Blue Water High: articles


Sun Surf and Sand for Teen Viewers

This month ABC Television premieres Blue Water High, a new teenage drama co-produced by the ABC, Southern Star Entertainment and the German company Norddeutscher Rundfunk.

Although Blue Water High is designed for young teens — a slightly older audience than the one targeted by hugely successful Saddle Club — the concept and look of the program will doubtless find fans among some younger viewers.

The drama centres on seven 15 year-old surfers who have been selected from around Australia and overseas for an intensive 12-month residential school program at Blue Water High. At the beachside school they join other pupils in a normal year’s academic work as well as receiving special coaching in surfing. At the end of the year two of the seven will qualify to surf the pro-circuit and win a three-year sponsorship contract.

The idea of a group of teens in a world of long sunny days, beautiful beaches and clear water is so obviously a drawcard for young viewers in Australia and overseas it is a wonder such a series has not been made before. Claire Henderson, Head of Childrens for ABCTV agrees and explains, ‘I have received many proposals for surfing stories but this one immediately clicked. It has a good script and wonderful characters — who just happen to go surfing. There are great stories with substance that the kids can relate to. They are everyday stories of growing up and dealing with peers and authority. The series doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s not a disaster a minute, there’s lots of humour.’

Claire stresses that like adult drama, the script is all important. ‘We are using experienced writers of adult drama — that’s what you need first and foremost. Noel Price [Executive Producer for Southern Star] and I have the experience with children’s television to guide the writers when it is necessary.’

Claire dismisses those who suggest that 21st century youngsters are not looking for drama programs on television. ‘If kids can relate to a drama they will come — if a drama does click with them they are the most faithful audience you can have.’

At the annual international television market MIP, held in France last month, the series was bought by France, Belgium and South Africa and further international sales are anticipated in the coming weeks.

The 26 part series will screen weekly from 11 May at 5.30pm on Wednesdays.

Inside the ABC
Issue 32