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Sweet & Sour
Sweet&Sour Album Cover.jpg
Sweet & Sour TV Soundtrack Album Cover
Genre 1980s Music, Drama
Created by Tim Gooding
Johanna Pigott
Developed by ABC Drama Department
Starring Tracy Mann
David Reyne
Sandra Lillingston
Arky Michael
Ric Herbert
Robin Copp
Voices of Deborah Conway
John Clifforth
Cathy McQuade
(singing voices)
Theme music composer Sharon O'Neill
Martin Armiger
Country of origin Australia
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 20
Producer(s) Jan Chapman
Location(s) Sydney, Australia
Running time 30 min
Original channel ABC TV
Original run 2 July 1984 – 2 August 1984
Related shows Countdown
Heroes (NZ TV Series: 1984, 1986)

Sweet and Sour is an Australian television series which screened on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 1984.[1] It was created by Tim Gooding and Johanna Pigott[2][3] and was produced internally for the ABC by Jan Chapman.[4] "It was great fun, a mixture of drama and music."[5]

The main storyline of the series followed the efforts of a fictional band, The Takeaways, to break into the Sydney music scene. "The Takeaways have so far eluded commercial success. However, negotiations are presently underway for the band to sell their story to a prominent TV station, and really clean up."[6]


Plot & cast

In mid-1983 Sydney a band called The Takeaways is formed. Initially it consists of Carol Howard, Martin Kabel and George Poulopoulos.[7]

Carol Howard (Tracy Mann)[7] is an attractive vocalist and novice guitarist from Melbourne; she had pursued an acting career with little success but is now focussed on her music. Carol wrote her first song on the train to Sydney.

Martin Kabel (David Reyne)[7] is an established, albeit unsuccessful, guitarist who wants to branch out from his current band: he would like to sing his own songs. Martin gets his chance with The Takeaways.

George Poulopoulos (Arky Michael)[7] is more interested in playing soccer for the Combined Hellenic Travel Agents but reluctantly joins to play bass. He learns how to play at the band’s first practice session; slowly he overcomes his shyness to become a confident performer.

Darrell Winters (Ric Herbert)[7] sees a quick dollar to be made as their manager; Darrell talks the talk and tries to walk the walk. He sets out to organise their first gig: a backyard barbecue! Fortunately better gigs followed in various Sydney pubs.

Their first jam sessions are in an old boot factory.

Meanwhile Christine Yates (Sandra Lillingston)[7] breaks into their house and rather than turn her in to the police they offer her a spot in their band. Christine’s father, legendary 1960s saxophonist Shrug Yates (Martin Vaughan), taught her to 'feel' music while playing sax. Christine sings lead vocal on some songs.

Initially they play their gigs using a drum machine until Johnny Black (Robin Copp),[7] an established drummer, joins.

Some six months later, The Takeaways release an independent single, Sweet and Sour, and await the pressing of their first album. They meet recording executives and media personalities including Ian "Molly" Meldrum and artist Jon English. They undertake a tour of Melbourne to promote the first single.

There is some romantic tension between Carol and Martin, and between George and Christine. Martin is brash and confident but his Lothario image is belied by his naivety when he deals with a female music executive (Megan Williams). Darrell starts to believe his own PR and eventually becomes more interested in his music video career than the band. Manipulation by music industry insiders sees both Martin and Carol tempted by solo deals; eventually the group splits.

The outer cover of their first Soundtrack album shows The Takeaways in a similar pose to the inner cover photo but has them as neon outlines whereas the second Soundtrack has the same neon oultlines but with a reversed design. The neon outlines were also animated and used on their first promo video (see YouTube).

George Poulopoulos (Arky Michael), Christine Yates (Sandra Lillingston), Martin Kabel (David Reyne), Carol Howard (Tracy Mann), Johnny Black (Robin Copp) as The Takeaways with manager Darrell Winters (Ric Herbert)

Other actors in the show included Megan Williams, Martin Vaughan as Christine's father Shrug,[7] Jane Clifton, Daniel Abineri, George Spartels as Nick,[7] George's older brother, Carmen Tanti and Michelle Stayner.[2]

The TV series launched the career of David Reyne (TV Week Logie Award 1985 Best New Talent in Australia)[8] as the charismatic band member Martin, contrasting the introverted George (played by Arky Michael).

