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Spotlight – TVW’s First Variety Show

Posted by ken On March - 28 - 2009

The first edition of Spotlight was broadcast on the opening night of Channel Seven, Friday 16th October, 1959. The editions that followed were broadcast each Thursday from 10 to 10.30pm.

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Phillip Edgley, Brian Card, Dianne Briggs, Judy Schonell, Dorothy & Bert Shaw and Reg Whiteman

It was a half hour variety show written and produced by Coralie Condon, directed by Beverly Gledhill and compered by Phillip Edgley. Phillip came from a well known theatrical family going back four generations. In 1968, the family business of Edgley and Dawe bought His Majesty’s Theatre, and were responsible for bringing many fine acts to Australia. Many of these were promoted by TVW Channel 7. When Phillip’s father Eric Edgley died in 1967, his brother Michael took over the Company at the age of 23. The years since have seen the “Michael Edgley Presents” logo on such renowned attractions as London’s Royal Ballet, the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Marcel Marceau, Torvill and Dean, the Moscow Circus and many, many more. Phillip, a son by Eric Edgley’s first marriage, died in 1999.

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Compere Phillip Edgley with star Frankie Davidson and the cast

Acts on the show included four local dancers known as Guys and Dolls, which consisted of Dorothy and Bert Shaw and Judy Schonell and Reg Whiteman. Judy married actor Ron Graham and their son Marcus Graham became a well known actor too. Marcus even read the news on TVW for a short period. Reg Whiteman, who was a founding member of the WA Ballet, is well known to TV insiders for his long association with Fatcat. Dianne Briggs and Brian Card were another act, who along with compere Phillip Edgley, presented many song and dance numbers on the show. Other performers on Spotlight included Frankie Davidson, Colleen Clifford, Rolf Harris, Rhythm Spinners, Rhythmaires, The Four Notes, Bob & Shelda Wrightson and vocalist Maureen Corless. The Harry Bluck Band provided the musical backing.

TVW decided to discontinue Spotlight after sixteen episodes.

2 Responses to “Spotlight – TVW’s First Variety Show”

  1. Susanne Arena says:

    Hi
    My name is Susanne Arena, this will probably be a long shot but I am looking for some footage, photos on my big sister (Rosanne nee- Arena) who was in a televised talent show on Channel 7 Perth, it was either in 1969 or 1970 but it was around that time.
    She was in a group called “The City Folk” they actually won the show and after that some of the group or all were invited to form or be part of the TVW – Perth – Channel 7 Workshop. They had a choreographer called Brian Smith and performed, sung mainly and danced in shows like “Miss West Coast” and some other variety shows. She is having a landmark birthday very soon I would absolutely love to get some additional information, tapes, footage (if any). Her name was Rosanne Arena (now Murray). I realise this is an obscure request but I have to at least try. I have included my phone number: 0431030168.
    Kind regards
    Susanne Arena

  2. Arthur Mitchell says:

    Hello Susanne, I stumbled upon your request. I was a Channel 7 Workshop performer. I was in the First Miss West Broadcast that was filmed at the public swimming pool, I don’t remember the name or suburb where the pool was, my memory of Perth is fading. I left Australia in 1977 and moved to the USA.

    Were you able to find any footage? I do have one TV times clipping showing all of us posing with Kamal. I’d be happy to send you a copy. Email me at mitchy.usa@live.com

    Best Regards, Arthur

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