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    Betting blitz hits junior footballers on club website

    29/09/2019 - Author: admin

    The offending ad on the junior club’s website. Photo: Leigh HenninghamJunior footballers in Ballarat checking their club’s website recently were bombarded with ads for online sports betting.

    The website of the Ballarat Football Club – the third oldest behind Melbourne and Geelong – features ads for Sportsbet苏州美甲美睫培训.au including odds for this weekend’s upcoming AFL matches.

    Club president Shane Manley said it has had a six-year relationship with the online bookie but said it was a mistake for the advertisements to appear on the juniors section of club’s website, which was made during an update of the site.

    Mr Manley said the club did not want betting to be associated with the juniors – the ads were removed on Wednesday.

    Ballarat Football Club’s relationship with online bookmakers is not unique, with other clubs across the state receiving sponsorship from betting agencies.

    The revelations come amid increased public and political debate about children’s exposure to betting advertising.

    Sportsbet issued a joint statement with the football club saying the ad was placed there by a club volunteer who was making upgrades to the new senior club website.

    ”Both Ballarat FC and Sportsbet acknowledge that this placement was inappropriate and regret the mistake. Placement of the ad contravenes Sportsbet’s terms and conditions, but we recognise that this was an honest mistake by a club volunteer and both parties agree to take action to prevent it happening again,” the statement said.

    The AFL says website pages dedicated to junior football and an under-age audience should carry only age-appropriate advertising.

    In Victoria it is also illegal for bookmakers to give inducements – such as free bets – to punters, but the website ads also spruiked a $150 free bet for new clients.

    On the membership page there is a heading ”Sportsbet Memberships”; the link takes users through to a website about how to sign up to get the $150 free bet. Under the instructions it says, ”Free Bet Offer not open to Victorian Residents.”

    Sportsbet said the wrong ad was chosen to be displayed on the website.

    On Wednesday The Age reported that Betfair had pleaded guilty to two charges of offering inducements to open betting accounts in Victoria.

    Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said constant gambling promotion was undermining the positive qualities sport taught children, such as teamwork, respect for rules and a healthy lifestyle.

    ”It’s time for politicians, sporting codes and clubs to show some leadership and say enough is enough,” he said.

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    Show of the week: The Americans

    - Author: admin

    Behind picket fences: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Russian spies in The Americans.Monday, Channel Ten, 8.30pm

    It’s too much for the young agent at FBI counter-intelligence to believe: Russian ”super spies” disguised as regular Americans embedded throughout the country, operating spy rings from behind the white picket fences of suburbia? Surely not, pull the other one, it plays Dixie. And yet …

    It’s 1981, kids do homework on typewriters and there’s not a mobile phone in sight. After three decades of behind-the-scenes sparring, the Cold War is running out of steam but Ronald Reagan has just been elected, anti-Soviet rhetoric is ramping up and the currency of paranoia still buys a bunch of action among the old guard in Washington. Besides, a defector, a former KGB colonel, has spilt about the embedded spies in return for a new life under the Stars and Stripes, so slam-dunk, case made, the enemy is inside the gates.

    The audience knows it’s true because we’ve met Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys). The Soviet agents live in a Truman Show suburb of perfect lawns, with kids in the local school and an Oldsmobile in the garage. They appear to be such normal Americans it’s creepy, especially when you see what they get up to at night. Watching these frauds go about their everyday business in their ordinary domestic setting recalls those horror/sci-fi flicks in which aliens live and work among us as perfect human replicas. You half-expect the Jenningses to unzip their red-blooded American skin suits to emerge as the slavering Slavic monsters they really are.

    Despite meticulous training, there are hints of un-American behaviour: making fun of a teacher with a harelip because he assigned homework about how the Russians cheat on arms control; defending the Soviets’ achievements in the space race; dressing up like Deborah Harry and seducing a presidential adviser to get counter-espionage information.

