercover as a gay man to seduce the Cuban agent in possession of the KGB sex tape, thereby giving over a large portion of the show to weird, clever, off-colour and hilarious jokes about gay men that are actually jokes about what straight people think about gay men. If this sounds like your idea of fun, please, tune in. 

Survivor: One World, Nine, 10.30pm

If there’s been another season in which the women have so completely dominated, I can’t remember it. And that’s not the only pleasure in this entertaining instalment. Tonight, a wild pig wanders into camp and the girls – desperate for a feed – start shouting, ”Kill the pig! Kill the pig!” This is Survivor, so I don’t know if any of them have actually read Lord of the Flies, but it’s absolutely priceless. 

Melinda HoustonMovies

What Makes a Family (2001) Seven, noon

Certainly not lesbian couples employing artificial insemination to bypass God’s procreative laws – according to some extreme Christians and retrograde wowsers. The issues are plain enough but opposing notions of morality are seldom as simple as a difference of opinion. This film ventilates some of them when Sandy Cataldi, a lesbian woman inseminated via an IVF program, gives birth to a child and, after five years of happy motherhood with her partner, dies. Sandi’s parents initiate proceedings to gain custody of the child, to the extreme distress of the grieving partner, Janine Nielssen (Brooke Shields). The case for an equal right to give and receive love is a little occluded by sentimentality but this is a better-than-average lunchtime flick.

The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962) 7Two, 2pm

In space no one can hear you scream – or even cry, ”Mip mip mip mip!” While preparing for an appearance on MasterChef, the Stooges find themselves in the laboratory of Professor Danforth, a dotty scientist who is developing a radical all-terrain, submersible and Earth-orbit-capable vehicle for the US military. But Martian spies have an eye on the machine and plan the destruction of Earth in their efforts to steal it. Shakespearean in scope, scale and execution. Beam me down, Scotty, I’m feeling a trifle nauseous.

One Nite in Mongkok (2004) SBS Two, 11.30pm

A typical December night in Hong Kong but not for the son of a gang leader who pegs out during the balletic ballistics of an impromptu street brawl. This provokes his grieving father to summon Liu, a local fixer who engages a hitman from the mainland to mete out suitable vengeance. Liu hires Lai Fu, a tough young punk from a fly-speck town who duly arrives in HK on a day pass to do the business. Local cops have heard on the grapevine that someone is about to get an unpleasant Christmas present, so a taciturn detective, Inspector Milo, decides to intervene. But first he has to find the warring brothers and the faceless Lai Fu, who, while an ice-cold professional, has some sense of decency – enough, it seems, to rescue hooker Dandan from a sadistic client and enlist her help in finding his way around the city. As the sun sets on a hectic day, Liu has double-crossed Lai Fu, the brothers are in hiding and Milo’s men are hot on the heels of Dandan and Lai Fu.

Doug Anderson

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Monday, July 2

Monday, July 2

Imprisoned … Joshua Bowman as Daniel Grayson in Revenge.Free to air
Nanjing Night Net

Revenge, Seven, 8.30pm

Yes, there’s a surfeit of close-ups of people glaring and open-eyed, Brutus-style hugs that scream of betrayal. But if there’s one thing this glossy soap has judged cleverly through its first season, it’s the snappy speed of its plotting. As the story of the relentless quest by Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) to avenge her father’s disgrace and death has played out, the producers have packed episodes with a never-ending procession of suspicious characters and enough red herrings to fill a cannery.

Tonight, events take a new turn for imprisoned Grayson heir Daniel (Joshua Bowman) and Grayson Global comes under threat following the latest moves by Victoria (Madeleine Stowe). Meanwhile, Emily chases a lead she discovers in a previously missing diary and a sinister man starts to emerge from the shadows – a killer with white hair and ice-blue eyes.

Last Man Standing, Ten, 8pm

In this strained sitcom, Tim Allen attempts unsuccessfully to recapture the magic of his hit comedy Home Improvement (1991-99). Instead of being DIY expert Tim ”The Tool Man” Taylor, he’s Mike Baxter, marketing director for a sporting goods store. Mike’s a man’s man with a supportive spouse and three daughters who bewilder him. So the show is basically a string of situations in which the bloke who loves beer, guns and cars is confounded by the opposite sex.

But instead of those misunderstandings having some sweetness and spark, as they can in New Girl, here they are dull and predictable. Mike stomps around growling like a disgruntled bear and the comedy is old-fashioned – not in a quaint and appealing way so much as a creaky and cliched one.

