One of Australia’s much-loved TV shows, A Country Practice, is back, though not in the format that you’re used to.
Author Judith Colquhoun, a scriptwriter on 100 episodes of the TV series, has this month launched a series of novels, to be published in paperback and for the Kindle ebook reader.
The books will be based on the original TV scripts, so there’s no shortage of materials. The show ran on the 7 Network from 1981 to 1993, and then again for one series in 1994 on Channel 10. In all there were 1,088 episodes.
The first book opens with the introduction of the new-to-Wandin-Valley Brendan and Molly Jones (a very Beatles name!), and then on to Sister Shirley Dean and her veterinarian daughter Vicky, Sergeant Frank Gilroy, Dr Terence Elliott, and Dr Simon Bowen. All the characters you remember, and love.
Colquhoun welcomed a return to the show’s characters and storylines.
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“When I was approached to write a series of books based on A Country Practice, I realised that it was over twenty years since my last visit to Wandin Valley. The memories came flooding back and it didn’t take me long to say ‘yes’.”
“Not that I thought the task would be easy. I know from bitter experience that turning an apple into an orange is never easy; what makes a good script is not necessarily going to make a good novel. Nevertheless, my years writing for Jim Davern at JNP had given me some of my happiest, most satisfying experiences as a scriptwriter. We had such a good team to work with on A Country Practice, we were all most definitely rowing the same boat, even freelance writers like myself felt part of it. Of course there were tears and tantrums but everyone gave it their best and we achieved two hours of quality television a week for more than a decade. Not bad.”
“And most of all, it was terrific to work on a show that – it seemed – the whole of Australia, indeed large parts of the known world, absolutely loved.”
“So going back to Wandin Valley – reading the old scripts, looking at DVDs of the very early shows – has been like visiting a family of half-forgotten friends I hadn’t seen for years and getting to know them all over again. I hope in writing the books that I have done them justice. It’s been a labour of love.”
The first chapter of the first book, A Country Practice: New beginnings, can be read online at the book’s website. It’s also available to buy online, in either paperback or Kindle format.
Were you a fan of A Country Practice in the 1980s and 90s? Would you love to revisit the show and character in the form of these new books?