10 Australian TV Dramas The Rest Of The World Hardly Knew About

10. A Country Practice

Soapdrama AcpNovember 1981 €“ November 1994On air: 13 yearsEpisodes: 1,088 A Country Practice embodied the three long-standing pillars of Australian TV drama in one show: medical; police; and everyday life in a small rural community. Set in the fictional country town of Wandin Valley, the town's medical practice and the hospital were the primary focus. Most of the main characters were either responsible for the town's core services or otherwise belonged to the household of someone who was. Many of the principal cast became household names but few replicated their ACP success. Baz Luhrmann, Toni Collette, Simon Baker and Nicole Kidman were guest artists long before they hit the big time, while high profile personalities like Smokey Dawson, Sir Robert Helpmann and even then-Prime Minister Bob Hawke also had guest roles. Every Australian fictional town has a fictional larger neighbour down the road and just as Summer Bay has Yabbie Creek, so Wandin Valley had Burrigan. Supporting the location-agnostic approach that's so common in Australian TV even today, the Valley's location was never entirely clear and "the city" that people went to or arrived from was rarely named. There were numerous tell-tale signs that ACP wasn't a soap: the Valley's population remained fairly constant, nobody came back from the dead and nobody married into the same family more than once. No shark was ever jumped in Wandin Valley, though its rural setting did mean it featured lots of animals. Two in particular - Doris the pig and Fatso the wombat - were among the series' most popular 'characters'. The show won truckloads of awards and it featured some of Australan TV's most loved storylines and highest rated episodes, including the death of 'Mad Molly' Jones after a battle with Leukaemia, which is still frequently cited as one of the most heartbreaking TV deaths of all time.
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