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Back next year, folks . . .

Date: 25/11/2001
Words: 718
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: Television
Page: 8
WITH the end of the ratings season this week, the annual Finale Fest is upon us: there'll be deaths, births, proposals, rejections and pretty much anything else the scriptwriters can come up with to make sure the viewers will be avidly waiting for next season's return.

For the fans, the cliffhanger endings are often frustrating - but for the actors, it's often the chance to explore some otherwise unlikely storylines.

In one of the most dramatic finales of the year All Saints's Joy Smithers plays Rose, the bipolar disorder-affected wife of Dr Mitch Stevens (Erik Thomson).

In an eventful year, she has watched with ever-increasing torment as her husband and nurse Terri (Georgie Parker) Sullivan grew closer and closer. She finally snapped and fled with their child until she decided to return and face the music.

Still troubled, however, her fate will hang in the balance at the end of the year.

"Playing Rose has been wonderful because she started off as a fairly jealous blonde, anonymous role which I took mainly because it was work," Smithers said. "Since then what started out as a four-week role has developed to where she's a very important part of the storylines."

So what can we look forward to in the various Australian drama finales? Unless you'd like things to be a complete surprise, read on:

Always Greener (Seven, tonight)

Once again there's babies in the offing, although not everyone is happy with the news. Special guest appearance here is from Craig McLachlan, who plays a real estate agent with love on his mind.

The Secret Life Of Us (Ten, Monday)

It's split time for Alex and Evan as each prepares to jet off to opposite sides of the world. But while Evan is happy to head to London for a writing camp, Alex suddenly receives news which may keep her at home. Will he stay, too?

All Saints (Seven, Tuesday)

After weeks (and weeks and interminable weeks) of troubles between Mitch and Rose, she's finally home and agreeing to take her medication. Just suppose, however, she decides to skip a day and lose control right when Mitch is unable to come to her aid. Who's left to help? Terri? Not likely! Or then again . . .

Blue Heelers (Seven, Wednesday)

The big news here is a bit of movement in the blossoming romance between Senior Sergeant Croydon and the lovely Reverend Grace Curtis. After a troubled start, things finally wind up with a pash in the pub.

Home And Away (Seven, Friday)

Summer Bay goes baby mad for its season end, with Leah and Vinnie proudly presenting baby VJ while Gypsy and Will pop out an as-yet-unknown bub. Vinnie, however, ruins the fun when he is arrested for fraud.

McLeod's Daughters (Nine, Wednesday)

The annual hay-bale race sees the girls decide they'll do anything - even cheat - to beat Alex. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (literally) there's an accident which leaves the Ryan brothers facing a very different future.

Head Start (ABC, next Sunday)

Patrick decides to abandon his project and go home when Catherine is injured. In the meantime, Aaron tries to resolve his differences with his father and Basia finally gets a film screening.

Neighbours (Ten, December 14)

It's the one Big Brother fans have been waiting for when two new cast members arrive - one of whom is Blair McDonough! Add Libby going into labour in a horse stable and it's almost as exciting as the Kylie days.

Stingers (Nine, Wednesday)

Working an undercover drug sting is nothing compared with the Stingers team's private lives! MacKenzie is tossing up a career change that would split the crew but leave her open to date Church again - but he's just discovered Danni is pregnant with his baby.

While careful not to give away the ending, Smithers did point out she has already survived four farewell parties from All Saints.

"This role has really changed my life in the way I understand mental illness," Smithers said, "Rose has been through a lot and I guess the point is, will she be back next year?"

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