Nigel Giles: Number 96

Nigel Giles Number 96 It was hailed in newspapers as the night “Television lost its virginity!” On Monday 13 March 1972, the adults-only TV series, Number 96 made its debut on our screens and soon became the most talked about show on the box.

Number 96 was one of the most groundbreaking and controversial TV shows in the history of Australian television. It was not only the first show to feature on-screen nudity, it portrayed gay, transgender and interracial relationships with honesty that was way ahead of its time.

It was also a technical innovator; writing, filming and marketing at a pace that saw over a 1000 episodes, a movie, numerous books and spin-offs created in the space of five years. This is the story of the magic and mania of Number 96 – told by the people who made it.

Number 96 created characters and stories that have stood the test of time. So powerful was the show’s influence that after forty-five years it still commands a devoted cult following and continues to attract new fans who can scarcely believe what the show was able to get away with. This is the first book to bring all those involved in Number 96 together in print to tell the show’s story in their own words.

Over five years, author Nigel Giles crisscrossed the country in person and by mail to gather the personal accounts of over fifty members of the cast and crew, who kindly shared their stories and their treasure trove of memorabilia. The result is an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at all the highs, lows, twists and stories of Australia’s most notorious address.

“For myself, reading this book has been an intensely emotional experience,” said David Sale, creator of Number 96. “It was like being in a room filled with all those talented people who helped make the series such a memorable success.”

“Hearing their voices again, reliving those incredible, exciting times had me reminiscing, laughing and – at times – reduced to tears for those of them who have passed away. This entertaining and informative book is a fitting tribute to them all, and a valuable addition to the Number 96 legend.”

Nigel Giles grew up watching television in Croydon, Victoria. He graduated from La Trobe University in 1996 with a BA in Cinema Studies, and since then he has contributed to various newspapers and magazines.

He provided research assistance for the books Super Aussie Soaps (Pluto Press, 2004), Puberty Blues (Currency Press, 2004), and has contributed to Umbrella Entertainment DVD releases of Number 96, The Young Doctors and Sons & Daughters.

In 2006 Giles was the major contributor to the Sydney Powerhouse Museum’s On the Box exhibition celebrating fifty years of Australian television. He has recorded close to fifty oral history interviews for the National Film and Sound Archive. This is his first book.

Number 96 is published by Melbourne Books, and is available from leading book retailers including Booktopia.

Image: Number 96

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