All Together Now was an Australian sitcom that was broadcast on Nine Network between 1991 and 1993. 

The premise involved an aging rocker (Jon English) trying to maintain his music career while living with his son and daughter. For an undetermined number of initial episodes filmed prior to public broadcast, the show title was “Rhythm and Blues” and had a different theme song.

At the 1992 Logie Awards, the show and its actors were nominated for four awards:

The show (Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Program)

Rebecca Gibney (Most Popular Actress, and Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Female Performer)

Jon English (Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Male Performer)

The show was also nominated at the 1993 Logie Awards, again for Most Popular Comedy Program, as was Jon English for Most Popular Comedy Personality.

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“Attack on the Gold Escort” is a 1911 Australian silent film.  Directed by Pathe Frere, and shot on location in Geelong.  The film was released on the 19th of June 1911.  Sadly all known copies of the film no longer exists.

The film was described as “an Exciting and Thrilling Reproduction of Australian Early Days. A vivid portrayal of bush adventure around Geelong and filmed “at the exact spot where the incident happened.”

The Kapunda Herald stated the film “portrayed the terrors of the road, during the time when bushranging was rife, in a vivid and realistic manner.”

The film starts at the Bank of Australasia at 2 Malone St, Geelong, before the gold escort is pursued down the Fyansford Hill by the bushrangers. 

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Anzacs was a 5-part Australian television miniseries set in World War I. The series follows the lives of a group of young Australian men who enlist in the 8th Battalion of the First Australia Imperial Force in 1914. 

The series follows in the wake of Australian New Wave war films such as Breaker Morant (1980), Gallipoli (1981), and precedes The Lighthorseman (1987).

Recurring themes of these films include the Australian identity, such as mateship and larrikinism, the loss of innocence in war, and also the continued coming of age of the Australian nation and its soldiers.

Directed by Pino Amenta, John Dixon and George Miller for Channel Nine with a budget of A$8,196,000 and took 20 week to film.  The series aired on the 27th of October 1985. 

The series starts in Western District of Victoria in 1914. Martin Barrington (Andrew Clarke), the son of a wealthy British-born land-owner Sir Rupert Barrington (Vincent Ball) and his wife Lady Thea Barrington (Ilona Rodgers), returns home early from university studies with plans to move north to the family’s Queensland property in a bid to up the quality of their livestock.

His best friend, stockman Dick Baker (Mark Hembrow), initially agrees to move with him, but later wants to enlist to fight in the Great War which has just begun in Europe, and Martin agrees to follow (after turning down a commission as 2nd lieutenant in his father’s old British rifle regiment), joined by Dick’s sister (and Martin’s childhood sweetheart) Kate, who will become an army nurse.

The two friends enlist and they form part of the 8th Battalion.  Other members of the battalion include quiet and studious Roly Collins (Christopher Cummins), Englishman Bill Harris, cynical, wise-cracking drover Pat Cleary (Paul Hogan) and the Danish-born Johansen brothers Erik (Karl Hansen) and Karl (Tony Cornwill).

The men train in Australia and Egypt, before take part in the Allied invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli on the 25th of April. The platoon experience the harsh and bloody campaign and the appalling conditions, suffering heavy casualties. Both of the Johansen brothers are killed on the first day and Martin is badly wounded that night. 

By 1916 The platoon, reformed with many new faces, arrives in France. Amongst the new members are German-born Wilhelm ‘Kaiser’ Schmidt, unpopular Dinny ‘Dingo’ Gordon, slow-witted ‘Pudden’ Parsons, quiet Lewis-Gunner ‘Bluey’ and cheerful Privates Upton and Morrissey.

Pat Cleary soon proves himself an expert ‘scrounger’ of luxury goods, and he and Madame, a local cafe-owner, run a thriving business built on, amongst other things, stolen liquor originally bound for General Haig.

In London, Australian journalist Keith Murdoch, who had been at Gallipoli, meets with British War Secretary Lloyd George who has a dislike of British Army commander Douglas Haig.

The platoon are sent into a ‘Nursery’ sector of the Western Front to break them into trench warfare. During a raid on the German lines, Morrissey is killed and combat-fatigued Sgt McArthur freezes in terror and Martin leads the mission, even though McArthur is given credit for it.

