Night and Day (TV series)
|Night and Day|
The opening titles, depicting Georgina Walker's character Jane Harper
|Genre||Soap opera / Drama|
|Created by||Caleb Ranson|
|Written by||Caleb Ranson, John Jackson, Jessica Townsend, Cris Cole, Elizabeth Delaney, Jeff Dodds, Robert Fraser, Adrian Hewitt, Martha Jay, Charles Lambert, Ed McCardie, Adrian Pagan, Bradley Quirk, Tony Ramsay, Catherine Stedman|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||240 x 20min / 80 x 60min|
|Producer(s)||LWT / Granada Television|
|Running time||20/60 minutes|
|Picture format||16 x 9 Widescreen|
|Original release||6 November 2001 – 5 June 2003|
Its theme-song, "Always & Forever", was sung by Kylie Minogue.
The series begins on the 16th birthday of best friends Jane Harper and Della Wells, who live in the same street in Greenwich. However, before the day is over, Jane is missing, and she does not return.
Over the next year, the lives of six families in the street become further intertwined as secrets and lies come out about all involved, and as Jane's disappearance has a devastating effect on all.
The soap was launched as part of ITV's new early evening line-up with enormous pre-publicity and trailers and at first it rated well, even drawing comparisons to shows such as Twin Peaks. However, as the storylines became more bizarre and complex, it began to rate poorly, only gaining a small, cult fanbase and was pushed to a later timeslot due to the lack of mainstream interest.
The series combined typical soap opera plots — babies switched at birth, clandestine affairs — with more unusual ones such as the murders at the catacombs, and an episode in which a mysterious stranger came to the street and stopped time in order to uncover the truth about the residents, only to eventually erase their memories of events of that alternate reality and turn everything back to normal. The low ratings eventually led ITV to cancel the series.
This decision, however, was made far ahead of time, allowing the producers to script an ending to the series. In the last string of episodes, Sam - wandering away from home - found Jane working as a geisha, with no memory of who she was. He returned her to her family, and her return - coming on the heels of the year anniversary of her disappearance - only served to increase tensions and bring secrets into the open. The final episode, the 80th when counting only the hour-long episodes, focused on revealing some of the secrets behind the characters and Jane being arrested for murder. The episode then flashed to "4 years later" and looked at one day in the very different lives of the residents of Greenwich, as Jane was released from prison and came to discover what had happened since. At the end, Natalie learned that Jane had not been released - but had died in her cell that morning - and her ghost had been the one present. The series closed with a montage of moments from the series to Björk's All is Full of Love.
- Jane Harper, played by Georgina Walker. Beautiful, mysterious, bitchy and intimidating, Jane was the golden girl of the neighbourhood, the girl who had everything...or at least that is how it seemed.
- Ryan Harper, played by Nick Schofield. Jane's older brother is handsome, but insecure. A master manipulator, Ryan has learnt how to use people to his own will, and soon begins retreating back into this as he deals with being part of a broken home.
- Dr. Natalie Harper, played by Sally Dexter. Birth name: Natalie Brake. Jane's mother, a G.P. Despite being very highly-strung and quite secure, Natalie's initial ability to deal with her daughter's disappearance masks her true crumbling nature.
- Duncan Harper, played by Tim Wallers. Jane's father, subordinate to Natalie. Unlike Natalie and her friends, Duncan did not grow up in the area and feels increasingly alone as past events come back to haunt others, while he cannot understand what is going on.
- Della Wells, played by Stephanie Leonidas. Jane's best friend, shares her birthday. Della is blossoming into her own woman, but has always lived in the shadow of Jane, and always wanted to better understand her best friend. She has fallen in love with mysterious Josh Alexander who seems just as smitten with her, but her overprotective dad Alex is an obstacle in the way of true love.
- Roxanne Doyle, played by Lysette Anthony. Natalie's best friend, and Della's mother. Pregnant and prone to irrational outbursts.
- Alex Wells, played by Joe McGann. Roxanne's partner, he is the father of all her children but her oldest, Dennis. He has a shady past, including the fact that - in the year leading up to her disappearance - he was secretly dating Jane, his daughter's best friend. Overprotective of daughter Della and has many shady secrets he would rather keep to himself.
