The Mavis Bramston Show

Mavis Bramston
The pioneering Mavis Bramston Show premiered on Australian television (ATN 7) in November, 1964 and ran for three years. It was our first venture into home-grown satirical comedy, showcasing revue-style skits and songs and audiences responded to viewing themselves through an edgier, comedic lens.

At the time of its airing, television had only been a force in Australia for a mere eight years and although we did produce some local content, the vast majority of prime time TV shows were imports from the US and Britain. Bramston was our attempt at creating our own version of some of the more sophisticated comedy shows that were coming out of the BBC. Groundbreaking shows like Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Not Only but Also, The Frost Report and That was the Week That Was, were popular here, proving that Australian audiences could digest more than Wagon Train and Z-Cars.

Australia already had an established theatrical revue tradition from which to draw on and the cast of Bramston was taken from local actors and some British imports. Core cast members Carol Raye (who devised and produced the pilot show)  and  Gordon Chater, who, thanks to his turn on Bramston, won the 1966 Gold Logie for Most Popular TV personality, had migrated from England (Chater in the 1940s), while young regular Barry Creyton had already made a name for himself in the Sydney theatre scene. Among other things, it was a great showcase for local talent.

'Mavis', the shows chic figurehead, was played for a short while by actress Noeline Brown until her departure to England, when she was replaced by Maggie Dence. As a side piece of trivia, acclaimed director, Peter Weir  also worked on the show for a time, as a crew member.

The title Mavis Brampston was allegedly a theatrical in-joke, and at the time, had been a local term meant to parody the B-grade, faded overseas actors who came out to Australia for engagements that could easily have been filled by local talent.  According to series creator Carol Raye, a  "Mavis Brampston" was an actress who was seriously 'up herself', demanding an obsequious attention her innate talent may not have warranted.

The Mavis Bramston Show Cast - Carol Raye, Gordon Chater, Barry Creyton, and June Salter. Extended cast members included Maggie Dence, Johnny Lockwood, Dawn Lake, Reg Livermore, Ronnie Stevens, Noeline Brown, Ron Fraser, Miriam Karlin and Barbara Angell
Mavis Bramston Show Credits
Executive producer: Michael Plant
Producer: James Fishburn
Writers: Alan Kitson, Michael Plant Gwen Plumb, David Sale, Richard Walsh
Director: David Cahill