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Home is far away a winner

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Home is far away a winner

Daily Telegraph

16 September 2005

AMID all the froth and trouble between Australia's TV networks this year, one unexpected soap has thrived.

Home and Away continues to dominate the ratings, often being the most-watched show on television.

This week was typical, with the Channel 7 program topping the day's ratings on Monday with 1.5 million viewers, coming third on Tuesday with 1.53 million and second on Wednesday with 1.46 million.

"If people knew the simple answers to why things work or come back, we'd all be geniuses and really rich," Seven's drama head John Holmes said.

Some factors have fallen in Summer Bay's favour this year, with the coupling of Bec Cartwright and Lleyton Hewitt aligning perfectly for both Home and Away and Seven's coverage of the Australian Open tennis.

Seven's intense promotion of the pair and Cartwright's turn on Dancing With The Stars were the "big break" Holmes admits raised the show's profile to a wider audience.

But its racy storylines – such as a crystal meth-smoking stalker, the introduction of a new "superbitch" played by Holly Brisley and the mystery behind the father of the new Hayley's (Ella Scott-Lynch) child – have given the show a boost. New cast, including Chris Hemsworth, Sharni Vinson and the "new Bec" Scott-Lynch, have also joined without a hiccup.

One scriptwriter said Home and Away played with its young cast while Neighbours seemed bound by older actors.

"Neighbours solves problems over a cup of tea, Home and Away solves them by sinking a ferry," he said.

Holmes gives much of the credit to young script executive Daniel Bennett and his "slightly more melodramatic" stories.

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