1 9 5 8 – 1 9 6 3 (Australia)
30 minute episodes
This weekly television panel discussion show from the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) had a four-person panel chaired in Melbourne by Frank Eyre (manager of Oxford University Press) and in Sydney by former war correspondent Frank Legg.
Versions of the show were produced in both cities with the first telecast aired at 8.30 pm on Wednesday 5 February 1958.
Each week a new audience was invited to the studio to ask questions on any topic of the “Brains Trust” panel, which produced both entertaining and informative discussions. Those who appeared in the panels included journalists, authors, representatives from the art world, academia and the military, members of the clergy and actors and entertainers.
Actor Frank Thring famously responded to the question “If you were able to live a life of luxury . . .?” with the reply, “I do”.
Controversy dogged the show, which was accused at various times of making insulting references to the Queen, criticising the church and the Bible, and being sympathetic to the Communist movement.
People who appeared on the television panel over the years included: Myra Roper (University Women’s College); Eric Westbrook (Melbourne National Gallery); John Hetherington (author and columnist for The Age); Professor Zelman Cowen (Melbourne University Faculty of Law); Dr Margaret Blackwood; Douglas Wilkie; piano virtuoso Gordon Watson; Dr Leonie Kramer; Dr Felix Arnott; Rev. W J Hobbin; Professor Alan Stout; Phyllis Burke; Anne Dupree; John Wilkes; David Griffin; Edgar Holt; author Morris West; Rev. Alan Walker; diplomat Jill Crichton; Professor Harry Messel (Professor of Physics at Sydney University); Professor Frank Debenham (Cambridge University); British actress Joyce Grenfell; Professor W H Trethowan (Professor of Psychiatry at Sydney University) and comedian Spike Milligan.
The show was spawned from a popular long-running AR radio show of the same name.
Frank Legg died on 30 March 1966 at the Hornsby Hospital in Sydney as a result of injuries he suffered in a traffic collision. Frank Eyre died on 6 March 1988 onboard his boat Pegasus in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne.
Frank Eyre (Melbourne)
Frank Legg (Sydney)