Listen: Podcasters Melanie Tait and Kim Lester chat about 'A Country Podcast', dedicated to the 80s and 90s Australian show 'A Country Practice'
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Australian television drama didn’t get better than A Country Practice. Every Monday and Tuesday evening, at 7.30pm, families across the nation sat down to see social issues of the time reflected through the fictional small country town of Wandin Valley. And, now, it’s been given a reboot… of sorts.
After discovering the show has been made available again to watch on 7Plus, podcasters Melanie Tait and Kim Lester decided to create a podcast about the show, fittingly called A Country Podcast. In the podcast, Melanie and Kim reflect on Australian society at the time, and are joined by cast and crew members who were part of the show. As Melanie explained to Hope Breakfast listeners, A Country Practice provides the ideal comfort viewing for 2020.
“It’s been a long time since it’s been on our screens,” Melanie said.
“It’s one of those shows that has cut through this time. We’re living through this fairly frantic time where everything seems uncertain and we don’t know who to turn to or what to turn to next… The world itself is not as pleasant and lovely and slow as Wandin Valley. So returning to it is fairly pleasant.
“But, also from our point of view, the stars and writers of the show are in a good place to sit back and reflect on the time and what it meant to them, and what it was like on the show.”
When quizzed on standout moments from the series, Melanie was pretty fast to mention a moment that stopped the nation: the death of character Molly Jones to cancer.
“I was four or five years old when that went to air so I don’t remember it. I watched it over the weekend to see what it was like, fully knowing what was going on, and I was sobbing by the end. The way they told this story of this young mother dying from cancer is beautiful and sad and all of that, and also you laugh through it. You feel like you’re part of a family,” she said.
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“I think that episode in particular was the making of A Country Practice and the thing that people keep going back to, quite rightly.”
You can hear the full interview with Melanie and Kim in the player above, and find A Country Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.
Hope 103.2 Listeners Reflect on A Country Practice
We asked Hope listeners about their memories of watching A Country Practice and here were some of your responses:
Listen: Hopeland shares their memories of watching A Country Practice
I always watched A Country Practice.The character I liked the most was Molly. They portrayed her death so well. It was sad. I would watch it again. –Sarah
I loved A Country Practice. I have a daughter named Chloe and a granddaughter named Molly. (I don’t have a pet wombat). –Brendan
I loved ACP and watched almost every episode. I was 13 when it started. I was in love with Dr Simon Bowen and loved Fatso the wombat. I even wrote to some of the cast members and received signed photographs. So many great memories! –Kristina
ACP!!! It was THE BEST! It captured us through simple and clean themes. It taught us about life, love and helped us to dream about our future. Definitely a treasured time with my family! (Molly’s death is etched in my mind! Sooo well portrayed to us as young people who were learning about cancer and death). –Georgina
The church and setting where it was filmed is where my husband is doing a locum at Pitt Town Anglican at the moment, while we wait to go to Indonesia as missionaries. He is doing the locum because the senior minister of 20 years has been sick with a brain tumour. Sadly, he died in his sleep on Monday night. Seems fitting as you discuss this program and what happened to Molly. We’ve never watched it because we are originally from the UK. –Sarah
Wonderful, wonderful memories of A Country Practice. I was in Year 10 when it started. It was a sense of family time when there was only one TV (or viewing device) in the house. The stories were interesting without being disturbing. The characters were individual and many were colourful. (Molly, Shirley Gilroy, Esme Watson, Cookie in the pub , his mate Bob Hatfield the tradie. Vicki the vet. Frank the law enforcement who mediated between everyone to keep the peace. A focus on city doctors adjusting to country folks and their ways. I think watching it again would be a lovely escape from today’s full-on rat race. Reminiscing on slower days sounds very appealing. I will start watching it again for sure. –Kim
I was only about 7. I remember watching Dr Terrence having a heart attack. I cried and cried. I think I was too young to watch it. –Adele
I loved A Country Practice. And I wished I could live in a small country town like Wandin Valley where everyone knows everyone! I was 20 when Molly died. I was watching with a group of friends and we all sat there sobbing. I’ll have to go and watch it again on catchup TV. –Tracy