Mildura locals don ’80s fashions, offer up homes in filming ABC drama The Newsreader

A normally tranquil Mildura streetscape has been transformed into something likened to a Hollywood filmset.

Cast and extras were decked out in 1980s-era styling, crew were masked in hi-vis and wearing production equipment sourced from rows of production trucks that lined the formerly quiet cul-de-sac.

The production is for a six-part ABC and iView series called The Newsreader that is based on the exploits of a notoriously difficult news anchor, Helen Norville, played by Anna Torv (Mindhunter, Secret City).

The anchor is trying to make her mark in a male-dominated commercial TV newsroom while Dale Jennings, played by Sam Reid (Lambs of God, The Hunting) is a news-hungry reporter desperate for a shot at the desk.

The Newsreader’s creator Michael Lucas (Offspring) said he was inspired by the headline news stories of the 1980s.

Joining Torv and Reid is a stellar cast that includes Robert Taylor (Longmire), William McInnes (Rake), Chum Ehelepola (Stateless), Michelle Lim Davidson (Play School), Stephen Peacocke (Home and Away), Chai Hansen (The New Legend of Monkey) and Marg Downey (Fast Forward).

It was the local cast of extras who really stole the show.

Dressed in 1980s-styled beige and brown, 14 local extras re-enacted the media scrum that staked out a Darwin suburban home where Lindy Chamberlain spent her first night of freedom.

Brian Kelly aka “BK” is an extra who plays the role of a news photographer.

He describes his brown and beige patterned shirt as “psychedelic” and when asked how he got the part?

“I think the kids must have signed me up and the casting agent called me to say I had the perfect ’80s hairstyle and here I am.”

James Flack, sporting a new ’80s moustache, plays a cameraman.

In his first foray into acting, James said he enjoyed being an extra and joked that would be in Hollywood before long.

Other locals passionate about ’80s style supplied several pristinely maintained vintage cars seen throughout the episode.

Mandy Bowen’s home is one of several that have been overtaken with cast, crew, and an entourage of costume fitters, set designers, make-up artists and production crew, all working to transform the street into a Northern Territory 1980s suburban vista.

“Everyone’s so friendly and I’m looking forward to seeing the series on the telly.”

Lucas said the Lindy Chamberlain episode was originally scheduled to be filmed in the NT but pandemic border closures meant Mildura made a perfect alternative.

With its oasis-like streets and a variety of landscapes, the town has proven to be an excellent location for the production.

The series will air on ABC and iView in 2021.

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Jim Graham, ABC Radio Melbourne newsreader, dies aged 63

ABC Radio Melbourne’s afternoon newsreader, Jim Graham, has died aged 63.

Graham had been on the ABC airwaves in Victoria for more than 20 years, but his radio career stretched back several decades.

He had also worked for the ABC in Queensland, at Melbourne radio stations 3MP and 3UZ, Geelong radio station 3GL and Bendigo’s 3BO.

He was still presenting the news until a few weeks ago, when he took leave after suffering a heart attack.

He had been recovering in hospital and at home, but died on the weekend.

Graham, who had previously worked as a reporter and sub-editor, was known to listeners for his distinctive, deep voice. But he was particularly well regarded by his newsroom colleagues for his kindness and generosity — especially with younger journalists learning the ropes.







Fellow ABC radio newsreader Melissa Brown said Graham greeted everyone with a friendly “g’day” as he arrived at work.

“Everyone tells the same stories about loving to stop by and chat to Jim — he was such a calm man who’d always have a joke or two for us,” she said.

“You could ask him for advice and he’d give you great advice … but he’d never try and throw his opinions on you unless you asked for it.”

Brown described Graham as a “wonderful steady rock” who always had time for his colleagues.

“Mary [McDonald, another ABC newsreader] and I can be quite frantic and quite overwrought about what went wrong during the day and what we really wanted to happen during the day, and Jim would just steadily tell us, ‘You’ve done your best, you do your best, that’s all you can do every day.’

“And every day he’d just centre us back down, and that’s what got us back in the next day.”

Jim Graham worked at radio stations in Melbourne, regional Victoria and Queensland.(Supplied)






The veteran journalist was also known for his dry wit, Brown said, which occasionally came out on air.

ABC Radio Melbourne listeners have sent text messages to the station paying tribute to Graham and describing him as a reassuring and compassionate newsreader.

Like many, I was very sad to hear about the passing of Jim Graham. His voice was such a comfort us listeners, a core part of our daily routine. It feels similar to when Mark Colvin died. When you heard from them every day, they morphed into familiar old friends to us. My thoughts are with Jim’s family and all of his colleagues at 774. The term “G’day Raf” is going through many people’s minds right now — Felicity, Port Melbourne.

Jim had a great sneaky sense of humour — quips and very cheeky. Vale Jim — will miss your voice — Nicole in Kew

Very, very sad to hear of Jim’s passing. His quality voice was so reassuring and you could feel his compassion and care in every news he read. Such a loss to our 774 family. Wishing his family and all of 774 best wishes and Vale!!!

I am truly saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Graham. He was a legend, and provided listeners with warmth, authority and a touch of wonderfully dry humour with his delivery of the news. It will be a sad day in your organisation.

Jim was such a reassuring presence on ABC, loved his delivery and tone. I will miss him a lot. RIP — Sarah, Reservoir

I think I will have to retire the thought of the drive home without Jim Graham. It’s just too sad to think about. I will miss him terribly.

ABC News Victoria state editor Georgia Spokes said Graham’s “lovely baritone has brought radio news to audiences across Victoria for more than 20 years”.

“Off air, he was a dedicated and talented radio news sub who mentored and trained generations of young reporters,” she said.

“Most importantly, Jim was a gentleman. He was always kind and generous with his time and never failed to ask how your day was going.

“The newsroom was his family and he was very much loved and respected by everyone.”






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