Blue Heelers: articles

Paul Bishop

BLUE riband ... Paul Bishop did a major stint on Blue Heelers.

Every dog had its day

DITCH Davey was part of the Blue Heelers family for almost 200 episodes, and Rachel Gordon for just 69 instalments, but both say they feel "honoured" to be part of the team that produced Australia's longest-running weekly drama.

Davey joined the show in 2001 to fill the role of uniformed policeman Evan "Jonesy" Jones while Gordon, who hails from Queensland, became a cast member in 2004 when she signed on to play plainclothes detective Amy Fox.

"It's pretty nice to have been part of it because these are characters that we all grew up with," Gordon says.

"Heelers is part of Australian television history, and the entertainment culture of this country and I think it was so successful because it was able to tell Australian stories."

When episode 511 of Blue Heelers screens on Sunday it will not only set a longevity record, taking the title from Homicide which aired 510 programs between 1965 and 1977, it will also mark the show's grand finale.

After securing a brief reprieve last year, which saw the team returning to make the 11 episodes that would set the new record, Heelers was axed not long after Channel 7 secured the rights to broadcast AFL games from 2007.

Lisa McCune

PART of the team in Australia's longest-running drama ... multiple Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune in character as Maggie Doyle.

At the time the show was averaging 1.2 million viewers a week, with House on Channel 10 and Channel 9's CSI: Miami doing better in the old Wednesday night slot, but that compared with the peak of 2.5 million viewers that was set back in 1997.

But because Blue Heelers was cancelled during television's New Year production hiatus, the cast and crew didn't know they were filming the finale when they shot the record-breaking episode.

"It was the last episode of the year, and I suppose the idea that we could be cancelled was something in the back of everyone's mind, but we just had to get the scenes done and it was only after that we could reflect," Davey says.

"It's always sad to see something go, everything has a lifespan, but I know the producers had a storyline to take the show out and unfortunately we didn't get that far.

"It was nice to go out with a bit of a smile on our face, and on a high.

"I don't look at it as though I have been robbed of something, I was blessed for five years to be on a great show with a great cast and crew."

Both Davey and Gordon agreed that the plot of the movie-length finale meant Blue Heelers would go out on a nice note after 12 years on air.

"Rather than us all dying a horrible death in a bombing, or with bird flu taking over Mt Thomas, the Heelers will live to fight another day," Gordon says.

"There is some kind of closure but I think the way they have done it is really respectful of the fans because Blue Heelers is so important to a lot of people. Mt Thomas can continue to exist and the characters can still be there going about their business, but the cameras just aren't there to capture their lives any more."

By Sarah Nicholson
May 31, 2006
The Courier Mail