Home and Away

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For other uses, see Home and Away (disambiguation).
Home and Away
Home and away Logo.PNG
Genre Soap opera
Created by Alan Bateman
Starring Current cast
Theme music composer Mike Perjanik[1]
Opening theme "Home and Away"
(short theme; instrumental)
Ending theme "Home and Away"
(internationally)
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 28
No. of episodes 6250 (as of 30 July 2015)
Production
Executive producer(s) John Holmes
Julie McGauran
Producer(s) John Holmes (1988–89)
Andrew Howie (1989–94)
Russell Webb (1994–2001)
Julie McGauran (2001–07)
Cameron Welsh (2007–12)
Lucy Addario (2012–now)
Location(s) Palm Beach, New South Wales
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Red Heart Entertainment
Release
Original channel Seven Network
Picture format 576i (4:3) (1988–2000)
576i (16:9) (2001–07)
1080i (16:9) (2007–present)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 17 January 1988 (1988-01-17) – present
Chronology
Related shows HeadLand
External links
Website

Home and Away is an Australian television soap opera. It was created by Alan Bateman and has been produced in Sydney, New South Wales since July 1987. It commenced broadcast on the Seven Network from 17 January 1988. It is the second-longest-running Australian drama and has enjoyed worldwide success, becoming one of the most popular Australian soap operas to screen internationally and the most popular in its home country. The pilot episode was screened as a ninety-minute television film, with each subsequent episode airing at twenty-two minutes per episode. The series is broadcast Mondays to Thursdays at 7:00 pm (on Thursdays, two episodes are played in a one-hour block).

Home and Away is set in Summer Bay, a coastal town in New South Wales, and follows the personal and professional lives of the residents within the town. Initially, the series focused on the Fletcher family – Pippa and Tom, and their five foster children, Frank Morgan, Carly Morris, Lynn Davenport, Steven Matheson and Sally Fletcher – who relocated from the city to live in the picturesque town of Summer Bay, following Tom's job retrenchment and move into the Summer Bay House, where they took on the new job of running the caravan park, and eventually took in a sixth foster child, Bobby Simpson. The series was not without controversy. During the first season alone, the show featured several adult-themed storylines, such as teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol addiction and drug overdose. A storyline, in particular concerning rape outraged the public and a protest erupted, as viewers deemed it an inappropriate subject to be covering in an early evening time slot. The series has dealt with similar storylines over the years which have often exceeded its restricted time slot.

Home and Away currently remains Australia's highest-rated and most popular soap opera. The show has been sold to over 80 countries around the world, making it one of Australia's successful media exports. It is popular in Ireland and New Zealand, being one of RTÉ Television's and TV2's highest-rating drama series.

Home and Away is the most successful programme in the history of the Logies and has earned a total of 45 Logie Awards since premiering in 1988, including the award for Most Popular Drama Program. The cast has earned several awards including the Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television, Silver Logie Award for Most Popular Actor, and Most Popular Actress. The show was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame in 2015.[2]

History[edit]

After the Seven Network cancelled their soap opera Neighbours on 12 July 1985 due to low ratings, rival network Ten picked it up and turned it into a success.[3] A couple of years later, the Seven Network's head of drama, Alan Bateman, became desperate to get back into the soap market and began to work out how to launch another soap that was not a copy of Neighbours.[4] While on a trip to Kangaroo Point, New South Wales with his family, Bateman began talking to locals who were "up in arms" over the construction of a foster home for children from the city.[4][5] Seeing the degree of conflict the "influx of parentless children on a tight-knit community" was having, Bateman came away with the idea for a new serial.[5] He explained "Nobody in the community wanted them to move in and I began to wonder how streetwise city kids would adapt to the new lifestyle. Suddenly I thought, there is my slice of life in a community."[4] Bateman began outlining the storyline and set the serial in the fictional town of Summer Bay. While Seven Network executives were unconvinced by the idea, audience research was positive.[4] The soap opera was initially called Refuge, but the name was changed to the "friendlier" title of Home and Away once production began.[4]

