The Kerry Packer memorabilia industry is booming. Not satisfied with a
100-page tribute issue of The Bulletin, the Nine Network is now
planning a special documentary to coincide with the taxpayer funded
memorial service next month.
And The Bulletin is heading for its biggest selling edition in
years after a decision to proceed with a fourth print run of the tribute
issue that will appear in newsagents just as publicity is cranking up
around the memorial service and Nine documentary.
The Bulletin has already sold about 100,000 copies from the
first three print runs and ACP sources estimate another 50,000 will be
produced next month, meaning the celebration of Packer’s life will
prove about three times as popular as a normal edition of the
Kerry Packer, the documentary, is being put together by a team of very
heavy producers including Ben Hawke, the former head of BusinessSunday
and current deputy at 60 Minutes, Peter Hiscock, the former senior
producer from the ABC and the Sunday program, with the voice being
provided by Graham Davis, the former Nine, Seven and ABC current
affairs reporter. How appropriate that the journalist who fought and beat Kerry Stokes through the legal system when Witness
was killed off is providing the voice in tribute to Kerry Packer as
Kerry Stokes attempts to do the same to the late billionaire.
No doubt the Packer doco will go into DVD production and be retailed during
various Nine programs, but what will the documentary contain? Will
comments be sought from the departed David Gyngell, now seen hanging
around the Ten Network?
And what about folk like David Leckie, John Stephens and Peter Meakin,
who are now tormenting his son and heir and his minions at Kerry
Stokes’ Seven Network? And what about other friends, relations and
business rivals, mates and observers?
One great sequence would be to recreate some of St Kerry’s great
moments: pulling a gun on a startled exec or two, having a fist fight
with Warren Anderson, throwing cricket balls around the office, punting
millions, or even working out at Hyde Park Club in the basement of the
Park Street head office where the mighty Daily Telegraph presses used to reside.
Perhaps we will see a polo pony or two in shot, or the re-enactment of
the now famous move to pull Doug Mulray and the Naughtiest HomeVideos
show off air.
It won’t be the first video made about Mr Packer. One was made in 1977
to mark his 50th birthday, a second was made in around 1987 to mark his
departure from Nine after he sold it to Alan Bond. Copies of both were
destroyed on his orders after they were shown.
The documentary idea is being driven by Sam Chisholm, a person who has
helped drive Kerry Packer’s fortune and that of the family. It’s one way for him to repay some of the favours thrown his way.
It certainly won’t be objective, but the ratings will be very
interesting. Given the interest in The Bulletin tribute issue, don’t be
surprised if Australia’s fascination with Kerry Packer is demonstated
once again. After all, his occasional appearances on A Current Affair
used to generate huge ratings, even during the program’s hey day, and
about 1.2 million Australians tuned in to Nine’s 6pm news special on