Monday, April 28, 2008
OZ! Out of the Blue, BBC One, 2.15pm
Although this was touted as the Beeb's Neighbours replacement when its arrival was announced some months back, it isn't quite filling the same slot. OK, it's taking the slot its fellow Aussie soap occupied for five minutes in 2008, but everyone knows that was never proper Neighbours time. This secheduling may well be a smart move. By only showing at 2.15pm, it is rather cannily allowing those watching Harold, Susan et al on Five to still come over and catch this new soap, too. And with a rumoured 135 episodes already commissioned, the Beeb appear to be confident that this will spread some daytime goodness.
The premise of the show is intriguing. It centres around a group of thirty-something pretty Aussies (so far, so Secret Life of Us) at a school reunion. However, very early on, a murder is committed, and the sunshine soapy feel of the show takes an altogether darker twist. We like the sound of this one and wish it well, even if we can't guarantee to remember to record it every day.
You may not recognise many of the younger cast: it doesn't have quite the high proportion of former Oz soap alumni we expect from such exports, but in the older cast, there is at least one gem: Maggie Dence, who played Dorothy Burke in Neighbours. If this keeps going, no doubt all the old faves who have run the gamut of roles in Neighbours, Home and Away, Prisoner Cell Block H, Heartbreak High, The Young Doctors, The Secret Life of Us, and The Flying Doctors will no doubt appear. First one to spot an actor who's done all the Aussie soaps and dramas gets a prize*.
*May not be a prize of any monetary worth.