1 9 9 5 (Australia)
100 x 30/60 minute episodes
Debuting in June 1995, this Aussie soap opera from the Ten Network was designed to do battle in the television ratings with the Channel 7 series Home and Away.
Echo Point was a (fictional) sun-dappled coastal community with two cafes, a hospital, a police station, a garden centre and a haunted house. The slightly confusing location was an idealised dream of a place by the sea: urban, suburban and coastal all at the same time – and as close-knit as a small country community.
Like Home and Away, Echo Point focussed on parents and children and teenagers and their relationships (basically, who’s snogging who and not telling their parents about it).
The show had a familiar bland cast of characters: good girls, bad boys, cute kids, a sprightly single mother, a disillusioned wife, an erring husband, a grumpy boss and a father who drank too much.
The family theme was very strong and the absence of a parent played a part in several characters’ lives and provided a gap in the dramatis personae, presumably to be filled at a later date – Where is Zac’s father? Who is Belinda’s father? When will they turn up in the plot?
It seemed that half the cast worked at either the Shed or the Bakery (the two cafes). And if they didn’t work there, they ate veggie-burgers there.
Amidst the small-scale domestic dramas of the Lomans, the Amadios and the O’Connors, a slightly Gothic sub-plot focussed on Daniel Blake (Phillip Gordon), a man without any apparent family ties whose parents were found murdered in their Echo Point house 15 years ago.
For a while, he was the chief suspect but there was insufficient evidence to try him and he left town. Suddenly he was back to claim his inheritance and lurk mysteriously – dressed in black – in various Echo Point locations. He even popped into the Bakery for a coffee.
After two weeks of disastrous ratings at 7.00 pm, Echo Point was moved to the earlier timeslot of 6.00 pm.
The Ten Network eventually pulled the plug on the soapie after just four months on the air. It was replaced on weeknights with reruns of the vintage American sitcom, The Brady Bunch, while the remaining episodes were shown in one-hour blocks at 4.00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Echo Point was filmed in Sydney in the Manly district and at Balmoral Beach.
David E. Woodley
Dr Jo Price
Det Sgt Warren