    Clearly, the Jenningses are evil. But then cracks start to appear in their ideological resolve, there’s a bit of marital discord – plus glimpses of a horrific backstory – and we feel stirrings of sympathy for them. When an FBI agent moves in across the road, threatening their cover, we suspect that we’re going to start rooting for them.

    Russell is tough and ruthless as Elizabeth, a long way from the college girl character she played in Felicity; and Rhys’ hard-as-nails-but-wavering spy is in a different universe from Kevin in Brothers & Sisters. The story plays out against a fabulous soundtrack – megahits Tusk (Fleetwood Mac) and In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins) are used to superb effect. It looks great and has intriguing possibilities.

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    Rookies outfox the crocs

    - Author: admin

    Croc College participants help to move a large female croc. About-face: Lynda Bennett went on the show in an attempt to deal with the death of her granddaughter, who was taken by a crocodile in the Northern Territory.

    Five metres, 500 kilograms, 70 teeth, and millions of years of hard-wired, predatory instincts. Understandably, that’s not everyone’s ideal workmate.

    So when applications for Croc College were released in late 2011 seeking those looking for ”a new challenge”, it may have been one of the greatest understatements likely to lead to a television audition.

    A three-week saltwater crocodile-wrangling course, complete with capturing, wrestling, feeding, sexing and skinning, may warrant a different expression (usually, ”challenge” is a term attributed to something more like an Ikea assembly). ”You live, eat and breathe crocs on the course, day and night; there are no diversions,” says crocodile farmer and host John Lever.

    The show follows six Australians being put through their paces, under Lever’s tutelage, on his industry-renowned training course.

    From giving lectures on behavioural traits to nursing a six-month-old croc, each student is aiming to impress Lever in the hopes of earning a place on a research expedition to Kakadu.

    No fear, though – they’re in a safe, well-worn pair of hands. With more than 40 years’ experience surrounded by salties, Lever wrote the book on crocodile training. No, literally, he wrote the book. ”I wrote a crocodile industry training manual in Papua New Guinea,” Lever explains, ”because there was no industry standard at all; there was nothing to measure anything against. So people just started learning on the farm with me right beside them.”

    But the first thought to cross his mind when he saw the unusual suspects heading onto his property? ”Help!” he laughs down the line from his Rockhampton farm.

    ”The ABC had told me nothing about the people they’d selected, so when they turned up here I had no idea. After introducing themselves and telling their stories to me, I knew then the ABC had deliberately set me a real challenge.”

    That challenge is, in fact, the core tenet of the program. Lever, now 70, frequently jokes on the show that his time in the field is nearly up, and that’s where the training course comes in.

    For him, the only prerequisite is passion – the show is all about proving that a bunch of people who know absolutely nothing about crocodiles could be taken and come out the other end with a real skill-set.

    Overcoming a natural, instinctual fear, however, was another matter entirely, as Lever realised when the show’s producers came up for a demo before shooting.

    ”One entered the pen with me,” Lever explains, ”and I said to him, ‘Whatever you do, never try and jump a fence if a croc attacks you, because you could hit the top, bounce back in onto your back, and the crocodile will be on top of you’.

    ”Well, the crocodile attacked and he leapt straight over the fence! It’s not that easy to train people out of their instincts.”

    Some instincts, however, are ingrained in a more personal, immoveable place. Participant Lynda Bennett lost her 11-year-old granddaughter Briony to a crocodile attack three years ago in the Northern Territory, a tragic occurrence that prompted the family to call for a mass crocodile cull. However, in time she did an about-face on the matter.

    ”To lose a child in the situation that we lost Briony was very confusing,” Bennett says, ”so we firstly looked at the safety factor and thought perhaps the cull would be the way to go. We did a double-take on that thinking, though, because if you cull the animal people are going to get a false sense of security and are still going to go into the water where it’s unsafe.

