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form y separately published work icon The Other Facts of Life single work   film/TV   young adult  
Issue Details: First known date: 1985... 1985 The Other Facts of Life
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Twelve-year-old Ben Guthrie appears to have a good life. His family are well off and his father is a successful and ambitious butcher. However, there are some things that Ben doesn't understand. His father attempts to explain the facts of life, but Ben is more interested in the bigger life picture, such as why some people are starving. When both his parents fail to provide answers, Ben begins an inspired crusade to make the world right. He becomes a neighbourhood nuisance and an embarrassment to his family, constantly and publicly challenging their values. His parents seek the help of friends and experts, to no avail. When Ben meets Esme, an elderly animal liberationist, and they end up in the hands of the police, his parents resort to faking family illnesses to distract Ben from the larger troubles of the world. But it is not until his work-obsessed father suffers a genuine heart attack that Ben is able to focus his energies on a problem he can do something about: helping his family.

(Source: Australian Screen)


y separately published work icon The Other Facts of Life Morris Gleitzman , Fitzroy Ringwood : McPhee Gribble Penguin Australian Children's Television Foundation , 1985 Z350049 1985 single work novel young adult

'Ben stared at the images on the TV screen half in fascination, half in horror. He had never seen anything like this. It was incredible. It was awful. He needed answers . . .
There are some things Ben doesn't understand, so his dad is sent in to explain the facts of life. But it's the other facts that are worrying Ben and he decides to find his own answers. He's deadly serious - and the results are very, very funny.

'The story of one boy's stand for a better world and a slightly better family.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.


  • Telemovie.
  • This film was the beginning of Esben Storm's long involvement with the Australian Children's Television Foundation.
  • The trailer for this film is available to view via YouTube:

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1985
      1985 .
      person or book cover
      Screen cap from promotional trailer
      Link: U9396Three digital extracts from the original production. Australian Screen (Sighted 18/03/10)
      Extent: 47 min.p.
      Description: Colour
      • Episode 5
      Series: form y separately published work icon Winners Network Ten (publisher), Australia : Network Ten Australian Children's Television Foundation , 1985 Z1676442 1985 series - publisher film/TV children's

      Australian Screen says of Winners that it is 'an anthology series of eight telemovies for children aged between eight and fifteen. No one story is typical. Through comedy, science fiction, historical drama, adventure, fantasy and social realism, many issues are raised. Each of the Winners stories is about children, their families and friends. Common themes across the stories are family relationships, friendship, individuality, and the facing of difficult situations with courage, ingenuity and independence.'

      Of the origins of the series, Patricia Edgar says in her memoir Bloodbath: A Memoir of Australian Television (Melbourne: Melbourne UP, 2006):

      The series was initially dubbed Masterpiece Theatre, an ironic salute to Phillips Adams' comment at the very first board meeting that we must use popular formats and not look like Masterpiece Theatre. It would eventually air under the title Winners, a title that I selected from a list of ideas during scripting.

      I approached a number of experienced producers around the country to induce them to work on a children's program. With guidance from John Morris, I identified twenty of Australia's top writers--including John Duigan, Tom Hegarty, Sonia Borg, Anne Brooksbank, Tony Morphett, Morris Gleitzman, Bob Ellis and Cliff Green--and invited them to a briefing at the Sebel Townhouse in Sydney in February 1983. The way to get their involvement was to make the project high profile and competitivel the media would be involved throughout the process.

      Writing is a solitary experience. These selected writers had never been together for a briefing before. The proposal was for each writer to develop two ideas for the sum of $500. If their idea was selected they would go on to the next stage and write a treatment and draft, otherwise we would give their idea back to them. Without exception, the idea appealed. The writers were not instructed on specific program ideas, but I made it clear I did not want bland adventure or syrupy formulaic family shows. I wanted the kind of drama children had not seen before--contemporary, challenging, dealing with important, relevant issue. I wanted stories that would add some meaning to children's lives. If these writers--the cream of the crop--could not deliver, nobody else in Australia could. (pp.155-56)

      Edgar said of the series that 'Winners had been a baptism of fire--introducing me to a diverse range of producers, directors, styles of production and problems--as well as a wonderfully exciting introduction to the creation of drama, from an idea on paper to a powerful experience to be shared on screen' (pp.169-70).


1985 winner AWGIE Awards Children's Award Best Original Film Script
Last amended 11 Dec 2014 14:41:24