AustLit logo
form y separately published work icon The Secret Life of Us single work   film/TV  
Issue Details: First known date: 2001... 2001 The Secret Life of Us
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The Secret Life of Us traces the lives of eight twenty-somethings sharing a Melbourne apartment block who are all looking for the same thing - love, sex, romance, success and anything else that's worth going after. The problem is they haven't worked out how to get it yet so they make it up as they go along.'

Source: Australian Television Information Archive ( (Sighted: 02/09/2009)


  • Telemovie. Continued by a television series of the same name broadcast 2001-2004.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Through a Mask, Breathing Jack Latimore , 2020 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin , Spring vol. 79 no. 3 2020; Meanjin Online 2020;

'The roads were empty because of the virus and sailing by at 60 all I caught was a glimpse of the wall and it was difficult to say for certain, but I thought the flag was gone. I’d only just figured out what it was. Months before, when I’d first noticed it, I was stumped. I had been walking the Villain, walking all over the suburb for hours on end trying to tire him out. Even then, plodding up the hill on foot, I’d almost missed it, clocked it late, had to haul back hard on the lead and retrace some steps.' (Introduction)

The Secret Life of Us Broke the Mould with Its Honest Depiction of Twentysomething Culture Brigid Delaney , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 31 January 2020;

'Life in my 20s was a whirlwind of McJobs, casual sex, insane crushes, share houses, and intense friendships. I was trying to start a career, trying to write the great Australian novel, always poor, making bad choices while drunk, and somehow had hours and hours in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, to just … hang out.' (Introduction)

Full Focus Stephanie Van Schilt , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 4 June 2016;
'Director Emma Freeman's filmography includes some of Australia’s best-loved TV dramas, but her greatest challenge came at a much earlier age.'
Ethnic Diversity within Australian Homes : Has Television Caught up to Social Reality? Natascha Klocker , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Intercultural Studies , vol. 35 no. 1 2014; (p. 34-52)
'Inter-ethnic intimacy is on the rise in Australia, bringing an unprecedented level of ethnic diversity into our homes. Yet analyses of media representations of ethnic diversity have concentrated on the community level, neglecting the intimate sphere of family life. This paper explores the possibilities and limits of love within and across ethnic boundaries on fictional Australian television programmes. The results of a nine-week content analysis reveal a mixed picture. Inter-ethnic intimacy was regularly portrayed; but committed, long-term relationships across ethnic boundaries (marriage and co-habitation) were scarce. And although Australian television producers did not shy away from portraying physical intimacy across ethnic boundaries, emotional intimacy was often absent. Overt stereotyping of ethnic minority characters involved in inter-ethnic relationships was rare – instead, ethnic differences were downplayed or erased. Storylines were underpinned by the assimilation of inter-ethnic couples – in all their diversity – into the (white) mainstream.' (Publication abstract)
Ana Kokkinos Lisa French , 2013 single work
— Appears in: Senses of Cinema , December no. 69 2013;
This essay provides a detailed analysis of Ana Kokkinos contribution to international cinema.
Displacing Difference : The Secret of The Secret Life of Us Maggie Nolan , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , June vol. 33 no. 2 2009; (p. 139-151)
Romance and Reconciliation : The Secret Life of Indigenous Sexuality on Australian Television Drama Andrew King , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , March vol. 33 no. 1 2009; (p. 37 - 50)
'This article examines the representation of indigenous sexuality on Australian television drama since the 1970s, suggesting the political importance of such representations. In 1976 Justine Saunders became the first regular indigenous character on an Australian television drama series, as the hairdresser Rhonda Jackson in Number 96. She was presented as sexually attractive, but this was expressed through a rape scene after a party. Twenty five years later, Deborah Mailman starred in The Secret Life of Us, as Kelly, who is also presented as sexually attractive. But her character can be seen in many romantic relationships. The article explores changing representations that moved us from Number 96 to The Secret Life of Us, via The Flying Doctors and Heartland. It suggests that in representations of intimate and loving relationships on screen it has only recently become possible to see hopeful models for interaction between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.' (Publisher's abstract)
Southern Stars and Secret Lives : International Exchange in Australian Television Ian Craven , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies , vol. 22 no. 1 2008; (p. 51-67)
'The Secret Life of Us is a 'high end' television drama series, defined by 'adult themes, sexual references and low-level coarse language', first screened in Australia and the United Kingdom in mid-2001, and surviving for four seasons until late 2005. Developed by Southern Star, with the Ten Network, and Optus Television (a US-based pay TV service), it was the first Australian drama series to be commissioned by the United Kingdom's Channel 4. Eighty-six episodes were screened prior to cancellation. At the peak of its popularity, the series had been sold into a dozen or so (mostly European) territories, and against the usual odds, secured airtime in the United States, where it was picked up by Trio, a small west-coast cable network. It gained positive critical recognition, and fared well at television markets worldwide. Back in Australia, commentators linked the show with the return of the Ten Network to 'credible' drama after a hiatus of two decades (Sams 2001, 37), and with the emergence of a 'sophisticated and quirky' youth sub-genre (Idato 2000, 2), before enthusiasm cooled around series two and three, and series four drew the by now largely neglected narrative to its almost unnoticed conclusion. The project offers a suggestive case study of momentary trends in domestic drama production, within material received as confidently articulating Australia's globalizing television culture at the millennium, inviting exploration of what John Hartley (1992, 102) has seen as the fundamental 'impurity' of national television, and the productivity of its identification as a 'fundamental criterion for cultural studies'.' (Author's introduction p. 51)
He Works in a Woman's Way Holly Byrnes , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 27 July 2011; (p. 19)
TV producer John Edwards finds success in feminine-based dramas.
The Other 1/2 Tim Elliott , 2012 single work biography
— Appears in: The (Sydney) Magazine , April no. 108 2012; (p. 50-52)


2001 winner AWGIE Awards Television Award Telemovie Original
2000 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Mini-Series or Telefeature
Last amended 19 Oct 2012 15:15:57
  • Melbourne, Victoria,
    Powered by Trove