EDGAR, DR PATRICIA (1937– )
Patricia Edgar was awarded a doctorate from La Trobe University, and established the university’s Centre for the Study of Media and Communication in 1970. She wrote several influential books, including Under Five in Australia (1973, with her husband Don Edgar), Media She (1974, with Hilary McPhee), Children and Screen Violence (1977) and The Politics of the Press (1979).
Appointed to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board (ABCB) in 1975, Edgar chaired its Advisory Committee on Program Standards. Its review of television standards, known as the Edgar Report, recommended the introduction of children’s standards, including specified hours and the production of programs especially for children. Edgar wasn’t overly concerned by the negative aspects of television, believing that it offered opportunities to children, and that they had a right to their own programs.
In 1977, the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal’s Self-Regulation Report recommended a new ‘C’ classification for children. A Children’s Program Committee (CPC) was established to develop and administer the new regulations and Edgar became its first chair. The Children’s Television Standards of 1979 were unique in the world, and have underpinned Australia’s children’s television industry for more than 30 years. However, Edgar became convinced that ‘regulation by itself’ would never achieve the type of programming that she believed Australian children deserved.
Victorian Liberal Education Minister Norman Lacy helped her establish the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), with the support of Commonwealth, state and territory governments, in 1982. Edgar was the founding director of the ACTF and she held that position until 2002.
Edgar was responsible for the production of programs including Winners, Touch the Sun, Round the Twist, Lift Off and The Genie from Down Under. These programs screened all over the world, and won more than 100 national and international awards.
In 1995, Edgar hosted the first World Summit on Television and Children in Melbourne. She was the recipient of an AM in 1986, and the Australian Film Institute’s Raymond Longford Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002.
REFs: P. Edgar, Bloodbath (2006); http://www.patriciaedgaranddonedgar.com.