In this episode, Mike tries to enforce a curfew on his eldest daughter, 22-year-old single mother Kristin (Alexandra Krosney), while also insisting that there be no ”shenanigans” under his roof. The poor guy, awash in a veritable sea of oestrogen, just can’t get a decent break. Oh, diddums.

Fashion Star, Eleven, 8.30pm

This is the clothing-design contest that doesn’t have Heidi and Tim. Instead, it has Elle, Nicole, Jessica and John, as well as a trio of buyers from major chain stores in the US.

In a clever twist on the traditional fashion-design contest, the buyers arrive with their chequebooks and bid for the clothes they want to see in their stores. Combining the sometimes inconsequential assessments of mentor-judges Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos and the cold, hard cash that can be offered by the buyers, Fashion Star is a slick package but unfortunately it’s no Project Runway. Elle Macpherson anchors the action, a beautiful yet bland robo-host who looks great in the gowns but is otherwise stiff and constrained.

With 10 contestants remaining, the challenge here is to work in teams to design a living department store window. As Orly has problems with lace, Ross attempts a vest and Edmond makes an ill-advised move to menswear, all of the contestants are anxious not to hear those fateful words: ”I’m sorry, you’re not our fashion star.”

Body of Proof, Seven, 9.30pm

Dana Delany has been a doctor (Presidio Med), a desperate housewife, a federal agent (Castle) and, most memorably, a stoic nurse serving during the Vietnam War (China Beach). In this by-the-numbers crime series, she plays Megan Hunt, a brilliant neurosurgeon who works in the medical examiner’s office.

Megan is always the smartest person in the room, knows it and has no problem reminding everyone else. In terms of smugness, she would give The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane a run for his money, although she also has a killer collection of shoes and handbags.

This episode involves the investigation following the discovery of a body in the freezer of a popular Philadelphia restaurant. It reunites Delany with her China Beach co-star Robert Picardo- who plays the brother of the victim and a possible witness to the crime – who also appears to be suffering from dementia.

Debi EnkerMovies

The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze (1963) 7Two, 2pm

How splendid of 7Two to take up the slack in quality movies while SBS goes hell for leather with the Tour de France. It’s a case of roll over Jules Verne and consult the doping committee when Phileas Fogg III, great-grandson of the original adventurer, accepts a wager from a descendant of Randolph Stuart to duplicate his ancestor’s amazing journey. Fogg (Jay Sheffield), for reasons far too arcane to detail here, is obliged to take three travelling companions – Moe, Larry and Curly Joe – in an effort to outwit Stuart, whose apparent sense of injustice over his relative’s defeat by great-grandpa Fogg still rankles. That’s the plot in a nutshell – a vessel far larger than necessary. But wait! There’s an ingenious twist to proceedings. Stuart is, in fact, a notorious conman, Vickers Cavendish, who has initiated the challenge as a smokescreen for robbing the Bank of England and framing Fogg III. Ohhh! Lordy wah! Stand by for a torrent of Oscars! Love interest is provided by the fragrant Amelia Carter (Joan Freeman), an heiress the quartet rescue from thugs on the way back to London. Genius! An intriguing footnote: Freeman was born in the town of Council Bluffs, Iowa, home of Gilbert Sheldon’s porcine superhero Wonder Wart-Hog, aka Philbert Desanex. She also appeared in Roustabout (with Elvis Presley) and The Reluctant Astronaut. Subeditor Phil Space advises the infamous ”eye-poke” routine is used here for the last time in a Stooges movie, given Joe DeRita’s concern children would emulate it and damage their eyes, initiating vigorous reactions from swarms of Hollywood lawyers.

Victoria in Dover (1954) SBS Two, 10.30pm

Romy and Magda Schneider star in this odd German confection, which concerns itself with the first years of Queen Victoria’s reign. The young princess, newly crowned, is pushed towards an arranged marriage by Lord Melbourne. Her family and Melbourne concur that Prince Albert is the ideal chap but Victoria disagrees and takes herself off on a short holiday to ponder her future. On the way to Paris, she pops into a hotel in Dover, incognito, for a couple of schooners and there meets a man who enchants her utterly. Amazing powers! It is later revealed that this dashing chap is none other than Albert – Bertie, the love of her life. Barbara Cartland couldn’t have written it better! On second thoughts …

