Mike and Mal Leyland, also known as The Leyland Brothers, were Australian explorers and documentary film-makers, best known for their popular television show, “Ask the Leyland Brothers”. The show ran on Australian television from 1976 until 1984.
The two brothers first came to prominence in the late 1960s and reached a peak of popularity in the 1970s, often providing Australian viewers with their first look at outback
.................................................Mal and Mike Leyland.
I was one of thousands of Australians who watched Mike and Mal Leyland (The Leyland Bros.) when their T.V. show “Ask The Leyland Bros.” began in 1976. Their show was filmed in the Super 8 format and was a little amateurish, but this was the appeal of the show. Nobody had ever made a show like this before, giving the average Australian a view of places that most would never get to. It showed that the average “Joe” could take their 8mm family movie camera outdoors to the outback and record their own holiday documentary. This also inspired me to film my own holiday film and edit it with music and commentary. I’m sure that Steve Irwin would of also been influenced by the Leyland Bros. Where Steve was outgoing and flamboyant, Mike and Mal were the opposite, somewhat shy, quite, and in the early days softly spoken.
When television came, that was 1956 I actually won a trip to the Olympic Games. And I wasn't going to enter the competition but my father said, "If you do, I'll buy you a movie camera." And I won a trip, so he had to cough up with a camera - a little square, spring-driven camera, which I took to the Olympic Games and shot some footage down there. But it sort of got me going. The first footage I shot with it was around
There was no film and television school that I know of, so the only way to learn about it was to buy books. So I bought an old Land Rover and set off on a trip to Ayers Rock. My brother was with me, and his mate, and we set off to drive out to
While I was shooting news, I had this dream in the back of my head to actually shoot an expedition. All the books that I'd read said the secret to selling a documentary was to do something for the first time. So I picked up a map of
We were the first people to ever actually film Ayers Rock in the rain. So we edited up a one-hour version of it, which we sold to Channel Nine, because they'd bought 'Down the Darling'. Then we started screening it. We showed it in
In 1956 Mike won a trip to the 1956 Olympic Games in
By the age of 21 Mike was a news cameraman at NBN. By the age of 18 Mal was a cadet at
In 1980, Mike and Mal Leyland were awarded the MBE in the New Year’s honours list (the only time brothers had simultaneously received such an award) for services to the film industry.
Their television programmes constantly achieved the highest prime time ratings and have never been off air in 28 years.
After the 1992 bankruptcy caused by the failure of their theme park, Mike and his wife Margie ran a New Lambton video store and worked for the park's new owner, while Mal and his wife Laraine ran a photo processing lab in Queensland and launched a travel magazine.
In 1997 Mike sold part of his Tea Gardens property to fund the production of a far north
In 1997 Mal and Laraine launched a bi-monthly magazine,
In 2000 Mal produced the television show Leyland's Australia, with his wife Laraine, daughter Carmen and her husband Robert Scott - travelling around Australia in a caravan. In April 2000 Channel 9 cancelled the show after 6 episodes the series was then picked up by Network Ten.
“Ask the Leyland Brothers” – 156 episodes between 1976-1980 and 1983-1984.
“Off the Beaten Track”
1963 - Down the Darling - A trip from
1966 - Wheels Across a Wilderness - Driving two Land Rovers from
1969 - Open Boat to Adventure - A six month journey from
It's this photo I will remember Mike and Mal, with a camera in the outback of Australia ready to film another episodes for their T.V. show.
Mike was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about two years ago but had suffered most in the past two months. The family announced that 68-year-old Mike passed away on Monday morning following complications from Parkinson's disease.