It was the home of Diver Dan’s boatshed cafe, and a bridge that was a long-running joke for the residents of Pearl Bay.
But Barwon Heads will not be the home of Seachange when it returns later this year, with the show set to film at Brunswick Heads, north of Byron Bay.
The ITV / Every Cloud Productions series will film its fictional Pearl Bay in NSW under the Made in NSW TV Drama funding and Regional Filming Fund, Create NSW.
Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said, “Bringing SeaChange to NSW is a great win for the State. Our incredible scenery coupled with the strength of Northern Rivers screen practitioners and support from Create NSW proved to be an unmissable opportunity for the return of this well-loved Australian production.
“I’m delighted to announce that 100% of the production will be filmed and post-produced in NSW, creating nearly 300 jobs and development opportunities that will provide roles for practitioners across many underrepresented groups.
“SeaChange will also boost the NSW economy with an estimated spend of over $9 million and we fully anticipate a very positive tourism boost for the area,” he said.
David Mott, CEO, ITV Studios Australia, said, “This is ITV Studios Australia’s first venture into scripted, and what a show to commence with as we diversify our business – the revisiting of Australia’s most treasured series, Seachange.
“We are excited to be working with Every Cloud productions and Sigrid Thornton in her reprisal of the lead role. ITV Studios Global Entertainment, our distribution arm, is equally excited at rolling out SeaChange internationally later in the year. We can’t wait to showcase Pearl Bay to the world!”
Every Cloud Productions’ co-founders Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger added, “We are delighted that the investment from Create NSW has made it possible for us to bring SeaChange to the beautiful part of the world that inspired Deb Cox to write the original series 20 years ago! Bringing SeaChange to the Northern Rivers region will build on our decade-long partnership with Screenworks and the talented local industry practitioners in the area, and transport audiences into its spectacular coastal locations.”
Andy Ryan, Nine’s co-Head of Drama, said, “Two decades after SeaChange first put Pearl Bay on the map, Australia’s favourite fictional town is still the perfect destination to embrace love, family and a whole new perspective on life.”
“We’re thrilled to be filming in the Northern Rivers region, and to bring the joyous drama of SeaChange to a new generation of viewers,’ added Jo Rooney, Nine’s co-Head of Drama.
Last year residents on the Bellarine Peninsula were campaigning for Seachange to return to Barwon Heads for filming, but like the locals in a stoush with the Bob Jelly, they have lost that fight (it isn’t clear if select sites may be used as establishing shots). Such was the success of the original it led to a tourism and real estate boon for the town.
Byron Bay was the intended site of the original series, but costs prevented that from proceeding.