Doug Anderson

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Ask Doug

Ask Doug

It’s always pleasing to be the conduit between readers who yearn to see a particular film and those who take pleasure in providing the means of doing so. All the more when the sought-after item is rare. Hence a degree of vicarious delight when a packet arrives from Billy the Kid containing a couple of discs recently sought here. The first of these is Sorok Pervyy (1956), aka The Forty-first, an obscure Russian production whose title Charmain Williams of Forster, was not even able to recall despite seeing the film at the old Savoy Cinema on Bligh Street many moons ago. Glennys Ferguson provided a few clues and Billy did the rest. I wonder how it will play half a century later?
Nanjing Night Net

In the same package from Billy, The Magnificent Showman (1965), aka Circus World, starring John Wayne. An accompanying note suggested the quality of the print might be somewhat ”iffy”, and that being the case I have sent instead a second copy provided by ”The Plucky Learner”, who is located somewhere on the south coast of NSW if the Nowra postmark is authentic. No doubt Michael Kennedy of Raworth will be delighted by both acts of kindness.

While in the approximate ambit of obscure old Russian films, would anyone have data that might provide clues to pursue the 1939 film The Foundling – a warm, comedy-drama directed by Tatyana Lukashevich? It’s the story of Natasha, a young girl who goes walkabout in Moscow and the people she encounters before being returned to her family. Likened to City Lights, it is said to be superbly acted and, according to The Guide’s references, was mentioned in Komediya Davno Minuvshikh Dney (1980). The stars were Veronika Lebedeva, Faina Ranevskaya and Pyotr Repnin. Finding this item would give enormous pleasure to Zika and Dimitry Nester of Cammeray.

Lionel Baker of Engadine was keen to revisit the 1955 drama A Prize of Gold, featuring Richard Widmark. His inquiry prompted the arrival of a package from Sharon Thomson of Gymea with a disc of the film. I enclosed your handwritten address, Sharon, so Lionel can write to you but I’m afraid I couldn’t make it out or verify it in White Pages, so unless Lionel can decipher which street your 95 belongs to, you may have to be gratified by my thanks alone. Also in regard to this film, Sharon reports that it is available on DVD via VicPine Rare and Cult Movies in Britain for £16 (free shipping). The address is vicpine.co.uk. Thanks also to Paul Myers of Minto for providing a disc of the Widmark drama.

Well done, the Tathra Golfer! An albatross! A request by Claudia Chan Shaw for the 1939 thriller The Return Of Doctor X, starring Bogey, has been answered. Should we meet on the back nine, it’s our shout at the clubhouse.

GPO Box 506, Sydney, 2001, or fax 9282 2481.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The view

The view

The London Olympics … will deliver Nine a significant audience.At the end of the ratings year we may reflect that no sooner had David Leckie, Channel Seven’s infamously belligerent chief executive, stood down than the No.1 commercial network’s grip on the ratings crown faltered.
Nanjing Night Net

In truth, the events are not linked but what is true is that Seven faces its toughest competition in recent memory. And Channel Nine, humiliatingly displaced from the top spot in 2007, has the best shot at reclaiming its lost glory.

Both networks will wheel out big-ticket content, though Nine has the London Olympics. Despite the time difference, the Games will deliver Nine a significant windfall in terms of cumulative audience for the

year. And coming out of that event it will be ”game on” as both networks attempt to flex their programming muscle.

In that sense, it’s not unfair to say Nine seems to have the advantage, particularly when it comes to the kind of multi-night franchises – think The Block, The Voice – that deliver their owners the strongest, fastest growth across the schedule.

Seven’s biggest multi-night franchise for the second half of the year is The X Factor, a robust performer that comes to the fray behind a depleted performance from Australia’s Got Talent and the frustrating, inescapable reality that The Voice, for a variety of reasons, has made every other show in the talent genre look a decade older than it is.

Nine’s biggest post-Olympic multi-night franchise is Big Brother. It’s an old format dusted off and, untested, it’s a gamble. But it comes to the market rejuvenated by several years off the field.

Whether Seven or Nine wins remains to be seen, but as the media lurches through its most tectonic period in memory, the stakes have never been higher.

