The announcement was made last night on the MEAA Facebook page by actor and McLeod’s Daughters star Michala Banas. McLeod’s Daughters was joined by Wentworth (2), Mystery Road (3), Kath and Kim (4), Neighbours (5), Home and Away (6), The Heights (7), Puberty Blues (8), The Castle (9) and Offspring (10). Bluey was voted Australia’s favourite kids’ TV show.
During the big winners’ reveal, Banas interviewed actors and creatives about working on the shows Australia loves. Gina Riley, co-creator of Kath and Kim, told Banas the reasons audiences still love Kath and Kim are as extensive as Kath’s wardrobe. “I think it’s that thing of recognising yourself.. and dealing with things that happen every day.”
Of creating Kath and Kim’s fictional world so successfully, production designer Penny Southgate said “the characters were such a joy and so beautifully crafted it gave me all the inspiration I needed.”
Ngaire Pigram, an Indigenous actor who starred in Mystery Road, told Banas the shift towards more Indigenous stories on screen has been a long-time coming. “We need to start telling stories about our true history and representing that on film and TV and I think that’s starting to happen.”
Neighbours writer Jason Herbison said he was proud to work on a show that not only plays an important role in popular culture, but an important role for the industry “providing ongoing work for so many.”
Banas reminded the audience of what’s at stake without proper Government support for their industry, revealing that Nine Network’s McLeod’s Daughters employed 650 actors and nearly 2,000 crew across its 224 episodes.
The current content “quotas” that require TV networks to produce a certain amount of local shows have been temporarily suspended by the government due to COVID-19. Neighbours veteran Alan Fletcher told Banas it was a “disastrous” move and called on the government to protect Australian content by regulation.
The Great Australian Binge also involves a petition to Arts Minster Paul Fletcher calling on him for more “regulatory and tax incentives that will drive our cultural life and guarantee future job and investment.”
The petition has been signed by more than 11,000 people and remains open until it is delivered in Parliament next month. For more information, visit: www.greataustralianbinge.com for details.
Image: Michala Banas (left) with McLeod’s Daughters co-stars Simmone Jade Mackinnon, Abi Tucker, Doris Younane and Gillian Elexy (sourced)