Barrier Reef (1971)
The very first lead guest roles Judy got were for Fauna Productions, in their famous adventure series Barrier Reef. Judy was asked if she was afraid of water, replying that she was not despite the fact that she was, in reality, terrified for water. Luckily for Judy she could film the episode anyway, as a writer for the show, Valerie Taylor, who four years later became to be involved in underwater camera work in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, stepped in as stunt double for McBurney during all the underwater scenes; including when Judy’s character, Annette Conway, is locked into a shark cage and shipped down over the side of a ship and submerged under the water.
Seven little Australians (1973)
Set in Sydney in the 1890s, the story concerns Captain Woolcot, an English widower with seven children who had remarried. Director Alan Burke, who knew Judy since she so beautifully portrayed Ella in The Cousin from Fiji, suggested McBurney for the leading role as Meg; the family’s oldest daughter. McBurney was to tall for the part, but instead she did a fabulous job as the spoiled, rude and selfish Miss Aldith, a school-friend of Meg. Based on a children’s book by Ethel Turner, this television mini-series in colour, won some awards, ranging from Best Leading Actor to Best Children’s drama.
Number 96 (1977)
Judy guest-starred in a few episodes of Number 96 as the promiscuous young woman Jodi, who spent most of her time sitting in the wine bar where she would meet men. But McBurney had already been hired for the series a few years earlier. In late 1973 she got the part of a new main character; Marilyn McDonald. McBurney filmed six episodes for the series before the Christmas break, and at the same time flew between Sydney and Melbourne on a daily basis to finish her last weeks in the stage show Don’t Lie There, Say Something in Melbourne every evening. In January 1974, only hours before filming was going to start again after the Christmas break, Judy had suffered from terrible stomach pain for days as a result from an appendectomy surgery some months earlier and she had to withdraw from the series on the doctors advise; who told her to take a two weeks break from work. Producer at the time, Bill Harmon, couldn’t wait that long. Harmon tried to find another out way to keep Judy in the show, but it wasn’t possible. The film team had now 48 hours to find a replacement for McBurney and Frances Hargreaves got the part. Hargreaves had to re-shoot all of McBurney’s scenes and the role of Marilyn was also changed so that she was more of a comic character because Hargreaves didn’t feel comfortable with the original “Marilyn character” who was supposed to be one of the series new sexy characters .
More info coming soon.
1975: Judy gets her make-up fixed during a break filming an episode of Homicide, titled "The Whole of the Law".
Judy as a prostitute in the very first episode of Bluey.
Frances Hargreaves (to the left) and Judy, some years after Number 96.
The Official Judy McBurney Website
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