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Killer in Close-Up

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Killer in Close Up
Killer in Close Up.png
Ad from The Age 14 Nov 1957
Written byGeorge F. Kerr
Directed byChristopher Muir
William Sterling
Raymond Menmuir
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes4
Running time30 minutes
Production companyABC
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original release9 September 1957 (1957-09-09) –
13 August 1958 (1958-08-13)

Killer in Close-Up was a blanket title covering four live television drama plays produced by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1957 and 1958. It could be seen as the first anthology series produced for Australian television.

Production of the plays was split equally between the Melbourne and Sydney ABC stations, with the first and fourth being produced in Sydney, the second and third in Melbourne.[1] Each ran for 25 minutes. The plays were produced by Christopher Muir, Raymond Menmuir and Will Sterling.

The title came from the use of the close up in television drama.[2]

The drama plays were based on real-life cases, dramatised for television by George F. Kerr. They were, in order:

In Melbourne, the play aired against Chesebrough-Ponds Playhouse on HSV-7 (which consisted selections from US anthology series) and Douglas Fairbanks Theatre (aka Douglas Fairbanks Jr Presents, a British-American anthology production) on GTV-9, and was broadcast at 8:30PM.[7] In effect, viewers had a choice of three different half-hour self-contained dramas during that night.

"The Robert Wood Trial"

It was broadcast "live" from Sydney on 4 September 1957, recorded and shown in Melbourne on 4 October 1957. It was directed by Raymond Menmuir.[3][2]


Based on the 1907 Camden Town Murder, where Robert Wood was tried for the murder of a prostitute and was acquitted.


  • Brian Anderson
  • Leonard Bullen


The first play used nine sets and twelve actors. The Sydney Morning Herald said its goal was "to show new techniques in Australian TV production and acting."[8]

"The Wallace Case"

The Wallace Case was directed by Christopher Muir in Melbourne. It was broadcast live in that city on 20 November 1957.


In 1931, William Herbert Wallace is accused of murdering his wife.


  • Laurier Lange (aka Laurie Lange) as William Wallace
  • Noel Howlett as the judge
  • Brian James as the prosecutor
  • Norman Griffiths as the defence counsel
  • John Morgan
  • Robert Stevens
  • Campbell Copelin


Muir used close ups extensively to build tension. George F. Kerr came down from Sydney to help with the production and acted asa narrator.[4]

"The Rattenbury Case"

This episode was recorded live in Melbourne and aired on 18 June 1958. It was directed by Will Sterling.

The episode The Rattenbury Case may be held by the National Archives of Australia (per a search of their website).


Francis Rattenbury, a famous architect, is murdered.


  • Patricia Kennedy as Mrs Rattenbury
  • Edward Brayshaw as Stoner
  • John Morgan
  • Neil Fitzpatrick
  • James Haggart
  • Bettine Kauffmann
  • Laurie Lange
  • Brian Moll
  • Wynn Roberts
  • Nevil Thurgood


It was the first TV performance from experienced actor Patricia Kennedy.[5]

"The Trial of Madeleine Smith"

The play was broadcast "live" from Sydney on 13 August 1958.[6][9] It aired Melbourne 25 October 1958.[10]


In 1857 Glasgow, a girl is tried for the murder of her lover. From the first meeting between the lovers to the final verdict in Edinburgh Court.


  • Janette Craig as Madeleine Smith
  • Owen Weingott as Emile L'Angelier
  • Berys Marsh
  • Keith Jarvis
  • Gordon Glenwright
  • Keith Buckley
  • Mayne Lynton
  • Edward Smith
  • Royston Marcus
  • George F. Kerr as narrator


Janette Craig was Miss NSW in 1957.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Gaslight on TV with Melbourne Cast". The Age. 2 January 1958. p. 8.
  2. ^ a b "LOOKING AHEAD ON CHANNEL 2 ABN". ABC Weekly. 4 September 1957. p. 33.
  3. ^ a b "TV Guide". The Age. 3 October 1957. p. 13.
  4. ^ a b ""Live" Drama written for TV medium". Sydney Morning Herald. 14 November 1957. p. 12.
  5. ^ a b "Exacting first TV role for Patricia Kennedy". The Age. 13 June 1959. p. 13.
  6. ^ a b "Play based on trial". Sydney Morning Herald. 11 August 1958. p. 11.
  7. ^ "TV Guide". The Age. 14 November 1957. p. 17.
  8. ^ "Television news". Sydney Morning Herald. 28 August 1957. p. 6.
  9. ^ "All the TV Programmes". The A.B.C. Weekly. Vol. 20, no. 33. 13 August 1958. p. 34.
  10. ^ a b "TV Guide". The Age. 17 October 1958. p. 36.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 December 2020, at 00:14
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