5. Double Dare
Based on an American kids’ gameshow format of messy games and obstacle courses, this Australian adaptation was filmed in Melbourne and introduced a generation of children to the phrase “physical challenge!” An inexplicable ill-fated prime time “family” version of the show was responsible for introducing us to owner of the nation’s whitest teeth, Larry Emdur, and axed after only thee episodes.
Interesting note: there’s a video of Ben Lee competing on Double Dare as a child circulating online. It seems to surface on YouTube every year or two, only to be quickly taken down; which I sincerely hope is the result of Lee himself mandating that the video is suppressed for his pride’s sake.
4. The Henderson Kids
Although the first series of this much-loved series was set in the country, the second series was relocated to “Westport”, which was quite clearly Williamstown. This series was a launchpad for a number of household names – Alex Papps, Tottie Goldsmith, Jane Hall and Nadine Garner amongst others.
The opening credits are amusingly shocking – it looks more like a documentary about the inner workings of a harbour dock, not a kids TV show. Prepare to wince at the unabashedly screeching 80s synth, too.
3. Pugwall (where is he now?)
The premise of this Melbourne-based TV show was that these kids had a badass band, the Orange Organics – just check out the killer intro!
Sidenote: growing up, I was constantly ribbed that I had a strange resemblance to the main character, Pugwall. While researching this post, I was checking on the whereabouts of the guy who played Pugwall, wondering if we still shared a resemblance. The answer is definitely not – he’s now playing in a band named Bugdust and looks far closer to a caveman than I do:
2. Round the Twist
Have you ever… ever felt like this? This popular supernatural kids’ series was predominantly filmed around the lighthouse at Aireys Inlet, although the show’s long-dormant website notes that most interior shots were filmed in Melbourne.
I’ve cheated with this last one – it was actually filmed in Brisbane, rather than Melbourne. However, it is included here simply because, in retrospect, this show was surely made by people on acid. How could you willingly plonk your child in front of this disembodied face which screeched haunting “edutainment” at your children?!
There doesn’t seem to be any YouTube clips of the original series, which is probably a blessing in disguise given how frightening that bloody face was.