Certain Women was an Australian television soap opera created by prominent Australian TV dramatist Tony Morphett and produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation between 1973 and 1976. It consists of a total of 160 x 50 minute episodes. Some of these are in black and white (episodes 1-59). Episodes (60 through 160), were however, filmed in color.
The idea for series reportedly grew out of Morphett's frustration with the lack of good roles for female actors on Australian TV at the time. The series premiered as a six-part mini-series, with each episode dealing with a different member of the Stone/Lucas family: Gillian (Elisabeth Crosby), Marjorie (Judy Morris), Helen (Jenny Lee), Jane (Joan Bruce), Freda (June Salter) and Dolly (Queenie Ashton). The mini-series proved to be so popular that the format was revised into an ongoing series, making the transition from black-and-white to colour episodes, after season two.
Other cast members in the series included Christine Amor, Diane Craig, Anne Haddy, Shane Porteous, Ron Graham, Peter Sumner, Kris McQuade, Betty Lucas, Vincent Ball, Brian Wenzel, Carmen Duncan, Jack Fegan, Bruce Spence, Sigrid Thornton, John Stanton, Kate Fitzpatrick and Charles Tingwell.
Screening schedule in Australia
Certain Women was very popular and after initially being screened in February 1973 with six episodes, it returned to Australian TV screens from early October 1973 onward, with the first season consisting of 26 episodes. The main screening of Certain Women was on Wednesday evening, commencing at 8pm, after ABC's current affairs program, "This Day Tonight". By mid 1976, it had moved to the slightly later time of 8.30pm, following the broadcasting of another popular ABC television show, "The Inventors". Sunday evenings, saw Certain Women also being repeated around 10.30pm, with the episode shown, being that of the previous weeks transmission. All broadcasts of the show from 1975, were being filmed and broadcast in color.
Missing ABC Videotape
According to a 1999 article by Bob Ellis (whose wife Anne Brooksbank wrote for the series), almost all of the episodes of Certain Women were subsequently wiped by the ABC, although episodes were still being shown as late as 1981 on British television. This was done as part of an ongoing economy drive in the 1970s at the ABC, which led to the wholesale erasure of videotaped program segments, whole programs and in some cases entire series. With the advent of DVD and a strong interest by the public in past Australian television history, it is hoped that some episodes will eventually surface for a compilation release by the ABC on DVD, in the future.
The main title theme track for the Certain Women series still exists in the ABC sound library. From time to time, it has been included on various ABC TV theme music compact discs, available on commercial release.
- Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 109
- Bob Ellis, "The Lost Picture Show", The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 February 1999
- Certain Women at the Internet Movie Database
- Certain Women at the National Film and Sound Archive All scripts for the show plus 70's ABC publicity material.