20170921

SONS AND DAUGHTERS

Produced by the Grundys for the Australian 7 network, 'Sons and Daughters' had been shown in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, the Azores (Portugal) and New Zealand during the series' original run from 1982 to 1987. Created by Reg Watson, 'Sons and Daughters' had inspired other local productions such as the German version, 'Verbotene Liebe', which Reg Watson also created; the Swedish version 'Skilda V√§rldar' (Worlds Apart) and the Croatian version, 'Zabranjena Ljubva' (Forbidden Love). 

By 1989, 'Fairfax Media' reported other countries such as Angola, the Arabian Gulf, Bahamas, Barbados, Luxembourg, Swaziland and Trinidad had also bought the 'Sons and Daughters' series. In all, 972 episodes were produced. Philip Gerlach of Beyond 2000 group told the press at the time, "With our three commercial stations (Seven, Nine and Ten) and long ratings period (40-week ratings season), our industry is just the most competitive in the world. Australian series average 48 hours of production a year compared with 22 hours in America, so our series are easier to sell because the stations find them much easier to program." 

Rowena Wallace was 34 when she was casted to play Patricia on 'Sons and Daughters' between 1982 and 1985. "Of all the bitchy women I've played Patricia is the bitchiest," Rowena told Prue MacSween in 1982. "She is the most continually divisive character I've ever played and that's simply because of the practicalities of it all. She's on every week, so she is doing it continually. She never lets up and she's more complex … 

"With Patricia you never know what the writers are going to come up with. She is limitless. In fact, I can’t imagine what she’s going to be doing next, but I think I might have to leave the country! She’s not a pleasant woman. She's a very neurotic woman who can't get her life in order, and she has obsesions about things. I understand these things and know they are aspects of human nature that exist in all of us to some degree. We all grapple with them but in her they're larger than life. 

"I couldn't cope with being a woman like her – it would be exhausting and very sad. Her mind must be in terrible turmoil at times … God we talk about her as if she really exists … I would imagine that the writers are very aware of this … and they have said something to me which indicates that she is not going to get away with it forever, that she will get her comeuppance." 

Reg Grundy was described as "Australia’s first international TV mogul." Brian Walsh of Foxtel told Andrew Fenton of 'News Corp' in 2016, "When Reg was building his company it was really game on, you could literally go to the US, look at a show and bring the tape home and do your own interpretation. They were pretty wild days in television in Australia. We were so isolated I don’t think the Americans were even awake to the fact of what was happening." 

Bevan Lee added, "I think he was always ahead of the curve. We lived in a world where no one conceived our TV would sell overseas but he did." Andrew Fenton informed readers, "A key part of Grundy’s success were the innovative, high volume, low cost production techniques they'd developed in Australia." An hour of 'Sons and Daughters' was said to have costed around $A80,000 to produce.

Andrew Brooke elaborated, "It was absolutely a (taking) coal to Newcastle situation. An Australian producer, selling a US show back to the US — you'd tell them they were dreaming but Reg made it happen. The Americans were astounded at quality of production and couldn't understand how we did that. No one knew how to make 5 episodes a week of drama (in prime time)." 

The American daytime soap operas were said to have inspired the series 'Class of '74'. Brian Walsh recalled, "What Grundy did was lift that idea and move it to prime time. That was the beginning of strip programming as we know it now, with 'Neighbours' and 'Home and Away' becoming very popular. At the time it was quite a breakthrough."

Don Battye was the executive producer on 'Sons and Daughters' and 'Neighbours'. Anthony Hayward of Scotland's national newspaper, 'The Scotsman' reported in 2016, "Generally, Battye stuck to a tried-and-tested formula by employing a team of scriptwriters reflecting both young and old attitudes and rarely allowing the soap ('Neighbours') to veer into melodrama."

Tim Hughes told the press, "He (Reg Grundy) had a saying, that we were 'internationally parochial'. In every country he opened up he'd be local, adapt the format or the scripts to suit the country and hire local actors." Peter Pinne recounted in 2016, "The theme from 'Sons and Daughters', which we wrote in one hour, was the most popular song Don (Battye) and I ever wrote. It's been recorded many times, and heard around the world. One Sunday afternoon when I was living in Santiago, Chile, in the '90s, the TV was on in another room and I suddenly heard the theme playing. I rushed into to see it and there was Rowena Wallace – speaking Spanish!"

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