In 1984, the
Australian company Crawford´s Productions decided to make an adventurous
medical mini-series on the national Flying Doctor service. It would be interesting
to see what would happen if a young, eager city-doctor came to work at an
RFDS-base alongside an old living legend of a flying doctor, and all of that
situated in a dusty, gossipy and closed little Outbacktown.
mini-series were quite a success, and Crawfords decided to continue the story
into a real series. So after the six episodes of the mini-series, between 1986
and 1992 they produced 221 more episodes on flying doctor adventures situated
in that same little Outbacktown. Strangely enough, the series never turned into
a real mega-success in its homecountry. But it did abroad! Especially in
Europe, the viewers really enjoyed watching The
Flying Doctors. During the late 80´s and early 90´s, it was broadcasted in
England, in Holland, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Italy and many, many other countries. In Holland, The Flying Doctors even won the award for the best foreign
today reruns of the series are shown in Holland, Belgium and Sweden, and
recently a German company has published the entire series on dvd – though
solely with the dubbed German text, to the regret of many fans.
the TV-series the Flying Doctors base was situated in a small town called
Coopers Crossing. Its exact position has never become really clear. It must be
somewhere in the Outback of New South Wales, with Broken Hill as its nearest
coordinates on the aircraft´s dashboard were shown when the plane was taking
off from Coopers Crossing airport, but it turned out that those coordinates
fitted Broken Hill instead.
it is mentioned that the RFDS-district based in Coopers Crossing covers an area
that includes parts from three states: New South Wales, South Australia and
Queensland. Other mentionings of existing nearby towns and places include –
among others – Moomba, Thargomindah, Tibooburra, the Callabonna road, Bourke,
and helping out the RFDS of Port Augusta.
postal code of Coopers Crossing is shown twice in the series, too. Funny
enough, they weren´t the same: once it was 2930, later on it was 2908. A rather
generally accepted assumption is however, that Coopers Crossing would be
situated in the far northwest corner of New South Wales, more or less
coinciding with the town of Milparinka.
town where The Flying Doctors was filmed
was not quite so far out in the Outback. The series was filmed in the town of
Minyip, in Victoria, about 300km northwest of Melbourne. Actually, Minyip was
(and is) not at all situated in the Outback. Crawfords even had to organize
sand to cover its Main Street, to make it look like a dusty
Outbacktown. And the temperatures in Minyip weren´t all that Outback-like
either: it appears the actors´ often seen perspiration was nothing but sprayed
on water. And as soon as there was no filming going on, they hurried to put on
the shooting of The Flying Doctors
series ended in 1992, the little township of Minyip was doomed to be forgotten
again. Strangely enough, that didn´t really happen.
many Europeans, The Flying Doctors
series was their first real encounter with Australia. And those who go there on
vacation, even years later, often wish to visit the familiar site of
"Coopers Crossing". The Minyipians had nothing against these
pilgrimages, and are happy to sell the series´ souvenirs, and to show the European tourists
around town. For most buildings that were part of the series are namely still
there: the pub, the RFDS-base, the garage (existing of nothing but a wooden
structure built just for the series), the shop, the church, the rotunda, the
memorial hall... So far, only the old hospital has been demolished and a new
one has been built.
attraction as the Flying Doctors-town
is so strong, that the roadsigns guiding tourists to "Coopers
Crossing" are practically eclipsing the ones on the same post leading
people to Minyip...
for the TV-series: many people have observed that the series can be divided in
different stages. After the mini-series, the ordinary series continued in more
or less the same atmosphere: very country, with its attention focusing on both
the doctors, the town and the medical stories and emergencies. The extreme
countryness subsided a little when more and more young people entered the
series. But there was still a clear and ongoing general storyline that was
accompanied by a medical problem (or two) per episode.
the period of the episodes 110-166 however, the general storyline disappeared
more and more, ending up in solitary episodes with no continuity whatsoever
towards its preceding and following episodes. At that time, the series was about "the
medical adventure of the week", often very exciting indeed, though what
happened in town was practically ignored. Consequently, most of the town´s
characters disappeared from the series during that time.
end of the series however returned more to the social aspects within the
RFDS-team and somewhat to the town as well. A little too much, according to
many fans: they consider the series started to resemble a soapseries at that
stage. And indeed: at that point the rates just kept dropping, and in 1992 –
after a short and completely failed spin-off series, Crawfords decided to
discontinue The Flying Doctors-series.
what do we have left?
of a great TV-series. A worldwide knowledge and understanding of the Flying
Doctor-system. Fanclubs all over the world. Fansites, often with heaps of
pictures. And fanfiction of course, regaling us with dozens of new adventures
for our favourite docs and their Coopers Crossing friends. The German FD-fanclub
even publishes an annual book with all new German fanfiction, with its
proceedings being donated to the RFDS-base in Broken Hill.
on this page have been taken from my TV-screen.
As far as I´m
concerned, you are free to download and/or copy them.