Television History

Pearlie - 2009

Magic in the City
Pearlie is a park fairy with a giant sized heart and a wardrobe to match. Appointed by fairy H.Q, Pearlie keeps Jubilee Park in sparkling order. She's full of nutty over the top plans, parties and events for the park and its residents.

Pearlie is the much anticipated animated comedy series, based on the top selling childrens books by Wendy Harmer. Pearlie is a co-production between Sticky Pictures and Nelvana for Australia's Ten network and YTV in Canada.

Celebrity MasterChef - 2009

Celebrity MasterChef Australia was an Australian competitive cooking game show. It was spin-off of MasterChef Australia, itself an adaptation of the British show MasterChef, and featured celebrity contestants. It premiered on Network Ten on 30 September 2009.Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan returned as judges for the show; however Sarah Wilson did not reprise her role as host from the first season of MasterChef Australia. Instead Calombaris and Mehigan also served in a general hosting capacity.Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan won the series, taking home $50,000 for charity Swim Survive Stay Alive.

Celebrity MasterChef featured 18 celebrities as contestants, and they placed as follows;
Eamon Sullivan, Kirk Pengilly, Rachael Finch, Alex Lloyd, Michelle Bridges, Simon Katich, Faustina "Fuzzy" Agolley, Peter Rowsthorn, George Negus, Ryan O'Keefe, Wendy Harmer, Alex Perry, Anna Bligh, Simon Westaway, Peter FitzSimons, Kathleen de Leon Jones, Indira Naidoo, Josh Thomas

Stuff - 2008

This series looked at the human life-long love affair with material objects. It is a deeply personal and psychological portrait of our connection with our own “stuff”. Stuff examines – from the cradle to the grave – the abiding passion all of us have for stuff – the stuff we buy, the stuff we treasure, the stuff we desire and the stuff that’s most important to us. Present-day Australian society is one of the most asset-rich in human history. The modern mantra is that we now have too much stuff. Although the topic of consumerism has been theorised and written about for many years; recent concerns about mass- production, globalisation, global warming and resource shortage, have made us all concerned with “over-consumption.” We now understand that our love for stuff could cost us the earth. But how can we begin to give up our desire for stuff, unless we understand why we have it in the first place?

Stuff asks: Are we hard-wired to accumulate? At what age do we begin to identify stuff as our own? Why do we choose the stuff we do? How do we express our unique personalities through our stuff? And how does our attitude to stuff change on life’s cluttered journey? Wendy Harmer – a pioneer of Australian comedy, and a world-class accumulator - authors, narrates and presents this four-part series that takes us from a baby shower to a retirement home; from a school yard to a prison. She asks everyone she meets : Why do you love your stuff so much? What does it mean to you? What’s the best stuff of all? The answers she is given tell us that our relationship with our stuff is much more complex that we might realise… And that our conversations about over-consumption have only just begun.

“In making this series I wanted to present a view about consumption that was beyond basic academic theory. I wanted to present a human view of consumption. I found myself increasingly dissatisfied with the many books, newspaper columns and documentaries that finger-wag about the way we consume. We consume, they say, because we’re “greedy”, “unthinking”, to “show off” to “have power over others.” We are told that consuming is a habit we have to quickly unlearn, as if, somehow, we had only recently learned it. In fact, we humans have been consuming forever. The desire to acquire goods is as much a part of our lives as is the desire to work.

In researching this topic, I was much inspired by a wonderful book: “the world of goods – towards an anthropology of comsumption” written by Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood ( Basic Books New York, 1979). In this book, the authors make the point that consumption cannot be discussed without looking at our social system. In fact, we humans consume for many different reasons - to keep our selves warm and fed, certainly, but we also consume books, poetry and beautiful objects that inspire; we use goods to celebrate; as gifts; to honour our spiritual life; to express our identity and encode memory. Therefore stuff is both the hardware and software of human existence.

I am very proud to have made a documentary about consumption that does not contain the usual footage of factory smokestacks, landfill tips and bulging supermarket trolleys. Instead, it features many happy human faces and all their wonderful stuff! It’s a study of a love affair as much as anything else. The message of this programme is to be mindful when you consume and above all, love your stuff. It is as unique as you are. Hopefully, this series will have people thinking about over-consumption, but in a gentle and humorous way. I believe that we do have to curb our desire for material goods, but that this must be in partnership with the way we make things. It’s not that we shouldn’t have stuff – but that our stuff should be sustainable. It should be made, purchased and owned with care and a conscience.

If STUFF does make people pause before they buy their 300th pair of earrings or that new gadget? That’s a bonus.”

