Sons & Daughters Watching/rewatching/discussing The Aussie Hit Show

Carrie Fairchild

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Many characters were only useful for certain storylines so I assume he's not referring to them.
Maybe Ally Fowler/Peter Phelps/Kim Lewis had not expected to be written out?

Overall, he comes across as a serious but not very charming person. But maybe that's the right attitude to create good soap.

I was wondering who the actors in question may have been too. Based on IMDB, he worked as a script editor on S&D for the first year only but then also wrote episodes throughout the series full run from 1982-87, so it could've been anyone.

Regarding how he comes across, he certainly doesn't mince his words. I remember listening to another podcast interview with him when Between Two Worlds was only in development. In it, he spoke about the quality of Australian TV at the time and how he felt that young writers were being allowed to bring series to TV that weren't fully formed compared to how he had to learn the ropes back in the day. He singled out shows on ABC, which made me wonder if he was referring to stuff like Please Like Me by Josh Thomas. There was a bit of a grumpy old man vibe from him then.
 

James from London

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Poor dead Jim and poor blind Beryl - well I wasn’t expecting that!
 

Carrie Fairchild

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This is from the Via Vision site, so it looks like this is the official cover art. It's a merging of the two family photos. It's nothing too exciting but captures the essence of the show's first year.

 

Mel O'Drama

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This is from the Via Vision site, so it looks like this is the official cover art. It's a merging of the two family photos. It's nothing too exciting but captures the essence of the show's first year.

Oh that looks nice. Much, much nicer than the previous artwork. It captures the tone of the show well.
 

trialanderror

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I love the theme song to this show. I know there were two versions a 3/4 version and 4/4 version (hopefully I'm not talking double-dutch!). I was wondering, is there a full recording of the 4/4 version available?
 

Mel O'Drama

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I was wondering, is there a full recording of the 4/4 version available?

Both versions, plus the opening credits edit of the 3/4 version can be downloaded here.

I'd love to have high quality, remastered version of both versions, but can't imagine that happening ever.
 

Mel O'Drama

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I know there were two versions a 3/4 version and 4/4 version

I've been listening to both versions quite a bit today.

No matter how many times I listen, the second verse of the 3/4 version and the first verse of the 4/4 version always sound a little wrong and a little "new" because they weren't really used for the broadcasts.

I think in general the 4/4 version is more satisfying, though I love way the 3/4 arrangement picks you up and carries you along, like a tinkly ballerina jewel box. And the 3/4 version has superior ad libs for the playoff.
 

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I've just seen there are two meaty new posts to catch up on here. I'm just going out, and will look forward to properly reading and replying to Willie and James's post later.

In the meantime, here's one I prepared earlier...


#619


It’s been a bit of an emotional time in the series, what with Charlie’s children surfacing, Colin Turner’s torment over (among other things) being responsible for his father’s death a decade before. And then there’s the small matter of a number of deaths.

It’s also been eventful. Among other things there’s been a shooting, the dramatic disposal of a body, a kidnapping, a cabin fire, a bombing, a character struck blind, several attempted hits, not one but two psychics trying to trace a missing person and - if that’s not enough - there’s even been a microwave installed at David’s place. No heroines have been tied to railway tracks yet, but the “Samantha in peril” cliffhanger, featuring the heroine bound, unconscious and lying next to sticks of dynamite came very close to ticking that box.

S&Ds very own Trixie Trouble has undergone the reform process. She’s not quite preparing to take Benedictine vows, but she’s done the next best thing and stopped scheming. Like a Bizarro world Samson, once her hair was cropped (and, more to the point, immediately upon being added to the opening credits), Leigh underwent a personality change.

This partial lobotomy was, I imagine, in order to make her more palatable to viewers as a series regular. On this level it’s been a success. Gone are the smirks and schemes and references to liking money. In has come a healthy dollop of humility, a desire for making amends and a newfound maternal drive. While more pleasant to watch, it is a little unnerving. Some effort has at least been made to explain some of the changes - such as overcoming her association of Shane with his evil father. And this is appreciated.

Richard Crampton is this era’s Roger Carlyle, and his henchmen getting at series regulars have echoes of Patricia’s exit storyline. With the two being relatively close together it could have failed miserably. But it’s actually proved to be a bit of a goldmine. Whatever one feels about Leigh, it would take a hard heart not to sympathise with her in that scene where Richard forces her to sign and hand over Shane to him under immediate threat of another gang rape. A scene made more brutally effective due to the concerned way the young “actor” playing baby Shane looked at his screen mum as she sobbed while holding him (I can’t help wondering about the psychological impact of this kind of scene on babies who have no concept of being surrounded by actors).