Michael Idato is on Twitter: @michaelidato

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The song remains the same

The song remains the same

Hosts with the most … Brian Nankervis and Julia Zemiro.WHEN Julia Zemiro got the gig hosting RocKwiz in 2005, she never dreamt she’d be there seven years later, about to launch its 10th season. She’s still there with co-creator Brian Nankervis and the house band, the RocKwiz Orkestra, comprising James Black, Mark Ferrie and Peter Luscombe, while the tight-knit crew has barely changed since the day the show started. She believes authenticity and consistency is a big part of the show’s appeal.
Nanjing Night Net

”The producers, Ken [Connor], Brian and Peter [Bain-Hogg] are all men in their 40s and 50s who know what they are,” she says. ”They’re not trying to prove anything, they know what they like. Same with the band; they’ve done it all and seen it all. We’re not trying to be cool – it’s work. I think if you cast something properly you don’t have to keep changing it.”

Initially, the French-born Zemiro says she was simply happy to get paid to do a job, having just returned from overseas where she slept on people’s couches and taught English as a second language to newly arrived migrants in London.

”What I love is hosting,” she says, ”but it’s very free. I can do whatever I like in-between.” As well as co-presenting the annual Eurovision broadcasts on SBS, one of those in-between jobs was appearing in Adam Zwar’s confessional show Agony Aunts, which aired on the ABC this year.

”What do you mean? What are you getting at?” Zemiro mockingly replies when asked how she feels about the frank admissions she made on that show. She initially said no when asked to participate in the show but changed her mind when she saw the fellow aunts.

In that show, Zwar asked the single Zemiro about marriage proposals she’d received. Much to Zwar’s – and the audience’s – surprise, Zemiro denied having ever been proposed to. ”I look a bit sad about it,” Zemiro says, looking back on her confession. ”Not that my dream has ever been to be married but maybe there was a bit of sadness. Then he put some sad music under it.”

Zemiro believes that as a result of being well known, people ”have an idea of me that doesn’t measure up”. ”It gets confusing, it gets cloudy,” she says.

”When I go to Europe people take me as I am. I get a lot more interest and offers over there,” she adds with a knowing wink in her voice.

”I think I disappoint men here. I feel a pressure of what they see on TV is what they expect in real life.”

Not that she’s complaining about it. ”I might have been sad about it a few years ago, but now I’m employed, I have great friends, wonderful opportunities, I go to Europe every year.”

Zemiro returned from her fourth Eurovision last month feeling somewhat restless about her life and career here. She’s considering splitting her time between Australia and Europe, as many successful stand-up comedians and performers do.

”I’d love to go to France and try a one-woman show,” she says. ”You get to a point where you’re quite successful and you wonder if they like you or don’t like you because of what you’ve just done before. So to go somewhere you don’t know is to be, like, 20 and starting again.”

RocKwizSBS One, Saturday, 8.30pm

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Stellar cast for new ABC drama

Stellar cast for new ABC drama

Claudia Karvan, Justine Clarke, Shane Jacobson, William McInnes and Stephen Curry will head the cast of the ABC’s new 13-part drama series, Time of Our Lives. The contemporary relationship drama, which began filming last Friday, comes from The Secret Life of Us co-creator Amanda Higgs and writer Judi McCrossin, and boasts one of the best writing teams on Australian TV, including McCrossin (Beaconsfield), Michael Miller (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Kris Mrksa (The Slap), Blake Ayshford (The Straits), Ursula Cleary (Beaconsfield) and Tony McNamara (The Rage in Placid Lake). Time of Our Lives is the story of an Australian family as they ”juggle, fight, love and play their way through the challenges of contemporary family life”. Karvan (pictured) will play Caroline, an overprotective mother who is married to Matt (McInnes). Clarke plays Bernadette, a mother of three who is married to Luce (Jacobson). Curry plays Luce’s best friend, Herb.
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A Stella accolade

Underbelly actress Anna McGahan has won the coveted Heath Ledger Scholarship from the Los Angeles-based industry group Australians in Film. The 24-year-old star of Nine’s new drama, House Husbands, wins a $10,000 prize and a one-year scholarship to the Stella Adler Acting School in LA. McGahan’s credits also include Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and the as-yet-unseen ABC telemovie The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.

Home on Hulu

The political comedy At Home with Julia has been picked up by the US content platform Hulu. The deal is a major windfall for the series, exposing it to the biggest broadcast market in the English-speaking world. The four-part sitcom was created and written by Rick Kalowski, Amanda Bishop and Phil Lloyd, and starred Bishop and Lloyd as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson. The series, which was nominated in the best television comedy category at the 2012 AACTA Awards, screened on the ABC last September. There has been persistent speculation that the ABC may commission a second series.

