TV Talks

tv talks white letters on a red tv shape background TV Talks. All things TV. First Tuesday of the month.

TV TALKS is an opportunity to watch, listen and laugh along with a panel of engaging TV industry guests who talk about TV 'stuff' for TV 'people' complemented with some good, old-fashioned networking afterwards!

  • First Tuesday of the month, February through to November.
  • All welcome - however places are limited and RSVP is essential
  • To be placed on the invite list please email


Don't Go There!

This month, at TV Talks, you’ll meet three Executive Producers who make programs on subjects that most producers avoid: mental illness, homeless people, child marriage and abduction, prostitution, obesity, sexual perversions – you get the picture. Getting access and clearances for these programs is only part of the battle. Convincing broadcasters that this is must-see content, and then dealing with the moral and ethical questions that inevitably arise when dealing with the most vulnerable in our society mean that getting these programs on air can be a major battle.

Alison Black’s most recent production Changing Minds is a three-part series premiering on the ABC on October 7 (straight after TV Talks), which goes inside Liverpool Hospital’s Mental Health Unit. Tom Malone, as EP of current affairs program Sixty Minutes, is regularly called upon to make difficult ethical and moral calls in the name of journalism. Martyn Ives, EP of series Forbidden and Taboo has worked on some of the more “shocking” hours of television you might get to see and has also had to regularly ask the question – how far is too far?


  • Alison Black: Executive Producer, Northern Pictures
  • Tom Malone: Executive Producer, 60 Minutes, Nine Network
  • Leo Faber, Head of Factual Development Asia/Pacific, Essential Media
  • MC: Denise Eriksen

Panellist Bios

Alison Black - Executive Producer, Northern Pictures, is trained as a newspaper journalist straight from school before joining the BBC as a researcher. Alison specialised in foreign news, becoming ITN's youngest ever foreign news editor at 26. During that period she was responsible for coverage of events such as Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the first Gulf War. From her London base she was assigned to Washington DC, Paris, Tokyo and lots of other places with great air miles.
At 30, Alison moved into non-news programming at the BBC. She was labelled a “genre-misfit' by the HR Department, based in Entertainment and Comedy, making factual programs.

In 2001 she negotiated the first 'access all areas' series in a sexually transmitted infection clinic in Glasgow. That series Sex, Warts and All became a bit of a hit for BBC Three, who made four series, one shot with the porn industry in Los Angeles and another called Sex, Warts and All Down Under.

The glowing reference from the clinical director of the STI clinic turned out to be a fantastic calling card which enabled access into other 'difficult' environments and since then has Alison has specialised in getting documentary cameras into places where cameras hadn't gone before, from dodgy weight loss clinics to homeless hostels.

Choir of Hard Knocks, which followed the progress of a group of homeless people as they came together with Jonathon Welch to form a choir, won a Logie for the Most Outstanding Factual Program in 2008. The Choir has just celebrated the 8th anniversary of their first rehearsal. Changing Minds -  the first Australian documentary shot in the locked wards of a mental hospital - airs October 7-9 on the ABC at 8.30pm. 

As befits her 'genre misfit' status she has worked on programs as diverse as Farmer Wants A Wife and Top of The Pops. More recently Alison discovered Silvia Colloca whilst casting for Recipe to Riches at FremantleMedia. Silvia's first series Made In Italy premieres on SBS next month, and she's tipped to be the next big thing in Australian food programming.

She is now back in Development at Northern Pictures, looking for new talent and the next major access-based documentary series. 

Tom Malone - Executive Producer, 60 Minutes, joined the Nine Network's flagship current affairs program 60 Minutes as Executive Producer in October 2012.

Prior to this Tom was Executive Producer of the Today Show from 2006 to 2012, leading it to reclaim the top breakfast program spot in Sydney, Melbourne and along the East Coast.

In 2004-05, he was a Senior Producer for the Mike Carlton breakfast radio show on 2UE. In 2003, Tom was a reporter for the Steve Price breakfast show on 2UE, covering the Iraq War.

While backpacking overseas in 2002 he reported for 2UE and Sky News on the death of the Queen Mother and the Manchester Commonwealth Games.

Tom was the 2UE Political Correspondent in the Canberra Press Gallery from 2000 to 2002, covering the 2001 Federal Election and the United Nations Millennium Conference.

Leo Faber has over 15 years’ experience in factual story telling as both writer, series producer and director involved in award-winning programs such as Whatever! The Science of Teens, Miracle in the Storm and Masterchef.

Prior to joining Essential Media as Head of Factual Development, Leo was responsible for writing and producing hundreds of hours of factual programming for Australian and international broadcasters such as the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Channel 4 and ITV.

While working for Beyond Productions, he worked as a Series Producer on Forbidden (Beyond Productions/Discovery Networks International) which deals with some of the most off-the-wall subcultures: from PonyPlay - where people take on the persona of a horse, to Rubber Dolling - an extreme form of cross dressing, through to  M-Preggers, men who pretend to be pregnant and Producer of Taboo (Beyond Productions/National Geographic) where cultural taboos were under the microscope.

Past TV Talks