Something In The Air: articles

ABC rural drama to vanish into ether

ABC TV has dumped its Victorian-made drama Something in the Air, citing a lack of resources and the difficulty of selling its programs overseas.

“Given limited resources and a difficult foreign sales environment, ABC TV and (producers) Beyond Simpson Le Mesurier will not take up the option of a third series of Something in the Air,” the head of ABC drama, Robyn Kershaw, announced in a statement.

The “difficult decision” was made late yesterday following a series of timeslot shifts for the rural-based drama, filmed in Nyora, a tiny South Gippsland town of 312.

The decision has alarmed the Friends of the ABC, who believe that making programming decisions based on what can be sold overseas is not the role of the national broadcaster.

Although the show never rated well, it was well loved. On Tuesday, when ABC radio’s Jon Faine invited callers to discuss the new ABC programs, fans of Something in the Air dominated the lines.

The show followed the lives and radio station of fictional rural town Emu Springs and starred Eric Bana, Kate Fitzpatrick, Anne Phelan and Frank Holden.

Nyora local Don Garnham, who offered his vehicles and tractors as props, said last night that the town would be disappointed at the news. “It’s been good for the town, it’s put us on the map a little—nothing like SeaChange—but it brought money into the town.”

Mr Garnham estimates the show boosted the town’s revenue to the tune of $100,000. The pub was painted and the local football club was paid thousands of dollars for playing on-camera matches.

Something in the Air, which will finish production this month, recently moved from one hour at 7.30pm on Saturdays to a half-hour at 6pm from Monday to Thursday. It will still screen at that time into 2002.

By Melissa Fyfe
August 16, 2001
The Age