Remote Area Nurse: articles

RAN (Remote Area Nurse)

New SBS drama set on a remote Coral Sea island is intoxicating fare.

Jan Chapman makes fine drama and the very special RAN, an appealing six-part series, not only provides considerable depth with regards to SBS's multicultural charter but is extraordinarily beautiful.

It is unusual, too, for it was filmed on Masig, a remote Queensland island somewhere in the Coral Sea. As its lead character, a young and much-loved Remote Area Nurse - the only white woman on the island - says as she flies in for another tour of duty: "This is my place ... Nobody knows where it is and nobody comes looking."

Except, of course, Chapman, who returned with the completed series and showed it to the enchanted islanders in a single six-hour session, whereupon everybody partied all night. And why wouldn't they?

So, meet Nurse Helen Tremain (Susie Porter), taking over from a hated replacement who leaves the clinic staff in a state of rebellion. Helen has fences to mend, friendships to renew, and there's Myrtle, intellectually disabled, pregnant yet again and pleading to have the baby on the island, against Health Department regulations. Helen, who has the perception to be wiser than rules, succumbs. It will land her in trouble.

Then there's Helen's pal, Robbo (Billy Mitchell), a fuel supplier who lives on his barge. He fancies Helen, but speculates she may also be drawn to Russ Gaibui (Charles Passi), the charming island boss.

In an amusing treat, the entire Cairns Rugby Club team arrives for a training session. Multicultural massaging? Forget it. This is intoxicating fare.

By Robin Oliver
January 5, 2006
The Age