Something In The Air: articles

Star swap at Emu Springs

AS it turns out, something is in the air at Emu Springs. And it looks a lot like the ghost of Darrin from Bewitched.

The memory of the husband of supple-nosed witch Samantha in the ‘60s sitcom is haunting the makers of the ABC series Something In The Air, which appears in a new format on Saturday night.

This is because they are planning their own husband switcheroo, reminiscent of the legendary overnight replacement of Darrin in 1969, when Dick Sargent mysteriously took over the role from Dick York.

“I was actually quite scared about the whole thing when I heard what was going to happen,” says Danielle Carter, whose screen husband, farmer Joe Sabatini, played by Eric Bana, will soon suddenly be played by Vince Colossimo.

“I was really thinking ‘Oh no, this is going to be clunky’.

“But the minute I saw Vince it clicked, it made sense, and I truly think it will be the same for the viewers.”

The makers of the show decided to let Bana leave in the middle of his contract when he was offered a role in the latest Hollywood movie to be directed by Ridley Scott, of Gladiator fame.

According to the show’s producer, Alan Hardy, once it seemed Bana’s movie career would take off in the wake of his AFI-winning title role in Chopper, they knew they would eventually lose him.

“So we actually planned a whole exit for the character of Joe,” he says.

“But then the Ridley Scott thing suddenly came up and it was an offer Eric clearly couldn’t refuse—and we didn’t have time to do that exit.

“So we recast with Vince at breakneck speed—we were terrifically lucky he was available—and it’s actually amazing how easily the transition happened.”

Bana will continue to appear as Joe for some time when the series returns on Saturday.

The new format sees two episodes shown back to back once a week instead of last year’s schedule of one half-hour episode four times a week, where the show generally recorded ratings that were not worthy of it.

Carter says she is extremely relieved that the quirky rural comedy-drama has been given a chance at a new lease of life. “I do think that we were incredibly lucky to go again, but I know the show deserves it,” she says.

“The first series is the really difficult one, it’s all about setting up situations and characters and style. This time I think it’s going to be much easier, and much more fun.”

• Something In The Air, Saturday, ABC, 7.30pm.

By Eleanor Sprawson
March 01, 2001
Daily Telegraph