Veteran media executive Brian Walsh, who helped revive a struggling soap opera called Neighbours in the 1980s, has died in Sydney aged 67. Walsh began his career with the ABC before moving into feature film production and distribution at Palm Beach Pictures, and promotions and publicity at Sydney radio station 2SM.
During his extensive career, spanning almost five decades, Walsh held senior positions at the Ten Network, the UK’s Sky Broadcasting, Sky TV in Asia and Australia’s Foxtel.
He was also the driving force behind various Australian television shows including Neighbours, A Place to Call Home, Wentworth and Colin from Accounts.
When he later joined the Ten Network, he was instrumental in the network’s decision in 1985 to acquire Neighbours after it had been dumped by rival channel Seven.
Under Walsh’s guidance, the series was reshaped and achieved global success.
He is also credited with helping build the careers of stars such as Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.
Hollywood actor Guy Pearce, who starred in Neighbours, this morning paid tribute to Walsh on Twitter.
“I’m in shock & utterly devastated at the news of losing my long time friend & mentor Brian Walsh. Your compassion & support will never be forgotten mate, nor will ur [sic] guidance as we journeyed down Ramsay st & beyond.”
In 1995, Walsh joined Foxtel where he helped establish the subscription television in Australia.
He was also responsible for the Australian Rugby League’s iconic ‘Simply The Best’ marketing campaign featuring singer Tina Turner in the1990s.
Most recently he worked as an executive at the company, overseeing the development of original dramas.
Foxtel Group chief Patrick Delany said in a statement: “Australia’s creative community has lost a much-loved figure in Brian.
“For us, the loss is heavily felt. At the Foxtel Group, Brian was a long-time mentor, a confidant, a colleague and an unwavering friend to so many.”
Federal Art Minister Tony Burke wrote that he was “devastated” to hear of Walsh’s death.
“Countless Australian stories were told and careers forged because of Brian’s vision, commitment and innate understanding of great storytelling.”
Story courtesy of abc.net.au