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Crawford_Productions

Crawford Productions

Crawford Productions is an Australian television production company founded by Hector Crawford, and now owned by the WIN Corporation.

The company generally had a reputation for higher quality productions than its nearest rival, the Reg Grundy Organisation.

During the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s Crawfords Productions dominated Australian-produced series drama in that country. Their first big success was popular police drama Homicide (1964) on the Seven Network. This was followed by the ambitious espionage drama Hunter (1967) on the Nine Network which made a star out of Gerard Kennedy. After Hunter ended in 1969 police drama Division 4 (1969) was conceived as a vehicle for his talents, again on the Nine Network, and it emerged a popular success. Crawfords then created rural police series Matlock Police (1971) for Network Ten which was another enduring success. They also created Ryan (1973), an all-film colour production (at a time when Australian TV was still in black and white) with an eye to overseas sales, that lasted one series of 39 episodes, and moved into the realm of soap opera with the launch of sex-comedy serial The Box in 1974.

Homicide, Division 4, and Matlock Police remained highly popular through the early 1970s, and The Box was a big hit in its premiere year, ranking as Australia's second highest-rated program for 1974. With a highly popular police drama on each commercial network the production company was booming. However, in 1975 and 1976, Homicide, Division 4, and Matlock Police were all abruptly cancelled.

Crawfords persevered with The Box through 1975 and 1976 although its ratings were well down on the figures it achieved in its first year. The company also created situation comedy series The Bluestone Boys (1976) which was set in a prison, and Bobby Dazzler, a vehicle for pop singer John Farnham, in 1977. Bluey (1976) saw a return to police drama but with a new spin, however the series was not a major success.

Greater success came with The Sullivans (1976-82), a critically acclaimed and highly popular World War II family serial. Continuing the trend at that time for evening soap opera type shows on Australian television they later launched Cop Shop (1977-84), a meld of soap opera with the Crawfords staple of police drama, and the series emerged as a popular success. Skyways (1979-81) replicated the soap opera-meets-weekly adult drama hybrid of Cop Shop with less success.

Later programmes included legal drama Carson's Law (1983-84), a vehicle for former The Sullivans star Lorraine Bayly, children's series Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left and The Flying Doctors.

The Crawford studios in Box Hill, Victoria (cnr Middleborough and Clarice Rds) were demolished in March 2006. A Bunnings Warehouse opened on the site on 30 June 2006.

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