60 Years of QLD TV

Days elapsed since Local Edition's end.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Vale: Melody Iliffe.

Some sad news to report: Melody Welsh, later Melody Iliffe, left this world, on September 21, 2017. Below, we have this reading from the late Bruce Mansfield (clip from 3AW's Youtube Channel), of a Henry Scott Holland poem: "Death Is Nothing At All" (originally written upon the passing of King Edward VII in 1910) that this site will use, whenever a big name departs us from this life, and heads to the next, along with our tribute.

Melody Iliffe: A pioneer, who blazed a trail for women in television.
Melody Welsh's road to success, began as a production assistant, within the Jim Iliffe-hosted Channel Niner's, in the early 1960's. A major change in her career, would beckon in 1964: being brought in, not just as Australia's first female television newsreader, but to form the first example of a male-female news presenting duo in Australia: sitting alongside Don Seccombe, to read Nine's 6pm news in Brisbane. It was a natural ratings success, and led to a unique Logie being awarded for her newsreading, at the 1965 Logie Awards, in Melbourne: at St Kilda's Palais De Danse, which stated: "Acknowledged Ability, in A Man's Domain". The newsreading career continued on and off, (while eventually marrying Jim Iliffe (becoming Melody Iliffe) and raising a family) until the dawn of the 1980s, with one notable pairing being part of the QTQ weekend newsteam, alongside Ron Markland...
...before stepping away from the newsdesk: just as a new generation of women was stepping up in Brisbane's TV newsrooms: in particular: Kay McGrath, and Robin Parkin (who'd come across to Nine in the late eighties) across the hill at TVQ-0, Donna Meiklejohn (who went from the ABC doing QLD pieces for Nationwide, to Seven, eventually reading the 6pm news with Frank Warrick and Nev Roberts as part of a shortlived three person anchoring combination in 1987, followed by a run as Seven's US correspondent) along with Brisbane-bred Jo Pearson, in Melbourne for ATV-10, bringing the station to the very top of the news ratings.
However, it felt like for a long time, that Melody hadn't disappeared, completely from the TV screen. For the best part of the 1980s, Melody would be the spruiker for Brisbane-based electrical chain Chandlers, as it progressed towards becoming a national chain: with Iliffe selling everything from Bissell brooms:

 to the predecessor to the Commodore 64: the VIC-20:

 even VCR's and stereo systems to a Queensland moving towards the future at a breakneck pace.

Youtube: various Melody Iliffe Chandlers ads, from FLEMISHDOG, retrooldcommercials and pugsley2005. Print ad, Sept 11. 1988, Sunday Mail microfiche at SLQ

Melody and Jim stayed out of the spotlight (except for a few appearances here and there, much like another TV husband/wife pairing, from the early years of TV in Australia: Bob and Dolly Dyer, who: in their twilight years, purposely kept a low profile), in the 1990s, as the Iliffe family was about to expand to a third generation. And then, in June 2005, Jim passed away at 83, after complications from a fall, with Melody becoming the patriarch of the Iliffe family, and would honor both Jim Iliffe and her own combined legacies on the occasion of QTQ's fiftieth birthday in 2009.
Melody leaves behind, three children: Chris, Ingrid and David, and eight grandchildren: Kayla, Dominic, Hannah, Katie, Genevieve, Ryan, James and Benjamin: all destined to take the Iliffe family name well into the 21st century, a family name, for so many years was a household word in Queensland.

Melody Iliffe: May your legacy live forever, in that next room.

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