Blue Heelers: articles

Blue Heelers axed after 12 years

BLUE Heelers, one of Australia’s longest-running television drama series, has been axed after 12 years. Produced by Southern Star for the Seven Network, the weekly police drama’s executive producer, Gus Howard, broke the news to staff today, thanking them for their commitment and dedication.

The decision to end production came after 12 months of flagging ratings, indicating that despite efforts to rejuvenate the show, “it had run its course”, a Seven spokeswoman said.

“Much of the success of Blue Heelers has been attributed to one of the best ensemble casts of any drama on television, with most every cast member becoming a household name,” Mr Howard told staff.

Some of those names included star of Broadway stage and Hollywood screen Hugh Jackman, and actor David Wenham.

But the show’s best known characters were the innocent Constable Maggie Doyle, played by three-time Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune, and crusty Sergeant Tom Croydon, played by John Wood.

Wood, one of two foundation cast members along with Julie Nihill, who played flame-haired publican Chris Riley, has distinction of never having won a Gold Logie despite six nominations.

But Wood has won a number of other Logies, other than the popular choice award, for his performance on the show.

Seven’s director of programming and production, Tim Worner, today paid particular tribute to Wood.

“John Wood deserves special recognition and our thanks. He has been with Seven for nearly 20 years, starting with Rafferty’s Rules through to his award-winning portrayal of Sergeant Tom Croydon, the much loved country copper at Mt Thomas,” Mr Worner said.

The final 11 episodes of Heelers, the drama based in the fictional country town of Mt Thomas, will air in the first half of 2006.

It first screened on Seven in January 1994.

The show will conclude with 510 episodes, equalling the mark set by Homicide, also screened on Seven, making them the longest-running police drama series in Australian television history.

Heelers won 26 Logies, including the unprecedented three consecutive Gold Logies for McCune, and was sold to 108 countries and territories overseas.

It ambitiously filmed a live-to-air episode in 2004 to mark a milestone episode.

By Paul Carter
January 13, 2006