In July, the platoon take part in the bloody Somme Campaign, attacking the French village of Pozières. The attack breaks down in confusion and Armstrong is hesitant and in-decisive, forcing Martin and Flanagan to assume leadership roles.

Behind the lines, Haig coldly informs Murdoch that the Germans have concentrated all of their reserve artillery on the Pozières sector in an effort to contain the Australians, who are the only ones to reach all of their objectives.

The platoon suffers heavy losses, mostly from shelling. Private Upton is killed trying to warn the platoons relief from a trench which enemy artillery had targeted, and Roly Collins nearly goes insane from shell-shock.

After a long battle, the dazed and traumatized survivors stagger back to the rear. Later that year, the platoon are sent back into the Somme sector, now bogged down in the cold and mud of winter.

Back in Australia, the debate over whether to introduce conscription causes bitter political and social divisions which will resonate for decades to come.

Reverend Lonsdale draws the ire of his parish for daring to question the conscription proposal and the conduct of the war. Pompous Australian politician, “Would to God” Cyril Earnshaw pressures his timid librarian son Max into enlisting.

In one episode, an Australian soldier remarks how much the French countryside reminds him of Daylesford back home in Victoria, Australia. This was an in-joke as some scenes were filmed near Daylesford, including the German counter-attack scene in episode 4.

The surviving veterans reunite in their local town back in Australia for the unveiling of the new war memorial to the fallen. Kate and Flanagan are now a couple and are business partners with the enterprising Cleary providing the capital.

Roly Collins is set to become a journalist working for Sir Keith Murdoch. Harris, Kaiser and Bluey also attend, as does a fragile Armstrong who now resides in a rest home and Max Earnshaw, now permanently blind and in charge of the State Braille Library, while his politician father, “Would to God” Earnshaw, once so in favour of the war was now annoyed at having to attend memorials in his electorate since it did little to further his political career.

At the memorial Reverend Lonsdale reads a moving tribute to the Anzacs, Roly reads the fourth stanza of the Ode of Remembrance, and then Martin’s mother and Dick’s mother lay wreaths at the foot of the memorial. As a bugler plays, the scene dissolves to the green fields of the Somme in the present day.

The series was well noted for its humour and historical accuracy, and was a huge rating success for the Nine Network when it aired.  According to the review by James Anthony: “The battle scenes are terrific and the muddy trenches of the Western Front look acceptably cold and horrible.

Some of the acting goes a bit astray and there is sometimes a bit too much play on larrikinism and ockerness, but overall it sits well as a quality drama with good characters.”

Interesting note many of the extras playing the roles of Allied, American, and German soldiers were serving members of the Australian Army. This was done to keep costs down so that actors did not have to learn how to act as soldiers or to have to teach them how to use the weapons.

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Any Questions for Ben? is a 2012 Australian comedy film created by Working Dog Productions, directed by Rob Sitch. It stars Josh Lawson, Rachael Taylor, Felicity Ward, Daniel Henshall, and Christian Clark. It was written by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Rob Sitch.

The plot revolves around a high-flying Melbourne-based brand manager Ben (Josh Lawson) who returns to his old high school to talk to students about careers.

Ben reunites with former students, including international human rights lawyer Alexis (Rachael Taylor), now working with the United Nations in Yemen, and Olympic archery medallist Jim (Ed Kavalee).

Ben soon realises that compared to the other speakers, no one is interested in what a brand manager does, and when questions are asked for, all are directed at the other presenters, while Ben gets none. 

This causes Ben to begin to consider the meaning behind his current lifestyle, and commences a year-long reevaluation of his priorities, looking in all the wrong places, but ultimately involving the gradual pursuit of Alexis as a serious love interest for the first time in his life.

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Angry Boys is a television mockumentary series written and starring Chris Lilley.

Filmed in a similar style to his previous series Summer Heights Hights and We Can Be Heroes. 

In Angry Boys, Lilley plays multiple characters: S.mouse, an American rapper; Jen, a manipulative Japanese mother; Blake Oakfield, a champion surfer; Ruth “Gran” Sims, a guard at a juvenile detention facility; and her teenage grandsons, twins Daniel and Nathan Sims.

The series was a co-production between the Australian ABC and US cable channel HBO, with a pre-sale to BBC Three in the United Kingdom.

Filmed in Victoria, South Australia, Los Angeles and Tokyo, Angry Boys premièred on the 11th of May 2011 at 9:00 pm on ABC1.

