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SeaChange is an Australian television program that ran for 39 episodes from 1998 to 2000 on the ABC. It was created by Andrew Knight and Deborah Cox and starred Sigrid Thornton, David Wenham, William McInnes, John Howard, Tom Long, and Kerry Armstrong. The director was Michael Carson.

SeaChange
Also known asSeaChange: Paradise Reclaimed (2019)
GenreDrama
Created by
Written by
  • Andrew Knight
  • Deborah Cox
  • Doug MacLeod
  • Margaret Kelly
  • Max Dann
  • Elizabeth Coleman
  • Luke Devenish
Starring
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of series4
No. of episodes41 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Sue Masters (ABC)
  • Andrew Knight
  • Peter Beilby
  • Andrea Denholm
Producer(s)Sally Ayre-Smith
Production location(s)Victoria, Australia, New South Wales, Australia (various)
Production company(s)
Release
Original network

Laura Gibson (Sigrid Thornton), a high-flying city lawyer, is prompted to undergo a 'seachange' with her children Rupert and Miranda after her husband is arrested for fraud and is found to have had an affair with her sister. Laura becomes the magistrate for the small coastal town of Pearl Bay. With its many colourful characters, the town is isolated from the rest of the world since the local bridge was destroyed in one of the natural disasters common to Pearl Bay. Although they initially miss the city, the family comes to love the town and its people and spend more quality time with each other.

Contents

CastEdit

MainEdit

  • Sigrid Thornton as Laura Gibson
  • Cassandra Magrath / Brooke Satchwell as Miranda Gibson
  • David Wenham as Daniel Della Bosca ('Diver Dan') (Season 1-2): Diver Dan owns the local cafe/boat-shed. He is a quirky, red-headed fisherman who soon becomes Laura's love interest.
  • William McInnes as Max Connors (Season 2-3): A foreign correspondent who comes back to his hometown to enjoy the final days of his wife Elana's life there. She dies shortly after his arrival. Laura befriends him and romantic tensions quickly develop.
  • John Howard as Bob Jelly: The Mayor of Pearl Bay and local real estate agent, Bob has a reputation for sneaky and often illegal business deals which usually backfire.
  • Kerry Armstrong as Heather Jelly: Bob Jelly's loyal, affectionate wife. Armstrong proposed a change to the dynamic of the Jelly family, suggesting that they should love each other even if the rest of the town despised them.[1]
  • Kevin Harrington as Kevin Findlay
  • Kate Atkinson as Karen Miller (Season 1-3)
  • Tom Long as Angus Kabiri (Season 1-3)
  • Dan Wyllie as Ben Russo (Season 4-present)
  • Darren McMullen as Findlay Knox (Season 4-present)
  • Katrina Milosevic as Sergeant Anna Kazan (Season 4-present)
  • Kate Lister as Lillian Liano (Season 4-present)
  • Alex Tarrant as Zac Bell (Season 4-present)
  • Wayne Blair as Riley Bolt (Season 4-present)
  • Kamil Ellis as Stone Bolt (Season 4-present)

RecurringEdit

  • Bruce Alexander as Sergeant Graham Grey (Season 1-3)
  • Alan Cassell as Harold Fitzwalter (Season 1-3): Harold is the ex-Magistrate in Pearl Bay and is Meredith's lover. Together they had a child who they gave up for adoption. Later in the series they discover their daughter lives in Pearl Bay, and is a well-known figure in the town.
  • Paul English as Jack Gibson (Season 1)
  • Patrick Dickson as Jack Gibson (Season 2-3)
  • Jill Forster as Meredith Monahan (Season 1-3): Meredith runs the town's hotel and restaurant. She is locally renowned for her excellent memory of faces, names, dates, times and events, even decades later.
  • Alice Garner as Carmen 'Lois Lane' Blake (Season 1-3)
  • Christopher Lyons as Trevor Findlay (Season 1-3)
  • Kane McNay as Rupert Gibson (Season 1-3)
  • Georgina Naidu as Phrani Gupta (Season 2-present)
  • Cameron Nugent as Craig Jelly (Season 1-3)
  • Bryony Price as Jules Jelly (Season 1-3)
  • Brett Swain as Griff (Season 1-3)
  • Ella Newton as Stella Connors (Season 4-present)

Series overviewEdit

Season Episodes Originally aired Network
Season premiere Season finale
1 13 10 May 1998 2 August 1998 ABC
2 13 28 June 1999 19 September 1999
3 13 27 August 2000 25 November 2000
4 8 6 August 2019 Nine Network

PlotEdit

Season 1Edit

In the opening episode, "Something Rich and Strange", we are introduced to Laura Gibson, a high-flying corporate lawyer. In one day, her life falls apart: she loses out on a partnership at work, and discovers that her husband has been arrested for fraud and that her sister Trudi (Fiona Corke) is having an affair with him. On a whim, she takes a job as a magistrate in the small seaside town of Pearl Bay, where she once had a holiday with her family during happier times.

