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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Reg Grundy

In their own words

Recorded 1978

Reg Grundy
Audio: 2 minutes

The rules that I must play to are to get to the mass audience at all times. So I never ever do anything that is elitist, I never allow my personal feelings and opinions to interfere with what we make. But that doesn’t mean to say that I look down my nose at what we make. Because it’s exciting and terribly difficult to try to imagine what that mass audience will go for. I mean, Shakespeare wrote for the mass audience, he wanted bottoms on seats, as they say, he had comedy characters, even in his tragedies, he had balance, he had humour, he had puns, he had melodrama. He just happened to write superbly well. But it’s just entertainment, it’s not education, that’s what I do. Other people do that, that’s not my job.

I’m doing what feels right to me, but it’s not necessarily what I would sit down and watch if I had any leisure time but I haven’t, because I look at things which are interesting to me professionally, all the time. You know, that’s really my creed, to just be simple, to not be pretentious, to not try to be above the audience, but never to look down at them, because they’re important and that’s what keeps me going. And that’s what a lot of producers did when I started off, they looked down at the audience and they also looked down at quiz and games shows, they said, as the critics say, ‘Well, they’re rubbish’. And so, when they tried to make them, because they were so patronising and pompous about them they made them badly. But I took them very seriously, I found them a challenge, quite an intellectual challenge, to get ‘em right, to make them the best way I possibly could. And so, the audience, not really knowing why, but they liked our shows because we were legitimate, we were sincere about them, we weren’t phoney, we weren’t trying to fool anybody, we really were trying to make game shows the best way they could be made.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Reg Grundy is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Related people

Reg Grundy AC OBE

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency