Model, DJ and teenage Aussie soap addict Vogue Williams examines the huge impact Home & Away has had on her own generation of Irish 20, 30 & 40-somethings as the show celebrates 25 years at the top of the ratings on RTÉ Two.
Vogue takes a personal journey from her time as a Dublin tweenager with a Summer Bay lunchbox and a hopeless crush on Stevo Matheson to her current life as a new-minted Aussie celebrity intent on fulfilling her schoolgirl dreams and meeting her Summer Bay idols.
We look back at the kind of country Ireland was back when the show landed here in ‘88, at the tail end of recession, still huge emigration and not much style. She remembers the original cast including Heath Ledger and Guy Pearce, who became house-hold names post-Home & Away.
Mapping the socio-cultural influence of the show in Ireland she meets linguistics experts who explain the change in Irish speech patterns over the past 25 years. Can the dreaded upward inflection be directly linked to the influence of the soap?
Vogue attends acting classes at The Actors Centre in Surrey Hills, Sydney, where many Home and Away actors trained.
She recalls some of her favourite storylines: the ghost of Bobby coming out of the fridge in the diner; the death of Shane; the Belle and Aeden love affair; Jesse forgetting he killed Chloe; Roo’s manipulation of Frank, Flathead’s hunky son Alan Fisher and his aneurism; Sally’s imaginary friend Milko (who turned out to be her real brother Miles).
And, as the sad trade winds of recession are driving a whole generation of Home and Away fans away from home and into bartending jobs in Sydney, Vogue queries whether all those years being steeped in Summer Bay culture has made it easier for our emigrants to integrate? Is the faraway fantasy of a life in Summer Bay equalled by the reality?