22 December 2009

Joan Collins And Her UK Dynasty Debut - TV In '83...

It's New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve 1982, that is, and the telly pages of the Daily Mirror are looking forward to 1983.

So, what had we in store?

Well, firstly, there was Joanie. Our very own Joan Collins, that is. Joan had already made her debut in America on the glitzy soap Dynasty, but we'd yet to see her Alexis exploits here in blighty. New Year's Day 1983 would change all that. And the Daily Mirror on 31 December 1982 was heralding the fact:

Joan Collins was driving through Hollywood. She stopped her car at lights, and was spotted by two young girls.

"We hate you! You're a bitch," they screamed at her.

Joan says: "I was quite taken aback, then I suddenly realised it wasn't me they hated, but Alexis. And I understood just how they felt."

Alexis is the new character Joan plays in the American soap opera DYNASTY.

She takes her bow as a surprise witness for the prosecution in the trial of her ex-husband, oil tycoon Blake Carrington, who is accused of the murder of his son's ex-lover.

I watched Joan working on the TV set in Hollywood. Then, over lunch, she told me: "Alexis is a scheming, sexy, ruthless woman. The part seems to get bigger and juicer all the time.

"Viewers want to be taken out of themselves. They want to watch extremely rich people living the high life, full of emotional problems.

"I think that's why this show is doing so well. instead of cops and robbers and beating people up, the accent is on intrigue and sex.

"It's very glossy and no expense is spared. Each show, which takes us just six days to shoot, costs half a million dollars.

"A lot of money is spent in front of the cameras. We have fresh flowers on the screen - no imitation ones and fresh flowers in Hollywood cost a fortune. I also wear some very expensive gowns."

[Andy's note: Of course it was the Dynasty dress budget and outrageous costumes which set actresses in rival American soaps Dallas and Knots Landing screaming for parity!]

Joan won't talk about what she earns. But her TV contract is said to be worth £250,000.

She says: "When you're used to earning three million dollars a film, I suppose it's difficult to accept a quarter of a million dollars a film.

"I would hate to get into that situation. I think it's obscene, I really do. Some actors do get paid far too much."

Popular ITV quiz show Family Fortunes, which began in 1980, was returning on New Year's Eve 1982 for a fourth series

Presenter Bob Monkhouse said:

"So much money was invested in the first series we had to be sure the idea was a good one. But I stand by my prediction that it can only survive five years, then we'll have to think of something else."


1982 was the last year the UK had to make do without breakfast television, and on New Year's Eve '82, we got our first broadcast from the TV-am studios, home of the ITV breakfast service - and Joan Collins was on the billing:


David Frost is using a New Year's Eve party to warm up for Breakfast TV.

Tonight he hosts THE END OF THE YEAR SHOW (Channel 4, 11.00) which comes live from TV-AM's new studios in Camden Town.

This is the first time that they have been used and are scheduled to be fully operational by February.

David, who is one of the main forces behind TV-AM, says: "I thought it would be a good idea to have a practice run in the studios before we start our breakfast programmes.

"We have marvellous facilities here and I've always wanted to do an irreverent look at the year.

"We will be looking for the silliest statement, the saddest story, the funniest misprint, the most welcome comeback, the biggest scandal and the worst example of sheer incompetence.

"It will be a ninety minute frolic with such star guests as Joan Collins, Jonathan Dimbleby, Joanna Lumley, Susan George, John Wells, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Instant Sunshine and many others. Richard Harris sings a great finale. It should be great fun."

Of course, the early days of TV-am have been called a real life soap opera - maybe not quite Dynasty, but definitely very intriguing!

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