Musicians & songwriters

Numerous Australian and New Zealand musicians and songwriters were involved in this TV series.

The title song of the series,"Sweet and Sour", was written by Sharon O'Neill,[9][10 ] who also recorded the song in 1987 as "In Control"[11] on her album Danced in the Fire.[10 ] Deborah Conway (Do-Ré-Mi)[12] was actor Tracy Mann's 'singing voice' and sang the hit "Sweet & Sour" (# 13 Australian national singles chart).[13][14] The song's lyrics relate to self-empowerment in the face of life's vagaries: "Life can be sweet and sour, But I am in control. It can chill me to the bone, Give me wings to fly on my own."[10 ]

Music was directed by Martin Armiger (The Sports, Stephen Cummings Band)[12] who also provided backing vocals, lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drums and lyrics. Associate Music Director: Graham Bidstrup (The Angels, GANGgajang)[12] also provided backing vocals, keyboards, percussion and lyrics. 1n 1980, Bidstrup had produced a single, "Russia Rocks" for an Australian group The Takeaways.[12] Assistant to Music Director: Stephen O’Rourke also provided backing vocals.

The list of recording musicians/songwriters includes Tommy Emmanuel, Chris Bailey (The Angels, GANGgajang),[12] Eric McCusker (Mondo Rock), Red Symons (Skyhooks), "Freddie" Strauks (Skyhooks),[12] Todd Hunter (Dragon, XL Capris),[12] Rick Grossman (Divinyls, Hoodoo Gurus),[12] Mark Edwards (The Runners),[12] Tony Buchanan (Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs mk2)[15] and Reg Mombassa (Mental As Anything).

Cathy McQuade (Deckchairs Overboard)[12] was Sandra Lillingston's 'singing voice' and John Clifforth (Deckchairs Overboard)[12] was David Reyne's 'singing voice' (both Reyne and Herbert sang backing vocals on some tracks).[6]

The soundtrack album went platinum, selling over 70,000 copies.

Australian band GANGgajang were formed as a direct result of four of their members involvement as musicians/songwriters for this show: Chris Bailey, Graham Bidstrup, Mark Callaghan and Kay Bee.[16]

Countdown links

As an ABC TV show, there was a natural tie-in to Countdown, with guest appearance by Ian "Molly" Meldrum. "Sweet & Sour" (lead vocal: Conway) was shown on the 12 August 1984 episode of Countdown.[17][18] The promo clip does not show The Takeaways 'bass player' George (Arky Michael); but does include a juggler, acrobat and stage magician. On the same Countdown episode[17] were O'Neill performing "Power" and Stephen Cummings performing "Gynasium" (Armiger as producer/musician/songwriter).[12] "Glam To Wham" (lead vocal: Conway, backing vocal: McQuade) was broadcast Countdown on 7 October 1984, with guest hosts Michael, Lillingston and Herbert of The Takeaways.[19][20] It shows Lillingston miming to Conway's vocals, however in the "Sweet and Sour" TV series Lillingston's vocals were supplied by McQuade and she rarely sang lead. Also on the 7 October episode[19] was Cummings performing "Another Kick to the Head" (Armiger as producer/musician/songwriter).[12]

The pilot episode was directed by Grant Rule, an Executive Producer of Countdown, it was shot in an old warehouse in Pyrmont and starred Terry Serrio from the Elks and Joy Smithers, who would later star in Bangkok Hilton mini series with Nicole Kidman. The guitar player was Marty Shiel (Juggernaut) as well as many other fine support actors. Another link to Countdown was the briefing of songwriters by Countdown Awards co-producer Carolyn James, who also negotiated a "No Favoured Nations" contract for songwriters to receive royalties over limited time frame rather than ABC purchasing songs outright. This meant signed and unsigned writers received same revenue and so provided significant income to lesser-known songwriters such as David McComb of The Triffids.

New Zealand's TVNZ series, Heroes, released 21 October 1984 "is about a group of musicians just getting started as a rock 'n' roll band".[21] It ran for 8 episodes in 1984 and 6 in 1986. Actors included: Michael Hurst, Jay Laga'aia, Margaret Umbers and John Gibson.