    ”So we headed into awareness. We stopped blaming the animal and pointing fingers at it for basically doing what’s in its nature, and did a push towards safety via understanding.”

    It’s an attitude still unsupported by many in her family; her decision to go on the show was met with great unease.

    Bennett admits to still wrestling with her emotions, though she says the opportunity for direct contact was the best way for her to move forward and retain some peace of mind.

    ”I felt absolutely useless,” she recalls of her feelings at the time. ”As a parent and grandparent, not being able to do anything to make it right left me feeling a little inadequate, and by doing this show I thought perhaps I could redeem myself in some way. There’s no closure on anything like that, but it’s given us some sort of direction.

    ”Knowledge is power, and that’s what it’s given us.”

    Croc College, ABC1, Tuesday, 8pm.

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    Paradise is a cracking ensemble

    - Author: admin

    On patrol: Danny John-Jules (right) and Death in Paradise co-star Gary Carr.Whether in the Caribbean or deep space, Danny John-Jules believes chemistry is key.

    Death in Paradise is regularly described as a classic murder mystery tinged with humour; is it a fair assessment?

    It definitely has elements of a classic British murder mystery series, but we added ingredients like the main character (Richard Poole, played by Ben Miller) being a fish out of water and having extra hurdles to get over instead of just solving the crime. He has two objectives, really – one is to get through the day, and the other is to solve the crime. Unfortunately, his personality obstructs him getting through the day, which in turn makes it harder to solve the crime.

    The second series recently screened in Britain and averaged almost 8 million viewers a week. Why has it struck such a chord with the public?

    I think that a very successful television character is one that the audience loves and hates at the same time, and that’s exactly what Richard Poole does. He annoys the hell out of you, but he’s so endearing at the same time.

    How important is the chemistry between Death in Paradise’s ensemble cast?

    I always find that if you have a great ensemble (cast), you can get around anything. If you’ve got eight episodes, are all of them going to be real humdingers? No. But your ensemble can always get the audience to the point where they don’t feel disappointed or cheated if one episode isn’t as strong as others. I think it’s the basis of all good television shows.

    What’s it like filming the show on a Caribbean island?

    Because there’s so much work to do, you tend to not have as much free time as you think. When you’re not learning lines you’re in the hotel on Skype. But I love it because my mum and dad are from the next island and my dad still lives there. I can get on a ferry and be on my dad’s island in an hour, and I took my kids to see my dad for the first time, which was nice.

    It was recently announced that Ben Miller will leave the show during the third season and Kris Marshall (My Family) will join the cast in the lead role. Will it change the show’s dynamic?

    Ben’s character took over from a previous character at the start of the series and he’s now being replaced, so from a writing point of view it won’t change much. With a good strong ensemble cast, you should be able to accommodate any new character. Kris Marshall has been in huge shows before and he’s very well known, so there’s no reason he won’t slot right in.

    Last year, the Red Dwarf team (of which John-Jules was part) reunited for its first full series since 1999. Were you worried about how it would be received?

    Not really, because there’s always been such great rapport between the cast. Some people said we were too old to do Red Dwarf again, others said we would screw it up. But we’re nominated in two categories at the Monte Carlo Television Festival this year. Twenty-five years after we started, Red Dwarf is as strong as ever.

    What can you reveal about the next series of Red Dwarf, reportedly being worked on by the show’s co-creator and writer Doug Naylor?

    He’s definitely been writing new stuff and there’s a rumour it might even be a co-BBC production. I think it will definitely happen; the response last year was excellent. The cast [are] ready to rock’n’roll.

    Death in Paradise, ABC1, Saturday, 7.30pm.

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    - Author: admin

    Graphic denial: no plan to dump Kohler

    A report in the Australian Financial Review on May 10 claiming ABC management was considering dumping Alan Kohler’s graph-friendly finance segment from the 7pm news is ”completely without foundation”, an ABC spokesman says. ”Alan Kohler’s nightly contribution … is highly valued by ABC News, which has no plans whatsoever to discontinue it.” The same goes for Kohler’s gig on Sunday mornings, the spokesman says.

