Dr Lucien Blake is fine doctor, serving the people of Ballarat well. He inherited his father’s house, surgery, practice and car (though the latter is in need of some attention) and in settling back into rural Victoria after serving in the armed forces during World War II is doing his best to make a go of being home. But the war has left an indelible imprint on him – secrets – and his forward-thinking and “reckless” ways are not appreciated by some. Welcome to The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
Acting as the town’s GP, confidante and police medical officer, Blake (Craig McLachlan) shares his time in caring for his patients and assisting the local constabulary by performing autopsies. Who’d have thought Ballarat was such a hot bed for murder?! His housekeeper Jean Beazley (Nadine Garner) cares for him like she did his father, though he’s a tad more eccentric than Dr Blake Snr. Mrs Beazley also looks after her nephew, Constable Danny Parks (Rick Donald), and boarder District Nurse Mattie O’Brien (Cate Wolfe) – a firebrand in the making. An interesting household to say the least.
McLachlan is a joy to behold as the Doctor with the hidden past. He’s subtle and careful, revealing snippets of his personality and past as the episodes progress, and as someone who can remember him (mullet and all) as Henry Blake on Neigbours, this Blake is a welcome return to the small screen. Garner also delightful as the stoic and ever-present Mrs Beasley. Joel Tobeck is suitably hard as Chief Superintendent Matthew Lawson (did you know he was an Orc Lieutenant in Return Of The King?) and John Wood is continues his screen-commanding roles with his occasionally viewed Patrick Tyneman, head of the local club and keep of the town’s morals. Both Rick Donald & Cate Wolfe are marvellous young finds and bring smart angles to their respective characters (Wolfe’s sassiness as O’Brien plays well against the occasional stodginess of Blake).
It’s an original new Australian crime drama series spread across 10 episodes. Created by producer George Adams, Blake is brought to vivid life by he and executive producer Tony Wright to offer an authentic look at an Australia cusping on the 60’s and all it would bring. Entirely charming and completely more-ish to watch (this writer consumed 4 episodes in one sitting with ease) The Doctor Blake Mysteries continues the tradition set last year by Miss Phyrne Fisher and is likely to eclipse it, such is the quality combination of story, cast and locations. A modern nostalgic classic.
The Doctor Blake Mysteries – starts Fri Feb 1 8:30pm, ABC1.
Morning Steve – I realise this is probably not the done thing or very cool – but whatever, I just wanted to say a huge heartfelt thanks for your kind words on the show – it has been such a joy to work with everyone on and i was delighted to read that you enjoyed it so much. Thanks and very best – George A
Hi George – cool or no, it’s absolutely my pleasure. Credit where credit is due: it’s a cracking series and I look forward to seeing it in its entirety. Awesome work to you and all involved!
What impresses me is the extent to which CMcL has grown into the role. He started out trying really hard to do the slightly stilted gentleman thingy only to appear mannered and , well, stilted.
I guess naturally his confidence has grown and he now seems relaxed and strong in his role.
I have loved Nadine Garner ever since she charmed us in City Homicide.
I’m really looking forward to this one. I do love a bit of mature McLachlan. He really grew on me with his guest role on City Homicide.
I’m thrilled at last Cate Wolfe has been picked up! I have had the pleasure of watching her in a number of plays as well as her brief stints on television. She most certainly is an actress with a bright future. Cannot wait to see this series and her participation along with its great cast. Best wishes!
Ending was a disappointment last night. Didn’t suit the ‘hard’ character of the murderer. She should have been located at a hair salon or having afternoon tea at her club. Blubbing by the lake was a surprise. Nobody wants to feel sorry for her. And why all the mysterious side looks with the teacher at the ‘bad girls’ school. Is this a story unfolding? As a Ballarat born girl who was not aware that the series was set in Ballarat, I enjoyed the local scenery. It is a beautiful town and still has some wonderful buildings!
What type of car does Dr Blake drive?
It is a 1935 Standard 12.
See images here: http://www.standardmotorclub.org.uk/cars/post_vintage/features/1935_12.htm
Ooops, I goofed. It’s a 1936 Standard Light 20 & here’s the very vehicle:
Thank you, Giabie! The mystery is solved.
In episode three (i think), the housekeeper played by Nadine Garner , holds a gun to some dastardly villain and says that the gun belonged to her son, a sargeant who was killed at The Somme. The Somme was in 1916. Dr Blake is set in 1959. This would reasonably make her about 80, even if as the character notes say, she married early.
Not having seen episode three again, it could be that she said it was her husbands gun. Even then, she’d still be in her early 60’s.
Dr Blake himself should also be at least late 50’s given his background. The actors don’t strike me as being close to these ages.
Can’t help feeling that while the characters are good, they haven’t thought the actual ages out too well, especially if they are going to provide historical context.
Not ‘the Somme’, the Solomons…
Enjoy the series, but can’t make McLachlan work for mine.
Maybe it’s the Neighbours baggage, but the conceit that there are deep waters running – of either philosophical, intellectual or emotional nature – in his Blake is difficult to maintain.
On the other hand, he is adept at the brusque comedy and dry precision of the Doctor.
Perhaps time – and some familiarity with the role as the series progresses will prove forgiving…
I take it back: by the close of Ep2 I thought McLachlan was on track and creating a complex – and hopefully enduring – character.
I am thoroughly enjoying the Dr Blake series. Well done Craig McLachlan and all the cast. Thanks also to Giarbie for the car information.
‘brought to vivid life by he and executive producer Tony Wright…’
What? Um…not wanting to be hard to get on with, but it’s ‘by him’. ‘By he’ is poseur English.
Bring back Him! And Me, come to think of it.
Hi Bob – Me no understand.
Naturally, one is wondering if the good Doctor and Mrs B , how do one express it, get it together?
What a great series, looking forward to season two.
We have found Dr Blacke execellent TV and the best Aussie drama for a while. The muted tones of the camera work give it a “historical” feel that de-americanises the production setting it more firmly in a UK tradition. Craig McLachlan is a revelation as a self-destructive but intelligent & caring Blake who seems to be insesitive at the same time to those closest to him. Is Maddie going doe-eyed at Blake and he hasnt noticed? His letter to Mrs B at the end of series 1 was on the otehr hand very touching. Cant wait for series 2. Repartee between Blcek and Lawsin is excelelnt and by last episdee series 1 we can see a close friendship has developed as Lawson sacks and re-employs Blake in one conversation.
just curious as to why I am not picking up the typical Australian accent that I have heard spoken. Not living in Australia I base my question on the accents that I have always heard from Australian people
Hi Luisanna – The time that the Doctor Blake Mysteries is set in Australians didn’t have the broad accent they’re known for today (they did, but it wasn’t as common).