Aussie TV we want on DVD

This was published at on July 29, 2010, accompanied by some great YouTube clips. Damned if the TV landscape hasn’t totally changed since then!


When being an adult seems all too difficult, there’s nothing like the warm hug of nostalgia to shield you from the real world.

What better than some home-grown TV shows on DVD to take you back to the days of after-school slurpees, Saturday mornings in your jammies, or when your favourite stars were fresh-faced newbies?

These series haven’t been given the chance to fit the bill yet. Here’s why they should…

Heartbreak High

Leagues of diehard fans still argue over whether Rivers (Scott Major) and Sam (Kym Wilson), or Drazic (Callan Mulvey) and Anita (Lara Cox) were the best couple, and the truly dedicated fan will readily admit they cried for days when Nick (Alex Dimitriades) and Steve (Corey Page) died.

It’s hard to believe Heartbreak High isn’t on DVD!

Sure as Kris Kross pants were baggy and backwards, there’s a whole generation of people who, as tweens and teens of the ’90s, came home to watch the down-to-earth Aussie response to the unobtainable gloss of Beverly Hills 90210.

The storylines were woven around life and love in a school environment, examining teenage issues without being patronising.

And, of course, the authority figures were shallow and fickle enough for us to shake our fists and vent our frustrations at. We laughed at Drazic’s shenanigans in the lab, related to Jodie’s aspirations of fame and fortune and loved the burgeoning romances in the Hartley hallways.

Nowadays, there’s also the look-who-it-is factor with long-time Aussie screen favourites Alex Dimitriades, Ada Nicodemou, Abi Tucker, and Luke Jacobz.

Some Heartbreak High alumni even made it all the way to Hollywood.

Simon Baker (Thomas Jane in The Mentalist) was in eight episodes, while Rose Byrne (Ellen Parson in Damages) featured in three. Series regulars Callan Mulvey and Salvatore Coco are now stars of Underbelly.

Sure, Heartbreak High is replayed on ABC3, but a season-by-season DVD release would make for many a good Sunday arvo veg-out!

It’s a Knockout

Forget the try-hard lunatics of Wipeout Australia. Abandon the greased up ‘roid rage of Gladiators. Leave your postmodern irony at the stadium gate for the greatest game in town – and the craziest fun around – It’s a Knockout.

The series was a weekly spectacular, complete with cheer squads and occasional fireworks, tested agility, endurance, and the ability to remain upright while dressed as a giant peanut. An important skill for anyone living through the ’80s.

Many a child will remember waking up to the Saturday morning replay of the week’s showdown between the states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, which often featured your best friend’s neighbour’s cousin, your newsagent’s dog or your maths teacher. It was the best kind of innocent family fun, vibrant and action-packed to entertain the kids, and sublimely ridiculous enough to amuse adults.

Originally a UK format, the Australian version was hosted by Fiona McDonald and Billy J Smith – who would, without fail, arrive at each match on a golf buggy. They gave us two years of giant horses, water cannons, every imaginable kind of flotation device, and events with shameless pun names like “Assaulted Peanuts” (genius!).

Then there’s the era-centric budgie smugglers (eat your heart out, Tony Abbott), bad ‘staches, spiral-wave perms, and late great beloved singer Ricky May – priceless!

Please give us a comprehensive best-of DVD, just for nostalgia’s sake (with a few international and celebrity specials thrown in for good measure)! Another thought – a rebooted version of the show, fresh for the 21st century!

Mr Squiggle and Friends

He’s “The Man from the Moon” with a pencil for a nose. He draws upside-down on pink cardboard held by an impatient talking blackboard. There’s a snail with a TV for a shell. No, this is not my dream diary.

Can you believe there are millions of kids today who’ve never seen a single episode of this classic?

It might not be one you’ll want to sit and watch back-to-back (although under the right conditions it would be tempting), but its appeal is timeless.

Remember how cool it was when you were six years old and you watched some kid’s random squiggle turn into illustrated magic?

The fact that this show – which ran for 40 years on Australian television – is not on DVD for the littlies to enjoy today is completely upside-down, upside-down…

Huuuuurry uuuup and release it!

Hamish & Andy

The ever-popular madcap duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee made their national TV debut in this off-the-wall sketch show.

Like comedy predecessor and Channel Seven sketch show, Big Girls’ Blouse, Hamish & Andy were granted a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it six episodes.

Nonetheless, the show put a fresh spin on sketch with a variety-show format. It’s celebrated on YouTube and surely there are enough Hamish Blake fans alone to warrant a DVD release with some quirky special features and out-takes.

The show also featured a solid supporting cast. Before Deal Or No Deal, Andrew O’Keefe would strut his satirical stuff in Hamish & Andy, alongside comedy chameleon Chaser’s Non Stop News Network‘s Rebecca de Unamuno, and outright genius, Summer Heights High‘s Chris Lilley.

A few more for your consideration

Once upon a time, we made a happy-go-lucky sitcom or two. Here’s the proof.

What’s better than a classic board game? A classic board game on TV, that’s what! Complete with wisecracking host and suitably ridiculous live-action characterisations.

Ship to Shore
These adventures on Circe Island were successful at home and abroad.

Kickin’ it old school

Cop Shop
A twice-weekly police drama which ran for five years and starred Aussie TV favourites Paula Duncan and Rowena Wallace.

The Restless Years
With racy and bizarre plotlines the likes of which we’d never seen before, it’s the soap that stopped a nation.

Titles you may not know are on DVD
  • The Aunty Jack Show
  • Blankety Blanks
  • Chances
  • The Comedy Company
  • A Country Practice
  • Doug Anthony All Stars
  • Kingswood Country
  • Let the Blood Run Free
  • Norman Gunston
  • Number 96
  • Round the Twist
  • Seachange
  • Sons and Daughters
  • Spellbinder
  • The Sullivans
  • Young Doctors


For a real nostalgia trip, check out all the clips at


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