    Smith steals BAFTA limelight

    While audiences in Australia were watching the final episode of the mini-series Mrs Biggs, its star, Sheridan Smith, was receiving the BAFTA award for best actress for her role in the British-Australian co-production. She beat fellow nominees Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax), Rebecca Hall (Parade’s End) and Sienna Miller (The Girl). Last Tango beat Ripper Street, Scott and Bailey and Silk to win best drama series, while Murder won the single drama award, beating Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday, The Girl and Richard II (Hollow Crown).

    Sutherland lives to fight another day

    Jack Bauer will return to the small screen next year. After a hiatus of four years, most likely spent torturing enemies of the state in Chechnya, Kiefer Sutherland will reprise his role as a rogue CIA agent in a 12-episode mini-series titled 24: Live Another Day. As anyone familiar with the popcorn action series will quickly realise, the new series will depart from the original concept of telling a 24-hour story in real time (minus commercial breaks). It will pick up where the eighth season left off in 2010. In a masterstroke of hedging, Fox Broadcasting’s entertainment chairman, Kevin Reilly, told The New York Times the 12-hour format was right because the spine of past seasons had 12 hours’ worth of action with ”little events and connective tissue in between”.

    Financial show means business

    The new morning business show Financial Review Sunday, a collaboration between Channel Nine and the Australian Financial Review (whose owner, Fairfax Media, also publishes The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald), copped a pasting from Media Watch last week for its soft-touch reporting of the so-called supermarket wars. Ratings-wise, though, the show’s performance isn’t too shabby. Its first two outings averaged 194,500 people, compared with 129,000 watching The Bolt Report on Channel Ten, 94,000 tuning into the weekend edition of Channel Seven’s The Morning Show, and 120,000 watching Inside Business on ABC1 at the same time.

    Academy awards rise to 40

    Six TV awards have been added to an already lengthy repertoire for the AACTA presentation in Sydney in January. This brings to 40 the number of awards to be handed out by the new film and TV academy during the two-day presentation. The new awards cover cinematography, editing, sound, original music score, production design and costume design. The new awards will rightfully recognise Australia’s television industry professionals for their craft, alongside the film industry and international peers, director Peter Andrikidis and editor Deborah Peart say.

    Doctor on the House

    Doctor Who will add Sydney’s Circular Quay to its itinerary of destinations through space and time. Destination NSW and BBC Worldwide have collaborated on a one-off project to illuminate Customs House with 3D projections of the Doctor pursued by some of his enemies. The June 1 display is part of the Vivid Sydney festival. There’s also a cinema component for Doctor Who fans.

    TV Tweets

    Ever find yourself watching reality TV and just wishing the show, the concept, the cast and noise of it all would just stop and go away?Russell Crowe (actor, insightful) @russellcrowe

    I’m on a plane! I’m having tea! I’m wearing shoes! This is how twitter works, right? I tell you guys EVERYTHING. Great! #syphilisJoss Whedon (director, excited Twitter newbie) @JossActual

    ”American Idol” is like ”The Following” except they’re killing music.Alan Spencer (director, karaoke indifferent) @MrAlanSpencer

    Last night in my dream Oprah asked me why we arent best friends. I didnt have an answer for her.Kristen Bell (actor, not Oprah’s BFF apparently) @IMKristenBell

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    Melbourne dial stuck in neutral

    29/08/2019 - Author: admin


    If anyone in Melbourne radio was looking for an excuse to break out the champagne yesterday, they didn’t find it in the latest ratings – across the board, the survey threw up a steady-as-she-goes set of numbers that equally provided no reason for the drowning of sorrows. And though they were preparing for a party at DMG Radio, that was to mark the first anniversary of its newest on-air venture, smoothfm.The vital numbers from survey three for 2013

    At the top of the radio pile, the figures suggest dials were stuck in position across the city for the April survey period. At the top, the usual suspects: 3AW, with 12.7 per cent of the total audience, up 0.1 on the previous month, with 774 ABC in second, unchanged on 11.4 per cent. In the mornings head-to-head between Neil Mitchell and Jon Faine, no bragging rights, with a dead-heat of 13.3 per cent; this was a rise for Mitchell, who lost the previous survey to Faine (13.2 per cent to 12.9 per cent) after a significant audience drop.

