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In the episode The Great Billycart Aid Race, Elly browses through a newspaper. She's horrified about the things wrong in the world and finds an article on Bob Geldof that she cuts out.

As the newspaper is clearly seen in the episode, with text readable, I wondered if it was a real newspaper. So I set out on a hunt for the paper in question. Just for fun. And for just as much fun, I'll take you along for the hunt, see how I go about doing something like this, and have a look at the paper and (yes!) what the crew did to it to make it fit within the episode's setting.

First stop: frame-by-frame-ing through the scenes where Elly is reading the paper and where Robert (later in the episode) is reading it at the kitchen table.

On the shot where Elly finds the Bob Geldof article, the paper's date and (vaguely) name can be seen:
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Not very readable on a still, but you can read the date when the video is in motion.

Later in the episode, Robert is reading the paper at the kitchen table, only to find out theres a big hole where Elly cut out her Bob Geldof article. On this shot, we can clearly see the paper's name and logo:
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Turns out it's the Thursday, 21 May 1987 edition of The Age, a local Melburnian newspaper. That makes sense, as this paper was issued in the period when the show was shot (between March and August 1987) and where it was shot (Melbourne).

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Time-space continuum
This very issue of The Age has another connection to C/o The Bartons: printed on page 47 is a news story on the show being in production.03 So maybe 21 May 1987 is, as Doc Brown in Back to the Future II puts it, "a temporal junction point for the entire space-time continuum". Who knows!

TROVE is an Australian online newspaper archive where I already did a bit of my research, and it was my first stop to see if I could find that paper. Alas, they didn't have it. Some Googling revealed that atleast had some pages of this paper's issue, but I couldn't access it without getting a subscription. So I did, as it came in handy for other research as well.

Looking through the, now unlocked, paper at while frame-by-frame-ing though the scenes in the episode, reveals that all the pages seen in the show are real. However, the articles that Elly reads are not. There was no quake that killed thousands, no Beirut bombing (for a change, this was the 80s afterall) but most importantly: no story about Bob Geldof.

If you look more closely at the pages in the stills, a slight colour difference can bee seen; the articles that Elly reads have a slightly more grey tint to them compared to the actual colour of the newspaper. So they were stuck on to the real pages by the crew. Nicely done too; barely noticeable on screen.

Here's a look at shots of the paper from the episode compared to the real one.

Drag the circle with the arrows in the image from left to right to compare the real and the COTB's rendition of the pages.
On the show Real page
On the show Real page

The page where the Bob Geldof article is supposed to be, actually contains a number of different stories. The original headline for one of them can still be seen above Geldof's picture in the still.

Note that the headline "Sydney won" to the left of the Geldof article on the show's still actually reads "Sydney woman sweeps way to fame at Cannes" in the real paper.

Clipping taken from The Age provided by, used under "citaatrecht". Please see the legal disclaimer.

On the show Real page
On the show Real page

No Beirut bombing in real life (well, not on that day at least), but rather a story about the trials on the Russell Street Bombing.

Clipping taken from The Age provided by, used under "citaatrecht". Please see the legal disclaimer.

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The Russell Street Bombing was the inspiration for the Australian police drama Phoenix, in which our very own Olivia Harkin had a guest role about five years after filming this scene.

On the show Real page
On the show Real page

No quake that kills thousands, but rather a shocking story about a polar bear killing a boy in a zoo. Yikes!

Clipping taken from The Age provided by, used under "citaatrecht". Please see the legal disclaimer.

On the show Real page
On the show Real page

And finally a look at the front page (and what's left of it after Elly got her hands on the paper).

Other papers?
There are multiple papers seen in Bartons episodes, for instance the newspaper where Clare looks at the vacancies in Position Vacant. However, those shots don't provide enough information to identify the paper (I checked: they didn't reuse the paper from The Great Billycart Aid Race in that episode).

Still, I found it fun to do and kept me busy for an hour or so.



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