Beyond 2000 - Episode 152: Robot mannequins

Beyond 2000 - Episode 152: Robot mannequins
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Amanda Keller reports from Japan where a robot mannequin with the body type of a typical Japanese woman might yet replace the store dummy with long legs and long arms, the look that is much admired in Western Europe. Summary by Janet Bell.

The really fascinating information about this story is that Japanese women for years have been forced to endure the European look for their store dummies, despite the fact that Japanese women are typically size 9 and have shorter arms and legs than their European counterparts. Amanda Keller tells the story well and leaves to the end the rather dampening fact that this high-tech invention is so expensive to produce that it looks as though Japanese women will be living with their European-style mannequins for many years to come.

Beyond 2000 - Episode 152 synopsis

A magazine-style program featuring the latest in technology and medical breakthroughs from around the world, with Iain Finlay as the overall presenter. In this program, reporter Amanda Keller is in Japan to explain a robot mannequin that may change shop windows forever, while Simon Nasht reveals a huge environmental disaster-in-the-making in Hungary on the banks of the Danube River. Meanwhile, Bryan Smith travels to the frozen lands of Antarctica to show how penguins are assisting scientists with their research.

Beyond 2000 - Episode 152 curator's notes

The presenter of the program is Iain Finlay, one of the original presenters of Towards 2000, which was produced by and screened on the ABC. When the ABC decided to axe it in favour of a series with a greater emphasis on science, the Towards 2000 presenters at that time – Iain Finlay, Carmel Travers and Chris Ardill-Guinness – took their idea to Channel 7 and Beyond 2000 was born. The program was a ratings success for the commercial channel and the series sold around the world, providing the presenters and the two managers brought in to assist with setting up the company – Phil Gerlach and Mikael Borglund (now the managing director of Beyond International) – with the financial underpinnings for what was to become the Beyond Group.

In its first year, the company was contracted to make 20 programs for Channel 7; the following year, 32 programs; the year after that – 40 programs, until finally they were making 52 programs per year including 12 'best of’ shows. Channel 7 had never envisaged that the series would sell so well overseas, so the distribution rights stayed with the company, who sold into the American market by the end of the first year.

All three of the original reporters who were the principals of the company had left by 1995. Over the years, many reporters began or enhanced their careers on the program and its successor Beyond Tomorrow. This program features: Amanda Keller, who has since gone on to become a star of commercial radio; Bryan Smith, who later became a senior executive with National Geographic Television in the United States; and Simon Nasht, who become a producer of the Lonely Planet television series.

Notes by Janet Bell.

Production company:
Beyond International Group
Tim Clucas
Executive producer:
Peter Abbott
Judith John-Story
Simon Nasht, Amanda Keller, Maxine Gray, Iain Finlay, Chris Ardill-Guinness, Simon Reeve, Bryan Smith, Simon Reeve, Jeff Watson