The ABC of Aunty's role in Gra-Gra's film

Suzanne Carbone and Lawrence Money
March 27, 2007

THAT was the plan, to film the upcoming Graham Kennedy movie The King in the Channel Nine studio where Gra-Gra cavorted during In Melbourne Tonight. Nostalgic, sentimental — all of that — but not everything went to plan: the IMT scenes had to be filmed at the ABC, meaning Channel Nine's Richmond studios were re-created at the ABC's Ripponlea studios. That's the magic of television 50 years on.

Anonymous, angry caller to Diary barked that the crew had to shoot at the ABC because Eddie charged too much for his studios, but the movie's publicist, Michael Shephard, from pay-TV's TV1, which is financing the film with Nine, said that wasn't exactly the case.

"Cost was an issue at one point but they had other filming going on. It was a romantic notion to shoot it where it happened, but we had to get over that due to logistics," he said.

The King, produced by FremantleMedia Australia, premieres on TV1 on May 20 and will screen on Nine later in the year. The ABC studios weren't only used to re-create Nine's IMT but Ten's Blankety Blanks, Gra-Gra's gagfest that gave us "Cyril said" — his second name — and Ugly Dave Gray's Dick jokes. May is shaping as Graham Kennedy Month, with the film premiere on the 20th and the anniversary of his death on the 25th, so the push is on for The King stars Stephan Hall (below left), who plays Bert Newton, and Stephen Curry as Kennedy to present the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding New Talent at the Logies (they're on Nine, not the ABC). Now, what would Cyril have said?

Meaty role

KATH & Kim's hunka-spunk butcher Kel Knight, played by the equally meaty Glenn Robbins, is rolling out his tasty sausages for the next series, the crew filming at the Prahran Market while it was closed. Shaggy-haired chef Shannon Bennett, the whiz at Vue de Monde, was also seen in the deserted aisles, so it must mean he's making a cameo as a famous chef who stocks up on Kel's famous snags. If Shannon needed acting lessons, he only had to ask his partner, actress Madeleine West, but he's probably had lots of practice asking his butcher for a kilo or two.

Cracking the code

LAST footy season we followed the progress of the " Tony Mokbel" who entered the Beer Wine Spirits BIG TIP — he bombed out in the Brunswick East, Lyndhurst, division — so in case Mr Invisible is sitting in a departure lounge somewhere, we have an announcement: "Calling Tony Mokbel, calling Tony Mokbel. The BIG TIP is now taking entries." One way to know if he's still out there.

Ain't it sweet?

THE perks of some jobs! Tarago load of Christine Nixon's men in blue parked outside Brunetti in Carlton last Friday morning and officers decamped for their lattes and biscotti. So? It was a "No Standing" zone. There was free parking around the corner, at the Drummond Street cop shop, but that was too far to walk. Elsewhere in emergency-services land, it wasn't the police but another friendly crew that came to the aid of five Oz male athletes outside the Albert Park pool the other night. The emergency? Our witness reports: "I thought the athletes were joking when they asked for a lift back to their hotel." They weren't. They got the lift but not the siren.

All shook up

WE REGRET to report that Ernie Sigleyitis has spread at 3AW to Bruce Mansfield, the Nightliner who's been spouting about his mate who went to a Gippsland farmhouse, saw an old Harley-Davidson covered in dirt, bought it for peanuts, polished it up and noticed under the seat a plaque saying the bike belonged to Elvis. Funny that because a listener called Paul was familiar with the story — he read it in a book about urban myths. Next we'll hear Bruce has seen Elvis leaving the building.

The fine print

THANKS to John from Glen Waverley for browsing through the new Who's Who, noting that Justin Madden's second name is Mark and noticing that the children of other entrants are listed as "s" for son or "d" for daughter but Justin's are "c". For Caaaaarlton?

A few hiccups

BOOKWORM Judy Maddigan is on a roll with her political research, first about the Spring Street "spurious tea" scandal of 1880 and now something more potent from Melbourne Punch in 1860. A "Mr Cathie" denied saying the "majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly are drunken lawyers" or "that the majority of drunkards in the House are lawyers". What he did say: "The only person who ever came sober to the House was the Speaker, but that even he had several times been compelled to give himself into the custody of the Serjeant-At-Arms for intoxication, and that the only reason why he was not locked up was, that the Serjeant-At-Arms was too drunk to catch hold of him." Maddigan notes: "This was before we had women members. We are much more refined now!"

Sound the alarm

CANBERRA Airport's security guards weren't just alert and alarmed at Richard Tognetti's violin strings of mass destruction (Diary, last Wednesday), as muso Ado Barker explains: "I had exactly the same experience carrying my fiddle through. Always a joy these days taking instruments on planes — I was told at Coffs Harbour Airport that the fiddle had to go in the hold because, 'Like a tennis racquet, it could be used as a weapon'."

Oh, fiddlesticks!

Fast slow lane

MAKES sense why the trains don't run on time: the Flinders Street Station clock was an hour fast yesterday morning (someone forgot to climb the ladder and turn the hands back), then later on it was 15 minutes slow. Can't explain that one.

Hungry for love

THE thin version of Sarah Ferguson, the one bounding with optimism, no longer dwells on her days as the Duchess of Pork, right? Wrong. "Every day is a struggle if you have a fat lady head," she wailed to the Women's Weeply (when she was not scoffing, below). "Every day you wake up and you feel that you're fat and ugly. Self-loathing is the worst thing, isn't it?

"If my loathing was another person I would be very abusive to myself. I would be hitting myself over the head every minute of the day. Murdering myself, probably … I think I'll never in my life not have those feelings." Another reason Queen

Liz stripped Fergie of her HRH title.

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