The Doctor Blake Mysteries is a critically-acclaimed Australian television series produced by Tony Wright and George Adams. Described as “modest” and “unfussy”, #DBM are set in the late 1950s and follow Doctor Lucien Blake (played by Craig McLachlan) as he returns to Ballarat following his father’s death to take over the family practice. He has been gone for an absence of 30 years in the interim.
The straight-laced Dr. Blake made a fourth season return on February 5th, 2016. The premiere, entitled “The Open Road”, presents Dr. Blake returning to Ballarat; Jean, however, remains absent. Immediately upon his arrival, the doctor is thrown into an ongoing murder investigation. The town is currently acting as a stopover checkpoint during a cross-Australian driving race. During the events, the body of a youthful mechanic is found strewn beneath a racer’s automobile. From the get-go, Dr. Blake is receiving pressure to quickly solve the case as the race officials do not want the event attracting too much publicity. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Lawson is targeted and purposely run over while a pushy news reporter gets a whiff of the story.
Craig McLachlan is a well-known face on Australian screens. After starring as Henry Ramsey on Neighbors and Home and Away as Grant Mitchell, the handsome actor found himself being typecast into the blonde heartthrob stereotype. George Adams has in fact described McLachlan’s casting as Dr. Blake as a “leap-of-faith”, only occurring at the last minute. He believed McLachlan was too youthful for the role, stating “we were looking for someone older”. Despite the hesitations, the decision ultimately proved to be a tremendous success.
While McLachlan’s critics have described his acting as “wooden”, it seems to fit the character of the hard-drinking, war veteran Lucien Blake. The 1950s were a time where men were encouraged to withhold emotions at all cost which also seems to fit perfectly with McLachlan’s restrained on-screen style. A reviewer notes that with every appearance, “he wears his smiles or scowls as if he’s balancing them on his face”. They continue, “That’s the way McLachlan acts, but it’s also entirely fitting of the character”.
Lucien Blake has been experiencing ongoing sexual tension with the housekeeper Jean Beazley (played by Nadine Garner), a chemistry which fans have been urging producers to act on in a romantic way. Apparently that spark isn’t entirely artificial, with McLachlan saying that he and actress Nadine Garner have in fact known each other since childhood. “It’s so comfortable,” he says, “there’s almost a sixth-sense thing going with us, that we just delight in each other”.
The most recent episode of DBM premiered on Friday, March 11th, 2016. Written by Paul Jenner, the focus of this particular episode was the murder of a local reporter, whose body is graphically left on the 18th hole of the Ballarat golf course. When Dr. Blake is summoned to investigate whether the reporter was hit by a rogue golf ball or purposely murdered, he ultimate discovered a web of lies, deception, and crime that leads straight to the new editor of The Courrier newspaper, Edward Tyneman.
Unfortunately, ABC has yet to make a statement regarding an impending fifth season of #DoctorBlakeMysteries. McLachlan
While awaiting an announcement, be sure to catch the last two episodes of the season, entitled “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Visible World”. They will be airing on March 18th and March 25th respectively.