3AW replay of 1970s radio drama causes outrage

‘Clayton Place’.

A late night replay of a 1970s radio drama has caused outrage in Melbourne at a sensitive time for the city.

The serial, Clayton Place, this week portrayed domestic violence in an episode aired in the 4am hour on Australia Overnight. The show is heard on 3AW and syndication stations around the country.
The serial, originally produced by Grace Gibson Productions in the 1970s had been running without incident until this week, but is now under closer scrutiny by 3AW management.
Australia Overnight has played many other old radio serials without incident, according to Grace Gibson’s Bruce Ferrier, who told radioinfo:
“Having listened to it, it’s not surprising that this program caused offense, especially in the week of the vigil for Eurydice Dixon. It is understandable that there will be closer scrutiny of this drama from now on, those attitudes from the 1970s are definitely unacceptable in our modern society… I believe that the station has issued an apology.”
Eurydice Dixon’s body was found on a Melbourne soccer pitch last week. A 19-year-old man, Jaymes Todd, has been charged with her rape and murder.
Her murder has shocked the country, and thousands have attended vigils to assert women’s rights to live in a safe society. About 10,000 people attended a candlelit vigil on Monday night in the Melbourne park where her body was found.
Clayton Place was a ‘racy drama’ of 130 episodes, written in the 1970s by Ross Napier, who also wrote Number 96 and The Box during the same era.
According to the synopsis, written at the time:
“The main character, Jason Clay, is an opportunist who uses women as pawns to achieve his goals and satisfy his desires. He deserts his pregnant fiancé for the beautiful daughter of a man whose political connections could be useful. As time goes on he fathers children to a number of women, one of whom is his secretary, Regina… Meanwhile Jason fights to control his business and the woman and children he has spurned. But vengeance awaits him.”
The offending elements of the program include the portrayal of domestic violence of a husband to his wife, followed by the wife’s father condoning the husband’s actions.
“We know that a lot of people listen to the serial in that timeslot, because the station gets positive feedback and requests for information about that and other Grace Gibson serials they have played… We have never had a complaint about that program until now,” Ferrier told radioinfo.
The episode highlights the changes in social attitudes in the four decades since the drama was first produced. Listen to the offending segment below.

It is also a reminder of the continuing power of radio drama to hold a mirror to society and provoke strong reactions from listeners.
Grace Gibson Productions was formed in the 1940s and still produces and syndicates radio programs to radio stations in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific rim, the Caribbean and other overseas locations.
Grace Gibson (a Texan by birth) opened her own production company in 1944, having been brought to Australia in 1934 by the General Manager of the then fledgling 2GB/Macquarie Radio Network.
Her task was to set up ARTRANSA (the American Radio Transcription Service of Australia) and then sell and “Australian-ise” American radio soap stories for them. Initially she was only coming here ‘on loan’ for 6 months but ended up staying a lifetime.
Gibson’s great strength was in creating ‘daytime’ soapies, such as “Doctor Paul”, “Portia Faces Life” and “Life Can Be Beautiful” but she also created other drama classics like “Dossier On Dumetrius”, “Cattleman” and “I Christopher Macauley”.
Grace Grace sold the business in 1978, but Gibson’s continued to produce serials, including their most popular radio serial of all-time “The Castlereagh Line” which ran for some 910 episodes and is still heard on many commercial and community radio stations to this day. The company also produces the radio political sketch comedy “Cactus.”
Clayton Place full espisode:


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