The Secret Life of Us: articles

The Secret's out in the UK

BRITISH viewers will see new locally produced drama series The Secret Life Of Us before Australians.

The series, a Southern Star/John Edwards production, will make its debut there on Channel 4 on July 3 and will screen twice a week. It will follow the second season of the UK version of Big Brother. Network Ten hasn't announced a timeslot here for the series but it will be in a 9.30pm spot in early July. Ten is expecting stiff counter-programming from the other networks, which is why Ten programmer David Mott isn't giving away the start date just yet.

Tapes of the two-hour premiere episode have somehow found their way to the other networks and the word from them is "Wow". Having now seen the first episode, I'll add a "Wow" too.

It's cleverly scripted and wonderfully acted. It's funny, warm, sophisticated and raunchy and sets a new benchmark for quality drama in this country.

Channel 4's acquisition of the series has a twist to it.

While British television has been buying Australian mini-series and soaps such as Home And Away and Neighbours for years, a pre-sale of a high-end drama has been tough to crack.

John Edwards, producer with Amanda Higgs, said that Channel 4 took an option on the series after reading the scripts. After seeing the pilot episode they came on board as a production partner. What's more, tapes of the series keep going missing, with Channel 4 staff suspected of knocking them off to take home.

"I don't think they were entirely confident we could do it," Edwards says. "I think they thought this isn't the sort of stuff Australians can do."

It was a different story after Channel 4 execs had seen the pilot.

Higgs and cast member Deborah Mailman will go to England next week for the UK launch. Late next month, Edwards and Southern Star Entertainment's chief executive Errol Sullivan will follow for discussions about a second series.

Network Ten has also indicated it is interested in a second series.

June 21, 2001
Daily Telegraph