    There was a correction at breakfast, with long-time leaders Ross and John at 3AW reclaiming the full-point drop they recorded last time.

    In the FM battleground, Fox remains on top (9.6 per cent, up from 9.2 per cent) with Gold, Triple M, Nova, Mix and smoothfm next in line. The Eddie McGuire-led Triple M crew crept past Nova (Triple M up from 7.6 per cent to 8.3 per cent, Nova slipping from 8 per cent to 7.3 per cent). This was a good survey for Gold, which held on to its significant leap from the last survey – happy days for breakfast team Brigitte Duclos and Anthony ”Lehmo” Lehmann, who were punted from Australian Radio Network sister station Mix early last year to take the Gold breakfast slot from veterans Grubby and Dee Dee. The move has worked: after a big 1.6 per cent lift last survey, Duclos and Lehmann crept up again in April, pipping Nova’s Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek.

    On the very day of the latest survey release smoothfm turned one year old, and recorded some numbers worth celebrating. Under the banner of ”soft adult-contemporary rock”, the station has been growing steadily with its celebrity-heavy list of announcers (ranging from Michael Buble, pictured, to Richard Wilkins). And it hasn’t been afraid to experiment, even getting Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott in to guest host and play some favourite tracks.

    And finally a couple of radio notes from up north, where 2Day FM shrugged off the royal prank scandal of late last year to reclaim the FM ratings crown in Sydney, with WSFM’s brief hold on the title surrendered to the traditional victors. None of this was thanks to 2Day’s notorious breakfast team, with Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O actually recording an audience decline, though they remained the FM leaders in the timeslot.

    Also in Sydney, ABC veteran Adam Spencer chose ratings day to announce he will end his 14-year stint at the broadcaster in December – a surprising, significant loss for Aunty, and one that leaves the coveted breakfast slot at 702 open for the first time since Spencer (pictured) took over in February 2006. ”It’s been an absolute thrill … and a privilege to host the 702 breakfast show,” he told listeners. ”You’re always going to miss it when it is gone but now feels right. I look forward to kicking back with Alex Ferguson, Barbara Walters and Ricky Ponting on a beach somewhere. I’ll be the one holding their towels!”

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    House plans go awry

    - Author: admin

    One thing that makes perfect sense about House Rules, the faltering new reality television renovation show from Channel Seven, is that the network has signed on Panadol as a sponsor. If the show fails to improve on its current state, which is to play as a predictable and manufactured competition, then it’s going to be an enormous headache for a broadcaster suddenly on the back foot.

    In a bold move, Seven put the show’s launch episode (last Tuesday, May 14) up against Channel Nine’s daunting ratings combination of The Block Sky High and The Voice. House Rules drew a metropolitan capital city audience of about 800,000 viewers, while the Nine duo, which House Rules’ running time overlapped with, scored viewing figures of 1.3 million and 1.6 million respectively. By episode two (Wednesday, May 15) it was 784,000 for House Rules, then a worrying slide to 687,000 by Thursday (May 16). The first three nights of the following week delivered better audiences of 1.036 million, 954,000 and 900,000 respectively.

    House Rules stems from the team that put together My Kitchen Rules for Seven, and it appears designed to duplicate the highly successful format of the latter’s initial episodes even as the focus switches from cooking to home renovation. The six teams travel the country, visiting each respective house in turn where the five visiting teams will renovate their host’s distressed property while the owners have the week off.

