Australian Producer and Writer Lynn Bayonas has died, following a long battle with cancer.
Bayonas was Producer of children’s series The Saddle Club for Crawford Productions from 2001 – 2008 after a six year stint as a writer in Hollywood on Sunset Beach and Prime Time (US).
Screen Hub notes she started in the industry almost by accident, as a young Australian in London in the 1960’s, who became Orson Welles’ assistant, where she learnt the art of screen storytelling.
A 2002 profile in The Age notes Welles taught her about flexibility in storytelling, turning her against the structured writing courses into which many American scriptwriters seem directed.
Working at Crawfords she became a script editor and writer on Homicide and Division 4, later taking on The Box, The Sullivans and Skyways. She was also development producer of The Man from Snowy River.
She was associate producer and script editor on the ABC’s Rush, and helped bring A Country Practice to life for Seven.
“You know, I loved that show,” she once said. “For me it wasn’t so much about the country. It was more about the world encapsulated in a small town. That setting. You had the hospital, police station and the vet, so you had three marvellous areas on which to base your stories.”
From 1985 to 87 she was the Head of Drama at Nine working under Kerry Packer and Sam Chisholm, overseeing The Flying Doctors, Fields of Fire and All the Way.
She was also creator, writer and producer on Willing and Abel and the infamous Chances.
“We had sold Nine the story of a family that won the lotto … just what happened to them,” she recalls. “But then they suddenly decided they wanted a late show and to bring back in sex. It was horrendous.
Her more recent projects had been children’s series The Saddle Club and Guinevere Jones.
“I hadn’t worked with children since the ABC in the ’70s. I’ve always enjoyed it,” she told the Weekly Times.
“On A Country Practice I worked with animals: Fatso the wombat and plenty of farm animals.
“With any production you have hair-raising moments but I think the combination of children and animals works a treat – they get such a buzz out of working together too.”
Last night Neighbours acknowledged her passing with a title card as the credits rolled. Bayonas’ sister, Susan Bowers, is Executive Producer of the TEN soap.