Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Paul Seymour Jacklin (1914–1982)

by Richard Lane

This article was published:

Paul Seymour Jacklin (1914-1982), radio producer and compère, and advertising executive, was born on 25 January 1914 in Pretoria, South Africa, one of three sons of Seymour Jacklin, public servant, and his wife Annette Hope, née Palfrey. Aged 12 he moved to Geneva, where his father worked at the League of Nations. Educated in South Africa and England, Paul excelled at Cranleigh School, Surrey, and briefly studied English literature at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He turned to the theatre, learning stage-managing at the Croydon Repertory Theatre and acting in John Van Druten’s Young Woodley. On his return to South Africa in 1935, Jacklin joined the African Broadcasting Co., which became the South African Broadcasting Corporation. In Cape Town he changed the style of children’s programs, modelling them on those for adults. On 11 June 1938 at the Rondebosch Congregational Church, Cape Town, he married Olwen Porzig; four days later they sailed for Australia.

From February 1939 Jacklin worked for the Australian Broadcasting Commission as a producer in Sydney. His first production of note was the serial `Singapore Spy’. In April he was assigned by the ABC to cover in Sydney the embarkation of Prime Minister Joseph Lyons’s body for carriage by sea to Tasmania. The Wireless Weekly admired `his beautiful and sympathetic commentary’. Equally accomplished as an on-air voice and as a director and creator of programs, Jacklin devised, compèred and produced the variety show `Merry-Go-Round’, among others, for the ABC in Melbourne; a one-hour weekly presentation, performed before a studio audience, it ran for nearly two years. A government restriction order, issued in March 1941 because of his alleged anti-British views, prevented him from broadcasting. (On arrival in Australia he had attempted to `build up a more theatrical personality’ by claiming to be a Boer.) He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 13 June 1941 but was discharged as medically unfit in April next year without serving overseas. The restriction order was amended in April 1943 to allow him to write material and was revoked in June 1945.

Jacklin joined the commercial broadcasting station 2UE, where he remained for twelve years. He produced `Crackerjack’, another variety show, but soon turned predominantly to drama. As 2UE’s head of production he was responsible for all broadcasts, including Max Afford's serials `Danger Unlimited’ and `Hagen’s Circus’. After approving the purchase of a series, he directed the early episodes himself to establish its character. He was the national program director for the Major Broadcasting Network, of which 2UE was the key station.

When the `Lux Radio Theatre’ returned on 2UE in 1955, Jacklin became its producer-director. After its demise a year later he left the station to join J. Walter Thompson Australia Pty Ltd, the advertising agency behind Lux. Jacklin’s energy, self-confidence and talent led to his becoming a director of the Australian company in 1963, director of creative services and deputy-chairman in 1971, vice-president of the parent company in the United States of America and chairman and chief executive of the Australian agency in 1973. He retired in 1980. Survived by his wife and their son, he died of cancer on 24 December 1982 at Bowral and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • R. Lane, The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama 1923-1960 (1994)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 1938, p 5, 2 Aug 1938, `Women’s Supplement’, p 2, 15 May 1954, p 4, 19 Oct 1961, p 1, 16 Oct 1963, p 20
  • Wireless Weekly, 19 Apr 1939, p 3
  • Australian Financial Review, 18 Dec 1973, p 9
  • series B883, item VX57644, series A367, item C65511, and series MP529/2, item Jacklin/PS (National Archives of Australia)
  • private information.

Citation details

Richard Lane, 'Jacklin, Paul Seymour (1914–1982)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 24 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (Melbourne University Press), 2007

View the front pages for Volume 17

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


25 January, 1914
Pretoria, South Africa


24 December, 1982 (aged 68)
Bowral, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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