Enough Rope with Andrew Denton - 2005

Transcript of Wendy's interview with Andrew Denton

Australian Story - 2005

Transcript of Wendy's interview on"Australian Story"

Logie Awards - 2002

Wendy hosted the Logies in 2002

The Great Debate Series - 1999

Channel Nine - 1999
The Aussie Bloke Is A Hopeless Joke
The Middle Age Is Sexy
That It Is Better Being Single
That Sport Is Better Than Sex

World Series Debates - 1993

6 debates. Co-hosted with ANDREW DENTON ABC TV 1993.

The Big Gig - 1989-1992

The Big Gig was a popular comedy series based on the British TV series Saturday Live. It was produced and broadcast by the ABC in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Largely based around performers sourced from the thriving Melbourne stand-up comedy scene of that time, the series brought a number of new comedy acts to national prominence and made major stars of its host, stand-up comedian Wendy Harmer, who later became a top-rating host on morning radio in Sydney in the 1990s, and the regularly featured act, The Doug Anthony All-Stars.
Starting in 1989 and running until 1992 and originally named Tuesday Night Live, The Big Gig showcased both comedy and music and offered opportunities not available to the performers otherwise.
The show typically started with a monologue from host Wendy Harmer before launching into a musical act. Regulars on the show included the house band The Swinging Sidewalks, the Bachelors From Prague or Zydeko Jump; the same band would also close the show while the credits played over them.

A regular feature of The Big Gig was the character 'Veronica Glenhuntly' (played by comedian Jean Kittson), an acid-tongued newsreader. Many storylines would run through her, including her on-air wooing, marriage and birth of twins (named Veronica, after herself, and Wayne, after her husband, golf-star Wayne "Lightning" Truscott). She was later joined by weather reporter Clinton Funt, played by musician and comedian Phillip Scott. The character partly parodied contemporary ABC (Victoria) newsreader Mary Delahunty, but her surname was also a reference to the elite Melbourne suburb of Glenhuntly. Kittson also played several other characters, including ditzy gym nut Candida Royale and sinister flight attendant Rose McCloud. The Big Gig became known for showcasing many new comedy acts, including Judith Lucy, Anthony Morgan, Jimeoin, Greg Fleet, Lano and Woodley (at the time members of a trio called The Found Objects, with Scott Casley), Scared Weird Little Guys and The Umbilical Brothers.

Nevertheless, major drawcards for both the studio audience and viewers at home was the regular cast. Some played characters—for example, Glynn Nicholas portrayed saccharine children's TV performer Paté Biscuit and her hand puppet Bongo (a broad send-up of 70s Aussie children's TV star Patsy Biscoe) and oafish policeman Sergeant F*kn Smith. Co-writing Nicholas's material was the young Shaun Micallef. Comedians Matt Parkinson and Matthew Quartermaine, aka The Empty Pockets also played the Lager Boys. The Lager Boys featured in a popular series of anarchic blackout sketches, promoting fictitious products and/or TV programs, and which were noted for including brief intercuts taken from pornographic videos. Viewers often taped The Big Gig on their VCRs in order to replay the Lager Boys segments in slow motion.

After successful guest appearances on the first series Sydney comedian Anthony Ackroyd became a regular cast member. He provided stand up spots as well as the characters Addam (a parody of a coked up advertising guru), the Bard (a Shakespearean style poet) and Constable Constable (partner of Glynn Nicholas's Sergeant Smith).Angela Moore, later a cast member of the children's programme Play School, played another popular semi-regular character, the batty, screechy-voiced housewife Shirley Purvis, with fellow Play School alumnus Glenn Butcher playing her hopeless son Darren. Shirley and Darren were characters they had originated while members of popular comedy troupe The Castanet Club. Other regular cast members included Denise Scott, Tracy Harvey, Anthony Ackroyd, Lynda Gibson, Phillip Scott and Paul Livingston (as Flacco).

The most popular featured act was the irreverent musical comedy trio the Doug Anthony All Stars, also known as DAAS, whose trademark pseudo-military uniforms and shameless attacks on sacred cows quickly became legendary. The Dougs, as they became known as, would often be on at the end of the program and were regulars up until 1991, when they left to produce their own show, DAAS Kapital (also shown on ABC TV).

In Harmer's Way - 1990

Late night chat show, ABC TV 1990.

Friday Night Live - 1988

Special guest, London Weekend Television, April 1988.

The Comedy Company - 1988

Special guest host Channel 10, March 1988.

Trapp, Wrinkle and Box - 1984-1986

ABC Children's series

The Gillies Report - 1984-1985

ABC satirical series