'Cause Brian Told Me So...'

BY MEL BONDFIELD

Legendary TV presenter Brian Henderson (1931–2021) has passed away at age 89, leaving a legacy that is unparalleled in TV and news broadcasting.

The Most Trusted Face in TV News

'I know everything I need to know 'cause Brian told me so'.

For more than 40 years, Brian Henderson, or 'Hendo' as he was affectionately known, was the most trusted face in TV news – from his first broadcast for Channel Nine in 1957 to his retirement in late 2002. 

With his very own network advertising jingle and signature salutation – 'The way it is... I'm Brian Henderson, goodnight' – Hendo was a part of Sydneysiders' everyday lives for decades as Australia's longest-serving newsreader. 

'News is a wonderful drug'

Henderson gave an exclusive interview with the NFSA in 1998 and, in this short excerpt, talks about the early days of presenting the news and the changes he saw in broadcasting over the decades.

Hosting Bandstand

Born in New Zealand, Henderson's media career took off in 1953 after moving to Sydney and joining radio station 2CH. But not long after the introduction of television, Henderson joined Channel Nine as a regular news presenter and then in 1958 became host of popular music TV program Bandstand (1958–72).

In this excerpt from an exclusive oral history interview, Henderson talks about the evolution of Bandstand, from the low-budget Accent on Youth, as it was originally titled, to a complex production featuring the latest music stars of the period. 

Watch footage of Brian Henderson behind-the-scenes on the set of Bandstand in August 1966 in an excerpt from a TV special marking 10 years of the Nine Network in 1966.

Hidden talents

While best known as an evening news presenter, Henderson had many other strings to his bow. He was also a narrator, compere of television specials including The Beatles in Australia (1964), musician and guest on some early TV game shows, including Celebrity Squares.

Watch for a rare appearance of a bearded Henderson towards the end of this clip in which he appears as a panel member on The Celebrity Game, hosted by Bert Newton and also featuring Graham Kennedy:

A True Gentleman

As the host of Bandstand, Henderson won his first Gold Logie in 1968. Decades later, he was inducted into the TV Week Logies Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 2009 Henderson was also recognised for his contribution to news and entertainment by being named a Member of the Order of Australia.

Aside from the awards and accolades, Henderson will be remembered as one of the true gentlemen of the industry and a beloved mentor to many of the country's best-known journalists. 

Brian Henderson passed away on 5 August 2021, following several long-fought battles with cancer.