MDA: articles

Doctors fight for life of scrip teaser

It would appear that not even high-level pleading from the nation's medical profession will save ABC TV's only Australian drama series MDA from the axe.

Publicity head Lesna Thomas says the ABC is still in talks with producers Screentime, but Diary would be amazed if another series of the drama that began as a star vehicle for Kerry Armstrong and Jason Donovan is commissioned for 2004. None other than the federal president of the Australian Medical Association Dr Bill Glasson last week wrote to television director Sandra Levy: "You must commission another series of MDA – at least one, preferably more. MDA is drama of the highest order.

It is a program for the times. With medical indemnity, Medicare and medical workforce shortages in the news every day, and affecting all Australians, MDA reflects the needs and concerns of the Australian community when it comes to their health." Although it attracted some critical acclaim and several awards, the medico-legal drama was too dry to really engage.

Its ratings were abysmal, even for the ABC, but it lasted a lot longer than the other dramas it launched with – like Marshall Law, Young Lions and White Collar Blue. We understand it may come back as a telemovie or two next year. But it certainly was never going to emulate the stunning success of GP, which the ABC had hoped it would emulate.

December 18, 2003
The Australian