Mercado on TV: Aussies Jackie Weaver and Cleopatra Coleman star in Disney’s Clipped


Special episode of TV Gold: Andrew Mercado with Gaynor Wheatley on her TV career, life with Glenn, the Farnham doco

Clipped (Disney+) is a wild new drama based on the podcast, The Sterling Affairs. It covers the fall from grace of mega-rich Clippers team owner Donald Sterling (Ed O’Neill) when racist comments led to him being barred from the NBA. 

I’m not the biggest fan of sports dramas, but this one is so crazy I can’t wait for the next episode of Clipped. Ed O’Neill is hilarious as he dials up the crankiness of his Modern Family character with more brain-dead stupidity than Married With Children’s Al Bundy. Laurence Fishburne is also superb as his NBA coach Doc Rivers.

Two Aussie-born ladies, however, steal the show in Clipped. There’s Cleopatra Coleman as Sterling’s mistress while Jacki Weaver plays Sterling’s wife (pictured above). She tries to pretend that her husband’s affair isn’t a big deal until she explodes in an epic meltdown in the third episode.

Jacki Weaver was wonderful in her last Aussie TV series Bloom (Stan), but she’s more in demand these days in Hollywood. Ever since her eye-opening performance in Animal Kingdom (2010), this national treasure has continued to be as equally at home on the stage, in motion pictures or on TV, like her recent role in Yellowstone (Stan).

Weaver’s career has been fascinating. Her earliest film roles were playing dumb blondes who often got naked in movies like Alvin Purple (1973) and Petersen (1974). She always managed to rise above the material, and could effortlessly switch to period pieces like Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975) and Caddie (1976) where her characters were still a bit dim, but always gorgeous.

Although there were plenty of one-off guest roles in Spyforce and all those Crawford cop shows, Weaver’s longest TV work was in ABC series like Trial By Marriage (1980) and House Rules (1988). Sadly, like everything else in the ABC archive, these shows appear to be lost forever and seem unlikely to ever get another run, even on iview.  

There is good news about something else sitting on the shelf though. Aussie sitcom Fam Time (7Plus), starring Rhonda Burchmore and Michaela Banas, will soon be streamed (July 11) after being in limbo for five years because former CEO James Warburton didn’t like it.

Back in the 90s, US sitcom Ellen was ripped off air the moment news leaked that the character would come out as a lesbian. Seven insisted it was axed due to bad ratings, but after their CEO suddenly resigned, Ellen was re-programmed within hours. Perhaps certain sitcoms are not always a laughing matter for some.

TV Gold

This week on TV Gold:
TV Icons special with Gaynor Wheatley with Andrew Mercado

The first of our new TV Gold bonus episodes. This first episode replaces the regular TV Gold podcast this week.

Listen to the audio-only version here.
Or watch Andrew on YouTube here.
Before marrying promoter Glenn Wheatley, Gaynor Martin was a huge TV star. She was first seen in 1979 on Crawfords’ airport drama Skyways before then being relocated to Holiday Island. When that show bit the dust, Gaynor was snapped up by Sons and Daughters to play another rich bitch who locked horns with Pat the Rat. Her TV career was put on hold so she could raise three children with Wheatley, but when he died in 2022, Gaynor stepped up to complete a long cherished project of his.
The documentary film John Farnham: Finding The Voice is now the highest-grossing Aussie doco of all time as well as winning the AACTA Award for Best Documentary. A generation of soap fans, however, will never forget that amazing run on TV and here she finally talks about how that all happened.

Gaynor Wheatley

00:00 – Start
01:30 – Skyways debut
05:05 – Carmen Duncan plays mum
09:00 – inspired by Universal’s Airport movies?
12:30 – Bill Stalker
14:00 – NASA
15:25 – working with chroma key
18:20 – Skyways cast
21:08 – Holiday Island
30:22 – using her own wardrobe
31:45 – Bunney Brooke
32:38 – Crawfords crossover
34:30 – Hector Crawford
38:10 – Sons and Daughters
39:19 – Rowena Wallace
41:08 – those changing hairstyles!
42:18 – Glenn Wheatley
49:13 – John Farnham

Listen online here, or on your favourite podcast platform.
Read more Mercado on TV columns here.

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