60 years of Australian TV

Blue Heelers is an Australian police drama series that ran for 12 years, from 1994 to 2006, and depicts the lives of police officers in Mount Thomas, a fictional small town in Victoria. Blue Heelers was first aired on 10 September 1993, with the episode “A Woman’s Place”. The last episode, aired on 4 June 2006, was the 510th episode, “One Day More”. It was produced by Southern Star for the Seven Network. During its 13-season run it won a total of 32 awards and was nominated for a further 50. This included 25 Logie Awards, five of which were the Gold Logie, the most coveted television award in Australia. As well as everyday policing matters, the series deals with many controversial and “touchy” subjects. The series was the first to examine the stressful world of young police officers who are “thrown into the deep end where they are left to sink or swim”. Police procedurals were enormously popular in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, but by the 1980s they had been replaced by home-grown soap operas and mini-series. Blue Heelers, however, was Australia’s most popular television drama while it lasted. The series drew more than 2.5 million viewers every week at its peak. Along with Homicide, Blue Heelers holds the Australian record for most episodes produced of a weekly prime-time drama. It was also nearly the longest-running series, but Homicide lasted one calendar month longer and, due to five feature-length episodes, had more time on air. Blue Heelers has also gained recognition in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and other countries. It has been sold to 108 territories. Blue Heelers launched the careers of many Australian actors, such as Lisa McCune, Grant Bowler, Ditch Davey, Rachel Gordon, Tasma Walton, Charlie Clausen and Jane Allsop. While many of these actors are still best known for their work on Blue Heelers, some have gone on to bigger roles. Many other actors of today also appeared in guest roles, including Hugh Jackman, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Peter O’Brien and John Howard. John Wood and Julie Nihill remained with Blue Heelers during its entire 12-year run, portraying Senior Sergeant Tom Croydon and the publican Chris Riley respectively.