Aunty’s catch-app

The ABC has launched an iPhone application for its iView platform. The app will feature content from four ABC channels – ABC1, ABC2, ABC3 and ABC4Kids – as well as content acquired by the ABC specifically for the iView platform. It will also be able to stream the ABC News 24 channel. The iPhone app will also support AirPlay (an app that allows streaming to nearby TV screens using the AppleTV box). Since its launch in 2008, iView has become the dominant TV ”catch-up” service in the Australian market.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

News kid on the block

News kid on the block

Anchorman … Late News’s Hamish Macdonald.WHEN the Ten Network’s senior foreign correspondent, Hamish Macdonald, won the British Royal Television Society’s young journalist of the year award in 2008, the jury noted his ”confidence, style and spirit”. Then a presenter on the English-language Al Jazeera news channel, the 27-year-old Macdonald had, the jury said, ”real star quality”. Certainly for his age he was accomplished. He spoke three languages and had reported from the world’s hot spots, including Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.
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This year, at 31, he added a curious string to his bow, a Logie nomination for the Graham Kennedy Award for outstanding new talent. He admits, a little glibly perhaps, he’s ”more terrified” being photographed on a red carpet than covering a revolution or disaster: ”I find that still very unfamiliar and kind of disconcerting.”

On the set of Ten’s Late News, he cuts a handsome figure. On the opening night of the show, his red pants seemed to dominate Twitter debate. Coupled with comparisons to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, you get the impression that even the audience has cottoned on to what the Royal Television Society saw. He’s a star.

Celebrity seems to perplex Macdonald and comparisons with Cooper particularly so. But it could be said both have the same rare quality – the ability to frame serious world news for a younger demographic that has, historically, been slow to engage with it.

”If people want to draw comparisons, fine; [Cooper] is obviously hugely successful and does a great job,” Macdonald says. ”If we can have half that success, my bosses will be very happy, but ultimately I want to define a very different product in terms of what we do.”

Macdonald was hired by Ten almost two years ago in the midst of a very different news strategy for Australia’s youngest, and young-skewing, commercial network. Then, the emphasis was on providing a highbrow alternative to Nine and Seven’s early evening news offerings, spearheaded by George Negus’s current affairs show, which featured Macdonald as senior foreign correspondent. It was a ”brave new world,” Macdonald says, ”and I guess that’s never changed, though the dynamics of that new world have changed.”

The strategy failed, despite Ten backing it for the best part of a year, and Negus’s show was axed in October last year. ”From my point of view, I am sad the show didn’t work, not just for me but for everyone involved,” Macdonald says. ”It was ambitious. The reality is, it didn’t find the traction that we wanted it to, but it certainly wasn’t from lack of effort or enthusiasm.”

Its replacement, a repackaged, one-hour edition of The Project, Ten’s news-light entertainment panel show, seems to sit a little better with Ten’s younger audience. And Macdonald seems a little more at home in that framework.

Broadly speaking, he says, ”I’m doing the same kind of reportage, but framed in a different product. So my greatest fear, that doing serious journalism or foreign journalism has no home on Ten or on commercial television, has not been realised.”

Last month Ten launched Late News with Macdonald as presenter. Ten hopes to draw an audience to a blend of serious journalism, breaking news and, Macdonald says, ”some texture, something to bring balance to that. [Ten is] very clear about where they want to go, and the audience we’re going after. That makes the objective sit more clearly on the horizon.”

At first glance, Macdonald’s confidence is easily mistaken for ambition. The former he has in spades; regarding the latter, he’s not so certain. ”I’m definitely driven, I don’t know if I’m necessarily ambitious. I’m more interested in making sure I’m doing stuff that I’m engaged with, that is stimulating and engaging and makes a difference. It’s a difficult set of planets you want to try and align.”

Reporting from a battlefield, he agrees, requires many things of a journalist, not least of which is a little bit of madness. ”A lot of people talk about adrenalin and addiction, and I think in a way that’s not the right analysis of it,” he says. As a journalist, he says, the fundamentals in terms of storytelling are extremes of human behaviour. ”People involved in pure evil and people conducting themselves with a boundless sense of humanity, and war zones are places where you see both of those extremes,” he says. ”That is a very rare thing to observe.”

He does not come from a media family, though all three of his siblings are working in the media in various capacities. The attraction to journalism, Macdonald says, is that it gives you permission to be in places where ”history is unfolding”.

