10 things you didn't know about Homicide

BY SIMON SMITH

The groundbreaking Australian TV crime drama Homicide premiered on 20 October 1964. Explore our new Classic TV: Homicide curated collection.

Here are 10 things you didn't know about Homicide:

1. The first episode, The Stunt, was not the earliest filmed episode. The pilot episode, One Man Crime Wave, was eventually telecast as the 25th episode (though listed officially as 24A).

2. Episode 56, Flashpoint, was the first all-film episode, shot on location in Buxton, Victoria. It was also the first foreign TV production to be screened at the 4th Annual Hollywood Festival of World Television in California, USA in April 1967.

John Stanton as Senior Detective Pat Kelly. From episode 390, Thommo (1973). NFSA title: 1253511

3. Nearly all the actors cast as featured detectives in later series had appeared in earlier Homicide episodes, usually in non-police roles unrelated to their future characters. For example, John Stanton (left) appeared in six earlier episodes playing separate characters before his debut as Sen. Det. Pat Kelly in episode 384, The Kooranda Killing.

4. Rugged Geelong defender in the Victorian Football League (VFL), and later coach of the Cats, John Devine guest appeared as himself in episode 53, Holiday Affair.

5. Australian music identity Ian 'Molly’ Meldrum has a non-speaking role as a party guest who ejects an unruly invitee in episode 66, Flashback, filmed in 1966. Many local singers made guest acting appearances including Bobby Bright, Buddy England, Tony Shepp, Mike Brady and Jon English.

6. By 1970, nearly three million people nationally were watching each week.

The show was also sold abroad to the United Kingdom, Canada and parts of Africa (including Kenya, Zambia and, unbeknownst to Crawfords, Rhodesia!).

7. Crawfords commenced production of colour episodes in March 1972 with episode 376, Initiation. As the national roll-out of colour television transmissions did not take place until 1 March 1975 (C-Day), the first 70 colour episodes were originally telecast in black-and-white.

The final Homicide detective line up c.1974-75: (l-r) Dennis Grosvenor, Gary Day, Don Barker, Charles Tingwell. NFSA title: 1253531

8. Episode 382, The Other Man, first screened in June 1973, features 13-year-old Sigrid Thornton in her first lead television acting role. Three years later, Thornton won the first of many acting accolades for her guest role in another Crawfords series, Matlock Police (Episode 204, The Witch), receiving a Sammy Award at the inaugural Australian Film and TV Awards for Best Television Juvenile Performance.

9. In the final episode of the series, episode 509 The Last Task, Leonard Teale made a return guest appearance as Detective Sgt Mackay. He utters the show’s final words, 'Well, let us know when you’re coming’.

10. In September 1976, a rare television reunion of several of the key cast occurred during a This Is Your Life episode featuring Leonard Teale.

In the clip below, host Digby Wolfe reintroduces Teale to fellow former cast detectives Alwyn Kurts, Terry McDermott and Les Dayman.

Buy Homicide on DVD from Crawford Productions.