- Dennis Doyle, played by Kevin Sacre. Roxanne's eldest son. Has never fully trusted his stepdad, Alex, and is now discovering adulthood. A loser in love after being rejected by bitchy Jane Harper and catty Kate Ellis.
- Mike Brake, played by Dominic Rickhards. Natalie's younger brother. As a schoolboy, he fell for his teacher Fiona and - when she fell pregnant - the two got married. This early marriage has masked his true feelings of homosexuality, which are only now coming out.
- Fiona Brake, played by Glynis Barber. Mike's wife. Close to the children of the street given her nature as their schoolteacher.
- Rachel Culgrin, played by Lesley Joseph. The street's resident bitch, and a schoolteacher. She makes her feelings known on every subject, particularly the lifestyle of her nephew Sam, and her colleague Fiona.
- Sam Armstrong, played by Stuart Manning. An up-and-coming soccer player. Sam was Jane's first boyfriend, and the father of her unborn baby, although he wasn't aware of it at the time. Even though they never went all the way, she got pregnant when they were making out and he came too soon. Sam's life, however, changed when his parents were killed and he took in his sister Lucy, brother Ben, and had to deal with the sudden involvement in his life of his Aunt Rachel. Sam also consented to let Dennis move in with him.
- Lucy Armstrong, played by Daniella Isaacs. Sam's much younger sister. Her world is the most affected by the death of her parents, and she is struggling to understand the power struggle between Rachel and Sam.
- Charlie Doyle, played by Gareth Hunt. Roxanne's father, he runs the local pub and is probably the wisest of the neighbourhood. Charlie has been married several times.
- Jimmy Hamilton Doyle, played by Joe Jacobs, Charlie's son by a previous marriage, Jimmy is the same age as Jane and her friends and is a wild child.
- Donna Doyle, played by Christianne Gadd. Charlie's current wife, Brazilian.
- Reverend Stephanie MacKenzie, played by Cathy Tyson. The new reverend, who moves in to take over the "Halfway House" for less advantaged teens. She has a past with Natalie, Alex and Roxanne.
- Tom Brake, played by Adam Paul Harvey. Fiona and Mike's son, he has never been successful with girls - even though his best (female) friend is in love with him. He also is interested in film, constantly filming events that occur.
- Josh Alexander, played by Seb Castang. A resident of the Halfway House, Josh was seeing Jane, but after her disappearance he develops feelings for Della. Josh is gorgeous, broody and intense. He is rocked by strange visions and tortured by the thought that he might have killed Jane during one of his blackouts. He has slowly fallen in love with Della Wells but pushes her away as he is scared of hurting her.
- Frankie Radcliffe, played by Debbie Korley. Tom's best friend. She has always had a weird attitude to sex, and her feeling that sex is a disgusting will complicate her relationship with Tom.
- Will Radcliffe, played by Sean Francis. Frankie's father, business partner and best friend to Mike. He is a single dad, and is just starting to get back out on the dating scene - but also trying to juggle it with his life as a parent.
- Holly Curran, played by Phoebe Thomas. One of the most enigmatic residents, Holly lives at the Halfway House and is close with Josh. She regularly speaks her mind in regard to people she does not like. She knows about Jane and Alex's relationship.
- Kate Ellis, played by Julia Lee Smith. She is the only person who can match Ryan in a battle of manipulation, but her talent at this also masks her insecurity. A model, she uses her looks to get what she wants and can wrap men around her little finger without any hassle.
- Becky and Laura Wells played by Jai Wilson and Keya Wilson. Twin daughters of Alex and Roxanne.
- Eddie 'Woody' Dexter, played by Bradley Walsh. Danny's brother and Dennis's uncle. Woody had feelings for Natalie and returns just in time to find her marriage on the rocks.
- Celeste Dexter, played by Phoebe Sweeney. Woody's daughter, who becomes Ryan's girlfriend.
- Francois Jardin, played by Laurie Hagen. Jane's penpal from France who arrives in the aftermath, unaware of the tragedy that befell her, and whose letters may hold clues.
- Melanie Bradshaw, played by Julie Legrand. A weird nurse whose delivered Jane and Della and is supposed to deliver Roxanne's new baby. Roxanne is terrified of her and suspects that she might be the source of anonymous letters which warn Roxanne her baby is not safe.
- Django Doyle, played by Dan D'Souza. Charlie's son, a singer in Singapore who comes to stay unexpectedly and begins to manipulate his father.
