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Norman Gunston and Denise Drysdale
, 1976 (printed 2010)

by Bruce Postle

type C photograph (sheet: 50.6 cm x 35.9 cm, image: 38.4 cm x 30.4 cm)

Norman Gunston was a fictional television character, conceived by writer Wendy Skelcher and developed by actor Garry McDonald (b. 1948). Gunston, a pallid, hapless television reporter from Wollongong, first appeared in the second series of the comedy skit program The Aunty Jack Show in 1973. The following year, he appeared in a mocumentary in the comedy miniseries Wollongong the Brave; soon his ‘What’s on in Wollongong’ segment was the most eagerly awaited of all on the Aunty Jack Show. Premiering lon the ABC in May 1975, The Norman Gunston Show soon gained a huge audience. Gunston conducted excruciating interviews with local and overseas celebrities including Muhammad Ali, Sally Struthers and Rudolf Nureyev, all of whom were apparently unaware that he was not what he seemed; he played a duet with Frank Zappa and happened to be on the steps of Old Parliament House moments before the Dismissal was announced in 1975. His show closed after a third season in late 1976. Gunston, not Garry McDonald, won the coveted Gold Logie in 1976, as well as the Best New Talent Logie. Denise ‘Ding-Dong’ Drysdale (b. 1948), television sidekick, livewire and good-natured butt of jokes and jibes, won her second Gold Logie for Most Popular Female Performer that year.

© Bruce Postle
Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by James Bain AM and Janette Bain 2010
Accession number: 2010.14