There are many instances where Channel Seven personalities and performers share a common thread. Many of the early TVW female presenters were either friends, went to the same school, lived in the same district or their parents were friends. The same situation existed with singers and dancers, from Dulcie Spillman or Shirley Halliday school of dancing origins, through to television and often stage appearances. Some also gain world wide fame, such as Bon Scott of ACDC, who first appeared on Channel Seven as a youngster. Bon, or Ron as he was then known, also had a connection to the Spillmans, the family of Gia Spillman, the first child to appear on Children’s Channel Seven, in December 1959, a short while after the station opened on October 16th, 1959.
Children’s Channel 7 – 30th December 1959
Gai was the first child to appear on this show with Rolf Harris, and sang ‘The Christening’ and ‘Moonstruck’. Entertaining from a very young age, with a wonderful voice, Gai was a very polished little performer.
Gai appeared regularly on this show from 1959 – 1962.
Childrens Channel 7 – 30th July, 1962
Dancing students of Dulcie Spillman (Gai’s mother) added a Scottish flavour to the show by performing a variety of Highland dances.
The girl in front of the above photo sword dancing is Jan Cooper, to the far left seated is Gai Spillman. Joe Spillman (Gai’s Father) is playing the Bagpipes.
Off camera, playing the drums is a young Ron Scott, later known as Bon Scott of ACDC. Ron also played the drums as a solo act in the show.
Later, Gai appeared on Club Seventeen as a singer from 1965 to 1966, often backed by The Three Eves and Johnny Young’s The Strangers.
In 1965, Gai also appeared on In Perth Tonight. Between 1970 and 1971, Gai joined the Channel 7 Workshop as a singer/dancer, appearing on shows such as the Miss West Coast Beach Girl final.
Amongst Gai’s memorabilia are these two invitations to appear on Channel 7, requested by a very special TVW7 personality Coralie Condon.
Channel Seven Dancers Gai MacLennan (Nee Spillman), Jan Urquhart (nee Cooper) & Jan Boyd (nee Ladner) have remained close friends since performing together as children and entertaining for many years.
Photo of Gai with the two Jan’s as children, all waiting to take their dancing exams.
Rear far left is Jan Cooper. Rear 3rd from left is Jan Ladner. Front right Gai Spillman.
Gai’s daughter ‘Tammy’ Shirley Halliday Dancer Dancing in the TVW7 Christmas Pageant