Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Why Nine axed McLeod's

FALLING ratings, commercial realities and a wish for the show to "go out on a high" were what doomed long-running television drama McLeod's Daughters. The show's eighth season next year will be its last.

The South Australian drama centres on an outback cattle and farming property called Drovers Run, operated by sisters after the death of their dad.

Until now, Channel 9 had been coy about its reasons for axing the Logie-winning production, but yesterday the network's head of drama, Jo Horsburgh, broke the silence.

"If the commercial realities were really compelling, then you wouldn't (end it)," she said.

"It was doing well, but in terms of how it would perhaps be sitting in the ratings long-term, what we wanted to do was preserve McLeod's so that the last series had some strength to it."

The last season is being filmed on set in Gawler, 40km north of Adelaide.

While the last episodes will follow the trials and tribulations of sisters Grace, Jasmine and Regan McLeod, played by (Abi Tucker, Edwina Ritchard and Zoe Naylor respectively) the departure of longer-serving, more popular cast members like Lisa Chappell (Claire McLeod) in recent years was seen as the death knell for the show.

Ms Horsburgh said the decision to end the drama was made last month after discussions with producers Posie Graeme-Evans and Karl Zwicky.

"You take everything into account," she said. " You have a stance within the network and you talk with the producers and you arrive at a decision."

She said the network weighed up "the climate, the audience's appetite, the competition, the whole context of where the program was sitting".

"And you come to a decision," she said. "There was no mystery in it."

Ms Horsburgh said production on season eight had started before the show was axed, so the scriptwriters were having to rewrite the ending.

"What we're looking forward to is going out with a bang," she said.

"Like all good McLeod's there'll be laughter and tears and I'll certainly be having a tear in my eye."

She said Nine was still committed to its other dramas: Sea Patrol, Canal Road, Underbelly, Scorched, a soon-to-be-released crime drama called The Strip and a planned remake of Young Doctors.

By Liz Walsh
December 08, 2007
The Sunday Mail (Qld)