Librettist, lyricist, film and television scriptwriter, director, and producer.
Don Battye and Peter Pinne began their collaborative partnership in 1959, when they met through Melbourne's Bread and Cheese Composers and Songwriters Group. The first production they worked on was the revue One to Fourteen. Over the next four decades, the pair collaborated on more than fifteen music theatre works, including six adult musicals, several soft rock/folk operas, seven children's musicals, a telemovie (A Special Place), a film (A City's Child), and a theatre restaurant show (Fasten Your Seat Belts), as well as contributing material to numerous revues (including The Mavis Bramston Show) and theatre restaurant shows throughout Australia.
Battye and Pinne's first major success was A Bunch of Ratbags (1966), a play with music, based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by William Dick. This production is believed to have been the first rock musical staged anywhere in the world, pre-dating Hair by a year. They followed it two years later with It Happened in Tanjablanca, a musical spoof on Hollywood musicals of the 1940s, which had a second life several years later as Red, White and Boogie (1973). In 1971, the pair staged a tribute to Caroline Chisholm with the assistance of a $40,000 grant from Sir Henry Bolte. Carolinehas been, perhaps, their most popular and most frequently revived musical. That same year the pair collaborated on A City's Child (Kavanagh Productions), a film that explores the issue of loneliness in a large city through the life of an unloved spinster. Three years later, their musical about two rival whorehouse madams, Sweet Fanny Adams, premiered in Melbourne.
During his collaborative years with Pinne, Don Battye was also engaged at various times in writing, editing, and producing television shows. His early credits include long time ABC favourite Bellbird, along with Richmond Hill, Possession, and The Entertainers. For nine years, he worked for producer Hector Crawford as associate director. His involvement with Crawford Productions saw him oversee some of the most influential and popular television shows in Australian history, notably The Box, Division Four, Bluey, Homicide, Matlock Police, and The Sullivans. Battye left Crawford's in 1978 to take up a position with the Grundy Organisation. His involvement as producer included such shows as Chopper Squad, A Special Place, The Restless Years, and Bellamy. Battye eventually became Senior Vice President: Drama for the company, and has also acted in the positions of Executive Producer and Producer. As a senior member of the Grundy organisation, he also oversaw the development of such shows as Sons and Daughters, Neighbours, Tanamera, and Waterloo Station.
Battye moved to the Philippines in 1998 to live in Peurto Princesa City on the island of Palawan. He died at his home aged 77.
A daily television drama series set in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough, Neighbours chronicles the lives of the residents of Ramsay Street. The series initially revolved around three families: the Ramsays (at number 24 Ramsay Street), the Robinsons (at number 26), and the Clarkes (at number 28). The scope of the series has since broadened to include new Ramsay Street familes.
Sons and Daughters explores the dramatic incidents in the lives of the wealthy Hamilton family and the working-class Palmer family. The premise that underpinned the show's early years concerned the character John Palmer, on the run from the Melbourne police, who suspect him of murder. He travels to Sydney and falls in love with the wealthy Angela Hamilton, but they are later revealed to be twins who were separated at birth and raised separately: John raised by the wise former prostitute Fiona Thompson before returning to live with his father and Angela raised by her mother, who subsequently married into money. More wealth later arrives through the introduction of the Morrell clan, who have managed to marry their way into the Hamilton family.
The Matlock Police series (originally simply titled Matlock) was commissioned from Crawford Productions by ATV-0, in response to the popularity of rival-network police dramas such as Homicide and Division 4. Crawford's was initially reluctant to create another police series, but ATV-0 pressured the company for some time. Eventually, Ian Jones and Terry Stapleton devised the concept of a regional (Victorian) police series to provide viewers with something different. The more relaxed atmosphere of the country-town setting also allowed the writers to delve into the private lives of the main characters, rather than focusing heavily on big-city organised crime. In this respect, the series was situated somewhere between Homicide/Division 4 and Bellbird. The series did, however, cover typical rural policing, including such issues as break and enters, domestic issues, itinerant workers, brawls, petty crime and robberies, road accidents, the occasional homicide, and cattle rustling. On other occasions, the Matlock police also assisted Melbourne police in locating criminals on the run (among other problems). The idea behind the show was to reflect the causes of crime in a small community and show the effects on both the community and the officers themselves.
The fictional town of Matlock (loosely based on Shepparton in Victoria) is situated inland on the Central Highway, approximately 160 kilometres north of Melbourne. Although the town's population is only seventeen thousand, this increases to around seventy-five thousand when the district is included. The Matlock Police Station is typical of a Victorian country town, with a Uniform Branch and a Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). The CIB is headed by Detective Sergeant Vic Maddern, who grew up in the Matlock district and is an accomplished bushman. Second in command is Detective Allan Curtis, aged in his mid-twenties. Previously from Melbourne, Curtis has just been sent to his first country posting (against his will) when the series begins. Head of the Uniform Branch is Sergeant Bert Kennedy, an Englishman who migrated to Australia in 1950. A thorough but also easy-going man with a good sense of humour, Kennedy is married to Nell and enjoys the country life in Matlock, so much so that he has knocked back promotion to avoid moving to Melbourne. Several constables are attached to the Uniform Branch, but the most prominent is a motorcycle cop, Constable Gary Hogan, who performs a wide variety of duties. Hogan is about thirty, a friendly, easy-going person who grew up in the country and is always willing to help in whatever work is going.