Creators, Writers & Directors

Tim Gooding and Johanna Pigott were members of Sydney post-punk band, XL Capris (1978–1982), record producer Todd Hunter later joined them on guitar. Pigott and Hunter wrote "Rain" for Dragon and "Age of Reason" for John Farnham.[22][23] Gooding and Pigott have both written for the TV Series Heartbreak High[24][25](Hunter composed its music)[26][27] and for Mortified.[28]

Writers for Sweet and Sour were: Gooding, Pigott, Michael Cove, Paul Leadon, David Poltorak, Bert Deling, Forrest Redlich and Debra Oswald.[2] Directors were: Geoffrey Nottage,[29] Riccardo Pellizzeri,[30] Graham Thorburn,[31] Posie Graeme-Evans[32] (aka Posie Jacobs)[2] and Helena Harris.[2]


The series is currently unavailable on video, DVD or online. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) advises that

"Due to copyright restrictions this program is unavailable for sale as it was produced on a broadcast only basis; thus restricting ABC Commercial from selling the material. There are no plans to re-broadcast this program."




Sweet & Sour - TV Soundtrack by Takeaways & Various Artists, ABC Records L-38159, Cassette C38159 © 1984.[33]
Track listing

  1. "Sweet and Sour" (Sharon O'Neill) - 3:03 Lead vocal by Deborah Conway
  2. "Hip Romeo" (Jennifer Hunter-Brown aka Jennifer Jewel Brown[9]) - 2:21 Lead vocal: Conway
  3. "Moon And The Stars" (William "Billy" Miller (The Ferrets))[12] - 2:17 Lead vocal: Conway
  4. "Chicken Feed - Part 1" (Words: Tim Gooding, Music: Martin Armiger) - 0:25 spoken by Ric Herbert and Tracy Mann
  5. "Singing In The Shower" (Michael Walker, Glenn Muirhead, John Barnes) (all in Solid Citizens)[12] - 2:43 Lead vocal: Conway. Solid Citizens released their own version as a single.[9]
  6. "It's A Game" (Don Walker (Cold Chisel))[12] - 2:31 Lead vocal: John Clifforth
  7. "Glam to Wham" (O'Neill) - 4:10 Lead vocal: Conway, backing vocal: Cathy McQuade
  8. "Heart Plays Tricks" (Mark Callaghan (Riptides),[12] Kay Bee aka K Bidstrup,[9] G Bidstrup) (all in GANGgajang)[12] - 2:47 Lead vocal: Conway
  9. "On the Street Where You Live" (David McComb (The Triffids)[12]) - 2:50 Lead vocal: McQuade
  10. "Too Hot to Move" (McComb) - 4:16 Lead vocal: Conway. The Triffids recorded their own version on The Black Swan.
  11. "Little Boxes" (Words: Oswald, Music: Armiger) - 1:04 spoken by David Reyne and Megan Williams
  12. "No Worries" (Reg Mombassa (Mental As Anything) as Christopher O'Doherty)[9] - 2:20 Lead vocal: Clifforth
  13. "Party On Wheels" (Chris Bailey, Callaghan, G Bidstrup) (all in GANGgajang)[12] - 2:31 Lead vocal: Clifforth
  14. "Sweet" (Joanne Pigott, Todd Hunter) - 2:50 Lead vocal: Conway

Sweet & Sour Volume Two, ABC RML 53143 © 1984.[33]

