The Flying Doctors

The Flying Doctors

***

Reviewed by: Caro Ness

This long-running Australian series was created by Vincent Moran and Terry Stapleton for Australia's Nine Network, about the day-to-day workings of The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). The programme was launched as a three-part mini-series (actually consisting of six hour-long episodes) in 1985. Photographed on location in both stunning and demanding outback locations, the series proved to be as popular overseas as it was Down Under. Over 200 hour-long instalments of The Flying Doctors were produced between 1986 and 1991 and this is the miniseries where it all began.

In it, Tom Callaghan (Andrew McFarlane), a young, ambitious city doctor, joins the Royal Flying Doctors Service at Cooper's Crossing but makes an inauspicious start when his first patient, a young boy, dies unexpectedly. His arrival coincides with the return to the area of Beth Drever (Vicki Hammond), an Australian who married an American, and her daughter Liz (Lorna patterson), a New York advertising photographer. Inevitably a relationship is kindled between Tom and Liz, which is complicated by the fact that despite the fact Tom is dedicated to and loves his work, the people of Cooper's Crossing have not taken a shine to him except for the RFDS team and the fact that Liz has not taken to life in the outback.

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There is no doubt that The Flying Doctors has a certain cheesy Eightiess charm, mainly because it dramatises the real life workings of the RFDS, which are often perilous and difficult, given conditions in the outback. That being said, none of these actors would win an award for brilliance at their craft. Nevertheless, it merits praise simply for serving up such a delicious slice of Eighties nostalgia, and particularly for the spectacular scenery, filmed as it was on location at Nulla Station in New South Wales, Minyip in the wheatlands of north-west Victoria & Mundi Mundi Plains on the South Australian border beyond. So give it a go and I guarantee you will find yourself smiling.

Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2008
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Miniseries about a high-flying city doc who finds his career taking off in a new direction after he joins the emergency service at Cooper's Crossing.
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Director: Pino Amenta

Writer: Terry Stapleton, Vince Moran

Starring: Andrew McFarlane, Lorna Patterson, Keith Eden, Vikki Hammond, Bill Hunter, Monica Maughan, Steve Bisley, Bruce Barry

Year: 1985

Runtime: 204 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Australia

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