    The tension that makes My Kitchen Rules work is based on the social friction of having people into your house to judge the meal you make for them, but House Rules can’t duplicate that. Aside from the stock-standard inserts where they worry about what they will find upon their return the host team is absent, and any sense of ownership is literally obliterated as walls are demolished and floors are removed.

    Even though the action is focused on location, beginning with West Australian couple Jemma and Ben’s ramshackle property, House Rules boasts the ”House Base”, which appears to be nothing more than a tick on the box duplicating My Kitchen Rules elements such as Kitchen HQ. Short of having Manu Feildel pop in to test the newly installed kitchens by putting together a favoured dish, the crossover couldn’t be any more obvious.

    What’s left, unfortunately, resembles The Block – dashboard cameras in sponsors’ cars documenting conversations on the way to sponsors’ outlets; the welter of tradesmen doing work in the background while the contestants give interviews about how they don’t have enough time; decisions about tiles and exhausted-looking people painting second coats in the middle of the night.

    There are not that many practical ways to make a reality show about renovating houses, but House Rules just feels overtly familiar. And it’s one thing to resemble The Block when it’s in recess (My Kitchen Rules, after all, originally began to satisfy pining MasterChef devotees), but quite another to be trying it on when The Block is only a few weeks into a season and sharing airtime with the newcomer.

    By placing five teams in one home, House Rules is obviously hoping for on-screen friction, but the first week didn’t allow for much more than some blunt disagreements and sundry loud voices. A notable early crisis was manufactured from the possibility of missing out on buying a spray tan tent, while the first tweet flashed up declared that the on-site building expert, Chester Drife, was ”dreamy”. The word ”lightweight” comes to mind.

    You would hope that House Rules finds a groove and picks up, but some of the decisions are fundamentally flawed. Casting Queensland couple Amy and Sean, who have no renovation experience, is supposed to make for a triumph against the odds, but for now it’s just a procession of scenes where Amy feels insignificant or errs and bursts into tears. Three nights a week for three months? Not pleasant.

    House Rules may chug along, as happened with Nine’s similar homeMADE in 2009, or implode as Ten’s The Renovators infamously did in 2011. Certainly the portents are not good. The biggest storyline in the first week was the discovery that sections of the initial house had no concrete foundation beneath the floorboards, just a sandy mix. Nothing could be built on that so cement had to be hurriedly trucked in.

    But on the basis of last week’s turnaround, the show has found an audience.

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    Green Guide letters

    - Author: admin

    LETTER OF THE WEEKEuro finale good value – on the net

    Another fantastically and weirdly entertaining Eurovision Song Contest final! A man in a glass box, a gay singer, the tallest man in the US, a lady vying for the longest train in the world and the most incredible pyrotechnics. It had it all! But why, oh why, does SBS persist with pathetic Julia Zemiro, who tells us the bleedin’ obvious? Thank goodness for live streaming on the internet. It’s live, no Zemiro, no adverts.

    Les Mumford, Bittern

    Talk about good viewing

    Adam Hills’ engaging ABC interview with Michael Parkinson should be compulsory viewing for all would-be media interviewers, especially for TV. It was laced with well-thought-out questions, relevant ”advice” and humour. Particularly refreshing these days when so many interviews fawn over their interviewees and take themselves so seriously. How about a one-on-one interview program with Adam Hills, who, with his London program, The Last Leg, could be destined to follow in the Parkinson tradition?

    Stan Marks, Caulfield

    Heaven, it must be there

    I was an atheist until on The Project last week Carrie Bickmore said she would see us ”on the other side”. Now, that would have to be HEAVEN, so I went straight out and found religion.