The Surf Club has been a prominent feature in Home and Away

In March 2007, the commercial television industry's Annual Code Complaint Report revealed that Home and Away was the 8th most complained about show on Australian television, and the only drama series in the top ten complaint list.[6] From 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, there were 23 written complaints about the show as viewers thought it was inappropriate for it to be shown in its 7:00 pm timeslot.[6] In March 2009, it was alleged that Seven agreed to censor a then-upcoming scene with a lesbian kiss, after receiving many complaints from conservative groups and mothers who did not want their children exposed to same-sex relationships in a family show.[7][8] Bevan Lee, Seven's Head of Creative Drama, later confirmed that the censorship allegations were in fact false and that the lesbian kiss scene would still go to air as planned.[9]

Home and Away celebrated its 21st year in production in Sydney on 23 July 2009.[10] The mayor of Sydney's Pittwater Council presented cast members with the key to Palm Beach, the filming location for the show.[10]

In preparation for the show's 25th anniversary, Channel 5 in the UK announced plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary by showing the best of classic episodes of the show (as voted for by viewers), showing two episodes a day from each year the series has been on air, beginning with the 1988 pilot.[11]

Production[edit]

Cast members Steve Peacocke and Daniel Ewing during filming in 2011

All interiors for the show were taped at Seven Sydney's Epping studios until 2010. Following the closure of these studios in early 2010, episodes have been taped at the Australian Technology Park in Redfern. Exterior scenes are taped on location, mainly at Palm Beach, and at Fisherman's Beach, Collaroy in Sydney's Northern Beaches district. The show has filmed in Melbourne twice.[12]

Home and Away was originally filmed on standard videotape since its beginning in 1988. However, in mid-2003 this operation ceased when the series began filming in high-definition video, for the purpose of adding quality and giving a more film look to the series even while watching in standard definition. The series continues to air in standard definition (PAL 576i) on the Seven Network since its inception and for a brief period in high-definition (1080i) when Seven HD launched in 2007. The practice ended 25 September 2010 to make way for 7mate which replaced Seven HD. Home and Away can be viewed in HD in other countries such as Ireland on RTÉ Two HD and in the UK on Channel 5 HD.

Broadcasting[edit]

In Australia, Home and Away currently airs on the Seven Network at 7:00 pm from Mondays to Thursdays, going up against rival current affairs shows A Current Affair on the Nine Network, and The Project on Network Ten.[13] The show is on air for 45 weeks each year.[14] Each season is usually broadcast from January/February to November/December and goes off air for a couple of weeks during the Christmas and New Year period. The last five aired episodes shown are available to watch on the Home and Away official Australian website, as part of the Seven Network's Catch Up TV Service.[15] They are also broadcast in an omnibus edition each Sunday on Seven's digital multichannel 7Two.[16]

When the show first began in 1988, it aired at 5:30 pm in Adelaide, at 6:00 pm in Melbourne and Sydney, at 6:30 pm in Brisbane, and at 7:00 pm in Perth.[17] In January 1992, Seven moved Home and Away to the 7:00 pm timeslot across the network.[17] On 3 November 2009, 7Two began airing repeat episodes of the show from the very beginning at 9:30 am, before moving to 9:00 am.[16][18] Since its premiere, the show had been screened as a 21-minute episode each weeknight. However, beginning in March 2013, Better Homes and Gardens began replacing Home and Away on Fridays to make way for Seven's AFL coverage.[19] Friday's episodes of Home and Away now air on Thursdays at 7:30 pm.[19]

International[edit]

Home and Away has been sold to over 80 countries around the world, making it one of Australia's successful media exports.[20][21]