More than 3,500 people auditioned for roles, both actors and non-actors from Australia and overseas to find a wide range of looks, attitudes, races and ages for 89 main roles and 1,228 extras. 

Angry Boys was filmed over seven months in more than 70 locations across Australia, Los Angeles and Tokyo. 

The Sims family is the backbone of the series that incorporates Daniel and Nathan’s heroes, including S.mouse and Blake Oakfield, the characters who were inspired by Lilley’s conversations with teens across Australia. “I met with teens in country towns and they had hero worship-like posters of pop culture figures, skaters, surfers and sports people as well as naked girls and that gave me the idea to jump into the premise for the show,” he says.

The premiere episode of Angry Boys achieved an audience of 1,368,000, and was the most popular ABC program for 2011.  The show also aired in Germany, Sweden, U.K., USA, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Czech Republic.

The theme music for the show was written and produced by Lilley. Bryony Marks helped Lilley arrange the music and produced all the incidental music in it.

It was recorded over a number of sessions with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, with Lilley on grand piano. Lilley also wrote and produced all the songs for the series, recording them in his home studio. 

Following the the last episode on the 27th of July 2011, the series’ soundtrack was released the next day. It featured seventeen of S.mouse’s songs, as well as the Angry Boys opening theme song, which made number 9 on the ARIA Urban Albums Chart.

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Angel Baby is a 1995 Australian drama film written and directed by Michael Rymer. The film was produced in 1993–94 with a budget of A$3.5 million. 

The film is a love story of two people with schizophrenia.  Although the film did not do well at the box office the film swept the boards at the 1995 AFI Awards winning all the major categories as well as several major international film festivals.

Angel Baby tells the story of Harry (John Lynch) and Kate (Jacqueline McKenzie), who meet at an outpatient clinic in Melbourne for mental patients. 

Harry falls instantly for Kate when he sees her at the clinic, but she doesn’t hang around with psychos, she tells him, but her feelings change when she receives a sign from her guardian angel, named Astral.

His method of communication is the Australian version of “Wheel of Fortune.” As the letters are turned over and the underlying phrases are revealed, Kate takes careful notes; she learns she’s pregnant, for example, when the Australian version of Vanna White turns over letters spelling out “Great Expectations.”

She believes it is Astral who is residing in her womb.  She and Harry decide to move in together, despite the reservations of Harry’s protective brother Morris (Colin Friels) and his wife Louise (Deborra-Lee Furness).

Harry gets a job in a computer firm, they set up house and Kate becomes pregnant and seem for a time to be blessed with each other, and who then make the mistake of growing overconfident and discontinuing their medication, the results are disastrous, with both ending up back in hospital.

Harry re-stabilises himself, then rescues Kate from the mental ward. They hide in a tall building site and wait for their baby – called Astral – to enter the world.

This film is important as shows what it takes to overcome a mental illness and what affects they can have on your life and those around you. 

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All the Rivers Run II is an Crawford Production television 2 part miniseries which aired on Channel Seven on the 18th of March 1990.

Starring John Waters and actress Nikki Coghill who replaced Sigrid Thornton in the leading role.

The miniseries follows on where Nancy Cato 1958 novel, Australian historical finishes. The series was directed by John Power. 

Series II takes up the story of Delie (Nikki Coghill) and Brenton Edwards (John Waters) at the turn of the century, at a moment when bad times have struck the once thriving river boat trade.

New roads and railway lines threaten the very existence of the grand old paddle steamers of the Murray and striking shearers threaten the lives of their crews.

Into the explosive situation walks Cyrus James (Parker Stevenson), a charming, but mysterious overseas entrepreneur. He is immediately attracted to Delie, but backs off when he encounters Brenton.

The three become close to friends. Trying to mediate in the dispute between the shearers and the riverboat skippers, Brenton is framed on a charge of seriously injuring a local businessman Arthur Blackwell (Tim Robertson).

He is sentenced to imprisonment in Melbourne.  Without Brenton, Delie is faced with a custody battle over her children and the not altogether unwanted attentions of Cyrus. 

Alone she must fight to keep her family and the riverboat “Philadelphia”.  In a desperate attempt to help her, Brenton escapes. When trying to reach his children, a waiting policeman, the same man in the employ of the wealthy squatters who framed Brenton in the first place, shoots Brenton. 

