In the last few years TEN has been moving closer to the side of the room that’s a home to Factual Television.
Bondi Rescue, Bondi Recue: Bali, Saving Babies, Saving Kids were all original network franchises, and there’s more on the way with Guerilla Gardeners and Recruits. In what amounts to a significant shift from its core audience, TEN has seen where Middle Australia is sitting and it wants a bigger slice of the action.
Enter: Dr. Chris Brown on Bondi Vet.
Brown is no stranger to television having been on Harry’s Practice, Burke’s Backyard, Today and Talk to the Animals. Now he lands his own vehicle as a Bondi veterinarian from his own practice. It’s a match made in television heaven: sexy single doc, sick animals and a lush backdrop.
Produced by WTFN, the storytelling here is straight up and down. Sick pets, or wounded wildlife, are accompanied by a voice-over and worried owners to the caring resolve of Dr. Brown, who delicately talks us through the ailment, his plan of action and each step to recovery along the way. Since its habit in dropping most credits, TEN’s preview didn’t indicate who was behind the female narration.
Whether its major surgery or a little TLC, each case is constructed as its own piece of drama rising to a commercial-break cliffhanger that may or may not turn out well if an animal doesn’t respond well to surgery.
The opening episode includes a wounded fairy penguin, and two dogs, one which has been poisoned by bait and another with a fractured leg. Like most in the factual genre, stories are regularly paused to cut us away to another case in progress.
Brown is a natural for this kind of stuff. Tall, single, blonde, chisel-jawed, single, a winning smile and single -he’s bound to win over his audience. Thankfully he looks very skilled at his job and relaxed with the cameras.
He is joined by Dr. Lisa Chimes whose expertise is dogs and cats -though in the premiere episode it’s all about Brown.
Some of Brown’s home and social life will also feature. We see him at home with his flatmate (Flatmate: “You haven’t brought a bird home in a long time”) and the opening credits see him surfing the Bondi waves.
It’s odd that TEN hasn’t slated this mid year when it will be out of Bondi Rescue episodes. The suburb is going to saturate the channel.
Although it’s been a very long time coming (it was announced in 2007), Bondi Vet slots easily into a crowded genre. The real challenge will be creating a point of difference from other animal shows.
But with its pin-up boy it looks like it’s off to a good start.
Bondi Vet premieres 8pm Thursday February 5th on TEN.