In the United Kingdom, Home and Away was first broadcast on ITV from 11 February 1989 until 8 June 2000.[22][23] Home and Away was shown twice a day on ITV, with a lunchtime showing at 2:10 pm and a repeat at 5:05 pm.[24][25] The show attracted up to eight million viewers, making it one of ITV's top 30 rated programmes.[25][26] It also helped boost audiences for ITV's regional and early evening news bulletins.[26] During the show's last year on ITV, Home and Away attracted an average audience of 4.4 million for its early-evening repeats.[23] In February 2000, it was announced that Home and Away would be moving to rival Channel 5 after they bought the rights to the show in a £40m auction deal.[25][26] ITV reportedly offered twice the amount by Channel 5, but the Seven Network in Australia were swayed by Channel 5's commitment to the long-term future of the show in a deal of more than five years.[25][26] After its run on ITV ended, Home and Away went off air for 12 months as ITV had an exclusivity clause that prevented any other broadcaster from airing the show for a year.[25][26] After a delay in screening, Home and Away made its debut on Channel 5 on 16 July 2001.[27] Channel 5 currently airs Home and Away at 1:15 pm each week day, with a repeat at 6:00 pm.[28] UK viewers are able to catch up with episodes on 5* and online via Demand 5.[28] The show is currently eight weeks behind the Australian broadcast.[14]

In Ireland, Home and Away is broadcast on RTÉ Television at 1:30 pm on RTÉ One and repeated on RTÉ2 at 6:30 pm each weekday.[29] A repeat of the week's episodes is aired on Saturdays and Sundays on RTÉ2.[29] Irish viewers are also able to catch up with episodes on the RTÉ Player.[30] Home and Away is one of RTÉ's most popular drama series. It was the most watched programme of 2014 on RTÉ Player with over four million viewers.[30] In New Zealand, Home and Away is broadcast on TV2 at 5:30 pm each weekday.[31] A repeat of the previous day's episode is shown at 11:00 am weekdays and an omnibus edition is shown on Sunday afternoons.[31] The TVNZ website also offers viewers the chance to watch episodes online with its OnDemand service.[31][32] Home and Away is one of New Zealand's most popular TV series and is one of TV2's highest-rating shows.[33] The show had previously aired on TV3 since 2002, where it consistently won high ratings for TV3 and helped boost audiences for their 6pm news bulletin.[34][35][36] However, on 5 July 2013, the show's European distributor Endemol cancelled its agreement with TV3, causing them to lose the right to broadcast Home and Away.[34] In the United States, Home and Away began streaming on the subscription service Hulu on 2 March 2015, beginning with the 2015 season.[37] New episodes are available from Monday through to Friday, and are two weeks behind the Australian broadcast.[38]

Popularity and viewership[edit]

The launch of Home and Away in 1988 was hoped to help boost the Seven Network's early evening ratings which had been underperforming in previous years.[17] However, the show struggled to attract high ratings, particularly when compared to rival soap opera Neighbours, which was a huge ratings success at the time.[17] By the end of 1988, Home and Away‍ '​s ratings had improved.[17] In January 1992, when Neighbours' high-rating era was over, Seven moved Home and Away to the 7:00 pm timeslot, putting both shows up against each other.[17] This caused Network Ten to move Neighbours to the 6.30 pm timeslot two months later.[17] During the early 2000s, Home and Away was averaging 1.3 million viewers[39][40] and in 2007, viewing figures rose to 1.4 million.[41] However, by the end of the decade, the ratings had dropped to an average of 1.1 million viewers.[40] During the early 2010s, viewing figures had further decreased to between 800,000 and 1 million an episode.[42][43] In 2012, Home and Away was averaging 981,000 viewers, down from 1.039 million in 2011 and 1.021 million in 2010.[44]

