Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Aussie drama wows US

AUSTRALIA’s most popular family drama series, McLeod’s Daughters, has cracked the all-important US television market.

“It’s a surprisingly involving, beautifully filmed soap opera,” enthused US critic Ray Richmond in a review for the respected Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s stylishly produced and believable, boasting superb performances from stars Lisa Chappell and Bridie Carter as sisters Claire and Tess Silverman-McLeod, respectively.”

Since McLeod’s Daughters premiered two weeks ago on US cable television channel, WE: Women’s Entertainment, it has attracted huge accolades.

The incredibly popular Channel 9 series—which is shot on film and on location in the Barossa Valley—is now watched by millions of fans in more than 230 territories around the world.

It attracts an average audience of more than 1.5 million viewers each week in Australia alone.

“McLeod’s Daughters is blessed with a languid pace that you simply don’t find in American home-grown series,” extolled Mr Richmond, who added it was a quality “chick show” that would also draw “the dudes”.

And this week, McLeod’s Daughters will even be featured on the cover of the prestigious New York Times television magazine. US magazine Entertainment Weekly recommended it in its “what to watch” section last week.

“Call it the Aussie Invasion, Round 2,” wrote critic, Paul S. Katz, who rated the show a B.

“Now that Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman are safely ensconced on the big screen, the ladies of Drovers Run are aiming for TV stardom.

“Fortunately, to American ears, cringe-inducing lines like ‘You left us alone for 20 years!’ sound a lot less whiny with that Aussie lilt.

“Add in the girl-power vibe of women shooting guns and galloping on horseback and we could make this trip to the land of Oz a habitual excursion.”

Creator-producer Posie Graeme-Evans, who is also Nine’s head of drama, said she was “over-the-moon” with the US response.

“It’s so unusual for an Australian drama series to crack the US market in whatever form,” she said. “I really cannot hide my joy.”

Ms Graeme-Evans said the international success of the series had also boosted tourism in South Australia and given the stars a US career launching pad.

“Apparently it’s just gigantic in Poland,” Ms Graeme-Evans said. “It’s wonderful for the actors.”

US viewers love McLeod’s Daughters “because it’s all about five chicks running a cattle farm,” Ms Graeme-Evans said.

Southern Star International chief executive Catherine Payne, who is responsible for overseas sales of the series, said its success could be credited to its location and the quality of the writing and acting.

“Australian drama is aspirational and that’s what people want,” Ms Payne said. “McLeod’s has been very strong for the last two years. It is sold in 230 territories worldwide.”

Ms Graeme-Evans said the series had been building a huge international audience for the past two years since it went around the world with the Hallmark cable channel. “It has also just gone onto free-to-air television in Germany, which I think is fantastic,” she said.

By Phillip Koch
October 10, 2004
The Sunday Telegraph