    Bob Graham, Yarragon

    Show some respect, Brian

    When umpire Ray Chamberlain was interviewed on one of the Fox Footy talk shows during Umpire Appreciation Week, he clearly stated he absolutely hated the nickname ”Razor” that some people have applied to him. Since then I have not heard any commentator use that nickname, with the exception of Brian Taylor from the Fox stable of commentators, ironically. I wish someone at Fox would pull BT into line about this. Show some respect, man!

    Walter J. Valles, Clayton South

    Nine, pick up your act

    I am an avid watcher of Top Gear and once again Channel Nine treats us as outcasts. The new series had one more episode to run last Thursday and was replaced by The Block. When I rang Nine and asked when it will be shown I was told, ”I don’t know”. Apart from showing Top Gear out of sync now we have to miss episodes. Hopefully it will end up back on SBS.

    John Taverna, Tocumwal

    Con has many talents

    Our hirsute presenter Con of the ABC’s Gardening Australia is obviously capable of cultivating more than vegies and exotics … one wonders, though, how he copes with spaghetti!

    Pete Williams, Metung

    Mad for some movies

    Would someone please explain why both ABC and SBS have stopped showing good movies? Given Margaret and David on The Movie Show each week recommend some excellent old films that are mostly easy and cheap to hire, why not show them on ABC2 later in the week?

    Goldie Alexander, Middle Park

    Listen up! Get to the point

    Most annoyingly, talkback radio now includes a large percentage of sycophantic callers who begin with inane comments such as ”Love your program”, ”Thanks for taking my call”, and, often used on SEN, ”Long-time listener, first-time caller”. Please, just get to the point.

    George Norrish, Essendon

    What about the music?

    Where oh where can I find a classical music radio station in the morning that plays just that – classical music? No chat or exhorting listeners to email, SMS or Facebook. I don’t want to know that Aunty Edith has a birthday or that George is in South America. 3MBS used to be a viable alternative but even it has resorted to listener input and chat. Please give me a peaceful musical start to my day!

    Faye Pattinson, Malvern East

    Antisocial behaviour

    The creeping blight of social media is spreading quickly through ABC Classic FM. It’s everywhere. However, the worst offender is Emma Ayres, whose obsession with twitty tweets and mindless SMSs quite overwhelms her entire program. Careless mistakes show she is more interested in her computer screen than she is in her job.

    Jeanne James, Seaford

    Midwife deserves praise

    Call the Midwife has been one of the best shows out of Britain for ages. Sure the plots are facile and there’s always a happy ending, but the great actors and the realistic locales are just fine.

    Lesley Black, Frankston

    Another repetitive voice

    Nearly every ”artist” on The Voice is going to be a Frank Sinatra or an Edith Piaf. Come on, judges! You cannot be serious.

    Kevin Rugg, Black Rock

    Love the sight of Murder

    I enjoyed Mr & Mrs Murder for its cleverly executed plots and the romantic byplay that developed among the main characters. It was a delight to see inner-suburban Melbourne realised on screen, and I enjoyed trying to identify the filming locations. If Channel Ten commissions a second series, it would be something to look forward to.

    Colin Bishop, Queenscliff

    Keenan, on your bike

    Scott McGrory needs to take over the commentary from Matt Keenan for SBS cycling. Matt’s analysis is poor and too biased in favour of British riders. I wonder if Keenan would be so forgiving of Wiggins’ poor availability to the media if Keenan’s editor had required him to get a comment from Wiggins. Commentators should not excuse sports people, who are paid a lot of money, from fronting the media.

    Peter D’Castro, Cremorne

    It’s time to address things

    TV programmers should be sacked for publishing their ”fictitious” program times. Programs now run anything up to 20 minutes late. Perhaps the programs could all be listed as TBA, you guess!

    Keith Murley, Blairgowrie

    Increasingly frustrated

    There is a verb pronounced inCREASE and a noun pronounced INcrease. If the newsreaders and reporters could learn the difference, I’d be very happy.

