Watch: A Country Practice
What do you get when you cross a Cookie and a wombat? You get Wandin Valley and the general public within it.
The iconic Australian soap opera ran for 13 seasons on the Seven Network, and one season on the Ten Network – totalling 1088 episodes across 14 seasons.
The hour long series was set around the daily lives of people living in the fictional town of Wandin Valley. Consisting of the general hospital with Dr Terence Elliot (Shane Porteous) and the Matron, the local police station with Sgt Frank Gilroy (Brian Wenzel) at the helm, the local pub operated by Cookie (Syd Heylen), the veterinary with rotating management (Penny Cook, Nik Bufalo, John Tarrant), Esme Watson the local gossip (Joyce Jacobs), Bob Hatfield the handyman (Gordon Piper) and many, many more.
The award winning and high rating soap ran from 1981 to 1994, making household names out of many actors driving through, such as Anne Tenney, Georgie Parker, Shane Withington, Matt Day, Lorrae Desmond, Josephine Mitchell, Grant Dodwell, Kate Raison and others.
A range of stories and topics were covered, such as dealing with the AIDs pandemic, drugs, family abuse, depression, alcoholism, life and death. Beloved characters came and went, whether they were killed off by disease *cough* Molly *cough*, dying off-screen in a plane crash, or simply moving on when they get married or have a job promotion.
After the original broadcast, A Country Practice was replayed on Pay TV, then shown in 2014 in the early hours of the morning on Channel 7’s digital station 7TWO.
Between 2006 to 2014, DVD box sets were released through MRA and Beyond Home Entertainment, but the releases came to a grinding halt at Season 10, as well as iTunes. Then, in August 2020, Via Vision Entertainment surprised the fan base with releasing the complete Season 11 of the show, as well as Seasons 12 and 13 over the months. Even the infamous Season 14 (the one that sank on Network Ten) is getting a full box set release in January 2021. Then, coming in March 2021, Via Vision Entertainment will re-issue Season 1 under their label.
Until then, you can enjoy the full stream of Seasons 1 to 14 on Channel 7’s 7Plus website. The catch is you have to sit through commercials (that’s what makes it free). However, you have until roughly mid March 2021 before they expire. So start saving your pennies to get the box sets, which you can order through any good retailer, or through Via Vision Entertainment.
PS: Just to prove you’re not the only one watching the series, you can follow the fan podcast A Country Podcast – hosted by Melanie Tait and Kim Lester, where they discuss and review particular episodes, as well as interview cast and crew from the show.