1 9 8 6 (Australia)
60 x 30 minute episodes
Prime Time was a 1986 Australian soap about the cut and thrust behind the scenes of a television news programme. It had glamorous characters, the exciting stories they were probing, office jealousies, romance and all the trusty problems at home. It flopped.
Perhaps it did so because viewers decided journalists weren’t half as interesting as they themselves think – and certainly not as interesting as Doctors or policemen!
Terry Stapleton who created it and was the executive producer blames the critics. “They chose it for a whipping boy and gave it no peace . . . they crucified it”.
Working at Lockhart Productions – the (fictional) production company which packages the (fictional) current affairs show Assignment for the (fictional) Five Network – was pretty dark-haired Kate Macarthur and her resentful colleague and big-time operator Jim Donnegan.
Chris Orchard (who had played the weak Tommy Carson in Carson’s Law) wore collarless shirts and a menacing moustache to play the hard-nosed workaholic news editor David Lockhart, and Peter Whitford played the even harder-nosed network boss, Charles Garrett.
Prime Time debuted on Channel 9 on Thursday 30 January 1986 – ironically, given the title, in a graveyard timeslot – and only lasted until July, after which Crawford’s decided that only real news was good news.