Rafferty's Rules

Rafferty's Rules is an Australian television drama series which ran from 1987 to 1991 on the Seven Network.

Rafferty's Rules
Created byBen Lewin
StarringJohn Wood
Simon Chilvers
Arky Michael
Terry Serio
Andrew McFarlane
Catherine Wilkin
Katy Brinson
Lisa Crittenden
Mouche Phillips
Country of originAustralia
No. of episodes86
Running time50 minutes
Original networkSeven Network
Original release12 February 1987 (1987-02-12) –
2 February 1991 (1991-02-02)

The producers of the series were Posie Graeme-Evans (1987–1988), and Denis Phelen. The directors were Graham Thorburn, Mike Smith and Russell Webb. The writers were David Allen, John Upton, Tim Gooding and David Marsh.[1]

Rafferty's Rules was one of the first programs undertaken by the Seven Network's then new in-house drama unit, going into production in May 1985 as "a 15-part courtroom drama". The program had started out as a pilot episode, recorded in early 1984 with the actor Chris Haywood in the lead role. When the pilot episode was remounted later in 1984, Chris Haywood wasn't available and the lead role was re-cast to John Wood. This second recording was eventually broadcast as the program's first episode. Initially it was hoped that the program would make its debut during the 1985 ratings season and there was an option to extend the series to 26 episodes if the initial response was positive.[2]

By mid-1986, the media was asking questions as to why the series, "which had more pilots than TAA [a large airline at the time]", had yet to appear. On Sunday 15 June 1986, The Sun-Herald TV Guide said, "The series was made last year and scripting of a new series has almost been completed".[3]

Rafferty's Rules eventually debuted on the Seven Network in February 1987.

The series was also shown in New Zealand on TV3 in 1989, and in the UK on Satellite channel Lifestyle in 1991. In New Zealand, it was shown Fridays at 9:30pm. In the UK, it was shown daily at 14:00.

In Australia, the series was last replayed nationally at 3pm weekdays in 2006 on the Seven Network, although not entirely. Prior to that, Seven broadcast the series at the 10-11am weekday timeslot in the late 1990's. More recently, the series was available on the 7Plus 'on-demand' service.


John Wood received the Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actor in both 1988 and 1989, and Catherine Wilkin received the Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actress in 1988.[4][5]

Rafferty's Rules was named Best Drama Series at the 1988 Penguin Awards, while Peter Carroll won Best Actor in a Series and Michael Cove won Best Scriptwriter for Drama Series.[6]


Michael Aloysius Rafferty, who is a Stipendiary Magistrate, drives to work in an old blue VW Kombi van. He owns a cat named Rhubarb.

Rafferty is separated from his wife, with whom he had two children (a son and a daughter).

Rafferty also has an older daughter, Rebecca Browning, who is in her early twenties — and of whose existence he was unaware until she contacted him after she had grown up (Rebecca's mother is a woman who Michael Rafferty had known before he met his wife, and who he had not seen since his marriage).

Rafferty also has a brother, Patrick Rafferty, who is a State Member of Parliament.


Guest starsEdit

Series locationEdit

The series is based at a Magistrates' Court in Manly (a Sydney beachside suburb), over which Michael Rafferty presided.


"Rafferty's Rules" is also an Australian and New Zealand colloquialism which means "No rules".


  1. ^ "The Australian Film and Television Companion" — compiled by Tony Harrison — Simon & Schuster Australia, 1994
  2. ^ http://archives.smh.com.au/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=Master&BaseHref=SMH/1985/01/27&PageLabelPrint=&EntityId=Ar05701&ViewMode=HTML Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ http://archives.smh.com.au/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Search&Key=SMH/1986/06/15/122/Ar12200.xml&CollName=SMH_1986_1990&DOCID=145834&PageLabelPrint=&skin=&RefineQueryView=&StartFrom=%31%34%35&ViewMode=HTML
  4. ^ 1988 Logie Awards
  5. ^ 1989 Logie Awards Archived 2010-12-19 at WebCite
  6. ^ Hook, Barbara (21 November 1988). "Doogue aside, Penguins look good". The Age. Retrieved 4 February 2021 – via Newspapers.com. 
  7. ^ imdb

External linksEdit