1 9 8 2 (Australia)
21 x 60 minute episodes
Taurus Rising was meant to be ‘Dallas Down Under’ but ended up being branded ‘Dullest Down Under’.
The Brent family and the Drysdale family were both big in the construction industry and wanted to destroy each other. The men were faithless and the women were vengeful, and the late Harry Brent (Gordon Glenwright) had loved and left old Isabella Drysdale (Georgie Sterling) who’d brought up her family to hate the Brents.
Her son Ben Drysdale (Alan Cassell) had rogered Jennifer Brent (Annette Andre of Randall & Hopkirk: Deceased fame) who’d had a son (his!) and when Drysdale’s wife, Faith (Betty Lucas) found out she drove off with their two little sons, then crashed and killed one.
She’d been batty ever since and Ben (‘The Skyscraper King’) treated her like dirt.
As the series began Jennifer Brent and her son Mike (Andrew Clarke) had inherited the family firm from Harry and had swept into town breathing fire and fury.
Drysdale had meanwhile found enough time mid wheeler-dealing to fix his amorous attentions on beautiful but conniving finance journalist Libby Hilton (Diane Craig) whom he had set up in a lavish flat even though she was secretly investigating him for her newspaper.
But Ben’s problems really began when his disturbed grandson Phillip (Damon Herriman) was kidnapped along with his new nanny, Alice (Linda Newton).
Alice’s construction worker father Bert (Maurie Fields) was, in fact, a spy paid by Ben Drysdale’s underling, Sam Farrer (Michael Long), whose mother Marie (Jessica Noad) worked ‘below stairs’ at the Drysdale mansion.
The title Taurus Rising referred to a complex named Taurus which was being constructed by the Brent construction company and which gradually grew higher during the series.
Made on film (rather than video), the series certainly looked glossy. There were Rolls Royce’s, private jets and wood-panelled offices. And the actresses changed outfits five times an hour.
The Grundy Organisation spent $4.5 million on this expensive disaster – half a million on the pilot alone – only to find that Channel 9 were screening it on Tuesday nights to clash with the extremely successful Prisoner on Channel 10.
It was eventually moved to a Saturday slot but the audiences didn’t perk up and the show – branded “Taurus Falling” by people in the industry – had sunk without trace by the end of the year, proving once again that Australia is really bad at making American TV shows.
Alice Blake (Nanny)
Marie the housekeeper