Fat Cat and Friends

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Fat Cat and Friends
Genre Children's television show
Written by Murray George
Channel 10
Presented by John Oster
Jane Reilly
Lynn Weston[1]
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 16 (SAS-10)
5 (SAS-7)
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Release
Original network Network Ten (SAS10) (From 1972 to 1987)
Seven Network (SAS7 and TVW) (From 1988 to 1991)
Picture format 4.3 PAL
Audio format Stereo
Original release 1972 – 27 December 1991
Chronology
Preceded by The Early Birds
Followed by The Book Place

Fat Cat and Friends is an Australian children's television show starring Fat Cat (full name: Frederick Alphonso Tubsy Cat or Francis Aloysius Tom Cat[2]), a costumed character, who is an orange/ginger anthropomorphic cat who wears red braces, a blue bow tie and a green bowler hat and striped socks. The show is similar in concept to Here's Humphrey featuring Humphrey B. Bear. One of the main hosts was Lynn Weston, who would later host children's show The Book Place. The show was cancelled in 1991,[3] however the Fat Cat character continues to feature on television in Perth as the mascot of the Telethon fundraising organization.[4]

Production[edit]

Following the cancellation of The Magic Circle Club, actor/writer Max Bartlett continued to work in television production, moving to Western Australia, where he helped to develop the character of "Fat Cat" and the children's series, The Underground Video Show. The character still says goodnight to Perth children on television at 7.30 each night.[5]

"Fat Cat and Friends" was then produced in the studios of Network 10 Adelaide and it survived the 1987 frequency switch of channels 10 & 7 in Adelaide. It was written, directed and produced by Murray George for 13 years. It was then produced by Channel 10. The show ran on the 0-10 Network (as it was then known) from 1972 until 1987, then on the Seven Network until it was cancelled in 1991 after the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal claimed that the program was not educational enough and was "not clearly defined and might confuse the young".[3] There was also a question of gender—namely, that Fat Cat did not appear to have one. The character being mute was also a clear issue despite the precedent of Humphrey B. Bear.

During the 1990s, Fat Cat often appeared on celebrity versions of the then Adelaide produced Wheel of Fortune. As Fat Cat did not speak he was usually paired up with Channel 7's resident puppet Agro who was the mouthpiece for the duo.

Despite cancellation, Fat Cat still appears on Perth television screens as the mascot of Seven Perth's highly successful Telethon fundraising organisation.[4]

Fat Cat was originally played by Reg Whiteman for more than a decade.[6] Fat Cat was then played by Ralf Hadzic for five years.[7] Fat Cat was then played by Melanie George (1980–1985) who is now a freelance choreographer. Robert Fordham played Fat Cat from 1994 and performed on 3 of the Fat Cat Storytime videos. The character was later played off screen by a male friend Damien of the show's musician, singer Patsy Biscoe.

Initially slated for release as a sidekick to Fat Cat, the character of 'Stringbean' was originally played in the first month of screening by veteran comedic actor 'Nudge McGee'.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fat Cat & Jane Reilly.
  2. ^ University of Adelaide archives, Response by channel 10 station manager Trever Lanyon to a query by the Adelaide University Science Association.
  3. ^ a b Fat Cat and Friends (1977–92) – Australian Television Archive
  4. ^ a b Fat Cat & Friends + Appearances, This loveable children's character has been alive and living in Perth since 1968. Many mums and dads have set their watches by him every night when he gets kids off to bed at 6.30pm on Channel 7., Telethon 7
  5. ^ Fat Cat & Friends + Appearances, Telethon 7
  6. ^ 'Fat Cat' Reg Whiteman rests in peace, From: PerthNow, 30 July 2011
  7. ^ It would appear the password was a pointed reference to the chauffeur who recently reported champion cyclist Stuart O'Grady, to police over an alleged assault. The man, Ralf Hadzic, played children's character Fat Cat for five years., Fat Cat had key to big night out, 25 January 2012, adelaidenow

External links[edit]