IT HAS just been my great privilege to take in tonight's episode of Home
and Away (Channel 7, 7pm). Summer Bay is not a place I've spent much time in
before so the experience was, well, educational.
The first thing to impress the neophyte viewer is that this Pacific hamlet
and its residents occupy a perpetual temperate zone.
It goes with the image presented in the intro: salt sea lapping sea strand;
toothsome young people (lightly clad) enjoying God's bounty as older folk gaze
on with a mixture of nostalgia and envy; more toothsome young people (still
lightly clad); and always the sea, the sea.
At this stage initiates would be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled on a
In fact, paedophilia is very much in the spotlight with Selina (the
splendidly monickered Tempany Deckert) warding off the predations of someone
Mud appears to be Irene's fancy man. Irene appears to be Selina's mum. At
least Selina talks to her with complete contempt so I think I am safe in
assuming they're closely related.
Selina (whose predicament with the noisome Mud is not to be underestimated)
rolls her eyes, sneers and pouts and purses her lips.
Selina, in other words, is your typical adolescent. This despite or perhaps
because of the fact that Make-up has seen fit to deck out Ms Deckert like a
Puerto Rican whore in a school dress.
Indeed, Make-up's enthusiasm is much in evidence among the teenage population
of Summer Bay. Barefaced these people may be, but you will never actually see a
It is not all tits and tush, pecs and power bodies, of course.
Summer Bay is clearly the place where ugly character actors come to die (I'd
best book my caravan now). Or babes that are well beyond squeezing into a wet
Yes I'm afraid we're talking old boilers past laying age.
And the singular thing about the mature folk is that their speech appears to
have been run through an accent distortion filter. For a moment there I thought
I was hearing a foreign tongue. Then it hit me. These old Aussies are speaking
the way an English audience, say, might expect old Aussies to speak.
All the same it must sound like Urdu, requiring subtitles for anyone beyond
the continental fishing limit.
But let's cut to the chase. Angel (Melissa George) and Shane (Dieter Brummer)
are having problems with young Dylan. He's sleeping too much and he's got a
temperature. (I know exactly the symptoms).
Angel and Shane, it should be said, have somehow survived the culling that
occurs whenever a young soap star gets beyond the Clearasil years. There are,
one suspects, whole armies of young folk, residents of Summer Bay and Ramsay
Street, now packing supermarket shelves.
Angel and Shane, presumably, are too big to be killed off.
As for Mr Brummer, his, um, stoic acting style is guaranteed to bring a gleam
to a woodcutter's eye.
But nothing beats good old melodrama and I don't think I'm giving anything
away by saying that Angel can expect some grief from The Hand that emerges from
the wardrobe door. Perhaps the producers have decided that it's curtains for
Angel after all.
Or perhaps indeed a panto beckons in the Old Dart. It would make sense since
pantomime is what Home and Away most nearly resembles.