Television script-writer and script editor.
Jenny Sharp's career in television began with a role as assistant to the director on long-running Crawford Productions' prison drama Prisoner in the late 1970s. She followed this with a role as production runner on Robert Cassidy's adaptation of Danielle Steel's novel Now and Forever, filmed in Australia in 1983.
Her first scripts were for long-running soap opera Home and Away (1990). She followed this with a succession of scripts for children's television programs, including Ocean Girl (1994-1996), The Adventures of the Bush Patrol (1996-1998), Thunderstone (1999), and Search for Treasure Island 1998-2000).
She has also worked as a script editor, including for Marshall Law (2002) and Neighbours (2008).
Ocean Girl follows the adventures of Jason and Brett Bates, who move with their mother (a reasearch scientist studying whale song) to an underwater research station near Port Douglas. There, they accidentally meet Neri, a young girl with super-human strength, the ability to breathe underwater, and an affinity for communicating with whales. As the series progresses through four seasons, the Bateses (and the audience) learn more about Neri's arrival on Earth, her home planet, and the ecosystem of their own home planet.
Ocean Girl, one of the earliest productions to come out of Jonathan M. Shiff Productions, is creator Jonathan Shiff's first science-fiction program; his name has subsequently become synonymous with children's science-fiction and fantasy television programs, through such shows as Cybergirl and H2O.
Ocean Girl is ecological science fiction, in that it uses the genre of science fiction to explore the consequences of exploiting Earth's resources. For example, as the program progresses, Dr Dianne Bates (mother of protagonists Jason and Brett) shifts from her early role as cetologist to a more active role as environmental protectionist, in response to the increasing threat of building large underwater constructions in the delicate ecosystem around ORCA. Similarly, season four shows the devastating effects of a 'Red Virus' on the oceans of Neri's home world.
Home and Away is a television serial created by Alan Bateman and produced by the Seven Network. The idea for the series came to Bateman (then head of drama at Seven) after he stopped to buy ice-creams in a small country town in southern NSW. While chatting to some locals, he learned that the town was unhappy about plans to build a home for foster kids from the city. At that time, Channel Seven was still smarting from its decision to let Neighbours go to the Ten Network, where it had become hugely popular, and was looking to create another series to rival its success. Bateman saw in the idea that became Home and Away the potential for plenty of storylines and conflict by having streetwise city kids being relocated to a small regional environment,
In the beginning, the series focused on Pippa and Tom Fletcher, who, being unable to have children of their own, decide to become foster parents. When Tom is retrenched from his city job, the couple buy the rundown Summer Bay Caravan Park and move there with their five foster children. Soon after arriving, they also take in troublesome Bobby Simpson.
The series debuted in January 1988 with an hour-long telemovie. Although this rated well, the series itself took some while to develop an audience. Having learned their lesson from the Neighbours debacle, Network Seven gave its new show time, and its ratings gradually increased. As with Neighbours, the Home and Away series and performers became very popular in the United Kingdom.
Set in a small, fictional, New South Wales country town called Wandin Valley, A Country Practice focused on the staffs of the town's medical practice and local hospital and on the families of the doctors, nurses, and patients. Many of the episodes also featured guest characters (frequently patients served by the practice) through whom various social and medical problems were explored. Although often considered a soap opera, the series was not built around an open-ended narrative; instead, the two one-hour episodes screened per week formed a self-contained narrative block, though many of the storylines were developed as sub-plots for several episodes before becoming the focus of a particular week's storyline. While the focus was on topical issues such as youth unemployment, suicide, drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, and terminal illness, the program did sometimes explore culturally sensitive issues, including, for example, the Aboriginal community and their place in modern Australian society.
Among the show's principal characters were Dr Terence Elliott, local policeman Sergeant Frank Gilroy, Esme Watson, Shirley Dean Gilroy, Bob Hatfield, Vernon 'Cookie' Locke, and Matron Margaret 'Maggie' Sloan. In addition to its regularly rotating cast of characters, A Country Practice also had a cast of semi-regulars who would make appearances as the storylines permitted. Interestingly, while the series initially targeted the adult and older youth demographic, it became increasingly popular with children over the years.