1 9 9 6 – 1 9 9 7 (Australia)
390 x 60 minute episodes
This Woeful Aussie soap opera was set in Pacific Drive – an affluent stretch of the Gold Coast in Queensland (Australia) with endless golden beaches and crystal blue water where scantily-clad and attractive young people gyrated amongst the wealthy owners of villas and yachts. It made Baywatch look classy . . .
Rarely has a show been so comprehensively bad – from scripting and acting to set and costume design, it was woeful. Towards the end, you could actually see the bottom of the barrel!
In the opening episode, rich and powerful socialite Sonia Kingsley was killed in a hit-and-run – while jogging on the beach! Martin Harris (Joss McWilliam), the best-dressed cop this side of Miami Vice, investigated just about everybody in the show for the murder.
Some of the main characters included “dynamic, young paramedic” Callie Macrae (Danielle Spencer) whose love life was just as dynamic as she fended off male and female suitors from all directions; lifeguard Luke Bowman (Steve Harman); young model Bethany Daniels (Melissa Tkautz) who was “poised on the brink of international fame”; radio talk show host Trey Devlin (Lloyd Morris); Zoe Marshall (Libby Tanner), a “good-time girl” who liked to party; and local real estate hustler and stud, Rick Carlyle (Andre Eikmeier).
Many of the beautiful youngsters lived in a Spanish Mission-style apartment building, and when they weren’t there, they could be found plotting and scheming in beach houses, upmarket media offices, or at the marina where one of them – Brett Barrett (Erik Thomson) – chartered out a boat when he wasn’t renting out his body to wealthy hausfraus (though you could get a package deal on both).
Towards the end of the first season, viewers were treated to a long-running serial killer story. Other major storylines included Trey and Amber Kingsley’s forbidden affair, Zoe being held captive by her deranged flatmate and Bethany contracting HIV.
Like most Australian soaps, the joint Channel Nine, Village Roadshow, and New World Entertainment (an American distribution company) production featured high camp melodrama, silly villains, vacuous vamps, treacherous businessmen and even a lesbian businesswoman. Never a show to take itself seriously, Pacific Drive had many loyal fans nevertheless and was even aired on American cable TV.
Dr Josh Michaels