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ABC goes for doctor

The ABC is planning a Melbourne-produced medical drama series, the latest in a catalogue of Victorian programming announced in recent months.

The 22-part weekly series, as yet unnamed and uncast, will be made for the ABC by independent production company Screentime.

The one-hour mid-week drama will be the first medical series produced for the ABC since G.P. in the late 1980s.

The series is the third television production announced this year to be made in Melbourne after the Sunday morning current affairs-analysis show The Insiders and Sunday arts program Coast to Coast. The ABC's new head of drama, Robyn Kershaw, is also Melbourne-based.

Production of the series will start late this year and it will air early next year. Budget details have not been announced.

ABC TV spokeswoman Lesna Thomas said Screentime had been given the go-ahead yesterday to produce the series from the ABC's Melbourne studios.

Ms Kershaw said the ABC was pleased to be working with Screentime, whose recent productions include the mini-series The Potato Factory and the Popstars series, both for Channel Seven.

Screentime was established in 1996 by former Seven Network managing director Bob Campbell and the network's former director of production and program development, Des Monaghan. Mr Monaghan and screenplay writer Greg Haddrick developed the concept for the series.

Production on the only other ABC drama series made in Melbourne, Something in the Air, finishes on August 24. A decision on its future must be made before then, but things are not looking good.

Despite a recent return to its original four-day-a-week spot, the series continues to rate poorly.

By Andrea Carson and Kylie Miller
Saturday 11 August 2001
The Age