Public television stations from the East Coast to the West are where the fourth season of A Place to Call Home, one of Australia’s most addictive dramas ever, has its broadcast debut.
Goodness gracious! Will Sarah Nordmann, née Adams (Marta Dusseldorp, Janet King, Jack Irish), ever catch a break? This poor woman has been through hell and back, and her troubles aren’t over in the fourth season of A Place to Call Home.
(Folks who are new to APTCH should watch the series from the beginning, as Season 4 continues storylines from previous ones. Many public TV stations are airing them, too!)
For fans of the show… The Season 3 finale was a heckuva humdinger, am I right? From that shocking realization (at the bottom of the stairs) and another life-threatening health crisis, to a fatal poisoning and the promise of “We will be together soon,” all of the drama in this episode reminded me of the tagline for an old spaghetti sauce commercial: “It’s in there.”
Ditto that for Season 4.
(What follows is mostly spoiler-free.)
Where to start? How about murder? Make that murders with an s. Thankfully, our heroine Sarah isn’t one of the victims, although Regina Bligh (Jenni Baird, All Saints) would be over-the-moon ecstatic if she was. The fact that Sarah is alive and well and still the object of George Bligh’s (Brett Climo, A Country Practice) affections maintains her status as his wife’s #1 enemy. That he considers his marriage to Regina nothing more than a business arrangement for the sake of his burgeoning political career makes the whole thing sting all the more. (Ouch.)
So what’s a jealous, vindictive, and malicious woman to do? Hatch a(nother) nasty scheme, of course — one involving the assassination of both Sarah’s character and person. It doesn’t help Sarah that anti-Communist (as well as antisemitic) sentiments are running high in 1954 Australia, making her a target for certain members of the community, as well as for Regina.
Loveless or not, it appears that the marriage of convenience is doing what it was intended to do: help George’s campaign — much to the delight of his power-mad wife and to the chagrin of his blood family members, who collectively can’t stand her. [There aren’t a lot of lol zingers in APTCH, but one from wanna-be vintner Gino Poletti (Aldo Mignone, Danger 5) to Regina in this season’s opener made me guffaw.]
And whether they care for Regina or not, the rest of the Blighs — including matriarch Elizabeth (Noni Hazlehurst, City Homicide), George’s son James (David Berry, Home and Away) and his wife Olivia (Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood, Underbelly), George’s sister Carolyn (Sara Wiseman, Crownies) [and her beau, Dr. Jack Duncan (Craig Hall, The Doctor Blake Mysteries)], and Carolyn’s daughter Anna (Abby Earl, Underbelly) and her husband Gino — have their own issues to deal with, from the effects of horrific traumas, to infidelity, to secrets and lies about, well, a lot. (Paternity and pregnancy, rather the lack thereof, are but two.)
Even though Elizabeth has mellowed, she hasn’t lost her skill in strategy and manipulation. And she’s handy with a weapon, too. So when an opportunity arises that allows her to kill two birds with one stone, she takes full advantage of the situation. (Let me just say that Elizabeth’s first plot is spectacular!)
When things come to a head at Ash Park, the typically mild-mannered George becomes a force to be reckoned with and puts the Bligh house in order, right down to who will stay in the cottage. And his baby-daddy announcement was a fine moment, indeed.
More problems follow, though, including the unexpected arrival of someone from James’ past, Gino’s disgust with the Bligh family in general and homosexuality in particular, and the return of Sarah and Elizabeth to being opponents. (And they’d been getting along so well in plotting Regina’s downfall! Not that she isn’t helping herself along a downward spiral, mind you; she just doesn’t know it yet.)
All is not doom and gloom for the Blighs or Sarah, though. Yes, some marriages crumble, but love blooms for others, and they still have each other. Family. Plus, there’s a new baby!
What the future holds for each of them remains to be seen. For that, we must wait for Season 5.
Featuring Frankie J. Holden (Something in the Air) as friendly farmer Roy Briggs (who happens to be one of my favorite characters), Deborah Kennedy (Janet King) as harmless local gossip Doris Collins, and Brenna Harding (The Code) as Ash Park servant Rose O’Connell, A Place to Call Home: Season 4 is confirmed for airing on the stations and regional networks shown below. Air dates and times vary by market, so check your local listings or contact the station that serves your area for details.
To listen to an interview with Marta Dusseldorp and her on-screen and real-life husband, Benjamin Winspear, about A Place to Call Home, click here.