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Colin Eggleston Colin Eggleston i(A141013 works by)
Born: Established: 23 Sep 1941 Melbourne, Victoria, ; Died: Ceased: 10 Aug 2002 Geneva,
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Switzerland,
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Western Europe, Europe,

Gender: Male
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BiographyHistory

Script-writer and director.

Colin Eggleston, like many script-writers of his era, got his start at Crawford Productions on the police procedurals for which Crawfords was famous in this era. He worked initially as a director, directing episodes of Homicide in 1964 and of The Long Arm in 1970. He also worked as a script-writer, writing episodes of Homicide (1971-1972), Division 4 (1971-1974), Bluey (1977), and Chopper Squad (1978), as well as working on the ABC's historical drama Rush (1974). He continued to direct throughout this period, including episodes of Matlock Police (1973-1974) and Division 4 (1974).

Eggleston's first feature film was the soft-core pornographic film Fantasm Comes Again (1977): the sequel to highly successful pornographic film Fantasm (1976), directed by Richard Franklin under a pseudonym, the film was a series of fantasy scenarios (filmed in Los Angeles with an Australian director and cinematographer, but American actors) with a loose linking narrative (filmed in Australia) based around a newspaper's advice column. Directed by Eggleston under the pseudonym 'Eric Ram', the film was not as successful as its predecessor.

Eggleston followed this with the environmental horror film Long Weekend, written by his Crawfords colleague Everett De Roche. The film was a box-office disappointment in Australia, but won a number of awards, including the Antennae II Award at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival (where it tied with Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and the Special Jury Award at the Paris Film Festival.

In 1980, he returned to script-writing, penning the script for Nightmares, a horror film directed by John Lamond. But this was one of Eggleston's last few scripts, and the last script that he didn't direct himself. Similarly, Eggleston directed episodes of Bellamy in 1981, but his attention had moved away from television.

In 1982, Eggleston directed The Little Feller, a film about sexual obsession and destruction, written by Ron McLean. He followed this in 1984 with Innocent Prey (another film about sexual perversion), directed to his own script.

In 1986, he directed three films: Cassandra, a supernatural horror film that he also scripted; Sky Pirates, an Australian-American co-production written by earlier collaborator Lamond in conjunction with Peter Herbert and Rob Mowbray; and Body Business, a telemovie centred on a ruthless businesswoman, scripted by Michael Fisher and Ted Roberts.

Eggleston's last film, Outback Vampires, was released in 1987: written and directed by Eggleston (the script written in collaboration with David Young), the film was a comedy-horror.

Most Referenced Works

Notes

  • The film editor for the 1966 Doctor Who serial 'The Smugglers' was a Colin Eggleston. Some sources conflate this figure with the Australian director (assigning them, for example, the same birth and death dates), and Eggleston is certainly of an age to have undertaken this work. It cannot be confirmed, however, that these are the same person.

Awards for Works

Rush 1974 series - publisher film/TV historical fiction crime

One of Australia's earliest television dramatisations of its gold-rush era, Rush is, as Don Storey points out in his Classic Australian Television, in many ways two entirely separate programs: between series one and series two, the setting shifts from the Victorian goldfields to a New South Wales mining town, and jumps forward from the 1850s to the early 1860s. However, both series take place in the same universe, use the same chronology, and have a clear internal coherence, centred on the continuing character of Sergeant Robert McKellar. Therefore, they are generally treated as two separate series of a single program.

(The differences in cast, crew, writers, and directors between the two series are given in detail in the film details section below.)

With its enormous, intricate, expensive, and accurate sets, costumes, and props, Rush proved extremely popular with viewers, despite series one airing in an awkward weeknight 8pm slot (which, as Storey notes, put it against the second half of the highly successful Homicide in Melbourne). Series one did, however, attract some criticism for being filmed in black-and-white when colour programming was only a matter of months away in Australia.

