1 9 9 8 – 1 9 9 9 (Australia)
396 x 30 minute episodes
This soap from Australia’s Channel Ten revolved around ‘The Breakers’ – a once-majestic but now faded building on the sweeping beach boulevard at picturesque Bondi Beach in Sydney.
The building was owned by the Simmons family and housed a cafe run by Kate Markham (Helen O’Connor), a modelling school called BMS owned by Paul Simmons (Richard Healy) and Monique Fairbairn (Simone Robertson), and a community newspaper (“The Breaker”) run by Paul’s ex-wife (and Kate’s sister), Eve (Julie Haseler).
The Breakers was also home to ‘Against the Tide’, a voluntary agency which found work and accommodation for the homeless kids who were drawn to the beach suburb.
Kate Markham did everything possible to give her son Alex (James Stewart) a stable upbringing but he was eventually sent packing to England to live with the father he hadn’t heard from in four years.
The chef at Kate’s cafe was Boris McCann (Jean-Marc Russ), a former merchant sailor and a man of few words.
Paul Simmons was smart, handsome, witty, generous and terminally lazy. He had a charmed life, easing himself into relationships and jobs by always being in the right place at the right time, and never with any great effort on his part. His lack of drive and ambition was the major reason for the breakdown of his marriage to Eve.
Eve was a driven woman but rarely, if ever, acted out of malice. She was motivated solely by logic and good business sense but not above trampling competitors underfoot or manipulating others for her own gain.
Monique Fairbairn had been an up-and-coming model and actress but turned to Paul for help when she became pregnant at the age of 21. Between them, they came up with the idea of the modelling school. Paul had The Breakers lying empty and she had the know-how so they went into partnership.
Steve Giordano (John Atkinson) was the manager and father figure of ‘Against The Tide’ and his own past experiences as a vulnerable youth helped him to identify with the kids who came to him for help.
Steve and Eve found themselves attracted to each other, but their different value systems often got in the way of a real relationship.
16-year-old Reuben Neeson (Heath Bergersen) was a wild street kid in danger of going to jail until Kate Markham stepped in to help him. After a stormy start with Steve, Reuben became his right-hand man at ‘Against The Tide’.
17-year-old Fiona Motson (Ada Nicodemou) – or “Fee” as she preferred to be called – arrived from country Muswellbrook to work at the Bondi Cafe and pursue an acting career but soon finds life in the big city isn’t as glamorous as she expected.
Danny Simmons (Ben Tate) helped his father at the modelling school – a teenage boys idea of heaven. At heart, though, he was a sensitive soul and the bluff and bravado he used around his mates evaporated when he was alone with a girl. His best mate, Vince (Simon Munro) was a student at BMS who gradually realised he was gay.
There was controversy when the character of Lucy Hill (Louise Crawford) was involved in a lesbian relationship which Senator Karen Synon felt was “inappropriate” given the show’s weekday timeslot (although episodes were aired at 11.30 pm they were repeated the following afternoon, originally at 4.30 pm and eventually at 3.30 pm).
The series featured gorgeous bodies running along a gorgeous beach but unfortunately accompanied by dialogue hurriedly scribbled on the back of a drink coaster and delivered with all the style of a porn film.
The final episode was broadcast on 28 October 1999.
Ling Hsuch Tang
Charles ‘Chubby’ Maxwell