It’s staggering to think that on 11 February 2014 it will be 40 years since one of Australia’s best rating soap operas, The Box (1974-1977), premiered on ATV O in Melbourne.
Following the O-10 Network’s incredible success with Number 96 (Cash- Harmon Productions, 1972-1978), Channel 9 called upon Crawford Productions in 1973 to come up with a rival soap opera. Crawford’s Ian Jones reprised a concept he had written some years before and, with the help of scriptwriter Tom Hegarty, drafted The Dream Makers, set in what was then thought of as the glamorous world of a television channel.
The Nine Network and then the Seven Network were offered and declined The Dream Makers due to its explicit content and thus the series, now known as The Box, was offered and accepted by the 0-10 Network, from 1980 known simply as Network Ten.
Initially shot in black-and-white its first episode was broadcast on 11 February 1974. The 90-minute first episode was then replaced by daily 50-minute episodes. The series switched to colour in late 1974 in readiness for C day on 1 March 1975. Producers aimed for shock, sex and sin. Newspaper advertisements of the time warned viewers ‘to prepare yourself for the hottest and most provocative series on Australian television’.