Brenton disappears in the murky waters of the swollen River Murray, leaving only a trail of blood behind.  All the Rivers Run II has all the romance, adventure and even more intrigue than its internationally successful predecessor.

The series was shot on location in Echuca as well as locations in Melbourne.  The paddle steamer PS Pevensey was filmed as the PS Philadelphia. 

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All the Rivers Run is a Crawford Production television 4 part miniseries which aired on Channel Seven on the 4th of October 1983.

Starring Sigrid Thornton and John Waters. The miniseries is based on the Australian historical novel by Nancy Cato, first published in 1958.

The series was directed by George Miller and Pino Amenta with a budget of $3 million. The series was a massive ratings success in Australia and was sold to over 70 countries around the world.

The mini-series is marketed with the tagline A sweeping saga of one woman’s struggle for survival.

The plot starts with a storm off the Victorian coast in 1890, a young English girl Philadelphia Gordon (Sigrid Thornton) was shipwrecked and orphaned.

Rescued by the only other survivor of the wreck Tom Gritchley (Gus Mercurio), the girl is taken in care by her Uncle Charles (Charles Tingwell).

Known as Delie she is an energetic and high-spirited girl who wants to paint, and not conform. She finds it difficult to understand why her Aunt Hester (Dinah Shearing), a tart and unsmiling woman, seeks to impose her ideas of womanhood, femininity, even good housekeeping on a girl who needs nothing more than the freedom to lead her own life.

It is her cousin, Adam (William Upjohn), who truly awakens in Delie the feelings of young womanhood. Tom, the seaman who rescued Delie, arrives in Echuca on a paddle steamer he bought with his reward.

It is the beginning for Delie of a remarkable ten years in her life. Her investment of part of her inheritance in the riverboat is, without her knowing it, the first step towards a turbulent marriage to a riverboat man and, indeed, to the boats who ply their great trade along the mighty, unpredictable and perilous river.

In a riverboat ceremony, Delie marries Brenton Edwards (John Waters), a cavalier riverman, who wins and loses the girl on their way to the alter.

Their years together are as unpredictable as the river, and more than once Delie is attracted to bohemian Melbourne, and the patronage of Alistair Raeburn (Adrian Wright), the gentleman art critic, who falls in love with his protégé.

Yet Delie remains magnetically drawn to Brenton and the river, the crew of their paddle-steamer Philadelphia, and the river community of Echuca, friends like Bessie Griggs (Constance Landsberg), a merchant’s daughter, and George Blakeney (Don Barker), the bluff rival riverboat captain.

Their community has grown from the 1850’s when it was merely a river crossing, established by Henry Hopwood, an English convict.

Mobs of cattle and sheep were driven across the Murray at Echuca on their way to the stockyards at Melbourne. Proudly, Delie and Brenton race the Philadelphia in dangerously narrow waters, and for a wager they cannot afford. They dare the Darling River in drought, a dash which could go for nearly 1000 miles across outback New South Wales, in the hope that rains will wash down from Queensland and allow their escape.

In tinderbox conditions, they survive a fire which all but bankrupts them. They have a son, in a way many women did at the time…on the riverbank, in circumstances far removed from Echuca, when hardened riverman became midwives.

Brenton turns against the law to find a way out of their financial maze, and the couple part before coming together again. Brenton is critically injured in a riverboat accident. It inspires Delie to turn her talents towards being a riverboat captain, to winning her own Master’s Ticket. 

The series was shot on location in Echuca as well as locations in Melbourne.  The paddle steamer PS Pevensey was filmed as the PS Philadelphia. 

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Alvin Rides Again is a 1974 Australia sex-comedy film sequel to Alvin Purple. It was directed by David Bilcock and Robin Copping, who were regular collaborators with Tim Burstall. It was rated M unlike its predecessor which was rated R. Alvin Rides Again still features a lot of full frontal nudity. And like the prequel was written by Alan Hopgood, with a budget of $300,000 Australian dollars. 

The premise of the movie is that Alvin Purple (Graeme Blundell) is unable to hold down a job because of his appeal to women. He and his friend Spike Dooley (Alan Finney) help a team of women cricketers win a match by playing in drag, and decide to spend their share of the prize money in a casino. Alvin discovers he is identical in appearance to gangster Balls McGee. When Alvin Purple, is introduced to his doppelganger, Balls McGee, a gangster from America. The gangster wants to watch his favourite TV show – “Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo”, and sings along to the theme music.