That is a ”a phenomenal privilege”, he says. ”You’re on the streets of Cairo when Mubarak is being overthrown or in the middle of Libya while the rebels are fighting Gaddafi or looking through the doors of Westminster Abbey while William and Kate are getting married. They are monumental moments. What could be better?”

MacDonald acknowledges the theatre of war has changed, particularly for journalists. Asked if he is afraid of dying, he pauses. It is the first question he has not answered immediately. ”I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about dying,” he eventually says. ”You think about minimising risk, you think about the fact that you’re in a team, and as a correspondent you have huge responsibility for everybody in that team. I don’t spend my time thinking am I going to die, I spend my time thinking, ‘I can’t put these people in situations where they might die.’ If you spend too much time thinking about that, you wouldn’t do it.”

The story so far …

– Hamish Macdonald graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2002 and has worked mainly overseas, for Britain’s Channel 4, ITV and the English-language Al Jazeera news channel.

– He has reported from many of the world’s danger zones, notably Malaysia during pro-democracy demonstrations in 2007.

– He was hired by Al Jazeera as a producer but was quickly made an anchor. He spent most of his time there trying to get back into the field. ”I’d never even done a live cross, I didn’t want to be an anchor on an international news network,” he says.

– He recently filled in on the ABC 702 Drive shift.

Late NewsTen, Monday-Thursday, 10.30pm

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Fair dinkum strategy is crucial

Fair dinkum strategy is crucial

Successful marketing is all about setting priorities and maximising exposure.AS A self-funded business promoting Australian manufacturing, produce and services, funds are not always available to invest in promotion and exposure. What advice do you have on maximising the impact of the dollars spent and taking advantage of free promotion and exposure opportunities?
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My business has a website www .BuyAustralianMade南京夜网.au, an app, runs a Google ad campaign, engages in social media and sends a regular newsletter to more than 2000 subscribers. Many of the 400 businesses we promote display our logo and link back to the website. My mantra is ”What you buy TODAY, will determine the Australia we live in TOMORROW. Make a difference, BuyAustralianMade.” Look forward to your suggestions.

The first thing you need to look at is how all the marketing activity is paying off. What is the goal for each channel you’re investing in? Are you looking to get more businesses involved? Do you want to increase your brand awareness? Are you looking to get your message out to more consumers? Or is it something else?

Let’s assume you want to get more businesses involved with promoting that they’re Australian-made. You need to figure out what kind of leads you’re generating from each channel and then set some goals for growth. Run some analytics to figure out exactly how much web traffic your Google ads are producing for you and take a look at where the majority of new inquiries are coming from. If you can track where the leads are being generated, you’ll have a better idea of where you can ramp up your efforts.

Don’t be afraid to ask for “added value” options. In the media, there are two departments: advertising and editorial. If you’re committing dollars to ads, ask if you can do an interview for a feature on the business. If you’re writing content and acting as an expert source, see if they’ll throw in a free ad for your time commitment. Also take a look at events and sponsorship. If you’re sponsoring the local footy, don’t just settle for some signage at the posts. Ask if you can have an information booth with pamphlets and information to engage people. It’s those little things that can make a big difference and if you’re getting them free, that’s even better.

I’VE BEEN doing some software consulting, mostly from home in my spare time. I can back up all my data but the physical contents of my flat are also important to keeping this going so I would like to insure my possessions with something like renter’s insurance but in a tax-effective way. Is there anything I should look for or keep records of?

You have two options. The first is that you can get renter’s insurance with a contents policy, but be sure to let your insurer know that you’re running your business from home so they can cover you properly. The second option is to take out business insurance to insure the contents that relate directly to your business. As you’re doing software consulting and have a lot of data to protect, you should look into an information technology specific policy. Which option you choose depends on your situation. If you’re only really worried about protecting your computer, I’d suggest going with the first one, but if you have extensive data and a server you need to protect, the second option would cover you more comprehensively.

With regards to the tax effectiveness of each policy, business insurance is claimable but contents insurance generally isn’t. This is simply because it’s difficult to distinguish business assets from personal assets.

I suggest talking to your accountant or insurance broker to find out what works for you, based on what you want to cover. There are a lot of factors to consider and you want to make sure that if you’re paying a premium, you’re getting the adequate level of insurance to cover you in case of damage.

Mark Bouris is executive chairman of wealth management company Yellow Brick Road. His advice here is intended as guidance only.

If you have a question, email it to Larissa Ham at [email protected]南京夜网.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.