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form y separately published work icon Our Man in the Company series - publisher   film/TV  
Issue Details: First known date: 1973-1974... 1973-1974 Our Man in the Company
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Our Man in the Company, a humorous expose of the world of big business, began life as a putative program called Our Man in Canberra. Like A Nice Day at the Office, Our Man in Canberra started as an episode of the ABC's comedy anthology program The Comedy Game. Three additional episodes covering the misadventures of backbencher Humphrey Sullivan had been filmed (at a cost of $30,000) before the ABC were notified by the Federal Attorney-General's Department that the program (for which advance publicity had been released) breached Section 116 (2) of the Broadcasting and Television Act: 'the Commission or a licensee shall not broadcast or televise a dramatisation of any political matter which is then current or was current at any time during the five preceding years.'

For a detailed account of the furore that followed, see Don Storey's Classic Australian Television.

The end result was that the three completed episodes of Our Man in Canberra (excluding the already-screened pilot) were never screened, and the program was re-structured as Our Man in the Company, focusing on an inside view of big business rather than politics. As Don Storey notes, however, the re-structure was fairly superficial. Storey quotes writer John O'Grady as saying,

Very odd company, this one. It has repatriation schemes for its old soldier employees, problems with censorship, an old-age pension scheme which nobody thinks is enough, and battles with women who believe the company constitution infringes their rights. What other strange things does this company have on its plate? Oh yes, it's been experiencing a rural crisis lately! We had difficulty adapting three of the original scripts on Aboriginal land rights, the Russian presence in the Indian Ocean and the U.S. takeover of our resources. But we have made the programme legal now.

Our Man in the Company ran for two series (a total of fifteen episodes). Storey summarises it as follows: 'Taken at face value, Our Man in the Company is an enjoyable series. Taken as a disguised Our Man in Canberra, it becomes a very funny and clever series.'

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1973-1974 .
      Extent: 15x30min. episodesp.
      Description: Produced on film and video; black-and-white
      • 4x30min. episodes of Our Man in Canberra were produced, but only the pilot aired--and the pilot only aired because it formed part of the ABC's comedy anthology The Comedy Game. The three remaining episodes were re-written and re-made as episodes 1, 3, and 5 of series 1 of Our Man in the Company.
Last amended 11 Dec 2014 12:46:38