The remembrances are my favourite part of The Logies. In an industry that is too often dominated by cynicism, they are a reminder that television people can, if the circumstances allow, appreciate the work of their colleagues.
Esme Melville was 89 when she died early this year. A Ramsay Street favourite as the hard-of-hearing Rose Belker (“nice big breaths, Mrs Belker” … “I beg your pardon, young man!” etc), she’d spent nearly 50 years quietly going about her business of ever-charming performance. What a legend!
I cheered raucously when Les Murray and the SBS World Cup team were recognised for their heartfelt, month-long tribute to the world’s greatest sporting event. Anyone who saw an ashen Craig Foster concede that “it’s not a penalty, but you can give it” after Australia had gone down to Italy understands that it was more than just broadcasters talking about football. It was football lovers sharing with us their knowledge and passion for the game so that we could better understand the magic of the World Cup. Fantastic!
Esme Melville. The SBS World Cup team. These are dedicated and hard-working professionals worthy of celebration. Whoring their night to movie promotions and cosmetic companies is not the tribute they deserve. Hamish and Andy’s efforts backstage reminded me of Bill Hicks’s declaration that “do one advertisement, and you’re off the artistic roll call forever”. Their “interviews” in the “Maybelline New York Green Room” (ouch) were little more than the television equivalent of radio’s live read — a series of paid spots breathtaking in their bluntness.
Still, despite the positives, it’s not uncommon for critics to disregard the Logies as an insignificant popularity contest for idiotic schoolgirls with overactive texting fingers. Gets a laugh, but that analysis ignores the fact that in a climate where audiences are dwindling, these “idiotic schoolgirls” are watching Australian television and they are loving it.
Home and Away pulls well over a million viewers every night and as Ray Meagher said in his acceptance speech, is outrageously profitable. Its viewers are devoted and enthusiastic followers of Australian drama. Maybe we should listen to them.