Christine Hogan is thinking aloud, counting off the number of lesbians who have played a significant role in Australian TV over the past 50 years.
Her roll call includes the name of a multi-Logie-winning actress, a favourite character actress, two chat show hosts and a current affairs presenter, but with a sense of frustration Hogan exclaims, But none of them were out, so we can’t really mention them by name.
Hogan is the author of the new book, Look At Me, which celebrates the role women have played in the development of Australian television across the past 50 years.
The book examines women’s impact on TV in significant on-air, behind-the-scenes and executive roles, and includes interviews with such iconic figures as Maggie Tabberer, Toni Lamond, Jana Wendt, Mary Kostakidis, Jane Turner and Gina Riley.
TV is a big, blokey game, Hogan says.
While there is a lot of talk about blokes in TV, women have been working just as hard in this industry for 50 years, in vital roles behind the scenes as well as in front of the cameras.
I wanted to tell the history of our TV industry -“ and can I say that it is called his-story, because her-story is rarely told.
Among the more fascinating of Hogan’s subjects is Toni Lamond, who holds the record as the first woman in the world to present a night-time chat show when she hosted In Melbourne Tonight in 1957.
The guts of that woman is amazing, particularly when she revealed that the first time she hosted the show, while she was singing and dancing, she was having a miscarriage at the same time, Hogan says. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen to blokes.
In her profile on Maggie Tabberer, Hogan explores how Tabberer, in all her fashion finery and elegance, became one of the country’s greatest feminist role models.
Maggie had two little girls to feed, so she went out to work and has been working ever since, across all the mediums of TV. She is now nearing 70, and she is still working on TV and is brilliant at it.
Hogan will be hosting a Women In TV presentation on Thursday 19 October at the State Library. She will discuss the state of women’s roles in the medium with guest panellists including journalist Jenny Brockie, presenter Sonia Kruger and producers Sandra Levy and Posie Graeme-Evans.
Look At Me: Women In Television will be held on Thursday 19 October in the Dixson Room of the Mitchell Wing of the NSW State Library. Bookings on 9273 1770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.