Out of the Blue: articles

Out of the Blue fails to impress UK viewers

British soap fans appear to have given the thumbs down to the BBC's new Australian beachside drama, Out Of The Blue.

The national broadcaster launched the daytime series late last month in the hope of repeating the ratings success it had enjoyed with the smash-hit soap Neighbours.

But after less than a month on air, viewer numbers have dwindled and the broadcaster will switch the soap from its flagship channel BBC One to its second channel BBC Two next week.

"It's being moved to BBC Two because it hasn't performed as well as we had hoped," a BBC spokesman said.

"We often look at our scheduling across all our channels to make sure everything is in the right slot."

Out Of The Blue, which is based around the lives and loves of a bunch of 30-something friends living at Manly in Sydney's northern beaches, attracted 1.2 million viewers on its April 28 debut, but numbers have since dropped to about 700,000.

But the BBC spokesman denied Out of the Blue was a flop and said the broadcaster was committed to it for at least six months.

"This in no way has anything to do with the quality of the production," he said.

"It just hasn't found its audience."

The BBC commissioned 130 episodes of Out of the Blue, which is produced by Australian production house Southern Star and is understood to have been picked up by Network Ten in Australia.

British TV critics gave a cautious welcome to Out Of The Blue but said it had a long way to go before matching Neighbours, which first aired on BBC One in 1986 and had been attracting 2.4 million viewers before its switch to the Five network this year.

Announcing the BBC's decision to commission the soap last November, the broadcaster's fiction controller Jane Tranter described it as "an ambitious project that we think will break new ground, at the same time as providing daytime audiences with a compelling and intriguing watch".

May 12, 2008