Big Brother TV mogul Neil Balnaves dies aged 77 in monster boat crash

Neil Balnaves, known for bringing shows like Big Brother and Bananas in Pyjamas to screens, has died aged 77 after a boating accident.

The Australian entertainment mogul died while vacationing in Tahiti on the Oneworld motor mega-yacht and died after being thrown underwater while on a small boat alongside the yacht.

According to the Australian Daily Telegraph, Balnaves could not be revived after the freak accident.

The star is survived by his wife Diana, whom he married in 1971, and his children – a son called Hamish, and two daughters, Alexandra and Victoria.

Balnaves has produced a number of television shows including Big Brother, Bananas in Pyjamas, Water Rats and McLeod’s Daughters.



Neil Balnaves was vacationing in Tahiti when he died

It wasn’t the first boating accident Balnaves had been involved in, as a near-fatal accident in 2002 changed his outlook on life.

At the time, he said, “How many more houses do I need? Do I want the jet plane? Do I want another yacht? Not really.

“There comes a time when these things stop meaning so much to you.”

After that, he became involved in charity, with his Balnaves Foundation donating around £10million.



Neil Balnaves was incredibly charitable during his life
Neil Balnaves was incredibly charitable during his life

According to the foundation’s website, it gives £1.5million a year “to create a better Australia through education, medicine and the arts, with a focus on the young, disadvantaged and Australian natives”.

Before making his fortune in the media, Balnaves left school at the age of 15.

He then ran Endemol Shine Australia, then known as Southern Star Television.

He was also a former managing director of the Australian division of animation production company Hanna-Barbera.

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