6PR Interviews TVW Pioneers

50 Years


Bill Gill was a popular radio presenter before joining TVW and filling a number of roles from newsreader, weather presenter, commercial presenter and voice over announcer. Janet Prance started as a dancer before appearing on In Perth Tonight and featuring in the 1963 Hollywood Movie  “The Candy Web”.


Bill Gill and Janet Prance


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Sandy was the first children’s hostess after the introduction of colour television. Percy Penguin was suited to black and white, because that’s the colour penguins are. Sandy then introduced the more colourful Fat Cat, who soon became a national star.  Sandy went on to host Stars of the Future and won three Logie Awards for being the most popular female on Western Australian television.

Sandy Baker

Colm took over the story telling role after Rolf Harris left in 1960. Colm later teamed up with Jim Atkinson (Captain Jim) and John Cousins (Taffy the Lion) on Children’s Channel Seven during the hosting periods of Carolyn Noble and Trina Brown.

Colm O’Doherty

Keith commenced his career at TVW as a cameraman in the late 1970’s and later took on an on-air role hosting the children’s program with Fat Cat, after the ‘Hey Jude’ period with Judy Thompson.

Photo: Keith Geary, Keith McDonald and Sharon Dale.

Keith Geary

Darcy Farrell was the pioneering first News Editor at TVW Channel Seven. Darcy describes the era with events and people who made the news, From the assassination of US President Kennedy, to the first moon landing, Eric Edgar Cooke and the transition of Perth from a large country town atmosphere to a big city with new social issues, such as road rage.

Photo: The Birth of Television News in WA Showing Darcy Farrell directing a film soundtrack recording assisted by Keith 'Digby' Milner, David Farr, Jim Healy and Tom Hall at Newspaper House, before the TVW studios at Tuart Hill were completed.

Darcy Farrell

Avid Channel Seven viewers throughout the 1960s will remember the popular, pretty and vivacious children’s compere and weather girl Trina Brown. The young lady who presented her audience with a saucy wink every night after she summed up the meteorological conditions and outlook. They even named a pacer after her called, Trina’s Wink, which raced around Perth and regional trotting tracks.

Trina Williams (nee Brown)

Greg Byrne was part of TVW’s successful management team, being with the company for 32 years. For most of the time he was Sales Manager, and then in the top role of Managing Director from 1988 to 1992, before retiring. In this Radio 6PR interview, Greg provides many humorous anecdotes about glitches with live TV ads, before the advent of videotape recording and replay.

Greg Byrne

Judith Byrne is not only a former international swimmer, who appeared with her coach and TVW sports producer Harry Kelly on World of Sport and Sport at Seven, but is also the wife of former TVW managing director Greg Byrne. When Jim Cruthers was seeking a more colourful character than the black and white Percy the Penguin, for the introduction of colour in 1975, he suggested Greg enlist the help of his artistically inclined wife. Judith produced the concept drawing of a large feline head, which was then cast in fibre glass in the workshop and soon became the loveable children’s show mascot we know today as Fat Cat. This explains why Jim Cruthers referred to Greg as “Fat Cat’s Dad !”

Judith Byrne and Fat Cat

Peter Harries has undertaken much research into the local TV industry for his PhD, where his thesis is entitled: "From Local 'Live' Production Houses to Relay Stations: A History of Commercial Television in Perth, Western Australia 1958-1990". In this Dr. Harries investigates the decline of local live production during the first 32 years of commercial television in Western Australia. Peter will be remembered as a pioneering producer and presenter on Channel Nine, before becoming a well known night club act with Kelly Green and making regular appearances on both TVW7 and STW9 in the 1970s/80s/90s. Peter has entertained far and wide and assisted many charitable institutions, as well as being a Telethon and Appealathon regular from 1968 to 2000.

Peter Harries PhD