Tucked in the bottom shelf on a cramped little bookshop in Coffs Harbour, I found a piece of gold. Not real gold obviously, or I wouldn’t have got it for nine dollars but “Good News Week *2” a book published in 1998 when the show was still on the ABC. Sitting in a cold, hard, English backpacker infested bus station I devoured it. I can’t quite understand all the fuss about the GST and there’s something about a shipping strike which goes right over my head but by and large these jokes still work more than a decade on.
That’s what I love about GNW-TV. It’s a solid lump of rock. It is constant. It has history. I love that in some weird and tiny way that’s a history I’m now a part of.
Once in a free period when I’d run out of things to do, I found myself typing “GNW-TV” into Google. What began as a way to waste ten minutes turned into a week long endeavour. I trawled through page after page of results, reading countless articles, library catalogues, forums and pages I couldn’t even identify a purpose for. Sifting through tons of virtual records I began to trace this company backwards.
Did you know that the logo was copyrighted in 1998 and is co-owned by the ABC? Or that there is a Live Journal community called GNW-TV FANS who have regular get togethers? Did you know that GNW-TV has an office registered in America and they’ve produced DVDs for Danny Boy and the Umbilical Brothers? The internet will also tell you that Good News Week “practically runs on dead baby humour.” Whoever runs that website obviously doesn‘t watch the same show I do.
Beneath the mainstream, high rating exterior GNW-TV has a fascinating catalogue of lesser known programmes. “The Way We Were” and “In Siberia Tonight” have almost vanished. A lot of people don’t even remember The Sideshow. I was devastated when it was cut. I spent an entire Christmas holiday in the kind of morning which should be reserved for a pet or a slightly distant relative.
When the first episode of the new and shiny Good News Week went to air in February 2008 it felt like coming home. The format was different, the guests were different, the set, the length and even the channel were different. But the jokes were the ones I recognised. Reading “Good News Week *2” the jokes have always been the same. Their critics say this is a fault, for me it is their greatest strength. It creates consistency and helps build audience loyalty .
It’s a loyalty that made me tape Glasshouse when it was repeated at 4am. That makes me stay up every year to watch the whole Great Debate, despite the irritating amount of ads and the irritating man who yells at us when these ads are about to start. It’s that loyalty which drove me to chase The Sideshow around the schedule. It was the reason I found myself one Saturday at ten pm, standing in my pyjamas in the unfamiliar cold backyard of a rented house, trying desperately to get enough mobile reception to text someone who’d tape Sideshow for me.
The things we do for love.