In 2015, the show began going through a serious ratings decline.[45][33] A July 2015 report revealed that the ratings were down 14% compared to the first six months of 2014, which translates to about 140,000 fewer viewers per episode.[45][33] On 6 July 2015, Home and Away ranked 16th in OzTAM's overnight ratings with 750,000 viewers.[33] The following night, the show fell to an even lower figure of 701,000 viewers.[46] A writer for the Australian Associated Press stated that one of the reasons for the ratings decline could be "the viewing habits of Gen Y, which the show is aimed at, have changed dramatically in recent times thanks to the launch of streaming services, Netflix, Stan and Presto. The exact age demographic that Home and Away targets are the same people who do not subscribe to appointment viewing. They prefer to watch shows when they want and don't want to be dictated to by the commercial networks."[33] A Seven spokeswoman commented that Home and Away was still performing well on digital and social platforms and that the overnight ratings were not the only measure of the show's success.[45]

Storylines[edit]

Home and Away‍ '​s storylines have frequently revolved around family problems, fostering children, school problems and romances.[47][48][49] While the show has had many light hearted or comical storylines, it has also focused on a number of serious problems such as bullying, marriage problems,[50] career problems,[51] cancers,[52] bipolar disorders,[53] alcoholism,[54] abortion, drug use and drug trafficking, imprisonment,[55] gambling addiction,[56] robbery,[57] surrogacy, hit-and-runs,[58] cults[59] and accidental death.[49] Despite its family viewing 7:00 pm time slot, Home and Away has dealt with controversial issues such as domestic violence, teenage pregnancy,[60] racism, rape, adultery,[61] suicide,[48] murder, shootings,[62] stabbings, stalking, kidnapping, homosexuality,[63] teacher-student relationships and incest.[49] The show has also featured many natural disaster storylines, including a cyclone, storm, flood, landslide, earthquake, and bushfires.[17][64]

Characters[edit]

Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart) is currently the only remaining original cast member in Home and Away.

When Home and Away began in 1988, it initially focused on the Fletcher family – Tom (Roger Oakley) and his wife Pippa (Vanessa Downing), and their five foster children, Frank Morgan (Alex Papps), Carly Morris (Sharyn Hodgson), Steven Matheson (Adam Willits), Lynn Davenport (Helena Bozich), and Sally Fletcher (Kate Ritchie) – who relocated from the city to live in the seaside town of Summer Bay.[17][65] At the end of the first episode, Tom and Pippa take in their sixth foster child Bobby Simpson (Nicolle Dickson).[17][65] The Fletchers bought and moved into the Summer Bay Caravan Park[5] and quickly built strong friendships with the locals, Ailsa Stewart (Judy Nunn), Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher), Donald Fisher (Norman Coburn), and Neville (Frank Lloyd) and Floss McPhee (Sheila Kennelly).[17][65]

While Home and Away features a mix of young cast members and older, more experienced actors, the show has always had a definite youth focus, with the younger characters dominating much of the storylines.[17] Many of the cast have spent several years on Home and Away, including original cast member Judy Nunn who left the series in 2000 after 12 years playing the co-owner of Summer Bay's diner. Other original cast members Norman Coburn played high school principal Donald Fisher until 2003, and Kate Ritchie departed in 2008 after 20 years playing Sally Fletcher.[66][67] Both Coburn and Ritchie along with Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart) entered the 2002 Guinness World Records as the longest-serving actors in an Australian drama series.[68][69][70] Meagher now holds that record alone and he is the only remaining original cast member in the show.[71] Meagher along with Lynne McGranger (Irene Roberts), Ada Nicodemou (Leah Patterson-Baker) and Emily Symons (Marilyn Chambers) are currently the longest-serving cast members in Home and Away.[72][73] In 2010, Georgie Parker joined the cast of Home and Away as Alf's daughter Roo Stewart, originally played by Justine Clarke in 1988–89. Alf and Roo are currently the only two original characters in the series.[74]

Theme song[edit]

Opening theme

Indiana Evans, Mark Furze and the crew during filming

The theme's lyrics have remained the same since the pilot episode, but have been gradually reduced in length to keep newer versions of the song at a shorter length. The theme was released as a single in the UK in 1989 and peaked at No.73 on the UK single charts.[75]

