A character-based television drama series about the lives of police officers in the fictitious Australian country town of Mt Thomas, this series began with the arrival of Constable Maggie Doyle (Lisa McCune) to the Mt Thomas station in the episode 'A Woman's Place'. Doyle and avuncular station boss Senior Sergeant Tom Croydon (John Wood) were the core characters of the series until the departure of Lisa McCune.
Immensely popular for a decade, Blue Heelers was cancelled in 2006 after thirteen seasons. The announcement was front-page news in Australia's major newspapers including The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney's Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and The Age in Melbourne, and Brisbane's Courier Mail.
On June 8, 2006 Ross Warneke wrote in The Age:
'It's over and, to be perfectly blunt, there's no use lamenting the demise of Blue Heelers any more. When the final movie-length episode aired on Channel Seven on Sunday night, 1.5 million Australians tuned in, a figure that was big enough to give the show a win in its timeslot but nowhere near big enough to pay the sort of tribute that this writer believes Heelers deserved after more than 500 episodes.It is unlikely there will be anything like it again. At almost $500,000 an hour, shows such as Blue Heelers are quickly becoming the dinosaurs of Australian TV.'
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.