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A Country Practice - The Novels

Classic TV favourite A Country Practice is back in the spotlight -now as a series of authorised novels by one of its original writers.

Corazon Books is publishing novels based on the stories from the Wandin Valley drama which ran from 1981-1993 and over 1000 episodes, and featured Georgie Parker, Shane Withington, Penny Cook, Shane Porteous and Lorae Desmond.

Judith Colquhoun, who wrote 100 episodes of the series has penned the novels adapted from original scripts.

Creator and producer James Davern, said, “Prior to A Country Practice, television drama in Australia was occupied with police stories, shoot-outs and car chases and associated mayhem. It took courage by the Channel 7 Network to replace all this with an interpersonal drama about two doctors and a vet in a small country town, caring for their patients and the people around them. The audience responded, the show ran twelve years and won 29 Logie Awards.”

The first book in the series, A Country Practice: New Beginnings, takes readers back to 1981 and introduces iconic characters such as Drs Terence Elliott and Simon Bowen, Shirley Dean and her vet daughter Vicky, police sergeant Frank Gilroy, and Wandin Valley newcomers Brendan and Molly Jones.

The books are set in the same era as the show and cover storylines from a number of episodes, with some slight changes for novel form.

“When I was approached to write a series of books based on A Country Practice, I realised that it was over twenty years since my last visit to Wandin Valley. The memories came flooding back and it didn’t take me long to say ‘yes,’” said Colquhoun.

“Not that I thought the task would be easy. I know from bitter experience that turning an apple into an orange is never easy; what makes a good script is not necessarily going to make a good novel.

“Nevertheless, my years writing for Jim Davern at JNP had given me some of my happiest, most satisfying experiences as a scriptwriter. We had such a good team to work with on A Country Practice, we were all most definitely rowing the same boat, even freelance writers like myself felt part of it. Of course there were tears and tantrums but everyone gave it their best and we achieved two hours of quality television a week for more than a decade. Not bad.

“And most of all, it was terrific to work on a show that – it seemed – the whole of Australia, indeed large parts of the known world, absolutely loved.

“So going back to Wandin Valley – reading the old scripts, looking at DVDs of the very early shows – has been like visiting a family of half-forgotten friends I hadn’t seen for years and getting to know them all over again.

“I hope in writing the books that I have done them justice. It’s been a labour of love.”

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