In Pearl Bay, she meets a cast of colourful characters: Meredith Monahan, the woman who can remember every single event that has happened in town during her lifetime; Meredith's longtime lover and town lawyer/drunk, Harold; strapping surfer and court clerk Angus; his girlfriend (and would-be fiancee), police officer Karen; her superior Sergeant Grey; unsophisticated caravan park manager and handyman, Kevin; Kevin's son Trevor; clever Indian shop-keeper Phrani, later to be Kevin's lover; local layabout Griff; Meredith's niece, the wandering Carmen; corrupt and scheming real estate agent and shire President Bob Jelly; his loyal trophy wife Heather; and their children Jules and Craig.

While Laura's children, Rupert and Miranda, struggle to get used to their new life, Laura attempts to fit in, despite their run-down house and the eccentric court cases. Both helping and hindering her is Diver Dan, the enigmatic cafe owner/ferryman/chef with no ambition but a curious and colourful past, with whom she soon strikes up a relationship.

The first series ends with a series of climaxes involving Carmen's pregnancy, the discovery of Meredith and Harold's long-lost daughter; and a turning point in Laura and Dan's relationship.

After a successful first series of 13 episodes, the ABC asked for more.

Season 2Edit

David Wenham opted not to renew his contract, so, two episodes into the second series, Diver Dan leaves Pearl Bay for the Galapagos Islands. In his place comes old friend Max Connors and wife Elena (Doris Younane). Max has much to deal with, having left the town years earlier and leaving his family. His wife's sudden death stuns the town. Storm damage in the aftermath of the first series means that Pearl Bay goes through serious trauma and things only get worse. Alison Whyte guest stars as a con artist who gets the better of Bob, and of the whole town. Heather bonds with her parents. Rupert's determination to get Laura back together with her ex-husband only meets with disaster. Later in the series, the town begins to speculate about Max and Laura's relationship, and the resulting confusion brings them closer.

Bucket's dog Alfonzo Dominico Jones dies mysteriously and eventually a swimming pool is named after him, in preference to the originally planned name, the 'Jelly Baby Bath', named after Pearl Bay's aforementioned mayor.

The ABC then commissioned a third season.

Season 3Edit

In the third season, the events of the show reach their climax. Laura decides not to take the step in her relationship with Max, propelling a despondent Max into Carmen's arms. An in-denial Laura turns to the sweet but dull Warwick (Shaun Micallef). Heather and Bob's separation is followed by his political demise. Meredith's health takes a turn for the worse. Mark Mitchell guest stars as Morton Tregonning, administrator for the recently sacked Port Deakin council, and his corruption pushes Bob to a decision: and he must choose whether to help the people of Pearl Bay, or ruin them once and for all.

The final episode, "Half-Life" (Episode 39), sees the town coming together to stop Tregonning's nuclear waste dumping, Miranda and Craig on trial, Laura's resignation, Karen and Angus' wedding, Meredith facing a life-and-death situation, Bob making a final decision about his future, and Max and Laura's relationship resolved in ways they couldn't have imagined.

Although the third series was successful in ratings terms, the creators decided to end the show to avoid becoming stale.

RevivalEdit

Season 4Edit

In October 2018, a fourth season was announced which will air on Nine Network, focusing on the relationships between Laura, Miranda, Miranda's daughter, and Laura's daughter by Max.[2]

FilmingEdit

 
The Barwon Heads boatshed, used as Diver Dan's home, circa 2007.

Filming was based at Barwon Heads, Victoria and St Leonards, Victoria, both locations being on the Bellarine Peninsula. A number of streets in the St Leonards Sea Change Estate have since been named to acknowledge some of the characters of the series. Many scenes were also filmed in Williamstown (a suburb of Melbourne), including the exterior of the Williamstown Life Saving Club, which became the court house of Pearl Bay.

Tours to see the locations where filming took place were popular in 2003.[3]

Recurring themesEdit

Shakespeare's play The Tempest is a clear influence on SeaChange, exemplified by the episode titles "Something Rich and Strange" and "Full Fathom Five", and by Miranda's name, as well as frequent freak weather events.[4]

SeaChange was often compared to Northern Exposure.[5]

One of the long-running jokes on the show is the town bridge. The easiest connection from Pearl Bay to the rest of the world, it had been destroyed years earlier, and attempts to fix it always seem to go awry.

Another recurring joke involves the character 'Bucket'. This bizarre individual is an unseen character (except in one episode, in the background, when someone waves to him), but in almost every episode he is talked about. From various accounts he is missing limbs (but is still able to drive a boat), has no teeth and has never eaten a cereal grain in his life, and tends to get drunk often and steal people's ride-on mowers. He often arrives home drunk and would drink from the water bowl of his dog, the late Alfonzo Dominico Jones.

