Saturday, October 17, 2015

TV review - "Number 96" - episode 1 (1972) ***

The first episode of Australia's most notorious soap is in black and white and looks as cheap as anything, but the picture is crisp and clear, its extremely well cast, and all the ingredients that made it such a success are already there - you've got vaudeville comedy from Pat McDonald and Ron Shand as the gossips; there is multiculturalism with the Greek running the store downstairs; inter-generational conflict (a daughter wants to move out); there's a new arrival with a dash of sex - pregnant Briony Behets won't sleep with her husband so he makes eyes at the grocer's daughter (Vivienne Garrett); Abigail wears racy outfits and goes off to a dodgy photo shoot which involves wearing a sea through top; Elaine Lee has a dodgy past; there are two whiny Poms elsewhere.

It moves at a fast pace and there are some people with genuine charisma - Abigail is a terrific soap actress; McDonald and Shand are great. I'm surprised how English it is - most of the cast talk in posh accents. Some of the dialogue is overly expositional but the plotting is fine and this held up pretty well.

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