1 9 7 4 – 1 9 7 5 (Australia)
290 x 30 minute episodes
Debuting in 1974, this Australian drama serial about the students and staff of Waratah High School was made by the Grundy Organisation for Channel Seven, Sydney, and aired five nights a week, complete with catchy theme tune from rocker Brian Cadd.
By concentrating on the older kids and the teachers, parents and other adult figures, Grundy’s were amongst the first to recognise that a young segment would be a vital part of the overall audience for soap opera.
Class of ’74 had the usual set of changing relationships between teachers and students, although in 1974, it featured an illicit, but never explicit, relationship between a shy schoolboy and the headmaster’s wife.
The show continued the following year, updating itself to Class of ’75.
The series featured veteran actor Leonard Teale (showing his age after a long innings in Homicide) as the recently promoted headmaster, Charles Ogilvy.
The scheming deputy head, Donald Blair, was played by English actor John Hamblin (more familiar as a Play School presenter), and sultry English teacher Mary Dunstan was played by Jeanie Drynan.
The cast also included Gordon Glenwright (pictured in overalls above) as the school handyman, Hubbard. He never seemed to do any work but occupied a spot under the stairs where he sucked on a pipe as everyone spoke about what they did or intended to do.
In lead-up publicity, the show was hyped for its sexiness, despite being set for a pre-8.30 pm timeslot.
The programme did particularly well in Australia in its first year, sandwiched between the 7:00 news and quiz show The Great Temptation on Channel Seven.
Episodes 1 – 191 were in black and white and episodes 192 – 290 were in colour.
As a 13-year-old boy, I found the show a veritable feast of lovely girls – especially Carla Hoogeveen as leggy love-struck Julie Armstrong, Abigail as Angelique, Briony Behets as Jorja, Megan Williams as Ann Watson, and my all-time fave at the time, Anne Lambert (as Peggy ‘the Iceberg’ Richardson) – later to find fame in seminal Aussie film Picnic At Hanging Rock (1976).
Joanne Samuel played rebellious head girl Sue Taylor.
Many of the exterior shots in Class were filmed at St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, in Sydney.
Father Paul Kennedy