Sweet&SourVol2 Album Cover.jpg

Track listing

  1. "Sweet & Sour Theme Tune" (O'Neill, Armiger) - 0:57 (instrumental)
  2. "No Focus" (Steve Leeson, Sally Ford)[9] (both from The Kevins)[12] - 2:33 Lead vocal: Conway
  3. "Crocodile Shoes" (Edwards) - 3:08 Lead vocal: Clifforth
  4. "The Kiss" (Bert Deling, Armiger, Gooding) - 1:20 spoken by Sandra Lillingston and Arky Michael
  5. "Image Of An Angel" (Roger Hart-Wells (Little Heroes)[12] aka Roger Wells[9]) - 3:05 Lead vocal: Clifforth, McQuade
  6. "Down The Road" (Callaghan) - 2:41 Lead vocal: Clifforth
  7. "Good Advice" (McCusker) - 2:29 Lead vocal: Conway
  8. "Psychosis" (Symons) - 3:17 Lead vocal: Daniel Abineri
  9. "Popstars And Politicians" (Pigott, Liz Munro aka E Kalkipsakis)[9] - 3:01 Lead vocal: Conway
  10. "Digging A Hole" (McComb) - 2:28 Lead vocal: McQuade
  11. "The Rain" (Armiger) - 0:23 (instrumental)
  12. "Can't Stand Still" (Armiger) - 2:00 Lead vocal: Clifforth
  13. "Two Of The Boys" (Armiger, Michael Cove, Gooding) - 1:12 spoken by Mann and Lillingston
  14. "I'm A Genius" (Pigott, Hunter, Gooding) - 2:18 Lead vocal: Conway
  15. "Bill Posters" (Armiger) - 1:07 (instrumental)
  16. "Can't Imagine" (Pigott) - 2:39 Lead vocal: Conway


"Sweet and Sour" (O'Neill) - 3:10 /"Image of an Angel" (Hart-Wells) - 2:51 Reached #13 Australian National Chart.[13][14]
"Glam to Wham" (O'Neill) - 4:17 /"Can't Stand Still" (Armiger) - 2:16
"No Focus" (Steven Leeson, Sally Ford) - 2:33 /"Down the Road" (Callaghan) - 2:41

Other songs

Back Tonight (Armiger, Conway, Clifforth, Kim Deacon)[9]
Love So Sweet (Anthony Backhouse)[9] performed by Renée Geyer
Romeo Romeo (Ford, Leeson)
That's the Way (Ken Campbell, Paul Hester, McQuade, Clifforth) written & performed by Deckchairs Overboard. Available on YouTube


  1. ^ "Sweet & Sour (1984)". OZTV Credits. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sweet and Sour Credits". British Film Institute (BFI). Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  3. ^ "TV Australia Sweet and Sour". Memorable TV. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  4. ^ Macri, Amanda (March 2004). "The making of Jan Chapman AO". Arts Law Centre of Australia Online. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  5. ^ Capp, Rose (November 2002). "Interview with Jan Chapman". Senses of Cinema. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  6. ^ a b Detailed on first Album's insert called "Takeaways Biography"
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i ""Sweet and Sour" cast list". Nostalgia Central. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  8. ^ "The 27th Annual TV Week Logie Awards (1985)". TV Week. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j ""Sweet and Sour" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2009-04-07.  
  10. ^ a b c "Official Sharon O'Neill website". Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  11. ^ ""In Control" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2009-04-07.  
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Do-Ré-Mi discography". Australian Rock Database. Magnus Holmgren. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  13. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0646119176.   NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  14. ^ a b "Sharon O'Neill". Muzic Net NZ. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  15. ^ "Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs". MILESAGO - ICE Productions. 1999. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  16. ^ "GANGgajang History". GANGgajang Official website. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  17. ^ a b "Countdown 12/8/1984 episode". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  18. ^ ""Sweet & Sour" (single) promo clip". Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  19. ^ a b "Countdown 7/10/1984 episode". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  20. ^ ""Glam To Wham" promo clip". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  21. ^ "Heroes (1984)". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  22. ^ "Dragon History". Dragon on line. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  23. ^ "Performer of the week - Dragon". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  24. ^ "Hearbreak High episode 31". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  25. ^ "Hearbreak High episode 34". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  26. ^ "Love is in the Air Episode 4: I should be so lucky". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  27. ^ "Heartbreak High (1994) full cast and crew". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  28. ^ "Mortified episodes". Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  29. ^ "Geoffrey Nottage". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  30. ^ "Riccardo Pellizzer". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  31. ^ "Graham Thorburn". Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  32. ^ Moses, Alexa (2005-05-21). "The queen of causing a scene". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  
  33. ^ a b "Sweet and Sour". Australian Television Memorabilia Guide. Retrieved 2007-10-21.  

External links


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