‘Get that s— off the air!’: The time Kerry Packer banned Doug Mulray for life

While Doug Mulray’s death reverberates through Australia’s media landscape his listeners and former colleagues are reflecting on his decades-long career as a loveable larrikin on the radio. But it’s his “naughty” 34 minutes on TV that will remain forever imprinted in the minds of many.

Mulray, affectionately known as “Uncle Doug”, hosted Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos in 1992 – Channel Nine’s spin-off of Australia’s Funniest Home Videos which depicts comedic, and often cringeworthy, home videos sent in by viewers.

Doug Mulray’s 34 minutes on Channel Nine will never be forgotten.Credit:Dallas Kilponen

As the name suggests, the one-off special remake revolved entirely around videos that were more risqué and scandalous than the average home recording – less slipping on ice, much more nudity.

Mulray performed humorous monologues and voice-overs alongside (arguably) funny sexual content. Some examples include an elderly woman using her dentures to remove an envelope from a stripper’s underwear, a man lifting a barbell with his penis, people being accidentally disrobed, a man getting his head squeezed between an erotic dancer’s large breasts, and two people running into a body of water with flaming pieces of toilet paper hanging from their behinds.

The show aired later in the evening, at 8.30pm, and was preceded by a short message warning viewers of the show’s “cheeky” content.

All the aforementioned scenarios featured in the first and only episode to ever reach an audience, as it was famously pulled after just 34 minutes on Channel Nine by then-owner Kerry Packer. Channel Nine now shares an owner with this masthead.

Packer, who was enjoying dinner with friends at the time, was notified of the show’s questionable content and tuned in himself to see a boy pulling on the testicle of one of the country’s national symbols, a kangaroo.

A horrified Packer reportedly phoned the studio, shouting “get that shit off the air!” Within a few minutes, the show was pulled and viewers saw a Nine Network bumper interrupt the program announcing “a technical problem” before switching to a rerun of the American sitcom Cheers, a show few could possibly be offended by.

While many of the employees involved in the show’s creation were fired, Mulray was banned for life from Channel Nine.

Despite negative reception from Nine itself, Mulray’s special was a hit with Australians. After it was pulled from the air, Nine reportedly received thousands of calls from viewers all over the country. In Brisbane, around 80 per cent of callers were upset the program had been pulled, while Sydney and Melbourne were similarly disappointed.

In 2008, nearly 16 years after its initial release, the special was put back on-air in its entirety. It featured commentary from Bert Newton, but Mulray was noticeably absent after refusing Nine’s request to host it.

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