As the year draws to a close, we reflect on the television memories that still make us squirm, long after the cameras stopped rolling.
January saw a memorable start to 2017 in television when Channel 9 newsreader Amber Sherlock had an off-camera tantrum about her colleague Julie Snook wearing a white jacket. Somebody helpfully leaked the footage to Mumbrella and #jacketgate was born.
#Jacketgate did provide the best Logies moment of the year when Peter Helliar and Kat Stewart wore matching fuschia outfits and ran a gag where Helliar told Stewart: “Call wardrobe. I’m sorry but I told you to change two hours ago.”
Sophie’s bad joke
Mind you, the award for Awkward Moments at an Awards Ceremony went to Sophie Monk and Osamah Sami at the AACTA Awards with their failed attempt at a joke about Australia’s largely white television and film production community.
In February, Channel 7 was lambasted for putting actor Josh Lawson in a horrible wig to play Australian legend Paul Hogan in Hoges. Luckily the series was better than the wig but the real issue remains: haven’t we all had enough of free-to-air biopics?
Who’s the father?
That was arguably comfortable viewing compared to Nine’s The Last Resort, where desperate couples had a holiday in Fiji while they tried to repair their relationships. At dinner one night, Sharday revealed she had lied to her partner Josh, revealing their child wasn’t his. Then Carl admitted he had had an affair with a client in the home he shared with wife Lucy.
In March, Melissa Doyle asked James Hewitt if he was the father of Princess Diana’s son Harry in a Sunday Night contribution to the plethora of documentaries marking the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death. He flatly denied it but it made for uncomfortable viewing – even though we all wanted to know the answer.
Bad taste in the mouth
The awkwardness continued with Sam Frost offering up scrambled eggs to celebrity chef Marco Pierre White on Seven’s Hell’s Kitchen Australia, saying it “looks like vomit”. He agreed. Really, the whole show was regurgitated nonsense. Pierre White was an awkward, disinterested host and poor substitute for Gordon Ramsay, who made the format famous.
Milk the cow
Then, in the much-maligned and little-watched Yummy Mummies on Seven, Lorinska left her friends speechless when she revealed she had a phobia of breastfeeding. She said it went back to her days on a farm when she was watching a cow being milked. “The farmer grabbed the teat and squirted milk on us kids,” she explained.
Awkward did become powerful in August when two former child soldiers met on SBS’s Look Me In the Eye. Ayik had been tortured as punishment by Anyang when they were forced, as children, to serve in the Red Army in Ethiopia. Ayik was seeking peace and apparently found it after confronting his torturer and forgiving him.
It was a bit awkward for Nine in October when Lisa Wilkinson upped sticks and headed off to Channel 10. But Nine’s CEO Hugh Marks said recently he’s tired of talking about her and he worked hard and quickly to get replacement Georgie Gardner back to the show she had left three years ago.
Probably the most awkward television moment of all in 2017 was when Seven answered Nine’s smash hit Australian Ninja Warrior with its weak pretender Cannonball. A total flop. After just one night in prime time, it was shuffled to the late-night Friday graveyard slot.