At the end of every episode (except episodes 1 and 12 of series 1, episode 5 of series 2 and the final episode) there is a brief scene in which Kevin and Trevor chat while sitting on the beach. Their conversation usually sums up the episode, often comically. In Episode 5 of series 2, the Kevin and Trevor scene is not at the very end, and takes place not on the beach but at the Alfonzo Dominico Santonio Jones Memorial Pool. Also, in episode 10 of series 3, Kevin's sister Suzie joined him to tell him that their recently-deceased father's electric guitar (which they had buried) was worth $8,000 because he had played with The Masters Apprentices for a week. In one episode, the Masters Apprentices (or one version of them) played themselves, with credit given to Jim Keays.

ReceptionEdit

Critical ReceptionEdit

The title SeaChange related to the SeaChange effect, drawing on and propagating the trend of city dwellers seeking to escape the pressures of city living by moving to coastal areas.[6][7] It was one of David Wenham's first major roles.

John Howard later narrated the reality TV show The Real Seachange.

ViewershipEdit

Season Episodes Originally aired Network Viewers (millions) Rating Rank
Season premiere Season finale
1 13 10 May 1998 2 August 1998 ABC N/A 12.4[8] #3
2 13 28 June 1999 19 September 1999 N/A 16.3[8] #1
3 13 27 August 2000 25 November 2000 N/A 13.7[8] #1
4 8 6 August 2019 Nine Network TBA TBA TBA

Video and DVD releases and online streamingEdit

The entire series was released on video, with each series released in two parts. Series 1 was released as DVD set, and each series is available on DVD in two parts. The entire series is also available in a DVD boxed set.

SeaChange has been available on Netflix and Stan.[9]

2019 RevivalEdit

It was announced during the Nine Network's upfronts on 17 October 2018 that a fourth series of SeaChange would air on the network in 2019, written by series co-creator Deb Cox and jointly produced by ITV Studios Australia and Every Cloud Produuctions.[10] The series will be titled as “SeaChange: Paradise Reclaimed”.

Thornton and Howard will be two of the original actors to appear in the revival with the story focusing on Laura Gibson returning to Pearl Bay after almost two decades. ITV's David Mott said while there had been discussions with the ABC about reviving the series for ABC Television, the broadcaster said a revival of SeaChange did not feel right for them. [11]

The series will be funded by Screen Australia and will also be relocated from its former location at Barwon Heads to a new location at Brunswick Heads.[12][13] and also at Billinudgel and Mullumbimby.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Horner, Ian (10 May 2016). "Kerry Armstrong makes a Pawno". Hawkesbury Gazette. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  2. ^ Bastow, Clem (18 October 2018). "SeaChange reboot: how will a new network change the beloved show?". the Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Next stop, Pearl Bay". The Age. 28 February 2003. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  4. ^ Parnell, Rebecca (2009). "SeaChange, Where Fish Fly". In Bierbaum, Nena; Hosking, Rick; Hosking, Sue; Pannell, Rebecca (eds.). Something rich and strange : sea changes, beaches and the littoral in the antipodes. Kent Town, South Australia: Wakefield Press. pp. 47–61. ISBN 9781862548701.
  5. ^ Parnell, Rebecca (2009). "SeaChange, Where Fish Fly". In Bierbaum, Nena; Hosking, Rick; Hosking, Sue; Pannell, Rebecca (eds.). Something rich and strange : sea changes, beaches and the littoral in the antipodes. Kent Town, South Australia: Wakefield Press. pp. 47–61. ISBN 9781862548701.
  6. ^ "The Effect of Living the 'Sea Change' Dream". Archived from the original on 24 October 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  7. ^ Murphy, Peter (March 2002). "Sea Change: Re-Inventing Rural and Regional Australia" (PDF). Transformations. ISSN 1444-3775. OCLC 223320905. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  8. ^ a b c https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/television/australian-content/in-the-archive/top-drama-comedy-series-before-2004
  9. ^ "The stars of SeaChange: Where are they now?". News.com.au. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  10. ^ Knox, David (17 October 2018) Nine Upfronts 2019: Seachange, Australian Open, Lego Masters, Bad Mothers, TV Tonight. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  11. ^ Lallo, Michael; Idato, Michael (17 October 2018) Nine revives ABC drama SeaChange - with Sigrid Thornton at the helm, The Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  12. ^ Knox, David (27 February 2019). "Funding for Seachange, Mystery Road". TV Tonight. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  13. ^ Knox, David (27 February 2019). "Bye bye Barwon Heads……Seachange shifts to NSW". TV Tonight. Retrieved 27 February 2019.

External linksEdit