Before Number 96, Australian TV shows were populated by police and politicians. The first episode of Number 96 introduced us to a more cosmopolitan cross-section:
* a Jewish delicatessen owner argued with his teenaged daughter over her loose morals;
* a heavily-pregnant newlywed refused her husband's sexual advances;
* and on the top floor, a bickering immigrant couple from Lancashire had befriended a beautiful tarot reader with a shady past.
In true soap opera tradition, later instalments would reveal that the scantily-clad cruise hostess was a virgin, the actress had to sleep with her producer to get a job, and the handsome fashion photographer was cheating on his boyfriend!
The viewing public became unwitting voyeurs to the inner-most secrets of inner-city living. It goes without saying that TV critics and church leaders slammed Number 96 as an outrage. However, Australia quickly took the show to its collective heart - and to the top of the ratings. Its characters were Australia's first TV icons. Whenever a flat became "vacant", applications flooded in from prospective tenants. At Logie time, more people turned up in Melbourne to welcome the cast of Number 96 than had mobbed The Beatles. Despite the "adult" timeslot and content, 96 was equally popular with school-aged children.
Moncur Flats (the real Number 96), Woollahra,
as the building appeared in 1976.
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Number 96 Home Page © 1996 Lindsay Street Productions
This page revised February 2000
Email Ian at: email@example.com