    Mary Dearing, Essendon

    Nothing elegant about this

    I’m glad my 8¢ found someone who thought The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting was funny. I watched the first three episodes thinking, ”The themes are funny; eventually they will work out how to make the sketches funny”. A holier than thou Prius driver could be hilarious, but not a Prius-driving thug. Carrier pigeon tweets. Here comes the punchline. Must have blinked and missed it.

    Don Hampshire, Sunbury

    HAVE YOUR SAY Email letters, including your name, address and daytime phone number, to [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训.au. Letters must be 75 words or fewer and may be edited. Letters can also be mailed to GPO Box 257, Melbourne, 3001.

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    Funds must be assured

    - Author: admin

    The Checkout has attracted more viewers than many network ‘hits’.Last week’s federal budget would have buffered at least some of the chill wind that is blowing around the ABC and SBS four months out from a likely change of government.

    Despite the encouraging words of the potential new communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, the austerity measures of the Howard years and the debacle of the Jonathan Shier era are remembered grimly.

    The budget delivered an additional $89.4 million over the next three years to the ABC, on top of $2.5 billion in the next triennium. SBS scored an extra $20 million over three years.

    For many years, one of the principal justifications for funding public broadcasting has been to fill the gaps in the market left by the commercial networks. Paradoxically, the ”market failure” case gets turned on its head whenever the ABC manages to out-rate commercial networks, which baulk at having their market share reduced by an organisation funded by taxpayers.

    From the unlikely source material of the launch of a fashion magazine in the 1970s, the ABC’s Paper Giants, whose sequel starts next week, remains one of the most popular TV dramas of recent times. So far this year, an irreverent ABC factual series debunking the lies of supermarkets and vitamin supplements alike has attracted more viewers than many network ”hits”.

    What prevented channels Seven, Nine or Ten making The Checkout? Or Paper Giants? Or last year’s terrific Jack Irish tele-features? Nothing.

    Ever-active lobby group Friends of the ABC contends that, despite the budget windfall, operational revenue has decreased by 23 per cent a year in real terms since 1985-86. ”Governments must do more to ensure the public broadcaster can thrive as a vital source of culture, independent information and ideas,” the group says.

    Looking at the recent record of the ABC and SBS, it’s hard not to concur. It’s time public broadcasters stopped being hobbled by fatuous arguments about their existence and left to make the shows audiences so clearly want to watch.

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    Pay TV show of the week: Bates Motel

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    Freddie Highmore as Norman and Vera Farmiga as Norma in Bates Motel.Sunday, Fox8, 8.30pm

    How did the young and innocent Norman Bates become the monster of Psycho? This present-day prequel sets about explaining in intriguing fashion. The story doesn’t come from Robert Bloch, who wrote Psycho in 1959 and died in 1994, but from folks who have kept viewers spellbound on such shows as Lost and Friday Night Lights.

    This teenage Norman is played by Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland), and we first see him freaking out after discovering his father dead in their garage. Did Norman’s mother (Vera Farmiga) kill him? We don’t know, but she seems suspiciously casual about it.

    Next thing we see, Norman and mum Norma – yep, her name is Norma – are moving into a spooky old house that looms above a dilapidated old motel on the Oregon coast. All the pieces are in place but it’s hard to see how the sweet and well-adjusted Norman is going to turn into a horror-movie slasher. Sure, Norma is clearly not quite right, but it’s not as if Norman is some kind of mummy’s-boy loner – the local hotties take an immediate interest in him and he’s understandably interested in getting to know them better.

    The most menacing figure is local drunk Keith (Deadwood’s W. Earl Brown), whose family lost the motel to the bank. But then a shocking event binds mother and son closer together, and a chance discovery of Norman’s suggests there might be a bit of Twin Peaks weirdness about their new locale.

    All this is happening in the present but there is an agreeable ’50s aesthetic about the sets and wardrobe. It might turn out to be American Horror Story-lite but you should check it out to be safe.

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