It all happened on a tranquil afternoon in 1987, in the quiet town of Kangaroo Valley in southern
New South Wales. A television producer was searching for inspiration for a new TV series, and he
found it while buying an ice-cream from the town's general store.
Alan Bateman, the Seven Network's head of drama, was on the lookout for a new
teen-based drama to fill the spot left vacant by the defection of Neighbours to another network. During his stay in Kangaroo Valley, Alan got chatting to some locals who were unhappy about a home for
foster kids from the city being built in their town. As he listened to their tale, he was struck by the
potential of the situation for plenty of conflict and storylines in a TV series.
Over the next few months, the idea was developed into story form, but when the script was delivered to the Seven Network weeks before filming was due to start, it was a disaster. John Holmes, executive
producer of the new series, knew the project was in trouble and called in writer Bevan Lee to create an
entirely new script. Weeks later, the new script was presented, the actors were called in and cameras
began to roll on the telemovie-length pilot episode of a series called Home and Away.
Home and Away premiered on 17 January 1988 and made an impressive debut on Australian television.
The Seven Network made a strong commitment to the new series and allowed it time to settle in and find
a dedicated audience. By the end of the first year, Home and Away was a ratings hit. Just over 12 months later, on 11 February 1989, Home and Away debuted on British television and quickly won
a loyal audience of fans there. It now also screens in New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Estonia, France,
Norway, Sweden, Israel and many Asian countries.
Over the past 21 years, Home and Away has won 21 Logie Awards and three Australian Writer's Guild
Awards, as well as one AFI Award. Thousands of actors have since stepped onto the Summer Bay set and
strutted their stuff before the cameras, including future Oscar and Golden Globe nominees Heath
Ledger, Naomi Watts, Julian McMahon and Simon Baker.
Of the talented star cast who began on Home and Away all those years ago, only Ray Meagher remains,
now in his 21st year as the indomitable Alf Stewart. Australian television's sweetheart Kate Ritchie
was the second longest serving cast member at 20 years, having made her exit in April 2008.
It now also holds the record as the second longest running drama on Australian TV, with the 5000th episode set to screen in the second half of 2009. Home and Away remains a powerful television
performer, winning consistently strong ratings across new generations of TV viewers.
(Excerpt from the Official Souvenir Magazine)
For much much more information make sure you get a copy.
There are more than 130 pages packed with exclusive interviews, brand new, never before seen photos, a complete timeline of events at Summer Bay and much more.
Plus there are 12 bonus pin-ups and a GIANT double gatefold poster inside.
Keep checking the website as we will be running a competition to win signed copies of this fantastic magazine.
The Home & Away Official Collector's Edition is available NOW, at all major newsagents and supermarkets, at the 7 Store in Martin Place, and online at the 7 Store.