In Melbourne Tonight (IMT) was flagging. Four years after helping to usher in the exciting new medium of television into Australia, GTV9’s flagship program had lost much of its energy. Media reports during 1961 depict the show as stale and in a rut. IMT’s original creative mastermind, Norm Spencer, had recently defected to rival station HSV7, taking with him fresh programming ideas and plans to topple his former show. And as the program’s central host over 1000 editions, Graham Kennedy had carried a huge load. With a new contract to be negotiated and in desperate need of a holiday, the fatigued King of Television needed a break from the constant attention of his subjects.
Ever adept at wrangling products and services at a sponsor’s expense, Graham orchestrated a deal with major IMT advertising client Glo-Weave. The shirt manufacturer agreed to pay for a three-week overseas trip in exchange for filmed advertisements shot in the various locations visited. These inserts were then sent back to GTV9 to be replayed in Graham's absence on editions of both IMT and the national Graham Kennedy Show. IMT’s newly promoted producer Bill Beams (1933-2016), formerly a station news camera operator, accompanied Graham to ensure he met his commitments to the station. On Wednesday 18 July 1961, the pair flew from Sydney, bound for Europe via a stopover in India. Bombay (Mumbai), Rome and London would each provide suitable backdrops against which to film the sponsor’s product.