Blue Heelers: articles

John Woods and companion

Saviour… John Woods in Blue Heelers

Can John get Heelers out of the woods?

IT’S called “jumping the shark” and one of Australia’s most popular dramas will do it on Tuesday in a brave but risky move to revive Blue Heelers.

In the process one of Australia’s most loved TV characters—mild-mannered Sergeant Tom Croydon—will be transformed into a violent rogue, tormented by his demons.

But they’re real; a criminal clan is suspected of blowing up his Mt Thomas police station, killing an officer, raping and killing his wife and more.

John Wood, nominated for eight consecutive Gold Logies over 11 years said yesterday it was make-or-break time for the country cop show.

“We’ve been going along for 10 years, doing well, but our ratings have fallen—so it was a choice of change or disappear,” he said on the set of the Channel 7 show yesterday.

“Tom’s world outlook goes through a profound change, and it’s the hardest I’ve worked in eight years, establishing where he’s coming from and why he reacts like he does.”

Jumping the shark” refers to last-ditch efforts to revive long-running TV series in decline.

It was coined for a failed early 1980s Happy Days episode when Fonzie jumps over a shark on his motorbike. [correction, it was on waterskis]

The term stuck, but Blue Heelers supervising producer Gus Howard hoped the revamp and new stars would draw a broader, younger audience.

It once had around 1.5 million viewers, but fell to about 1.3 million as Channel 9 aired CSI Miami last year.

Blue Heelers had faded, its relevancy gone in a post-9/11 world where country quaintness no longer cut prime time

July 01, 2004
The Daily Telegraph