For a show that’s been running now for like 24 years, Channel Sevens stalwart HOME AND AWAY still manages to pull down around 1,000,000 viewers a night in ratings season across Australia. With an edge over rival Channel 10 NEIGHBOURS by having a later 7pm time slot, the show can tackle tougher subject matter and attract bigger names. Of recent years, the legitimised form of HOME AND AWAY (yeah it’s still high end soap for teenagers) has cast some of Australia’s favourite actors, Georgie Parker is in there for one, and there’s no sign of the credential increasing casting announcements slowing down with news that enduring icon Peter Phelps has joined the show.
HOME AND AWAY also enjoys the same overseas success in the U.K. as Neighbours does. But unlike Neighbours, whose numbers both domestically (it averages around 400,00-500,000 viewers per episode) and internationally have softened, HOME AND AWAY seems to be really driving domestic drama for teens.
PETER PHELPS will play an abusive father character on the show.
So why does this show continue to dominate? To me the answer is pretty simple – local content (including cinema – outside of TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN) does not cater for one of our single biggest demographics – the teenage girl. Australia already has a female skew market in performances of films, theatre and television. We starve this segment for product, they embrace what they can get. H&A identifies with the contemporary teen, as soapy as it is, by mimicking their aspirational ‘Gossip Girl’ esque type situations – it’s why the show works. it’s loaded with strong, opinion driven teenagers who are industrious and hyper realistic.
And its by embracing these ideals in the writing of the show that HOME AND AWAY has managed to forge such a strong fan base and attract such talent to its show.