Graeme Blundell plays both roles with surprising panache – all the more surprising considering that the screenwriters contrive to off the Balls McGee character almost immediately so that we can be subjected to some tedious switcheroo gags as police come looking for Balls, find Alvin, Alvin goes to get dressed up as Balls, returns. This is funny by default, apparently.

Supposedly there was less nudity this time around, which makes sense considering the intelligence that apparently went into the making of both films. The only reason anyone saw the original film was for the nudity, so why not include less nudity in this installment? 

There is also a bigger budget, though unless you pay close attention during the more boring moments, you might miss this. The original movie was a big success in Australia, so of course the sequel has to have something to show for it…

The answer is, a pointless car chase at the end of the movie, featuring a car with guns mounted to the side. I don’t know if the driver was ever introduced, or if reasons were ever given for why he wants to kill Alvin, but no matter. The chase scene is as tedious as it is pointless, and it features two explosions – so THAT’s where the money went! – and ends in the surprisingly violent death of an innocent bystander. Yes, this is the sort of comedy where men impersonate women without shaving moustaches and sideburns and yet fool everybody, people run in and out of rooms chasing each other in fast forward while zany music plays, dwarven actors have their voices dubbed to make them sound as high pitched as possible, and forklift operators are violently machine-gunned to death. One of these things is not like the other.

Some comedies are so witless that they approach surrealism. “Alvin Rides Again” doesn’t quite reach that level, for while the violence is bizarre and completely out of place, its presence as an afterthought simply suggests the writers had no idea what to do with the budget they had or the movie they had to make. It is also portrayed so unrealistically that you could miss it pretty easily. There is, after all, perhaps the least painful meat cleaver to the face shot I have ever seen in a movie.

Tim Burstall, Alan Hopgood and Graeme Blundell weren’t particularly interested in making a sequel to Alvin Purple but the film was so successful, Hexagon Productions wanted a follow up. Blundell wanted to avoid being typecast so a story was created which gave him a chance to play a double role. Burstall, who claims he wrote most of the script with Al Finney, says that: When it came to the crunch, Blundell failed to differentiate between paying Balls and playing Alvin pretending to be Balls. In my view, the film fails for precisely that reason, i.e. Alvin is lost.

Alvin Rides Again was the recipient of some more controversy when it was released but was only rated M. It did not perform as well as its predecessor but still grossed $600,000 by the end of 1977 and ended up taking $1,880,000 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $12,690,000 in 2009 dollars.

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Alvin Purple is an 1973 Australian comedy film written by Alan Hopgood and directed by Tim Burstall for Hexagon Productions at a cost of $202,000 Australian dollars.   Filming and was shot on location in Melbourne over five and a half weeks in March and April of 1973.  

The film is a sex farce which follows the misadventures of a naïve young Melbourne man Alvin Purple, whom women find irresistible. Working in door to door sales, Alvin (unsuccessfully) tries to resist legions of women who want him.

Alvin is so worn-out he seeks psychiatric help to solve his problems. His psychiatrist is, of course, a woman. Alvin ultimately falls in love with the one girl who doesn’t throw herself at him. She becomes a nun, and Alvin ends up a gardener in the convent’s gardens.

Hopgood originally wrote Alvin Purple for the English production company Tigon Films, but they turned it down.  Hopgood’s story was originally half comic, half serious, and Burstall originally envisioned it as a 20-minute section of a multi story picture. However he then decided to make the story strictly comic and expand it to feature length. Burstall says he rewrote much of Hopgood’s script, adding many chases and the water bed sequence, and turning Dr McBurney (George Whaley)

figure into a sex maniac. The original script played more emphasis on the relationship between Alvin (Graeme Blundell) and his virginal girlfriend but this was cut in the final film.

The budget was provided by Hexagon, half from Roadshow, half from Burstall, Bilcock and Copping – apart from a short-term loan from the Australian Film Development Corporation, which was repaid before the film’s release. 

