1972 - 7 x 30 minute episodes - produced by the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Lane End was devised as an inner-city counterpart to the ABC's successful rural serial Bellbird. It was shot at the ABC's Gore Hill studios in Sydney, on videotape in black and white. [i] The script editor was Barbara Vernon, the creator of Bellbird. [ii]
Set in the inner Sydney area of Paddington, the serial focused on a Greek family, the Pappas, who run a corner store. The parents strive to keep the family Greek but there's trouble when the teenage daughter Angela is allowed out to babysit for a young couple, then doesn't return when expected.
An early report had said that if the serial "clicks" after the seven initial episodes it may be extended to run at the rate of one hour a week. [iii] Said script editor Barbara Vernon,
"It's all a bit of guess work at the moment. But we're hopeful it will go. We're trying to do everything in reverse to Bellbird. Lane End is a city based serial, with all the problems of a city. With the first seven episodes, we have limited the stories to just a few characters. And although this may sound a bit pretentious, the theme of the stories is personal freedom. One of the characters is a young Greek girl, a first year Arts student at University, who is battling with the problems of conflict with her traditional parents. Then there is a nursing sister, struggling with an unhappy marriage. And a young man, an accountant by day and a jazz pianist at night. He's probably the most liberated of the lot." [iv]
In another report Vernon said that "Lane End is going to be like Bellbird - comedy drama rather than heavy drama, but city oriented." The nurse, who did special cases, was made a nurse so she could travel around Paddington, to open out the action. A man who runs the used car lot lives in Woollahra with his wife, and his mother in law lives in Lindfield, "which moves the characters around to different suburbs." [v]
At that time the program's model, the four-year-old Bellbird, had transmitted more than 700 episodes and was reported to be "astoundingly popular". In Northern Queensland and Western Australia it was described as being "TV's smash hit, getting close to 80 percent of the entire TV audience, day after day." [vi]
Scripts for Lane End were written by Barbara Vernon,
Michael Boddy, and Eleanor Whitcombe (also a scriptwriter for Number
96.) [vii] The
program's directors were John Croyston, and Julian Pringle who had
also directed episodes of Bellbird,
and the cast included Lyndall Barbour, Ben Gabriel, Rosalba Berucci,
Margaret Christianson, and Carole Skinner. The
program debuted 11 April 1972, with episodes going to air Tuesday
evenings at 8.00 pm.
However production did not continue beyond the original batch of seven half hour episodes. Reportedly, this was partly due to the sudden unavailability of cast member John Meillon. [viii] Perhaps also the program was rather redundant with the popular Number 96 launching just weeks prior - also with a Paddington setting and a traditional shopkeeper and a wayward daughter.
The Gore Hill studio soon found itself occupied making serial Certain Women. [ix]
With the small batch of episodes making it to air, this makes Lane End the shortest running Australian serial ever. Even the The Unisexers managed a run twice as long.
Originally uploaded 16 February 2013
Last updated 16 February 2013
[i] Moran, Albert. Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series. Allen & Unwin: St Leonards NSW, 1993, page 256.
[ii] Marshall, Valda. "Blue Hills Goes Urban." The Sun-Herald. 9 January 1972, page 98.
[iii] Marshall, Valda. "Blue Hills Goes Urban." The Sun-Herald. 9 January 1972, page 98.
[iv] Marshall, Valda. "Blue Hills Goes Urban." The Sun-Herald. 9 January 1972, page 98.
[v] Musgrove, Nan. "Lane End should please Bellbird fans." The Australian Women's Weekly. 8 December 1971, page 10.
[vi] Musgrove, Nan. "Lane End should please Bellbird fans." The Australian Women's Weekly. 8 December 1971, page 10.
[vii] Marshall, Valda. "Blue Hills Goes Urban." The Sun-Herald. 9 January 1972, page 98.
[viii] Moran, Albert. Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series. Allen & Unwin: St Leonards NSW, 1993, page 256.
[ix] Moran, Albert. Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series. Allen & Unwin: St Leonards NSW, 1993, page 256.