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Disney Channel Magazine
December 1984


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Christmas Down Under

Where do you think the Australian cast and crew of "Five Mile Creek" will find their Christmas presents this year?

The beach is a good guess.  December is Australia's hottest month.  Christmas down under is part of summer vacation, and Aussies who live near the coast celebrate by building sand castles instead of snowmen.

"Only the diehard still carry on with all the British Christmas traditions," says Doug Netter, Australian-based producer of our Disney Channel series.  "It's hard to get into the spirit of flaming plum pudding when it's 115-degrees in the shade!"

This Christmas, the Five Milers will be headquartered outside of Melbourne.  As Netter and two of the stars, Louise Caire Clark (Maggie Scott) and Liz Burch (Kate Wallace), explained in a recent visit to the States, this is where the third season of "Five Mile Creek" will be shot.  The show was originally located near Sydney, nearly a thousand miles away.

When describing the new exterior sets created for the different location, Netter beams like St. Nick himself.  "They're the biggest ever made for an Australian television series," he says.  "It took two months to build them."

An entire town, named Emu Plains, has been erected.  The emu is Australia's national bird, known for its inability to walk backwards.  "The town is in the open prairies of Australia, so you'll be seeing a landscape strikingly different from the mountain terrain of our first location," Netter says.

You'll also be seeing a small stage coach station, named "Armstrong's."  The Armstrong family, which owns most of the territory around Emu Plains, will become a continual source of problems for the Five Milers in the new season.

Our heroes will move into a new homestead, which they nostalgically name "Five Mile Creek."  "This house is larger than the old one, and has a sloping iron roof and a great big beautiful porch," says Netter.

Louise Caire Clark think the move will be exciting for both the actors and viewers.  "The location will add a completely different dimension to the show," she says.  "In fact, the producers won't even tell us what all the surprises are going to be!"

But the cast has already learned about one major change:  a new character, Annie, played by the 17-year-old Nicole Kidman, is joining the Five Mile Creek "family."

"Annie's an orphan, a shepherd girl who's very green, totally uneducated," explains Liz Burch.  "Maggie and Kate will be teaching her how to dress, talk, and behave.  It'll be a Pygmalion relationship -- a total makeover."

According to Netter, you can look forward to at least one other character appearing later in the season.  This newcomer will bring romance into Annie's life.

As they look ahead to the series' dramatic developments, both Louise and Liz are eager to begin the third season.  Louise sums it up when she says, "As long as the producers do such a wonderful job -- we'd be mad to want to do anything else."


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