Tim Burstall remembers his choice of cast Graeme Blundell in the lead:

I remember Bourkie [Roadshow executive Graham Burke] saying, ‘You’ve got to cast somebody like Jack Thompson.’ I said, ‘Absolutely not. You’ve got to cast somebody who wouldn’t, on the surface, seem a stud or even particularly attractive’. I actually thought that Alvin wasn’t, that the comic element was connected with having a Woody Allen or a Dustin Hoffman figure who is not very obviously sexually attractive, and the girls rushing him. This becomes much funnier than if he was a stud figure.

The film was released on the 20th of December 1972 and received largely negative reviews from local film critics. Despite this it was a major hit with Australian audiences. Alvin Purple became the most commercially successful Australian film released to that time, breaking the box office record set by Michael Powell’s pioneering Anglo-Australian comedy feature They’re a Weird Mob (1966).  The film made $4,720,000 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $36,721,600 in 2009 dollars. This is 7th highest grossing Australian film of all time when adjusted for inflation.

A 1974 film sequel Alvin Rides Again toned-down the sex scenes and nudity, adding more camp comedy. This was followed by a 1976 ABC comedy television series titled Alvin Purple. Blundell reprised the title role in both, as well as in the 1984 movie Melvin, Son of Alvin.

The score and title theme were composed by iconic Australian singer-songwriter Brian Cadd.

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Against the Wind is a 1978 historical drama television mini-series based on the British rule of Ireland and the transportation of convicts to New South Wales. The  production was the most challenging historical series to be produced for television in Australian at the time.

The show was produced by Crawford Productions and Pegasus Productions and ran for 13 episodes, first airing on the 12th of September to the 31st of October 1978, on the HSV7 Seven Network. The series was the idea of Bronwyn Binns, who had grown up in President Road, Kellyville, New South Wales, where she had found old convict remnants on the family property. Kellyville is not far from the site of the colonial Vinegar Hill uprising also known as the Castle Hill convict rebellion. 

“As a child one heard stories of the convict days and the Castle Hill Rebellion’, Bronwyn Binns recalls. ‘I used to play among some old stone ruins near an orchard, where an iron ring was set in a crumbling wall. I now believe that this was all that remained of the Castle Hill prison farm”. She remembers her father working on their house at Kellyville and discovering some very old brickwork. On one of the bricks was the mark of a broad arrow. “During my research for ‘Against the Wind’, I discovered that the original house on the site had been visited by the Castle Hill rebels the night of the uprising”, she said.

Bronwyn worked as a researcher at Crawford Productions in Melbourne and had developed the project over a number of months,  Bronwyn teamed up with Crawford’s colleague Ian Jones and presented it to Channel Seven, who agreed to finance a series. The series was directed by George Miller and Simon Wincer. 

Set in Australia’s colonial era between 1798–1812, the series follows the life of Mary Mulvane (Mary Larkin), a daughter of an Irish school master. At 18, Mary is transported to New South Wales for a term of seven years after attempting to take back her family’s milk cow which had been seized by the British “in lieu of tithes” to the local proctor. Mary endures the trial of a convict sea journey to New South Wales and years of service as a convict before her emancipation and life as a free citizen. During the journey out she makes a lifelong friend of fellow Irish convict, Polly McNamara (Kerry McGuire), and in the course of the series we see their friendship continue, Polly’s relationship and life with taverner Will Price (Frank Gallacher) develop, and Mary’s relationship with Jonathon Garrett (Jon English) a fellow convict grow, leading to eventual marriage when both have served their term. Together they face the difficulties of establishing a farm and a young family in the new country, and must deal with the tyranny of the corrupt military running the colony.

The series was filmed at Old Sydney Town near Gosford, and at Belgrave Heights, Warrandyte, Colac, Geelong and Emu Bottom homestead at Sunbury.  It had a budget of over a million dollars. The series was a large ratings success, being the second most popular show on Australia in 1978, being seen by 2,174,000 people in four cities and was the first major Australian TV production to be broadcast in the United States market.

Further success was at the 1979 Logie Awards where Jon English won the “Best New Talent” for his role in the miniseries as “Jonathan Garrett”. 

A soundtrack for the series was released by Polydor Records, and the song Six Ribbons written by Jon English was released as a single. Six Ribbons entered the Kent Music Report on the 5th of December 1978, before peaking at number 5 on the Australian charts in 1979. The song peaked at number 1 in Norway and 10 in Sweden in December 1981.

Channel Seven released a remarkable 70-page book relating to Against the Wind, comprising historical background notes, character biographies, and the detailed storylines with drawings of props and costumes.

