Blue Water High: articles

Adam Saunders, Chris Foy and Tahyna Tozzi

Cast members of the new Australian teen drama Blue Water High Adam Saunders, Chris Foy and Tahyna Tozzi. Photo: Lee Besford

Aussie beach soapie tipped to woo Europeans

They are largely unknowns but the cast of the new television series Blue Water High is set to be watched by millions of viewers around the world.

The co-production between Germany and Australia, being shot on Sydney’s northern beaches, will be unveiled to international television executives at the annual programming market MIPTV, to be held in Cannes in April.

Producer Southern Star expects the 26-part series about an elite surfing academy to sell well internationally.

Blue Water High, which will air on the ABC in May, stars rookie actors Tahyna Tozzi, Kate Bell, Sophie Luck, Mara Scherzinger, Khan Chittenden, Chris Foy and Adam Saunders as teenage surfers vying for a spot on the pro circuit.

They are working alongside established names such as Nadine Garner, All Saints’ Martin Lynes and television veteran Liz Burch. With its backdrop of surf, sand and sun, Blue Water High is tipped to be Australia’s next big television export, with France and Britain already expressing interest.

“All those poor Europeans stuck indoors in the middle of winter will lap it up,” said Garner, who plays a sports psychologist on the series.

“It looks beautiful. It’s idyllic. It’s Australia the way Europeans imagine Australia to be: fit young people, surf, sand and an easygoing attitude to life in a country where anything is possible and you can live your dreams.”

Fifteen-year-old German schoolgirl Scherzinger, who was picked from 100 teens to play Anna, believes the series will do well in her homeland of 80 million viewers.

“I reckon they will enjoy it because there is nothing like this in Germany,” she said. “The beach and surfing and sunshine is quite different from what we see on German TV. In Germany there is not even any surf.”

Blue Water High has been under way in locations on Sydney’s northern beaches since October and shooting finishes next month.

It marks the return of teen drama to the ABC, which has been pursuing younger viewers with the introduction of the dedicated hour of viewing for 8- to 14-year-olds between 5pm and 6pm, under the RollerCoaster banner.

It is understood to be part of a long-term strategy to lure young viewers to the ABC, which traditionally attracts an older audience.

With the core cast aged 15 to 21, Blue Water High targets the young people the ABC wants to attract.

Tozzi, 18, is probably the most recognisable face of the drama, thanks to her modelling work and friendship with Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe.

The show marks Tozzi’s leap from modelling to acting and she is thrilled about the international exposure she is about to receive.

“I’m only just starting out, so the fact that it will go internationally is a great bonus for me,” she said.

The 18-year-old from Cronulla in Sydney’s south grew up around the beach and was involved in surf lifesaving but admits she has struggled to master surfboard riding.

“We did a two-week intensive surfing course and we’ve all got the bug for it now—it’s addictive,” she said.

In Blue Water High Tozzi plays Perri, a “spoilt little rich girl” from the Gold Coast.

So far the hardest aspect of the show has been shooting surf scenes on days when the water temperature has dropped to 15 degrees.

Overseas success as easy as ABC

Blue Water High is tipped to become another success internationally for the ABC. Previous winners, either produced by the ABC or in association with it, include:

Saddle Club: Young actors including Keenan MacWilliam and Lara Marshall are young horse lovers who deal with troubles in their lives.

Police Rescue: Gary Sweet and Steve Bastoni starred in this series about the NSW Police Rescue unit, which made the most of Sydney’s scenic vistas including the Blue Mountains and coastline.

Heartbreak High: Alex Dimitriades starred in this series about a group of high school students coping with adolescence. It struck a chord with French audiences.

Brides of Christ: Catholic girls growing up in Australia in the 1960s. Cast included Josephine Byrnes, Kym Wilson and Russell Crowe.

Bordertown: Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett starred in the story of immigrants working on the Snowy Mountains scheme.

Wildside: Inner-city police drama starring Rachel Blake and Tony Martin.

GP: Centred on a suburban medical practice, featuring Denise Roberts.

Bananas in Pyjamas: The adventures of the residents of Cuddles Avenue, B1 and B2. One of the ABC’s big earners.

By Rachel Browne
February 14, 2005
Sydney Morning Herald