Home and Away joins Logie’s Hall of Fame, but highlights a stunning lack of female inductees

Friday, June 21, 2019

Long-running series Home and Away enters the Logies Hall of Fame.Home and Away to receive Gold Logie for its success which has seen the launch of several stars’ careers: Kate Ritchie and Heath Ledger once played students in the popular TV show. Photo: Seven Network

The long-running Seven Network soap opera Home and Away has been inducted into the TV Week Logie Hall of Fame.

The 32nd inductee since the award was created in 1984, the show will receive a specially struck Gold Logie at the TV Week Logie Awards in Melbourne on June 3.

In a statement from TV Week, which produces the event, the magazine notes the show’s extraordinary international success, and the fact that it has been a launch pad for a raft of stars, including Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, Chris Hemsworth and Ryan Kwanten.

While there is little doubt the award is well deserved – the show has also notched up 6000 episodes in almost three decades – it will do little to quell anxiety that the award historically discriminates against women.

Of the 31 previous inductees, only one has been a woman: the actress Ruth Cracknell, who was given the honour in 2001.

The remainder have been either men or, on three occasions, TV programs.

It seems an astonishing oversight as there is no shortage of worthy recipients among Australia’s female television pioneers, beginning with the first woman to win a Gold Logie, Lorrae Desmond, whose win back in 1962 was for a television program that she – rarely for the 1960s – produced, wrote and hosted.

Other candidates would include the iconic TV personalities Maggie Tabberer and Kerri-Anne Kennerley, journalists such as Geraldine Doogue, Caroline Jones and Mary Kostakidis, pioneering female TV comedians such as Noelene Brown, Carol Raye and Maggie Dence, and Toni Lamond, who was the first woman in the world to host a night time TV variety show.

And that is without exploring the rich legacy of Australian actresses, including Noni Hazlehurst, Jackie Weaver, Lorraine Bayly and Sigrid Thornton.

Or even the television program Prisoner, which not only created a ground-breaking platform for Australian actresses at a time when drama was dominated by men, but has had an enduring impact on the emergence and prominence of women in front of and behind the camera.

The Hall of Fame award is voted by an “industry” panel, that is, professionals working in the television industry and media; they are provided with a short list of candidates from which a winner is determined by vote.

Most past inductees are television presenters and actors, including Graham Kennedy, Bill Collins, Mike Walsh, Bud Tingwell and Jack Thompson.

The three programs in the Hall of Fame are Four Corners, Neighbours and Play School.

In addition, there are several executives, including producers Hector Crawford and Reg Grundy, the combat cameraman Neil Davis and the film director and Academy Award winner Ken G. Hall.

Women have featured more prominently in the history of the Gold Logie itself, an award voted instead by the TV viewing public.

The awards were just a few years old when actress and variety star Lorrae Desmond became the first woman to take home a Gold Logie in 1962.

Since then more than a dozen women have taken home Gold Logies. They include Hazel Phillips, Maggie Tabberer, Pat McDonald, Denise Drysdale, Jeanne Little, Rowena Wallace, Kylie Minogue and Jana Wendt.

The end of the 1990s saw the beginning of a streak of so-called Logie “golden girls” with Lisa McCune, Georgie Parker and Kate Ritchie winning multiple times.

The most recent female Gold Logie winners are Rebecca Gibney (2009) and Asher Keddie (2013).

This year’s six Gold Logie nominees include only two women: Asher Keddie and The Project host Carrie Bickmore; the other nominees are Hamish Blake, Andy Lee, Scott Cam and Steve Peacocke.

The 57th annual TV Week Logie Awards will be held at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne on May 3.

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