The Origins of Wonder World!
Simon Townsend is a name synonymous with children's entertainment in Australia.
Having begun his career as a journalist in the 1960s, across print, television and radio, Simon became editor of the children's section of The Weekend Australian where he developed an interest in creating new content for kids that would both entertain and inform.
For a while he edited his own newspaper for kids titled Zoot and later contributed to the 'For Children' section of The Australian Women's Weekly.
In the mid-1970s, Simon had the idea to combine two of his passions – journalism and kids entertainment – to create Simon Townsend's Wonder World! (1979–87), Australia's first current affairs-style TV show aimed squarely at kids on commercial TV.
Two pilot episodes were pitched to networks, The Ripper Report in 1974 and Simon Townsend's Wonder World! in 1977. Then in 1979, Wonder World! was picked up by Network Ten following the introduction of the 'C' Classification that same year.
In the following clip you can see the opening sequence and the first report by Angela Catterns from the very first episode of Simon Townsend's Wonder World!, which went to air on 3 September 1979: