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Home Run: Outstanding Performance Of H&a This Year

Guest Andy

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Home run for soap


20 April 2005

NO AUSTRALIAN television programs are more maligned than our two long-running soaps, Neighbours and Home and Away.

Yet Neighbours has been with us for 20 years and the folk at Summer Bay have been around since January 1988.

Television is intolerant of shows that aren't watched, so to still be on air is testament to the sustained appeal of both.

But for some reason over the years, it has been fashionable to knock, ridicule and generally dismiss our soaps as second-rate television, despite the fact both enjoy a solid level of success here and overseas.

The performance this year of Home and Away has been nothing short of outstanding.

As it pushes deeper into its 17th year, an age when 99.9 per cent of TV shows have long been dead and buried, Home and Away is enjoying a resurgence that almost defies comprehension.

More impressively, it is boasting its best figures. In the three months since returning for 2005, Home and Away has significantly increased its weekly national audience, and some nights hits 1.4 million viewers.

Cynics (and there are plenty of them around when it comes to assessing H&A's performance) say, of course, it is all because of the Bec Cartwright/Lleyton Hewitt romance that was so superbly captured and detailed by the Channel 7 cameras during the network's coverage of the Australian Open tennis.

That, in a word, is crap.

The romance may well have delivered additional viewers to Home and Away as Australians sought to see close up the slender blonde soapie star who had captured our Lleyton's heart. But once they had seen her, there was no reason to stick with the show if they didn't like it.

Aussie viewers, being what they are, would have dumped it quicker than canaries quit Catsville if it hadn't had something to offer.

And that's why, today, this column is applauding the contributions of creator Bevan Lee, the show's original producer John Holmes (now Seven's long-time head of drama), and particularly the efforts of the show's current producers and writers who have worked hard over the past couple of years to breathe new life into the show.

Anyone who has watched Home and Away over the years will know the show is far different in style and production than the H&A of 18 months ago. At times, today, Home and Away looks more like a video clip as good-looking young actors gaze longingly out over the waters of Summer Bay to the strains of some pop song or other. Snigger if you will, but it is a far more 2005-look-and-feel show than Neighbours -- and that is reflected in the respective figures. H&A attracts about 520,000 more viewers each week.

As my memory serves me, the Home and Away of 1988 was all about two sets of parents -- the young Pippa and Michael Scott and the older Alf and Elsie Stewart, with children being adopted every third month as young characters moved in and out of the show.

Today, there are fewer words spoken, but the family-values message is still strong and the performances generally solid.

It is slicker, looks good, and the audience clearly likes what it is delivering.

Any show that can pull 1.4 million viewers in its 17th year deserves our applause -- and respect. Congratulations to all.

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Snigger if you will, but it is a far more 2005-look-and-feel show than Neighbours -- and that is reflected in the respective figures. H&A attracts about 520,000 more viewers each week.

GO HOME AND AWAY!!!!!!!!!!

I've always said that Neighbours looks more old fashioned than H&A adn this is true!

WOOOHOOO yeh im happy now thanx Valkyrie!! :lol::lol::lol::lol:

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