The single track includes the opening and closing themes and an additional saxophone section. Since the launch of the 1995 version of the theme tune, extracts from the second verse of the full-length soundtrack have been used to close the show, as opposed to an edited version of the opening song which was used until this point. The theme was shortened in 1996, and again in 2004. John Holmes, executive producer of Home and Away, explained the erosion of theme music in 2007. He said: "That's been a casualty of the accelerated flow which is the abolition of opening credits and having our closing credits condensed to such an extent that they are put on the screen at the same time as we are promoting the next episode."[76]

For the 2000 theme song, Australian pop band The Robertson Brothers recorded the new theme song which was used until the end of the 2003 season. The Robertson Brothers again recorded a new version for the theme song for the 2004 season and was used until the end of the 2006 season. This was a shorter theme running at 30 seconds.

The mid-2007–2008 theme was recorded by 20-year-old actor and musician Luke Dolahenty. Israel Cannan sang the theme in early 2007, but due to complaints from fans, Network Seven decided to re-record it, making it the shortest running theme song in the programme's history, until the 2009 theme song was introduced.

From June 2006 to mid-2008, the opening titles were played occasionally, depending on the episodes' length. Prior to this, in 2006 episode 4212, the theme song and even the Home and Away title was not used. When the series returned following the 2008 Olympic cliffhanger, the theme song was completely removed.

In 2009, the show debuted with a revamped opening and closing theme; however, for timing reasons the lyrics have been shortened slightly and the tune now runs at 15 seconds. The theme has returned to a male/female duet, after eight years of male group/solo singers. As it is much shorter, the theme once again played at the start of every episode. The theme is accompanied by the show's first set of cast-less opening titles. The design of the titles is that of a collage, made up from many pictures of Palm Beach, the location used as Summer Bay. This was the final theme song to be recorded.

Since the beginning of the 2010 season, the theme song is no longer played. However, a new 6 second instrumental short version of the theme song was used, which was the 1988 version played at the beginning of each episode. In 2011, another version of the music was introduced; this was a much more upbeat and more recognizable version of the opening notes of the 1988 theme. Mid-2012, a brand new arrangement of the opening music included the "Closer Each Day, Home and Away" section of the theme at the beginning.

From the beginning of the 2013 season, a new version for the short theme was introduced and a new opening which currently changes every week. This was also used in the 2014 season and currently continues in the 2015 season.

Ending theme

In Australia, the ending theme was played at the end of each episode for many years, after which the ending theme was removed and replaced with the end credits playing over scenes for the next episode. The ending themes currently continues to play internationally in countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the UK, the ITV network originally played the ending credits in the early years of the series, however, they were later removed for the duration that the series was on ITV meaning the ending theme was never played again. When the series made the move to Channel 5 in 2001, the ending credits returned. Throughout its run in Ireland, state broadcaster RTÉ have used the ending credits in each episode and still continue to do so. Since the final theme song of Home and Away was recorded in 2009, this is the same theme that plays over the ending credits internationally, despite the changes in the opening credits since 2009, a new theme song has not been recorded for the international end credits.

Version Artist Duration
1
Karen Boddington and Mark Williams
January 1988 – November 1994
2
Doug Williams & Erana Clark
January 1995 – November 1999
3
The Robertson Brothers
January 2000 – November 2003
4
January 2004 – December 2006
5
Israel Cannan
January – April 2007
6
Luke Dolahenty
April 2007 – November 2008
7
Luke Dolahenty & Tarryn Stokes
January – November 2009
January 2009 - present (international closing credits)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

Books and magazines[edit]

