1 9 8 4 (Australia)
20 x 30 minute episodes
Sweet and Sour was like an Australian version of Rock Follies – but without the drugs, the sex or the swearing. The series follows the fortunes of a young rock band called The Takeaways, but theirs is not a rags-to-riches story.
Rather it is a gritty history of a band that does not achieve fame or fortune and is lucky to actually even get a record out.
Against a backdrop of current social and economic conditions, band members attempt to find personal satisfaction and a degree of control over their lives by making music.
The series follows the band from their first informal jam session to watching their first single* being pressed.
After quitting his band, Lone Sharks, impoverished guitarist Martin (David Reyne) moves into a disused old boot factory with Darrell (Ric Herbert), a part-time student in media communications.
They are soon joined by Carol (Tracy Mann) – an aspiring clothes designer – who has just moved to Sydney from Melbourne to make a fresh start.
They meet George Poulopoulos (Arky Michael) when he visits the warehouse and tries (unsuccessfully) to collect the rent on behalf of his choleric older brother, Nick (George Spartels).
Together they form The Takeaways along with erstwhile groupie Christine (Sandra Lillingston) on saxophone and keyboards, eventually also adding drummer Johnny Black (Robin Copp).
This innovative series from the ABC came from mixing the outputs of two TV Departments; Drama and Light Entertainment. Light Entertainment made a first pilot (directed by Grant Rule, Executive Producer of Countdown), which was unfortunately deemed to be unsatisfactory and the show was handed to the Drama department.
The subsequent soundtrack album – including original songs written by Sharon O’Neill, Johanna Pigott, Todd Hunter, David McComb, and Mark Callaghan – went platinum and sold more than 70,000 copies.
The series aired weeknights from Monday to Thursday at 6:30 pm and featured guest appearances by Renee Geyer, The Johnnys, Richard Clapton, Christina Amphlett, Marc Hunter, Ignatius Jones, Jon English, Glenn Shorrock, Red Symons, John Paul Young, Brett Pattinson of the Allniters and Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum.
Leo (Dead Lions)
* Single = What we had before CDs. It was black, flat, round, 7″ in diameter and made out of vinyl. You played it with a needle. No, honestly.