More TV Memories – Home And Away.

Home And Away (Seven, 1988-present)

It’s Australian soap time. When Seven dropped Neighbours after a short while, only to see it picked up by rival channel Ten where it became a big success, they began to regret the decision, and decided that it was about time to launch a new mainstream soap that would fill the gap. So after some thinking, Home And Away was created, and much to their relief it did become a hit.

The show was set in the fictional town of Summer Bay in New South Wales. It originally concentrated on the foster home that was run by Pippa and Tom Fletcher. They took in various children who were tearaways or orphans and so on. Of course, they would then move on and be replaced by some more youngsters. This meant that the main core of the cast could always be about 16 years old, meaning that the show would always appeal to teenagers. vlcsnap-00486

So even though I watched it for a while, it probably isn’t a coincidence that I remember enjoying it most when I was in my mid-teens, and for about a year or two I did find the stories of characters including Shane, Angel, Shannon, Jack, and so on all rather interesting, I still remember them all these years later. This also meant that a pub wasn’t a regular feature, you’d be more likely to see people having a milkshake at The Bayside Diner. vlcsnap-00490

There were a few older cast members of course, including Mr Fisher who was the headmaster of the local school, and Alf, who was very grumpy, and is the only character who has been there since the first episode (which is now over 30 years, a record for an Australian TV series). Home And Away was shown in a primetime slot in Australia, the theme music was performed by Karen Boddington and Mark Williams (not that one) and was released as a single in the UK in September 1989, where it reached No. 73. vlcsnap-00488

The show came to ITV in an afternoon slot about a year after the launch in 1989, and the aim was clearly hoping that it would become their equivalent of Neighbours, even showing it twice a day. For a while it did succeed, with very good ratings, earning TV Times covers, and a few episodes were made on location in the UK. It’s a difficult choice to make, but this is among my favourite of the imported soaps from the 80s and 90s. There were also annuals released, along with a few classic episodes on DVD. annual0001

By 2000, ITV had been showing Home And Away for over a decade, and interest had begun to wane. It was then poached by Channel 5, who showed their first episode in July 2001, and it remains there to this day. There have now been over 7,000 episodes. There were also repeats on UK Living and ITV2, where some mid-90s episodes were shown around 2000 for some reason, but it was good seeing my favourite era again. five0001

The YouTube Files – A Night Down Under.

A Night Down Under (ITV, 1997)

This is a collection of programmes and adverts that caught my interest. This is because they are from A Night Down Under, a special theme night that was shown on ITV around midnight-6am on 26 January 1997 to celebrate Australia Day. These clips were recorded in the ITV Central region and uploaded to YouTube by “Axion”, and I remember that I recorded some of this night myself (in the LWT region), here are some of the highlights. vlcsnap-00043

Inbetween the shows we had an insight into Australian life as we said G’day to presenter Jonathan Coleman who was also on Virgin Radio at the time (and I think I’m right in saying he was actually born in Hackney, which definitely isn’t in Australia), and throughout the night there was a chance to see some of the culture along with some TV shows that are popular down under. vlcsnap-00030

As it’s past midnight, we begin with the famous advert for Chat Back, that must have been shown on every other break on ITV night time from about 1993 to 2000. “0891 50 50 50” indeed. This service may involve a long call. Adverts also include Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (that sounds like it’s voiced by Chris Evans), and the MFI sale. But it’s not even Boxing Day! vlcsnap-00046

Then there’s an advert that I can’t help think has been deliberately placed here as it’s for Foster’s, during the time that it was advertised by the Aussie duo Roy and HG. I think I’m right in saying that not long after this they got their own comedy show that was only shown in the ITV Anglia region at around midnight, so if you live and Norwich and like gags about Vegemite you’re in luck. “Tickle it you wrigglers!” is also a catchphrase that was probably said by no-one ever. vlcsnap-00048

Also featuring is Peperami, excitement as News Of The World has a free gift of a poster of that bloke off EastEnders, and what must be about the 100th advert for Flash with Karl Howman, it does the tough bits so you don’t have to. Following a few more adverts (but none for Kanga Brew unfortunately), we have a mishap as instead of going into the next show, we get some colour bars on screen instead. vlcsnap-00112

Eventually it turns up though, and it’s Shark Bay, a parody of Australian soaps, including Shane off Home And Away, how amusing. After a break including another advert for Foster’s, we go into what was one of the highlights of the night for me, and the reason that I set the video. It’s the first ever episode of soap Home And Away from 1988! This ran on ITV from 1989-2000, before moving to Channel 5 in 2001 where it remains to this day. vlcsnap-00118

After a few more adverts (including Chat Back yet again Kellogg’s Frosted Wheats), we see the thrilling cliffhanger at the end of Home And Away, I can’t wait for the next episode. We then meet a few more people having a boogie with Jono, but this is where the video ends, so we don’t get to see the rest of the night which included a concert from Crowded House in Sydney, an episode of Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, and some rugby highlights.