Series two (which drew on foreign financing to cover its cost, an extremely high--for a domestically produced program--$24,000 an episode) was made in colour. Following Sergeant McKellar (the only character to carry over from series one), series two pushed the character forward through two disillusioning events (the Eureka Stockade, which prompted McKellar's resignation from the Victoria Police, and the death of his wife Sarah) and dropped him into the conflicts of a small New South Wales mining town.

Series two was also extremely popular but, according to Storey, plans for series three were shelved when the new Fraser government instituted (among other things) a hefty budget cut to the ABC.

Series one gained renewed prominence in the 1990s when, like police procedural Bluey, it was re-dubbed and sent up on The Late Show (as The Olden Days).

1975 winner Logie Awards Best New Drama
Division 4 1969 series - publisher film/TV detective crime

Division 4, which Don Storey notes in Classic Australian Television was 'the only drama series on Australian television to rival the popularity of Homicide', was created as a vehicle for Gerard Kennedy, who had risen to popularity playing the complicated enemy agent Kragg in spy-show Hunter, after Tony Ward's departure left Hunter's future in doubt.

According to Moran, in his Guide to Australian Television Series:

The series differed from Homicide in being more oriented to the situation and milieu of a suburban police station staffed by a mixture of plainclothes detectives and uniformed policemen. This kind of situation allowed Division 4 to concentrate on a range of crimes, from major ones such as murder to minor ones such as larceny.

Though set in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Yarra Central, 'Sets were constructed that were replicas of the actual St Kilda police station charge counter and CIB room, with an attention to detail that extended to having the same picture hanging on the wall', according to Storey.

Division 4 ended in 1976. Storey adds:

Division 4's axing was a dark day for Australian television, as within months the other two Crawford cop shows on rival networks, Matlock Police and Homicide, were also axed. It was widely believed, and still is, that the cancellation of the three programs was an attempt by the three commercial networks--acting in collusion--to wipe out Crawford Productions, and consequently cripple the local production industry.

1972 winner Logie Awards Best Australian Drama
1970 winner Logie Awards Best Australian Drama
Homicide 1964 series - publisher film/TV crime detective

Running for twelve years and a total of 510 episodes, Homicide was a seminal Australian police-procedural program, set in the homicide squad of the Victoria Police. According to Don Storey in his Classic Australian Television, it represented a turning point for Australian television, prompting the development of local productions over the purchase of relatively inexpensive American dramas. Indeed, Storey quotes Hector Crawford as saying that his production company intended three outcomes from Homicide: demonstrating that it was possible to make a high-quality local drama series, counteracting criticism of local performers, and showing that Australian audiences would watch Australian-made dramas.

As Moran notes in his Guide to Australian TV Series, the program adopted a narrative structure focusing on crime, detection, and capture, rather than on character studies of the lead detectives. The early episodes were produced by a small crew (Storey notes that the crew was frequently limited to four people: cameraman, grip, director, and assistant director), requiring some degree of ingenuity to achieve a polished result (including, in some cases, the actors performing their own stunts). However, the program received extensive support from the Victoria Police (who recognised, in its positive portrayal of police officers, a valuable public-relations exercise) and, as its popularity grew, from the public.

The program's cast changed extensively over its twelve years on the air, though it remained focused on a small group of male detectives, with the inclusion of irregular characters such as Policewoman Helen Hopgood (played by Derani Scarr), written on an as-required basis to reflect the involvement of women in the police force. In Moran's words, 'The other star of Homicide was the location film work. These ordinary, everyday familiar urban locations were what gave the series a gritty realism and familiarised audiences with the shock of recognition at seeing themselves and their milieus on air'.

1973 winner Logie Awards Best Australian Drama
1970 winner Logie Awards Best Australian Drama
1969 winner Logie Awards Best Drama
1968 winner Logie Awards Best Drama
1967 winner Logie Awards Best Drama
1966 winner Logie Awards Best Drama
1965 winner Logie Awards Best Australian TV Drama Series
Last amended 23 Sep 2014 08:04:21
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