GILES HARDIE July 18, 2012
Rebecca Gilling in a scene from the original Return to Eden.
Nine Network CEO David Gyngell has today announced three new dramas for its 2013 line-up, while forecasting a fantastic decade for the industry, but diminishing returns for overseas drama.
Following Underbelly: Badness, which is set to debut following the Olympics together with cricket mini-series Howzat and drama-with-levity House Husbands, the network will broadcast Underbelly: Squizzy, a tale of the Melbourne underworld set in 1915.
Gyngell also announced a new take on Australia's World War I tale Gallipoli.
Gallipoli, said to be an 8 or 10 episode series, won't screen until 2015 in line with the centenary anniversary. Nine drama exec Andy Ryan said the series was aiming to be "the final word, the Band of Brothers of Gallipoli"
The third new series announced, also for 2013, is a remake of the 1980s steamy series Return to Eden, the 1983 mini-series starring Rebecca Gilling as mega-wealthy Stephanie Harper, pushed into the jaws of a crocodile by her unfaithful husband. In the original she survived and returned (after plastic surgery) to have her revenge.
It was a cracking story and a ratings winner, but we can only hope the remake borrows just as heavily from it as it does from the the 1988 Bollywood remake of the same story, Khoon Bhari Maang. In this version it was the beautiful Aarti (played by the Bollywood star Rekha) who is thrown to the croc by her husband Sanjay (Kabir Bedi) and, unlike the Aussie version, there's singing dancing and the most inspired additions of all, Raja the horse and Jumbo the dog, two super-intelligent animals who aid Aarti in her vengeance. Fingers crossed they're in the new production.
Introducing the line-up, Gyngell also spoke of his personal ties to the Howzat story.
He also identified rival network Seven's Downton Abbey and Revenge as the only successful overseas dramas on Australian television "and Big Bang Theory which helps us fill our schedule."