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For 'Taurus Rising'

success is in the stars I

TV's NEV^ST SOAPIE

Beware "Dallas" and "Dynasty"! Now there's an Australian big budget soapie about two rich and rebellious

feuding families

Money is the name of the

game in Australian television, with 1982 the year of the big-budget pro-

ductions.

"Masada" and "Brideshead Revisited" proved themselves successful as overseas produc- tions while Network Ten's locally-made "Sara Dane" with its $1.5 million price tag

was a hit. too.

Now the Nine Network has invested a share of its cash to bring Australian television audiences what is reputed to be the most expensive series

made here.

"Taurus Rising", a joint production between Nine and The Grundy Organization (producers of such shows as "Sale of the Century", "The Young Doctors" and "Sons and Daughters"), made its debut on our TV screens on July 27.

At a reported cost of more

than $2 million, "Taurus Rising" is seen as a natural - but expensive - flagship to re

place the recently-axed award-winning series, "The Sullivans".

It follows the bitter relationship and power struggle between two wealthy Aus- tralian families, connected through busi-

ness and romance.

The families are the Drysdales and the Brents. Head of the Drysdale clan is Isabella Drysdale, played by veteran ac- tress Georgie Sterling.

Her ruthless son Ben is played by Alan Cassell, best known to Australian viewers through roles in films such as

Jennifer Brent (played by Annette Andre) with son Mike

Brent (Andrew Clarke) in Nine Network's "Taurus Rising",

reputed to be the most expensive series made locally.

Libby Hilton (Diane Craig); Ben Drysdale (Alan Cassell).

ABOVE RIGHT: Phillip Drysdale (Damon Herriman).

"Cathy's Child", "Breaker Morant" and "Squizzy Taylor".

Former "Certain Women" star Betty Lucas plays his wife Faith while Diane Craig is finance journalist Libby Hilton, also Ben Drysdale's mistress.

Head of the Brent household is Gor- don Glenwright, who played school jani- tor Mr Hubbard in the defunct soapie

"Class of '75".

Others in the cast include former ac- tress from "The Restless Years" Linda Newton and, from "The Sullivans", 12

year-old Damon Herrima Jessica Noad plays Marie, tl Drysdale's housekeeper.

For the two stars, Ali Cassell and Georgie Sterlir "Taurus Rising" is tipped

become popular with Austi

lian audiences.

"It's fantastic," Georg said. "I cannot wait to be givi the next script so I can find o what is going to happen. Th is certainly a dramatic seri and I don't think anyone wi watches it will lose interest".

Georgie Sterling has spa the past few years living in tl United States and was offer the role of Isabella Drysda soon after returning home la last year.

"I didn't return home pj¡

marily for this, but I'm glad got the role," she said. "I fell

was quite a challenge beean I think there is a little bit of: these characters in each ofi Everyone is made up of bill good and bad."

For Alan Cassell, "Taur Rising" provides an opp« nity to make his mark in ta vision. His film career h

earned him solid recogniflj

and a Sammy Award as bi actor for "Cathy's Child". 1

"This is my first major ;

volvement with a televffl series so I can't wait to see li

reaction," he said. "I'm pref

that you can make 10 moví ^ and yet still nobody kno\ ¡ls¡

who vou are.

"We are recording one episode eat ; week so I think the producers want th :s to be good. That, as opposed to the usu« h ly frantic pace of other TV series, « (

tracted me."

"Taurus Rising" has already bee si compared to such American program^1 !" as "Dynasty" and "Dallas". They tell1*.! the power struggle between wealthy far

ilies, and Alan's character of Ben is8 fi obvious double for wicked JR Ewing fe "Dallas". fi

"I don't like my character but 11°' j1

The faces of the Drysdale family empire (left to right): Ben (Alan Cassell), matriarch Isabella (Georgie Sterling), Ben's

business associate Sam Farrer (Michael Long) and Faith Drysdale (Betty Lucas)

. Pictures taken by Neville Waller.

the part," Alan said. "I know the JR com- parison is going to be made although I'm

sorry it will be.

"None of us wants this series to be compared to 'Dallas' or 'Dynasty', but Fm afraid it is inevitable because it is prob- ably the first television series made about wealthy Australians,

j "In the past, most of our series have

been either historical pieces or about the middle-working class. Unfortunately the Americans have done it before us, but then they have done everything before

us. All we can try to do is make our show

even better."

Alan believes the scripts will make "Taurus Rising" a winner. "The stories cross and interweave and there is just sufficient going on without having rapes, murders and kidnappings each week," he

said.

Alan and Georgie deny that being in a big-budget series places any greater

strain on them.

"There is always pressure on you to do well," Alan said. "But the money doesn't

make a great deal of difference. Actors do work hard and if it were costing $10 mil- lion an episode or $56 an episode, they

would still work hard."

"You feel a responsibility to your show and a responsibility to your pro- fession to do the best you can at all times," Georgie said. "You always give your best."

Nine makes no secret that it hopes "Taurus Rising" will become the big suc- cess story of 1982. VU

- CLAY ADAMS

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