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A Country Practice was a television serial drama that ran on the Seven Network for 1,058 episodes at 7.30 pm Monday and Tuesday nights, from 18 November 1981 to 22 November 1993. 

Production was filmed both at ATN-7 at Epping, Sydney and on locations at Pitt Town and Oakville on the outskirts of Northwest Sydney. Several of the regular cast members became highly popular celebrities through their roles in the series. It also featured a number of native Australian animals adding to its enduring appeal both domestically and internationally. After the series was cancelled by the Seven Network in 1993 a reworked version of the series ran briefly on Network Ten and filmed on location at Emerald in Victoria, airing in 1994. 

The series followed the workings of a small hospital in the fictional rural country town of Wandin Valley as well as its connected medical clinic, the town’s veterinary surgery, RSL club/pub and local police station. The show’s storylines focused on the staff, and regular patients of the hospital and general practice, their families, and other residents of the town. Through its weekly guest actors, who appeared in the series portrayed differing characters, it explored various social and medical problems. The series examined such topical issues as youth unemployment, suicide, drug addiction, and terminal illness, as well as Aborigines and their importance in modern Australian society. Apart from its regular rotating cast, mainly among the younger personnel, A Country Practice also had a cast of semi-regulars who would make appearances as the storylines permitted. One of the more popular and frequent characters from its inception included the valley’s corrupt town councillor Alfred Muldoon (Brian Moll). 

The program as well would also showcase a number of animal stars and Australian native wildlife, most famously Fatso the wombat. Fatso was played throughout the series by three separate wombats, Fatso (1981–1986) replaced due to temperament issues with the cast, George (1986–1990) replaced due to early signs of wombat mange (a marsupial viral disease), and Garth (1990 through series end).  Originally “belonged” to Dr Simon Bowen but Shirley and Frank Gilroy took him in when Simon and Vicky moved to the U. S.

Iconic storylines over its lengthy 12-year run included the wedding of Dr. Simon Bowen, to local vet Vicki Dean, in 1983, and the later wedding of Dr. Terence Elliot to Matron Rosemary Prior amidst the series’ bushfire scenes that marked the final episodes. The death of nurse Donna Manning in a car crash, the off-screen death of longtime resident Shirley Gilroy in a plane crash, as well as the final undoing of town councillor Alfred Muldoon, which were highly watched. 

The highest rating episode however featured the death of beloved farmer Molly Jones from leukemia in 1985. After being diagnosed, receiving treatment and battling the terminal illness, Molly retires to her garden, watching her husband nurse Brenden and young daughter Chloe flying a kite and passes away peacefully as the screen fades to black. Molly’s death storyline was originally written for an 11-week script, but producers realized that her death was proposed in a week the ratings were not being monitored, hence the storyline lasted 13 weeks and an extra two episodes.

In 1994 the series briefly returned for 30 more episodes with Robyn Sinclair and James Davern as Executive Producers on the Ten Network but with wholesale changes made to the format and the location change from New South Wales to Victoria and the only original cast members to return were Esme Watson (Joyce Jacobs) and Matron Margaret “Maggie” Sloan (Joan Sydney) the show never really stood a chance, it went to just one episode per week, before being cancelled altogether.

Over A Country Practice 13 year run the show became renowned for its long list of guest cameos, totalling over 1000 stars.  Some actors became more prominent during the series runs, and were classified as semi-regulars, appearing as the storyline permitted, such as Baz Luhrmann, Smokey Dawson, John Meillon, Sir Robert Helpmann, Nicole Kidman, Paul Kelly, Toni Collette, Delta Goodrem, Peter Phelps and Simon Baker. At the program’s height even the then Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, appeared as himself.

When filming finished in 1994, A Country Practice was the longest running Australian drama. At its height the show attracted 8–10 million viewers weekly, when the population of the time was a mere 15 million, and was eventually sold to 48 countries.  A Country Practice is also the third most successful television program in the history of the Logie Awards, after Home and Away (1st) and Neighbours (2nd), having won 29 awards during its twelve years of production.

James Davern creator, writer and original executive producer of A Country Practice was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame in 1991 and was honoured as an Order of Australia recipient in 2014.  A Country Practice was ranked 14th in the 50 Years 50 Shows poll in 2005. Read more