Noni Hazlehurst: How people power saved Aussie drama 83



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When A Place to Call Home was axed by Channel 7 last year, there was a public outcry – especially among Starts at 60 readers. Thousands of you told us the show was the best thing on television, and a petition with more than 7000 signatures begged the network not to give up on your favourite show.

Thankfully, the program was spared – in a surprising agreement between Channel 7 and Foxtel, the show has moved to a new home with a guarantee that it will remain as captivating, detailed and realistic as ever.

Starts at 60 sat down with Australian icon and star of the show, Noni Hazlehurst and asked her, how does it feel knowing that people power saved A Place to Call Home?

“I’m just delighted that people have learnt that they have power, because one of the issues that we all face is that we feel powerless – recent government shenanigans have made us all think, ‘Well, what’s the point? We can’t achieve anything as individuals.’ But a crowd is just a group of individuals who got together.”

“We now have five and a half thousand members of the Save A Place To Call Home Group and we’ve got members in Israel and Germany and Canada and England, it’s just lovely. People can change things. Do we think the big supermarkets would have put organic fruit and veggies in if there hadn’t been consumer demand?”

Noni says she is very happy at her new “home” and is grateful to the pay-TV network for taking the show on. For someone whose career in the media has spanned four decades, the changing face of television is a blessing – and a curse.

“On one level, it’s never been easier to create a show – you can shoot it on a phone – and that’s brilliant for creative people; they’re not at the mercy of the boys’ club who are usually the powers that be,” says Noni.

“But I think quality drama is always going to face an uphill battle in this country.

“What I think is really sad is that, rather than show the best performers in the world by choice, the networks show the wannabes. So our kids are watching not-great talent –not-great singers, actors and dancers – but people who think they can do it. We used to watch shows and think, ‘Wow, I wish I could do that’, now [our kids] watch shows and think ‘oh, I can do that’ .

“There’s a dilution of quality and people just aren’t being exposed to the best, so I think it’s wonderful that Foxtel wants to nurture quality drama because there’s going to be less of it as more is spent on sport.”

Noni also believes that women are not represented and that television tends to be a very “blokey culture”.

“Given that women are more than half the population, we need to have more reflection of that – certainly in society, but also on our screens. I think we need to vote with our feet and with our remotes and say we’re not interested in what they’re giving us. Sometimes I think the networks would put the test pattern to air in between ads if they thought they’d get away with it.”

In order to keep the show going, an alternate ending of the second series was shot, and this sets the scene for series three. Noni’s iron-willed character Elizabeth Bligh has decided to leave Ash Park and set out on her own and she finding it more difficult than anticipated.

See our interview with Noni as she explains why she loves playing Elizabeth, how she relates to her and how A Place To Call Home has brought multiple generations of viewers together.

A Place to Call Home season three will premiere on Sunday, September 27 at 8:30pm EST on Foxtel’s SoHo channel.

What do you love most about A Place to Call Home?

This is the first of two interviews with Noni Hazlehurst: tune in on Sunday as she shares her thoughts on life at 60.


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I love A Place to call home, I’m sick of seeing all the reality CRAP that the networks seem to believe we need, although I was just about to cancel my FOXTEL I have decided to keep it on for SOHO and A Place to call home, as it is up there with Downton Abby for me.

    3 REPLY
    • a place to call home great show but I bet quite a few of those who signed the petition weren’t with pay TV like me so I won’t be seeing the show suks

      2 REPLY
      • I’ve always had pay TV , and I was in a group that SAPTCH. For $25 a month no contract you can have Foxtel . = $6.25 a week..less than a pkt of smokes, couple of beers/ coffee. Or there are other ways too. Hook up with friends who have it and have a morning tea session. You also can stream it I believe.

      • Yes – there were actually many who signed & worked hard to save the show & proud of the effort even tho’ it will not be easy for them to view the new series.

    • I agree with you Sheila, as I said I was about to cancel my Foxtel because they repeat to much, however I will have to keep it for now because I love this program.

    • Ditto Shelia, nothing but crap on TV. A place to call home is more realistic as my father worked in intelligence through out WW11.

  2. The Audience with The Cast of a Place to Call Home was way too short, Could have easily been a two hour program. So many questions and so little time.

  3. Once again those of is who cannot afford Foxtel miss out, this should be on free to air for us all to enjoy not just the select few who can afford Foxtels fees. This has happened with Mr Selfridge and other programmes I have enjoyed and its just not fair. Shame on you channel 7 and you put rubbish on like reality shows which are of no interest to me whatsoever

    6 REPLY
    • I agree we dont have foxtell but watched all the rest on channel 7. so much for supporting Channel 7. disgraceful

    • We watch Mr selfridge. I wonder if channel 7 will do the same to Downton Abbey. we dont watch reality Tv its Rubbish and repetitive

    • I agree not everyone can afford pay TV. It’s happening to all sorts of popular programs, switching off to a lot of reality TV same same getting boring. Wake up free TV stations

    • I bet most of us who watch the show religiously and voted for it to be bought back are the ones who cannot afford fox tell. I have never and will never watch any of the so called reality shows on channel 7 or any other channels. They are utter rubbish and are not in the least bit entertaining.

  4. With so little quality TV on free to air it is very disappointing not to be able to see this great saga continue.

  5. Good that people said we want this show back, and the demand won over – and I am sure most of those where not connected to pay TV – so whats the dam point – or was this a deliberate move on the part of the makers of the series……not happy JAN…

    5 REPLY
    • I agree they have no consideration for those of us who cannot afford Foxtel and I actually think if I could afford I wouldnt get it due to the many ads they put on like free to air. Somethings wrong somewhere when shows get moved to Foxtel that have been popular on free to air. I signed the petition not thinking it would go to Foxtel. Pretty let down about this.

    • Yes there is something running amuck the owners of Foxtel own paid TV and they want us to transfer to FT but you pay for repeats and tons of adds, why bother.

  6. Very disappointing that the loyal watchers who protested about the show ending can’t watch it now unless they have Foxtel. I loved that program but now can’t watch it..

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