|Frontline is a satirical comedy series that was produced by the Late Show team
(later to be known as Working Dog Productions) and initially screened on the ABC between 1994
and 1997 - three seasons and 39 episodes (30 minutes duration each) were produced.
The show was a send up of Australian commercial current affairs programmes such as the Nine
Network's A Current Affair and Seven's Real Life (which later evolved into Today
|Years of production
||3 series |
13 episodes per series
||Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)|
Frontline Television Productions (series 1 and 2)
Working Dog Productions (series 3)
||Michael Hirsh (executive)|
Emma McLean (series 1)
During its run, it managed to win a Logie Award for "Most Outstanding Achievement In Comedy" in 1995.
It also won critical acclaim & was sold to overseas markets.
Regular cast members included:
- Mike Moore (played by Rob Sitch), the show's host:
A shallow, narcissistic reporter of limited merit, Mike is also rather dim-witted, and an easy target
for the manipulative behaviour of the network heads and fellow reporter Brooke Vandenberg. Despite his
seeming idiocy, however, at times Mike does appear to show compassion and understanding, as when he criticises
Executive Producer Brian's chauvanistic view that all women are ignorant in the first series episode We Ain't Got Dames.While behind the scenes Mike is a fairly ignorant, self-absorbed person, onscreen Mike Moore appears to be a knowledgable,
well-informed individual and a dedicated journalist due to clever presentation and publicity. However it is in Mike's
onscreen presentation that many of the clues are given to the audience that a parody is taking place: the bland, handsome face,
well-modulated voice intoned with false sincereity, several 'stock' facial expressions (such as the raised eyebrow, the shake of the head or the fake chuckle)
and, of course, his carefully-moulded hairstyle, plastered carefully across his head in an almost-plastic formation, a nod to the hairstyle of many male current-affairs
hosts of Australian television, past and present - in particular that of Ray Martin.Mike tries to appear as an insigtful, serious jounalist who has thouroughly researched his topic, but cracks in his 'perfect journalist' veneer often appear at the very first
sign of trouble - when the auto-cue machine fails to work properly, when 'breaking news' occurs or when he is interviewing someone, as he is bound to ask a stupid question or be at a loss for words when a response is required.
- Bruno Lawrence (Brian Thompson - who sadly died after the first series), the Executive Producer
of the show in Series One:
A tough, experienced producer, Brian knows how to play the game in order to protect his job and garner rathing for the show. Like reporter Brooke Vandenberg, he is not above sensationalising or manipulating a story if it means garnering ratings for the program.
In chasing the ratings, Brain seems immoral and unethical - as executive producer he has the final say as to what airs and what doesn't, and willingly creates truths to suit his own purposes. However Brian doesn't just do this for the good of the show: he also happily does so
if he believes it will benefit him personally in the future as in the first series' episode Playing the Ego Card, when he takes credit for a ground-breaking story regarding Bougainville helicopters with studio boss Ian Farmer.
- Brooke Vandenberg (Jane Kennedy), a reporter and occasional presenter;
An ambitious, cunning journalist of limited experience, Brooke is the star reporter on Frontline, a position gained mainly via knowing how to play the game in order to gain power and popularity. She is happy to manipulate the truth in order to produce a story which will garner high
ratings - and higher status on the corporate ladder for herself as a result - such as when she turns the story of an incompetent netball player being dismissed into a story of lesbian-tinged jealousy in the first series' Add Sex And Stir. Brooke's beauty and seemingly sweet-yet-intelligent demaenour
are an asset to the program and executive producer Brian knows it, as is demonstrated when he goes out of his way to cater to her ego, complimenting her whether she deserves it or not. Brooke is smart enough to know how to manipulate people into boosting her profile or undermine or alienate those of greater
power than herself - instead she charms them. While her great stories are usually the product of clever editing in post-production, Brooke must be given credit for happily using all the dirty tricks of the news trade in order to get her story - even when there wasn't one there in the first place.
- Martin di Stasio (Tiriel Mora), another reporter;
- Emma Ward (Alison Whyte), a producer & researcher;
- Jan Whelan (Genevieve Mooy), the network's head of publicity;
- Sam Murphy (Kevin J. Wilson), the Executive Producer of the show in Series Two;
- Geoffrey Salter (Santo Cilauro), the weatherman;
- Stuart O'Halloran (Pip Mushin), a cameraman;
- Kate Preston (Trudy Hellier), a researcher;
- Domenica Baroni (Anita Cedric), the production secretary.
Recurring characters included:
- Shelly Cohen (Linda Ross), the executive assistant;
- Jason Cotter (Torquil Neilson), the sound engineer;
- Hugh Tabbagh (Marcus Eyre), the editor;
- Elliot Rhodes (Boris Conley), the Friday Night Funnyman;
- Khor (Eng Aun Khor), the cleaner;
- Colin Konica (Tom Gleisner), the photocopy repairman;
There were also many guest characters. These included Don Burke, Pat Cash, Dr John Hewson and
In September 2004, a 2-disc set of the first season was released on DVD.
2-disc sets of Series 2&3 were released in March 2006.