Touch the Sun (Australian TV series)

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Touch the Sun is a series of television films commissioned by the Australian Children's Television Foundation in 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations. It may have been intended that seven feature-length episodes were produced, one for each State, plus the Northern Territory, but only six were completed. Executive producer was Patricia Edgar in association with the ABC and production company Revcom.


The six telemovies (each 95 minutes' duration) deal with issues important to children: adoption, multiculturalism, country life, fame, running away and deafness. They are set in a different States and depict children overcoming problems in different family and social situations.

Captain Johnno[edit]

Captain Johnno
Directed by Mario Andreacchio
Written by Rob George
Budget $1.235 million[1]

(South Australia) A deaf boy makes friends with an Italian fisherman.

cast included Damien Walters, Joe Petruzzi, John Waters, Rebecca Sykes, Michele Fawdon, Elspeth Ballantyne, Vivienne Graves, Sam Sowton, Phoebe Salter, Peter Green, Henry Salter and Grant Piro.

Devil's Hill[edit]

Devil's Hill
Directed by Esben Storm
Written by David Phillips
Based on novel by Nan Chauncy

(Tasmania) City boy and country cousin get lost in the mountains

cast included Cameron Atkins, Peter Hehir, Mary Haire, John Flaus, Alexander 'Matthew' Jacobs, Emma Pugh and Jane McArthur

The Gift[edit]

The Gift
Directed by Paul Cox
Produced by Tony Llewellyn-Jones
Written by Paul Cox
Jeff Peck
Cinematography Nino G. Martinetti
Release date
Running time
90 mins

(Victoria and Western Australia)

A Melbourne couple wins some land in Western Australia.
cast included Nicholas Hatjiandreau, Vicki Serbos, Alexis Anthopolous, Con Laras, Rena Frangioudakis, Peter Felmingham, Margaret Ford, Bill McClusky, Ken James and Susanne Chapman

Peter and Pompey[edit]

Peter and Pompey
Directed by Michael Carson
Produced by Margot McDonald
Written by John Misto
Cinematography Julian Penney
Running time
94 mins
Budget $1.43 million[2]

(Queensland) Three Queensland children find Latin inscriptions in a cave. This leads them to discover an authentic Roman boat.

It was shot on location in North Queensland.


Princess Kate[edit]

Princess Kate
Directed by George Ogilvie
Produced by Antonia Barnard
Written by Kristin Williamson
David Williamson
Running time
95 mins

(New South Wales)


Kate, 14, the adopted daughter of wealthy couple searches for her birth mother.


Top Enders[edit]

Top Enders
Directed by Jackie McKimmie
Produced by Jill Robb
Written by Michael Aitkens
Jackie McKimmie
Cinematography Jamie Doolan
Running time
93 mins

(Northern Territory) Alice and her Aboriginal friend get lost while fleeing to Kakadu



Captain Johnno won the International Emmy Award in 1988.


VHS copies were made available for general release and at least one, Captain Johnno appeared in a subtitled classroom edition.

Originally only one of the six movies, Princess Kate, was released on DVD in Australia.

Echo Bridge Entertainment once offered Devils Hill, Captain Johnno and The Journey on 1 disk, and The Gift, Top Enders and Peter and Pompey as part of a 2-disk compilation with Rabbit Proof Fence and Secret of the Andes. In 2014 this title was no longer in their catalogue.

Australian Children's Television Foundation subsequently released Touch the Sun - Top Enders and Peter & Pompey, and Touch the Sun - Devil's Hill and Captain Johnno as two separate DVDs. These products are marred by occasional skips in content as though they have been dubbed from films which have been subjected to breakages and subsequent splicing.


  1. ^ Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970–1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p23
  2. ^ Murray p 119

External links[edit]