Blue Heelers: articles

Blue day for Heelers

NED’S such a sweet-faced child, a victim of circumstance and fate’s cruel hand.

If only someone could see the goodness that lies beneath that veneer of larceny that has bought him to the attention of the Blue Heelers.

If you haven’t caught the last few hundred episodes of this program, then you need to know that nice old paternalistic Sgt Tom Croydon is now nasty, disciplinarian Tom Croydon.

One can hardly blame him. Years of ironing your underpants, getting out a clean hanky, putting on your best suit and heading off to the Logies clutching your acceptance speech only to return home empty-handed can do that to a man.

Cuddly Croydon has become Cranky Croydon which means that when Little Ned is hauled into the police station for stealing a carton of condoms, he looks set for an appearance before the magistrate and a subsequent conviction.

What he needs is a caring father figure who realises that Little Ned, known rather unkindly by his peers in pilferage as Needledick, is misunderstood. All he needs is to feel the warm breath of human kindness upon his forehead and he will take to the path of righteousness.

How fortunate it is that Little Ned’s plight is noticed by Sgt Mark Jacobs, for the sergeant loves kiddies and, gee, Little Ned could be the son he never had.

Blue Heelers, if you were wondering, has lost its way, wandering so far into the wastes of cliché land that its chances of ever re-emerging as a viable show are slim.

Those addicted to daytime soap operas simply must watch this week’s episode. Not to do so would be to miss the touching scene when, in the police station with his alcoholic grandfather who has been hauled from the pub to claim him, Little Ned reveals his hidden talent.

A word here about the grandfather who deserves a Logie for his performance as the worst actor ever to appear on Blue Heelers and there have been some shockers. He only gets one scene and is on camera for about a minute but uses this small window to re-define over-acting.

While his drunken grandad sends the viewing audience fleeing from the lounge room in search of strong drink, anything to blot the memory of his performance from their minds, Little Ned has not been idle.

As Sgt Jacobs has been lecturing him on the evils of crime, Ned’s been sketching a caricature of him.

Heavens, but isn’t he a talented little fella! Such a waste. If only he would take some art classes, he could make something of himself. If he had a strong, fatherly figure such as Sgt Jacobs to show him the way, one day his work could be hanging in the National Gallery.

As it turns out, the sergeant is something of an artist himself. Joy of joys, for they have found a common bond. This and the sergeant’s heart of purest gold could be the break that Little Ned needs to escape the poverty trap into which he was born.

While Ned was sketching away, the rest of the Heelers were stumbling from one improbable scenario to the next.

Little Ned’s future may be looking rosy but Constable Jones has big problems.

The pub wants him to settle his bar tab. Given that Jonesy hasn’t paid for a drink in six months, its a sizeable bill. Bugger. Just when he was thinking of buying a house. Life can be so cruel.

There was a time when Blue Heelers was reasonable viewing. This is no longer the case. It now looks tired very tired and irrelevant, which is a shame.

By Mike O'Connor
September 01, 2005
The Courier Mail