Touch the Sun (Australian TV series)

Touch the Sun is a series of television films commissioned by the Australian Children's Television Foundation in 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations. It may have been intended that seven feature-length episodes were produced, one for each State, plus the Northern Territory, but only six were completed. Executive producer was Patricia Edgar in association with the ABC and production company Revcom.


The six telemovies (each 95 minutes' duration) deal with issues important to children: adoption, multiculturalism, country life, fame, running away and deafness. They are set in a different States and depict children overcoming problems in different family and social situations.

Captain Johnno

Captain Johnno
Directed byMario Andreacchio
Written byRob George
Budget$1.235 million[1]

(South Australia) A deaf boy makes friends with an Italian fisherman.

cast included Damien Walters, Joe Petruzzi, John Waters, Rebecca Sykes, Michele Fawdon, Elspeth Ballantyne, Vivienne Graves, Sam Sowton, Phoebe Salter, Peter Green, Henry Salter and Grant Piro.

Devil's Hill

Devil's Hill
Directed byEsben Storm
Written byDavid Phillips
Based onnovel by Nan Chauncy

(Tasmania) City boy and country cousin get lost in the mountains

cast included Cameron Atkins, Peter Hehir, Mary Haire, John Flaus, Alexander 'Matthew' Jacobs, Emma Pugh and Jane McArthur

The Gift

The Gift
Directed byPaul Cox
Produced byTony Llewellyn-Jones
Written byPaul Cox
Jeff Peck
CinematographyNino G. Martinetti
Release date
Running time
90 mins

(Victoria and Western Australia)

A Melbourne couple wins some land in Western Australia.
cast included Nicholas Hatjiandreau, Vicki Serbos, Alexis Anthopolous, Con Laras, Rena Frangioudakis, Peter Felmingham, Margaret Ford, Bill McClusky, Ken James and Susanne Chapman

Peter and Pompey

Peter and Pompey
Directed byMichael Carson
Produced byMargot McDonald
Written byJohn Misto
CinematographyJulian Penney
Running time
94 mins
Budget$1.43 million[2]

(Queensland) Three Queensland children find Latin inscriptions in a cave. This leads them to discover an authentic Roman boat.

It was shot on location in North Queensland.


Princess Kate

Princess Kate
Directed byGeorge Ogilvie
Produced byAntonia Barnard
Written byKristin Williamson
David Williamson
Running time
95 mins

(New South Wales)


Kate, 14, the adopted daughter of wealthy couple searches for her birth mother.


Top Enders

Top Enders
Directed byJackie McKimmie
Produced byJill Robb
Written byMichael Aitkens
Jackie McKimmie
CinematographyJamie Doolan
Running time
93 mins

(Northern Territory) Alice and her Aboriginal friend get lost while fleeing to Kakadu



Captain Johnno won the International Emmy Award in 1988.


VHS copies were made available for general release and at least one, Captain Johnno appeared in a subtitled classroom edition.

Originally only one of the six movies, Princess Kate, was released on DVD in Australia.

Echo Bridge Entertainment once offered Devils Hill, Captain Johnno and The Journey on 1 disk, and The Gift, Top Enders and Peter and Pompey as part of a 2-disk compilation with Rabbit Proof Fence and Secret of the Andes. In 2014 this title was no longer in their catalogue.

Australian Children's Television Foundation subsequently released Touch the Sun - Top Enders and Peter & Pompey, and Touch the Sun - Devil's Hill and Captain Johnno as two separate DVDs. These products are marred by occasional skips in content as though they have been dubbed from films which have been subjected to breakages and subsequent splicing.


  1. Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970–1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p23
  2. Murray p 119
  • (now unavailable; archived at
  • Harrison, Tony The Australian Film and Television Companion Simon & Schuster Australia ISBN 0-7318-0455-4
  • leaflet supplied with Captain Johnno VHS
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