1 9 8 5 (Australia)
2 x 120 minute episodes
This two-part Australian miniseries from Channel Nine focused on a wealthy family and the latest developments in in-vitro fertilisation.
Millionaire winemaker John Craig (George Mikell) wants his family to carry on his business empire but his only son Michael (Andrew Sharp) and daughter-in-law Sally (Belinda Davey) are unable to have children.
Ruthless young company lawyer Brendan Keller (Gary Day) charms Dr Gloria McRae (Rowena Wallace) to ensure that they are accepted into a private in-vitro fertilisation scheme. Spurred by her own plans, Dr McRae becomes a party to Keller’s illegal plan – to blackmail the Craigs.
She pays the price when she is murdered while eating a spring roll in Melbourne’s Chinatown.
Caught up in Keller’s intrigues is soon-to-be-widowed Joan Simpson (Deborra-Lee Furness), who adds another twist to the in-vitro drama as she agrees to act as a surrogate mother for the family in return for a sum of money.
The sets were all very hi-tech and there were some lovely location shots around the vineyards, cellars and gardens of the Chateau Tahbilk estate in Victoria but the acting was indifferent for the most part with poor dialogue, disjointed editing and a bevy of fancy film techniques that only served to confuse.
The four-hour series – based on the book The Body as Property by Sydney lawyer Russell Scott – was almost as drawn out as nine months of pregnancy and ultimately forgettable viewing. Fortunately, there were no loose ends so there could be no sequel.
Dr Gloria McRae
Dr B Bombar