Four years in the making
She applied for a grant from the Australian Film Commission in 1985 and with that, a lot of her own money and a lot of hard work, she made her short film The Siege of Barton's Bathroom.
Frankie J. Holden is the only actor who's both in the short film and the series. I guess he really is the perfect Robert Barton!
The "right Elly" and exploding switchboards
[*Rebekah Elmalouglou played Elly in the short film. Her name is misspelt in the character description. -Erwin]
Brothers, parents, neighbours and friends
On the air and off again, foreign success
Hands down, Germany is the country that's most nuts about the Bartons. Atleast if the number of runs the show had there is anything to go by. No less than seven runs, over a period of ten years, not counting next day repeats. Six of those runs were on national television, spread across several networks both commercial and publicly funded.
In the episode "Beautiful Beetroot", after finding the cigarettes, Elly lists which Guide Laws Vivienne must have broken ("1, 2, 4, 5… and most likely No. 8 as well", says Elly. "Definitely 5, that poor frog" Anita adds).
Well, I checked, and Elly's right. According to the Australian Guide Laws that were in use in 1987 (they were rewritten in 2012), those are the exact ones that Vivienne broke.
Heavy issues, like death or divorce, would also be avoided. The stories told were to be the kind of "adventures" real kids live everyday, in their everyday lives and everyday friendships.
The song "True Blue", as sung by Douglas and Lee in the episode "Bartons at the Beach", baffled me as a kid. Only when I got some Australian friends later in life, who explained it to me, I finally got what it was about.
The original is by Australian singer John Williamson and is on YouTube for you to enjoy.
Mr Jensen's dog, Max, was found at a pound by the production. He wasn't what they had in mind for Mr Jensen's dog, but they fell in love with him on first sight
Pippa Smith and Rosemary Smith (Yvonne and Anita McPherson) are sisters in real life too.
Just weeks before we meet her in the series, Anita starts to go "boy crazy" (in Elly's words; mentioned in the book) and develops a crush on Vince Capaletti, the local football team's captain. She fantasises about marrying him and takes every opportunity to change the subject matter to Vince when talking to Elly (again, more so in the book than on the television series).
Anita's crush on Vince makes way for true love in episode three, and Paul's the lucky man. He just doesn't know it yet, and Anita spends the next nine episodes building up the courage to tell him. She's eventually forced to do so by events in the final episode.
Anita aspires to be a real lady. This is extra difficult when you have a tom-boyish friend like Elly. She's a so called "Brownie" (young girl scout) when the series starts and becomes a "Girl Guide" (older girl scout) somewhere between the events of the episodes The Barton League of Bird Lovers and Beautiful Beetroot (as she's already a Guide in the flashbacks in that episode).
Other than being a Guide, Anita likes embroidery, wearing dresses, have her hair done and experiments with make-up. In short; she's in some ways the complete opposite of Elly. When Elly's not around, she initially prefers to hang out with the younger kids in the neighbourhood, with her younger sisters Yvonne and Simone acting as a gateway. Later this changes to Susan, who's also a Guide.
She's prone to nosebleeds, which is used as a plot device in two episodes.
Although Anita sometimes gets bossed around by Elly, and often gets dragged into whatever Elly is plotting, she certainly can stand her ground when it comes to it. Often challenging Elly, or even opposing her. But in the end, Elly and Anita are best friends through and through.
Vince Capaletti (Christian Pellone) is a class mate and friend of Paul's and the captain of the Banksia Blues, the Australian rules football team where Paul plays/played. Vince is Anita's first crush until she finds out Vince and Susan Davies are in love with each other.
Use the links below to find out more. And don't forget the interviews with cast and crew; accessible through either the crew page or under the Interviews tab in the menu. More will be added in time as I track down some more people.
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