Blue Heelers: articles
TV police pay town a visit
THE Blue Heelers cast was in Castlemaine yesterday and there was some confusion as to who the real police officers were.
Cast and crew of the long-running police drama spent the day shooting a siege scene in front of the Imperial Hotel in Lyttleton Street, just two doors down from the town’s police station.
Castlemaine Sergeant Robyn Hodge said the day was a great chance for Heelers fans to get close to the cast.
She said it would also help the rapport between Castlemaine residents and police.
But there was some confusion around the town, she said.
“People are walking past us and asking if we are the real police,” Sgt Hodge said.
She also joked that with up to 10 extra police lookalikes in the town, the day had left the local police feeling more relaxed.
“It is a reassurance that we have the extra resources here in Castlemaine today,” she said.
During a break in filming, leading Heelers actor John Wood paid a visit to the Castlemaine police station.
Mr Wood has been part of the show since it began in 1994 and said it was the third time he had visited Castlemaine for filming.
He said the cast and crew shot most of the footage yesterday, but would be in the Castlemaine region again today.
By Felicia Carbon
Filming draws fans
DOZENS of people gathered to watch as the Blue Heelers cast shoot a siege scene in Castlemaine yesterday.
Children made up most of the crowd and while many were locals, the Manton brothers had made their way from Bridgewater just to catch a glimpse of their idols.
While eight-year-old Riley Manton said he had only been a fan since 2004, his brother Jake has been watching the show for a few more years.
Their grandfather, Graeme Johns, brought the pair down from Bridgewater for the day and expected their mum to bring them back for another day of star-spotting today.
“I’m not a real fan because I’m usually away when it’s on,” Mr Johns said.
“But the grandchildren love it and usually get in trouble around that time of night for staying up.”
By lunchtime yesterday, the brothers had collected the autograph of almost every main character.
And Jake confessed that his favourite is Constable Kelly O’Rourke, played by Samantha Tolj.
Castlemaine resident Alana Parsons, her partner, Mat Taft, and their three-year-old son, Riley, enjoyed their lunch and waited to catch a glimpse of the cast.
Ms Parsons said she is a huge fan of the show, watching it every week.
“We have driven down this street before when they were doing shots of the Imperial Hotel for another episode, but never when there has been any action,” she said.
April 08, 2005
Blue Heelers in town
Mt Thomas came to Castlemaine yesterday as the cast of Blue Heelers filmed a siege at the Imperial Hotel.
Lyttleton Street was blocked off as camera and sound crews, producers, a director and the cast filmed parts of the long-running drama’s 476th episode.
There were also dozens of onlookers gathered to catch a glimpse of the cast, who have all risen to stardom through the television series.
While most of the filming took place yesterday in front of the hotel, more is expected today in the Castlemaine area.
The show’s line producer, David Clarke, said a group of 65 cast and crew had travelled to Castlemaine.
He said the group included the show’s full-time Victoria Police advisor, an armourer, a stunt co-ordinator and traffic controllers.
Mr Clarke said the show’s pilot was shot in Castlemaine but the cast only occasionally returned there to shoot new footage.
They were last in the central Victorian town almost five years ago.
Filming regularly takes place on location in Williamstown and Werribee two days each week, with another two days in the studio.
About half of each episode’s final footage is shot on location.
Mr Clarke said while each episode took a full week to film, there were months of work before and after the filming.
Script writing is perhaps the longest component, with 12 freelance writers completing three scripts each year, he said.
He said each script took about 17 weeks to complete, and after filming, post production took a further six weeks.
“We shoot eight to 10 weeks ahead and do 42 episodes a year,” he said.
He said because the television non-ratings period ended in early February, the cast and crew had to work in advance to have their first show of the year ready in time.
The episode shot in Castlemaine yesterday is the continuation of a dramatic plot that started last year.
Barry Baxter, whose family had a vendetta against Sen-Sgt Tom Croydon, escapes from custody, kidnaps Tom’s daughter and takes one of the Mt Thomas police officers hostage in the hotel.
Barry Baxter was an integral part of the show’s plot changes, which according to Mr Clarke were an attempt to increase ratings.
“We were aware that the show could be considered as getting a bit old and crusty and the only way to change that was to destabilise things,” Mr Clarke said.
They also brought in four new characters.
“Obviously there is no history left in Mt Thomas and the plot is a bit harder, in line with present trends,” Mr Clarke said.
He said television viewers were turning back to Australian drama, with American series’ and reality shows fading away.
Mr Clarke said Blue Heelers was the only surviving Australian police show and was set to become the longest running.
“If we survive to episode 510 we will be the longest, because Homicide shot 509 episodes,” Mr Clarke said.
The episode shot yesterday, titled Showdown, will air on Prime on June 22.
April 08, 2005
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