A Place to Call Home is a riveting post-war drama that follows Sarah Adams (Marta Dusseldorp) as she returns to the countryside of New South Wales, Australia to start a new life after twenty years overseas. She ends up jarring with the wealthy, offensive, and unkind matriarch, Elizabeth Bligh (Noni Hazlehurst). With a strong cast of regular and recurring characters enriching this addictive drama about family bonds and betrayals, it’s hard not to fall in love with this series.
The show’s creator, Bevan Lee, talked about his inspiration for the story in a recent interview. He stated that his motivation for creating the romance-driven melodrama based in the 1950s was because people’s lives in the present are comparatively ordinary. “At the end of the day, conflict is drama and we live in relatively conflict-free society. I had to go to a place where there was pain and damage and hurt; after the war there was.”
This season, the characters face two contrasting social issues in 1954; the conservative wave of fear generated by the ‘Reds Under the Beds’ scare surrounding ‘The Petrov Affair’, and the wave of liberal change that opened up new social and moral choices for Australians at the time
Fascinating Historical Drama with Declining Viewership
Since its debut on the Seven Network on April 28, 2013, it averaged 1.48 million viewers across the first season. The second season started on May 11, 2014, and the network saw a slight decline in average viewership, down to 1.15 million. That’s when a major network change occurred and the series has yet to recover those strong initial numbers in Australia. Channel Seven axed the show, and the cast and crew were instructed not to return. Fans were a bit outraged and very vocal about the loss of their beloved post-war drama on message boards. In October 2014, Foxtel network picked up the show, and 10 days later #PlaceCallHome was renewed for two more seasons with all the original cast and crewmembers returning, but would instead air on SoHo.
Fans around the world cheered, but when season 3 premiered on September 27, 2015, in the prime time slot of 8:30pm, it was met by only 154,000 viewers and averaged a measly 168,000 viewers across the rest of the season, an enormous dive from the success the series had while airing on Seven Network. The speculation is that viewers may have missed the switch in networks, and despite Foxtel’s attempt to drum up excitement for season 3, kicking it off with a part-two of the final episode of season 2 and a special which aired just before the third season premiere, viewership just hasn’t returned what it once was.
Future Seasons Uncertain
Foxtel changed the channel on this series again, this time bringing it to Showcase for the current season. Season 4 premiered on September 11, 2016, to only 101,000 viewers, even lower than the previous season. While there has a small increase in the second and third episodes, climbing to 156,000 for the second episode then back down to 136,000 for the third episode, it just isn’t looking good for the series. Fans remain avidly intrigued with the series, giving it a strong IMDb rating of 8.2 out of 10 with over 1,400 votes, and with a far-reaching international audience, it will be interesting to see if Foxtel will order future seasons if viewership numbers remain so low.
#PCH season 4 is airing in Australia on Showcase, Sundays at 8:30pm.
Did the major network change between seasons 2 and 3 affect the quality of the show? Do you think season
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