1 9 9 6 – 1 9 9 8 (Australia)
12 x 25 minute episodes
This SBS (Australia) comedy featured bankrupt landlord Mike (Chris Haywood) and his pampered 15-year-old daughter Chloe (Jocelyn Rosen) who suddenly find themselves homeless and decide the only solution is to move in with their three tenants.
But father and daughter are shocked to learn that they now share a house with three people with learning difficulties – Belinda (Ruth Cromer), Trev (Saxon Graham) and Robert (Chris Greenwood) – and their carer, Jack (Jeanette Cronin), a motorbike-mad lesbian.
Episodes explored how the two groups learned to live with each other and respect each other’s individual problems and needs.
Neither patronising nor politically correct in its approach, the script did not tiptoe around the issues and the gloves were off from the start, with Chloe stamping around the house in a thwarted, teenage fury, calling the tenants “morons”.
This innovative comedy from SBS Australia starred disabled actors (Saxon Graham and Ruth Cromer had Down’s Syndrome and Chris Greenwood had mild cerebral palsy) and showed – with humour and attitude – that you don’t have to be disabled to be dysfunctional.
New characters introduced in the second series of six episodes included former GP cast member Tracie Sammut as Belinda’s friend, Donna (who also had Down’s Syndrome), and Lynda Gibson as next-door neighbour Julie.
Produced with the assistance of Film Australia, House Gang wasn’t the slickest or funniest sitcom ever produced and the script was very weak, but it was a worthy and well-intended project.
The series aired in the UK on Channel 4 in 1997 during a TV season on disability (Access All Areas).
Don’t Call Me Stupid | Dumped | Winners | Nightmares | Truth or Dare | Sex || Kissing | Chaos | Surprise | Moving Out | Jealousy | Ambition