The bomb under the lorry was really quite exciting. I don’t remember this very well from its first UK airing, so perhaps I wasn’t watching regularly by this point. I did have to be at school, after all. While it wasn’t super suspenseful, it did a nice job of building anticipation, helped by most of the regulars buying into the fear. Beryl, Fiona and Leigh pursuing the lorry in Irene’s old Morris Minor - just in time to see two characters blown up before their eyes - was an enjoyably nice touch. Even the idea of Jim on fire was pretty nasty (ironically, happening around one hundred episodes after his nephew died the same way). But to see it was pretty horrific. The scene was edited for the Channel 5 episode I watched this time, but shown uncut for the résumé at the beginning of the next episode. I found the most unsettling thing to be the way Jim (or the stuntman playing him, I assume) was twitching while lying on the ground.

What worked best about Jim’s death wasn’t the fiery explosion (it was effective but was, when all is said and done, another in a series of big stunts that seem to be occurring every third episode at this point) but the aftermath. The scene of Beryl - psychosomatically blind after witnessing him on fire - holding his hand as he flatlined was unexpectedly moving. It was another winning performance from Leila Hayes who got every last drop of emotion from the scene. She even did the single tear at the perfect moment. I feel moved just thinking about that scene, because for a moment we got back to character.

Jim’s death seems quite wasteful. The actor had great chemistry with other actors on the series. With his offscreen funeral, we were cheated out of a return appearance from most of Jim’s family at this most logical time for them to show up. We did get a cameo from Heather. Mike, we were told, stayed at their motel with baby formerly known as Robert. But Heather's presence only served to highlight the absences. Jim’s presence did the same to some degree, but his “black sheep” quality meant he could logically have continued in the series without it being too much of an issue.

The other character who died was Neil Duffy. Nobody cared, apart from Julie, who turned into a shrieking harpy and left the series (yay) leaving her father behind (boo).

While it didn’t last long, Beryl’s sight loss gave us a chance to connect with Beryl in a new way, with an added layer of vulnerability. Case in point: the scene in which Beryl singlehandedly tried to hide Shane from a hitman and then stumbled round to get a poker with which to do battle, only for the henchman to stand behind her, observing with semi-amusement. It was a drama unique to Beryl's current situation, and I found the direction interesting for this scene. It was very kinetic with some moments shot mostly from just above ground level and showing only lower bodies. This created a very fitting sense of disorientation.

With Jim’s death, Beryl’s blindness and Leigh’s disposal of Richard’s body, there’s been a uniquely Aussie grimness to scenes and storylines. It’s hard to explain, but it’s something I particularly associate with late Seventies/early Eighties Australian series like The Young Doctors or Prisoner (or UK series of the same era. Corrie and Crossroads probably hit a similarly grim vibe when they went dark but series like Play For Today, The Gentle Touch, Tales Of The Unexpected or Indelible Evidence had a very unsettling undercurrent to them that really got under my skin when I was young). Leigh dragging round the body, of course, reminded me of a similar disposal on Knots Landing which was still two years away at the point this was made.

It’s worth noting that we’re now in 1985, which was around the time the U.S. soap obsession was peaking worldwide with events like Bobby’s death on Dallas, Val’s Babies on Knots Landing and the Moldavians on Dynasty. As well as The Colbys gearing up to burst onto screens. With hindsight, most had (arguably) already peaked, although nobody realised it at this time. The fast pacing here feels in a way like keeping up with the Joneses.

But it’s also worth noting that it was a strange time in Aussie soap. The Young Doctors and The Sullivans had ended. Prisoner was in its penultimate season. Return To Eden in series form was still a year away. But there was a new kid on the block: Neighbours. Although it wasn’t at this time enjoying the phenomenal success it would in years to come, S&Ds Channel 7 companion had enjoyed good reviews and was something of a hit in Melbourne. I can’t help wondering if this has informed the influx of new, young faces: Adam, his sibilant sister Sally, Brett - yet another of Beryl’s young relatives coming to stay in Kevin’s old room, Colin Turner, new Trixie Trouble Denise Turner…

It must be said that on first impressions, most of the new young people aren’t good. At all. Brett is just terrible, while Denise almost makes me pine for Lynn Palmer. It’s not all bad news though. Colin has had some nice scenes, and I know where his storyline is going so we’ll see how I feel about that turn of events this time round. Adam, too, has potential. And I suspect I’m in a minority but I find Samantha more enjoyable to watch than Amanda.

Most of the oldies are as reliable as ever. There’s a burgeoning romance between Irene and David Hunter Roland Armstrong. Stephen’s just become engaged to Jenny. Charlie’s facing her long lost children (I’m not sure how I feel about this. Charlie works best as a sidekick. But it’s not bad so far). Even Fiona - who has driven me to despair at times - has been relegated to supporting Beryl and battling with crosswords. And she’s far more enjoyable as a result.
I've just reached Episode 625. Since they got rid of Julie and Spider, the show's gone from frustratingly stupid to really enjoyably stupid.

I still can't cut and paste anything (I want my laptop BACK!), but it's very interesting what you said in the above post about where S&D is at this point in relation to other soaps. I'd lost all sense of what I am time-wise, or even what season I'm watching, so it's good to know this is 1985 -- especially regarding the sudden influx of teen characters.