Name Release date/year Publisher Author Genre ISBN
Home and Away Annual
1989
Home and Away Special
Home and Away Annual
1990
Home and Away Special
1990
The Official Home and Away Annual
1992
Home and Away Annual Authorized Edition
1992
Home and Away: Behind the Scenes
1989
The Frank Morgan Story
1989
The Carly Morris & Steven Matheson Stories
1989
The Bobby Simpson Story
1989
The Matt Wilson Story
1989
Home and Away: Dangerous Ride
1989
HarperCollins
Young adult/teen; fiction
ISBN 978-0732273408
Home and Away: Carly's Crisis
1989
Lions
Young adult/teen; fiction
ISBN 978-0006937418
Home and Away: Bobby & Frank
1989
Home and Away: 2 in 1
1990
Family Matters
1990
Home and Away Volume 1: Summer Bay Blues
1990
Home and Away Volume 2: Scandal at Summer Bay
1990
Home and Away: Hearts Divided[77]
2003
Pan Australia
Leon F Saunders
ISBN 978-0-330-36461-4
Home and Away: Dani on Trial[78]
2004
Leon F Saunders
ISBN 0-330-36495-2
Home and Away: Prisoner No. 2549971[79]
2004
Pan Macmillan
Leon F Saunders
ISBN 978-0-330-36496-6
A Place in the Bay
October 2004
The Long Goodbye
November 2004
Mayday
June 2005
Second Chances
September 2005
Home and Away: Celebrating 21 Years
(official collector's edition)[80]
January 2009
Pacific Magazines
Home and Away: Celebrating 25 Years
(official collector's edition)[81]
5 November 2012
Pacific Magazines

VHS[edit]

Name Release date/year Type of annual/book
Home and Away: The Movie (original pilot episode)
1989
VHS
Classic Home and Away
1993
VHS
Home and Away: The Official Summer Bay Special
(includes episode 1)
1996

VHS[edit]

VHS name Ep # Taps Region 2 (UK) Region 4 (Australia) VHS Special Features
Home and Away: The Movie (Pilot) Film 1 199? 1989 None
Classic Home and Away 5 1 199? 1993 None
Home and Away: The Official Summer Bay Special 1 1 28 October 1996 5 October 1998 Pilot Movie

Documentary on the history of Series

Bloopers

What the stars did after they left the show

Soundtracks[edit]

Name Release date/year Type of annual/book
Home and Away: The Sounds of Summer Bay
1996
Soundtrack
Home and Away: Songs from and Inspired by the Television Series
2000
Soundtrack
Home and Away Hits
2002
Soundtrack
Home and Away Hits 2
2003
Soundtrack

DVD Release[edit]

DVD name Discs Release Episodes DVD special features
Region 2 (UK) Region 4 (AUS)
Secrets And The City 1 August 25, 2003 October 29, 2003 "Shattered Hearts" (season 15, Episode 201)
"Broken Dreams" (Season 15, Episode 204)
"Secrets and the City" (video exclusive episode)
Behind the scenes footage and interviews

A day in the life of Bec and Beau

Hearts Divided 1 N/A October 29, 2003 "Turn Back the Night" (Season 16, Episode 181)
"Fallout" (Season 16, Episode 186)
"Hearts Divided" (video exclusive episode)
Introduction by Rebecca Cartwright

Behind the Scenes footage

Music video

A Day in the Life of Rebecca Cartwright and Beau Brady featurette

Romances 1 February 5, 2007 2 November 2005 N/A Home and Away 90min Pilot Movie
Weddings 1 February 5, 2007 March 1, 2006 N/A Leah & Vinnie Wedding Episode.

Other[edit]

Name Release date/year Type of annual/book
Fan Cards
1988–present
Cards
The Game of Home and Away
1989
Board Game
Home and Away the Magazine: Issue 1
1993–1994
Magazine
Home and Away Calendar
2005
Calendar

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Moran, Jonathon (19 April 2015). "Logies Hall of Fame awaits Australia's favourite soap Home and Away". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Mercado 2004, p.205.
  4. ^ a b c d e Mercado 2004, p.251.
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External links[edit]