All Saints: articles

All Saints says goodbye

AFTER more than a decade on our screens, the loved characters of hospital drama All Saints will bid farewell to Australian audiences forever this week.

The final episode of the long-running Seven Network series goes to air on the Seven Network tonight, wrapping at 493 episodes.

The 70-minute episode stays true to the original format, focusing on the nurses and doctors as they attend to patients, amid dramas of birth, death, marriage proposal and diagnosis.

The only original serving character in its 11-year run, Von Ryan, played by Judith McGrath, departs the hospital and Frankie J Holden and Heather Mitchell guest star in a touching storyline.

The episode begins with words from emergency head Frank Campion, played by John Howard: "The philosopher Voltaire once said that 'doctors prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less in human beings of whom they know nothing'.

"I say there's so much more to it than that."

Virginia Gay, who plays nurse Gabrielle Jaeger, says she's pleased with the way the series wrapped.

"The writers didn't want to give everyone a false sense of a fairytale ending," Gay told AAP on Monday.

"There's just this sense of the world continuing, life continues, certain changes are made, certain decisions are made.

"Basically they (the writers) have a high sense of respect of the fans and the fans believe in the reality of the situation.

"The idea that the characters are going on, continuing living and playing out parts of their life, is I think I really beautiful way to leave them."

The first episode of All Saints went to air in February 1998, based around Ward 17's nursing unit manager, nun Terri Sullivan, played by Georgie Parker.

Over the years, the show was a hit with audiences pulling in more than 1.5 million viewers, with many tuning in to watch the love story develop between Sullivan and Dr Mitch Stevens, played by Erik Thomson, who now stars in Packed To The Rafters.

It revamped in 2004, when the focus shifted to the emergency ward, and the introduction of the tough talking, grumpy emergency head Dr Frank Campion.

Earlier this year, it changed to an action packed focus based around a helicopter service, and renamed All Saints: Medical Response Unit.

In July this year, Seven announced production was to finish in August due to an audience shift and higher production costs.

That came to the dismay of fans who had stayed true to the show, which has continued to pull in about one million viewers each week.

All Saints has won nine Logie Awards, including two Gold Logies (courtesy of Parker) and two AFI Awards.

Gay said she believed the series had resonated with Australians because the storylines were real.

"Everybody loves a game of doctors and nurses but I think the fact that we tried to walk a really fine line between fantastic and involving story lines and the reality of life in a hospital," Gay said.

"And I think that really paid off with lots of our core supporters, who have worked in the medical industry, worked in hospitals ... and they loved the mix of these fantastic unresolved sexual tension storylines, and the actual drudgery of `it's patient after patient after patient' and trying to empathise with them.

"Trying to solve medical mysteries while your personal life is falling apart."

The show has seen some of the country's most respected acting talent including, Tammy MacIntosh, John Waters, Kip Gamblin, Libby Tanner, Wil Traval, Jolene Anderson, and the late Belinda Emmett and Mark Priestley.

They appear in a heart-warming clip of memorable moments to cap off the finale.

By Katherine Field
October 27, 2009
The Advertiser