Teens in soaps is still a relatively new thing at this stage. Brookside was the first soap to have them as proper characters back in '82 and of course they were brilliant - funny, smart, individual, real - but no-one really watched Brookside back then so its influence wasn't really felt until EastEnders in '85, and their kids were great too - broader than Brookie's, but still with bags of energy and personality. And then came Neighbours which was full of young things. It may have taken a little while, but certainly by Kylie and Henry's time, the Ramsay St kids were perky and bright and full of charm. Interestingly, Coronation Street really lagged behind in this area. They struggled to move with the times in the '80s and none of their young characters -- Curly Watts, Terry Duckworth, Kevin and Sally, right up to Jenny Bradley and Martin Platt at the end of the '80s -- were exactly what you could call dynamic. I don't think it was until the MacDonald twins arrived in the early '90s that things started picking up on the Street, youth-wise.

But the S&D kids are really in a league of their own. With the exception of Samantha and Charlie's son Adam, who's that bit older anyway, none of them - Andy, Brett, Colin, Sally - have a personality between them. They're all graduates of the Jeff O'Brien School of Timid Acting. In fact, they don't seem like actors at all, or even people who want to act. They're more like the shy kids at school whose mum suggested they do a bit og drama on Saturday mornings to help them socialise when they'd much rather be sat at in their bedrooms avoiding making eye contact with other human beings. Leigh's a total dynamo in comparison.

David and Fiona have been leaving for the airport to fly to Rio for about five episodes. How exciting! There's a real frisson about soap characters going abroad to look for characters everyone thought weredead -- Jeff Colby in California, Christopher Ewing in Zurich, Pam and Sue Ellen in Hong Kong, and now these two. Bring on the clunky exposition and ceiling fans!

(Ok so I've written this on Ye Olde iMac which won't let me post directly onto the forum, so I'm gonna have to email this to myself, then open it on my phone, and cut and paste it in sections onto the thread. I REALLY want my laptop back!)
 

Mel O'Drama

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it's very interesting what you said in the above post about where S&D is at this point in relation to other soaps. I'd lost all sense of what I am time-wise, or even what season I'm watching, so it's good to know this is 1985 -- especially regarding the sudden influx of teen characters.

Thanks. Even though I barely remember writing that post I'm sure I must have done.



Brookside was the first soap to have them as proper characters back in '82 and of course they were brilliant - funny, smart, individual, real - but no-one really watched Brookside back then so its influence wasn't really felt until EastEnders in '85, and their kids were great too - broader than Brookie's, but still with bags of energy and personality.

Do you know, I don't know if that had consciously registered with me. Of course, it's blindingly obvious now that you've said it. I suppose pre-Brookie we hadGrange Hill (and of course, half of them seemed to end up in EastEnders) but it was Brookside and Enders that had young characters integrated in with the adult cast and written as people.



And then came Neighbours which was full of young things. It may have taken a little while, but certainly by Kylie and Henry's time, the Ramsay St kids were perky and bright and full of charm.

They certainly were. I was always fond of the bromance between young Danny Ramsay and the original, dark-haired Scott and their individual brooding in the first year of the show.



Interestingly, Coronation Street really lagged behind in this area. They struggled to move with the times in the '80s and none of their young characters -- Curly Watts, Terry Duckworth, Kevin and Sally, right up to Jenny Bradley and Martin Platt at the end of the '80s -- were exactly what you could call dynamic. I don't think it was until the MacDonald twins arrived in the early '90s that things started picking up on the Street, youth-wise.

Yes. The Eighties were funny times for Corrie in that regard. It's one of their most highly regarded eras, but it was also very uncool to admit to watching the show if you were under 30.



none of them - Andy, Brett, Colin, Sally - have a personality between them. They're all graduates of the Jeff O'Brien School of Timid Acting. In fact, they don't seem like actors at all, or even people who want to act. They're more like the shy kids at school whose mum suggested they do a bit og drama on Saturday mornings to help them socialise when they'd much rather be sat at in their bedrooms avoiding making eye contact with other human beings.

Ha ha. All spot on.

I'm slightly depressed just thinking of the classes offered at The Jeff O'Brien School Of Timid Acting.



There's a real frisson about soap characters going abroad to look for characters everyone thought weredead -- Jeff Colby in California, Christopher Ewing in Zurich, Pam and Sue Ellen in Hong Kong, and now these two. Bring on the clunky exposition and ceiling fans!

Too right. I don't know what it is about this kind of scenario that gets me in the gut, but it works every time. Kind of like thunderstorms and haunted houses.



(Ok so I've written this on Ye Olde iMac which won't let me post directly onto the forum, so I'm gonna have to email this to myself, then open it on my phone, and cut and paste it in sections onto the thread. I REALLY want my laptop back!)

Good grief. That's so convoluted I can't help wondering if somewhere Wayne Hamilton is looking at a schematic and smirking.
 
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