- Malcolm Burns, played by Paul Kynman. The caretaker of the halfway house and grounds, who disappears some time after Jane. His death is first pronounced a suicide, but it seems more likely that he was murdered.
- Lydia, played by Jenna Boyd. An unattractive parking inspector whom Sam starts to date out of feelings of guilt because of Jane.
- Ben Armstrong, played by Max Anthony Foster. Sam and Lucy's baby brother.
- Aunt Begonia, played by Coralie Rose. Donna's attractive sister, who falls for Jimmy, her nephew-by-marriage.
- Gabriel Huysman, played by Clarke Peters. A mysterious stranger who claims to be a private investigator and who questions the people around Jane.
- Danny Dexter, played by Shane Richie. Dennis's father, who may have been involved in Jane's disappearance.
- Inspector Paisley, played by Flip Webster. The woman who takes over on Jane's case.
The series aired on ITV, premiering with an unusual format: a re-edited, one-hour episode would be produced each week, which would first air as three thirty-minute episodes in an early slot three nights a week, and then as one "omnibus" episode with more explicit scenes (often just discussion or events that could not be aired in an earlier timeslot) included.
The experiment failed after several months, and ITV decided to simply air the one-hour episodes at the later slot.
The first 20-minute teatime episode aired on Tuesday 6 November 2001 at 17:05 on ITV, attracting 2.2million viewers.
On the 27 March 2002, ITV announced it was removing Night and Day from its 17:05 slot the following week. This was in response to the series attracting only a 9% audience share and being beaten in the ratings by BBC Two's The Weakest Link and Channel 4's Richard & Judy. The series' removal was so sudden that TV listings for the next week still advertised the show. Speaking of the decision to axe the teatime editions Tony Woods, the head of continuing drama at ITV stated "The series has already established itself as cult viewing for young adults and repositioning it with a first showing in the evening will build on its appeal". Clearly others within ITV Network Centre did not agree and episodes aired later and later in the night. At some points in late 2002, episodes aired at 2am. Most episodes also aired later than billed, some almost ten minutes behind the advertised schedule.
The vacant 17:05 slot was filled by repeats of game shows such as Catchphrase, You've Been Framed and Family Fortunes. Eventually, in January 2003 a relaunched version of Crossroads aired in the slot before it too was also cancelled after only a few months on air.
The final 60 minute 'omnibus' episode aired on the 6 June 2003.
The series finished filming on the 17 May 2002 (the day before the British Soap Awards), over a year before the final episode aired on screen.
Teatime episodes averaged 1.4 million viewers. The final episode attracted 500,000 viewers despite airing at 00:30.
In Australia, the show screened on ABC TV. It was originally aired weeknights at 6pm, leading into the evening news, but the later episodes were predominantly screened very late at night.
'Thornton Street' was in reality King George Street SE10, one of the most historic areas of Greenwich. Other locations in Greenwich included the Cutty Sark, the Old Greenwich Hospital and the park. 'St Vincents Halfway House' was actually in the borough of Tower Hamlets. Interior shots were filmed at the Three Mills Studios in Bow.
Night and Day was nominated for ten awards at the British Soap Awards 2002, beating established rivals such as Hollyoaks and Emmerdale. It won one award, 'Hero of the year' (chosen by a panel of judges) for the character of Sam giving up football to look after his orphaned siblings.
Some five weeks before the final episode aired in 2003 many TV guides flagged up the weeks episode as the 'last in series'. Indeed the Radio Times even printed a double page feature about the shows demise after 17 months on air. Quite why this error could have happened is unknown. This led to some fans thinking the series had ended on a knife-edge cliffhanger when in fact the next five weeks tied up all the loose ends to all plots.
In 2006 the Radio Times ran a small article about the fifth anniversary of Night and Day's premier. The programme was described as being stylish but with little substance.
The series was never released on DVD or video. The sheer number of songs used on the soundtrack throughout the series would make a DVD release financially impractical as each artist would need to be paid a royalty fee. At the time of the shows final transmission rumors circulated on fan message boards of a clause in the production contract that prevents a rerun of the series until 5 years after initial transmission. This has not been confirmed by ITV or LWT. As of 2014 (more than ten years since the final episode) the series has yet to being repeated.