Soapy crime drama series Cop Shop told episodes in the lives of the coppers (both uniformed cops and the plain clothes branch) working out of Riverside station. Sgt Glenn Taylor was the stations C.I. boss, in charge of the running of the station, much of the early action centred around the home life of Taylor and his family, wife Pamela and teenage daughter Gayle.
Paula Duncan who played Policewoman Danni Francis became the pin-up girl of the show. Other main characters included Detective J.J. Johnson (a womanising and drinking copper who ended up married to a stripper). One interesting aspect is that the character of Detective Peter Fanelli had previously been seen in the series Skyways before appearing in this. When the Show began, many people expected it to be merely a filler program. Its drawing power was an unknown quantity to the bosses at Seven and Crawfords, and its artistic value was judged to be next to nil by many critics. But things improved. The actors expanded and developed their characters. and, slowly but surely, the show gained a good following.
The series was shot on videotape and was an attempt to show the human face of policing by also showing the coppers outside of work. The exterior of the station was the Russell Street Police Station in Melbourne (as seen in the opening credits). Cop Shop was also one of the first Australian cop series to show women cops at work. Adams and Lockwood won Logies for their roles on the show.
Paula Duncan and John Orcsik married both in the show and in real life, when Paula fell pregnant in real life, the producers wrote it into the script. Orcsik was actually only brought in to replace Tony Bonner but ended up becoming one of the main players. Unusually for an Australian show, Cop Shop went abroad for one story, filming a segment in Rome, Italy. Working titles for the show included Palace Guards and Saints and Sinners.
Australia / Channel 7 – Crawfords / 582x60m-e / Broadcast November 1977 – 1980
Creator: Terry Stapleton / Producers: Terry Stapleton, Marie Trevor / Executive Producer: Hector Crawford
GEORGE MALLABY as Detective Glen Taylor
ROWENA WALLACE as Pamela Taylor
JO-ANNE MOORE as Gayle Taylor
PETER ADAMS as Detective Jeff ‘JJ’Johnson
TERENCE DONOVAN as Vic
PAULA DUNCAN as Danni Francis
GIL TUCKER as Roy
NICHOLAS EADIE as Sam
ALAN FLETCHER as Frank
JOANNA LOCKWOOD as Valerie Johnson
TERRY NORRIS as Senior Sgt Eric O’Rielly
LYNDA STONER as Amanda King
JOHN ORCSIK as Detective Mike Georgiou
TONY BONNER as Det Don McKenna
Murcheson Creek (Channel 9 1976, Mark Edwards, Rowena Wallace)
In one off thriller Murcheson Creek Andrew Murcheson returns to his home town to take over his father’s medical practice (the town being named Murcheson Creek in honour of his family.) He begins an affair with an old flame Karen Fields and also finds himself stirring up secrets that should have stayed buried after trying to settle his father’s accounts.
Mark Edwards as Dr Andrew Murcheson
Rowena Wallace as Karen Fields
Abigail as Donna Lewis
Sandra Lee Paterson as Dr Myfanwy Mckenna
Director: Terry Bourke
Writer: Robert Caswell
Producer: Ross Hawthorn
Executive Producer: Bill Harmon
Network and Production Companies: Channel 9 – Cash Harmon
Duration: 1×90 minute episode
Aired From: 1976
Australian Gangster (Channel 7 2018)
Australian Gangster is a crime drama that will have a distinctly modern vibe. No real plot details have been released as yet but it’s being talked of a grand tale of crime in Western Sydney where glitz and glamour vie with drugs and laundered money. The behind the scenes crew have impressive pedigrees – it’s been written by Gregor Jordan (of Two Hands fame) and Romper Stomper author Malcolm Knox.
Producer John Edwards said “Just as Two Hands was an oblique take on a familiar form a generation ago, Australian Gangster will be a genre-bending crime drama series – confronting, affronting, touching and often laugh-out-loud crazy.”
Filming will begin early next year in and around Sydney.
Writer: Gregor Jordan, Malcolm Knox
Producers: Dan Edwards, John Edwards
Director: Daina Reed
Network and Production Companies: Channel 7 – Roadshow Rough Diamond – Screen Australia – Create NSW – Red Arrow International
Duration: Not sure as yet
Aired From: In production
And The Big Men Fly (ABC 1973, John Hargreaves, Frank Wilson)
Comedy drama And The Big Men Fly saw a young farm lad becoming a big star of Aussie rules football, his special skills involve him playing barefoot. In 1981 there was a sequel called And Here Comes Bucknuckle.
Made in black and white
Writer: Alan Hopgood
Producer: Oscar Whitbread
Director: Keith Wilkes
Network and Production Companies: ABC
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 1973
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