The other Aussie TV classics I'd love to see rebooted
There are a couple of very special seats at the Logies – usually up the back – that each year are filled with some of the great names of Australian television, the stars of hit shows that have not graced the telly for decades but who still get an invite because they are Gold Logie royalty.
Sigrid Thornton in 2018. She is ‘integral’ to breathing new life into television classic SeaChange.Credit:James Brickwood
I've been fortunate enough to sit at these tables a few times, regaled by everyone from Tony Barber to Hazel Phillips.
Once I was wedged between Patti Newton (she was there on husband Bert's invitation) and former Cop Shop star John Orcsik, best known to legions of viewers as Detective Mike Georgiou. Orcsik ended up marrying his Cop Shop co-star Paula Duncan in real life. Duncan played sensitive young Detective Danni Francis, who starred with the show's resident sexpot, Lynda Stoner.
Lynda Stoner and Paula Duncan from Cop Shop.
In their day Duncan and Orcsik were the biggest television stars in the country, mobbed on the streets and splashed across magazine covers. Orcsik has fond memories of his time in the limelight and clearly his ambition still burns strong.
Would he do it again, I asked over our pudding. "Too bloody right," he quickly declared. Like so many of his peers, his lust for life in front of the camera had not diminished all these years later.
It's been nearly two decades since we last watched Laura Gibson (Sigrid Thornton), a high-flying city lawyer, drag her children Rupert and Miranda to Pearl Bay for a quieter life in SeaChange.
Clearly much has changed in the world, but nevertheless there was much fanfare as news broke last week that SeaChange was moving from the ABC and being resurrected by Channel Nine as an ambitious new drama.
Chemistry: Sigrid Thornton and William McInnes in the original SeaChange.
Thornton is now listed as the show's executive producer.
ITV Australia owns the rights to SeaChange. Chief executive officer David Mott says initial discussions to bring the show back to the ABC didn't go anywhere, but Channel Nine boss Michael Healey leapt at the idea.
"The first thing we did was to team up with one of the show's original creators Deb Cox and her production company Every Cloud productions," Mott explained. "We knew we had something special … SeaChange ended up on a high, it never had the smell of death about it when it finished."
But much of the new incarnation hinged on Thornton's participation. Mott says the actor seized the chance to bring Laura back to life. "She is integral to this project, she knows the DNA of SeaChange better than anyone, and that's why she is one of several EPs on the show," he says.
The program is in early development and probably won't hit our screens before 2020.
Rebooting old television hits has been gaining momentum around the world. The resurrected US sitcom Roseanne morphed into The Connors following the calamitous behaviour of the show's leading star Roseanne Barr.
The latest version of Will & Grace has been another hugely successful endeavour, again featuring the original cast and characters.
The original cast returned for a fresh run of Will & Grace.Credit:The New York Times
So hats off to Thornton and co for getting the SeaChange project off the ground. No doubt her co-star John Howard, who played Pearl Bay's dodgy mayor Bob Jelly, is pretty grateful too, especially as we haven't seen him on telly much over the past decade.
And surely this opens the way for many other great Australian shows of yesteryear to find their way back onto the small screen. I'd be keen to find out what happened to Rebecca Gilling's character Stephanie Harper in Return to Eden. Did she end up with the rubber croc? Surely Susan Hannaford would relish the chance to don the plaits once more for a new chapter on the life and times of Kitty Sullivan? And Rowena Wallace could probably do with a regular pay cheque if she were to breathe new life into Pat The Rat from Sons & Daughters.
Rebecca Gilling and the rubber croc in Return To Eden.
But in all seriousness, if things go well for the new SeaChange, we will probably be seeing Thornton back at the Logies soon, though I suspect she will be sitting at one of the main front tables near the stage, and most definitely not up the back with me.
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