love is a four letter word: articles

Angst, beer and cigarettes are the ABC of soap

A smoky inner city pub rather than pristine Pearl Bay is the setting for the ABC's new flagship drama series Love Is A Four Letter Word.

Dubbed the young person's SeaChange, the series is more like an Australian version of the BBC drama This Life and stars Peter Fenton, from the movie Praise, and Kate Beahan from Chopper.

It is about the lives of Angus (Fenton's character) who is the owner of the pub, his girlfriend Albee, her sister Larissa and his best friend Paul.

The series will follow the relationships between the four and how they deal with death, friendship, sex, loyalty and love.

The action takes place in Newtown's Courthouse Hotel (which keeps its name on screen).

Patron Michael Widgery said his local pub had been chosen because it "hasn't been modernised to look like the inside of a hairdressing salon".

"And it still serves real food to real people who actually talk to one another," he said.

Locations manager for the series Anton Denby said: "The Courthouse Hotel is exactly what the writers had in mind - an untouched, unrenovated old pub that has a sense of community."

Hotel owner Shane Lester said: "We've never tried to be anything else, and I think that is what makes us unique.

"We attract a broad spectrum of people, young and old, from different backgrounds around Newtown."

Tommy Donohue, who has been drinking at the pub for 38 years, reckons no pub in Sydney matches it for atmosphere.

"I've always loved the pub," he said. "And Shane is a good bloke, a very good bloke. When I was in hospital with cancer of the jaw he visited me every day and got the pub to cook special meals for me.

"I think I was the only radiotherapy patient to ever put on weight."

Mr Donohue said that while the fictional pub had live music, at the real Courthouse, "Shane and me provide the entertainment".

They even turned their talents to acting, taking part in one episode as extras.

"They wanted me to drink coloured water but they ended up getting us our own keg," Mr Donohue said.

"They didn't tell me they were going to start the filming at eight in the morning though."

By Amy Morison
January 14, 2001
The Sun-Herald