If there is one television programming staple for which Australian television drama is known internationally, it is the long-running television soap, with Neighbours (originally produced by Grundy in 1985) lauded as 'the most outstanding example of Australian series export' (Cunningham and Jacka, 1996). Twenty-five years on, this program still airs on domestic and international TV schedules five days a week, despite waning popularity with local Australian audiences. Considering past interest in the success and longevity of this soap, it is apposite to look again at the continuing progress of Neighbours foremost as a global brand. In comparison, Packed to the Rafters is treated here as a contemporary version of familiar Aussie themes related to everyday middle-class suburbia, populated with blue skies and feel-good characters expressing wholesome family values, but with a stylistic innovation defined here as domestic realism. As part of the production ecology of the late 2000s, Packed to the Rafters demonstrates the considerable role for local drama productions as loss leaders and flagship programming for commercial freeto- air networks up against an increasingly difficult domestic market.
Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: quarterly journal of media research and resources / No. 141, pp.137-145