Autumn Affair was an Australian television series made by and aired by Network Seven station ATN-7, and also shown in Melbourne on Nine Network station GTV-9. Television in Australia had only been broadcasting since 1956 and Seven was the first commercial station to make drama a priority. It premiered 24 October 1958 and continued until 1959. The series was the first ever Australian television soap opera. It was also the first regular Australian-produced dramatic television series of any kind, with previous locally-produced drama (largely aired on ABC) consisting of one-off plays.
The series went into production without a sponsor, as the station ATN7 wanted to gain experience in television drama production. Originally conceived as Julia: An Early Autumn Affair, the title was later shortened to just Autumn Affair. Indeed, Many of the actors and writers involved in the production had previously worked on radio soap opera, and were inexperienced with television acting. Episodes were fifteen minutes in duration, recorded as kinescopes in black and white, and were screened Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8:45 AM. The cast comprised just six regulars; the story focused on Julia (Muriel Steinbeck), a widow in a love triangle situation with two men. The series was well-received when originally broadcast.
Surprising, in 1964 Melbourne station HSV-7 repeated the series, along with early 1960s Australian soap opera The Story of Peter Grey. In 1964 CTC-7 in Canberra also decided to show the episodes along with Peter Grey, the station having not been in operation during the original run of the series. CTC kept the repeats on their schedule into 1966. In a 1960 article in Sydney Morning Herald, it was noted that although mistakes were made during the production of the series due to inexperience, it nevertheless paved the way for improved locally-produced drama productions.
The series ended in 1959 after 156 episodes.
- Moran, Albert. Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, Allen & Unwin, 1993. ISBN 0-642-18462-3 p 65
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