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Bandstand is an Australian live pop music, variety television program screened from November 1958 to June 1972. It featured both local and international music artists, produced in-house at the studios of TCN-9 in Willoughby, New South Wales, it eventually became a national program as the Nine Network expanded into other Australian cities in the early 1960s. It evolved from an earlier series, Accent on Youth (March–November 1958), which in turn followed on from TV Disc Jockey (June 1957–February 1958). The host of Bandstand for its entire tenure was radio presenter and television newsreader Brian Henderson.

Also known asBrian Henderson’s Bandstand
Created byBruce Gyngell
Mayfield B. Anthony
Based onAmerican Bandstand
Presented byBrian Henderson
Country of originAustralia
No. of seasons15
Producer(s)Warwick Freeman (1958–66)
Ray Newell (1966–68)
Brian Morelli (1970–72)
Production location(s)Sydney
Running time55 min
Original networkAustralian Television Network (1958-1963)
Nine Network (1963-1972)
Picture formatB&W kinescope film
B&W videotape
Original release15 November 1958 (1958-11-15) –
17 June 1972 (1972-06-17)
Preceded byAccent on Youth



Bandstand was created in November 1958 by TCN-9 television executive Bruce Gyngell in consultation with Mayfield B. Anthony, who based it on the American program of a similar name, American Bandstand.[1] The host for virtually the entire run was Brian Henderson, who was also a local newsreader from January 1957.[1][2] From 1960 it developed a national profile as the Nine Network expanded into other Australian cities.[3]

TCN-9 broadcast pop music television program, TV Disc Jockey, from June 1957 to February 1958.[2][4] Its host was John Godson, with each episode filmed in front of about 40 teenagers, who "listen to the records, rock-'n-roll, drink vast quantities of Coke, and generally have fun under the eye of the TV camera."[4] In March 1958 TV Disc Jockey was replaced by Accent on Youth.[2] Henderson was its host and by May 1958 he was the most popular local identity with the station's viewers.[5] The program was renamed as Bandstand and Henderson continued as its host until its last episode on 17 June 1972.[1][2] By then he was chief news reader and remained in that position until retirement in November 2002.[6]


The Bandstand FamilyEdit

Bandstand is closely associated with a core group of pop performers, who regularly appeared on the program, which became known as the Bandstand Family.[1] Over the years they included Col Joye, Little Pattie, Warren Williams, Lucky Starr, Sandy Scott, Bryan Davies, Johnny Devlin, Laurel Lea, Judy Stone, the De Kroo Brothers, Digby Richards, the Bee Gees, the Allen Brothers (a duo of the unrelated, Peter Allen and Chris Bell), Cathy Wayne and Olivia Newton-John.[1] The Bandstand Family toured Australia and were recorded on albums. Most of the artists were signed with Festival Records – Gyngell's old employers.[1]


The musical director was Bob Young; all the band tracks and vocal performances were pre-recorded at Natec Sound Studios in Bligh Street Sydney. Its Audio Director was Max Alexander who also worked for Channel Nine.

Bandstand had three producer-directors over its timespan. The original was Warwick Freeman who was responsible for its development and building its image. Second was Ray Newell who carried on the tradition. Brian C. Morelli took over in 1969 he returned the programme to live vocals and successfully produced the program on location including the Australiana Pioneer Village, Wilberforce NSW and in Singapore and Malaya, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl Melbourne for the King of the Pops Award night. He also instigated the Bandstand Awards. The categories were voted on by all of the Network stations, Australia wide, who transmitted Bandstand. As well, under Morelli's leadership, he continued the Junior Bandstand annual series and introduced a teenage series entitled Midi-Bandstand. The program continued until the final broadcast, with Henderson, on 17 June 1972.[1][2]

Attempted revivalsEdit

An attempt was made in 1976, by the Nine Network, to revive the program with a new host, Daryl Somers. Its format was based on the BBC production, Top of the Pops, and ran for two years. The change in music tastes however gave this type of format a limited life. Morelli was engaged again for the 1976–1978 series, it was produced by the Reg Grundy group and featured popular music groups and soloists including former Six O'Clock Rock host, Johnny O'Keefe. New release international artists' promotional films were also integrated.

The Swedish quartet ABBA, who were first introduced to Australia in 1975 by Molly Meldrum on Countdown, would appear on Bandstand in 1976 as part of the initial revival of Bandstand, ABBA were brought to Australia to film the Bandstand Special The Best Of ABBA. They also appeared on an episode of the program which was shown the week before the Special went to air. This appearance included a short interview with Daryl Somers and a performance of "Mamma Mia".


In 2019, TV Week listed Bandstand at #101 in its list of the 101 greatest Australian television programs of all time, which appeared in its monthly TV Week Close Up publication.[7] The magazine cited Brian Henderson as a major reason as to why the program became a "Saturday staple".[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kimball, Duncan (2002). "Media – Television – Bandstand". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "History of Bandstand". TCN-9. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Bandstand for Canberra TV". The Canberra Times. 37 (10, 354). 12 October 1962. p. 27. Retrieved 17 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ a b Musgrove, Nan (12 June 1957). "Television Parade". The Australian Women's Weekly. 25 (1). p. 12. Retrieved 17 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Strachan, Cynthia (7 May 1958). "Television Parade". The Australian Women's Weekly. 25. p. 31. Retrieved 17 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ Tabakoff, Jenny; Peatling, Stephanie (22 October 2002). "That's the way it is – Hendo to call it a night". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b Burfitt, John; Cullen, Tamara; Hadley, Amy; Hockey, Maddison; Mitchell, Thomas; Recchi, Karina; Vnuk, Helen; Wang, Cynthia; Zubeidi, Zara (July 2019), 101 Greatest Aussie TV Shows of All Time, TV Week Close Up, Bauer Media Group. Accessed 6 August 2019

External linksEdit