Australia, your next feelgood melodrama is ready, in the form of 10’s Five Bedrooms.
I have no idea if this will last as long as classy shows like Packed to the Rafters or Offspring, but this is the most promising new drama 10 has served up in years.
Despite the unlikely premise of five (mostly) strangers buying real estate together, this show from Hoodlum Entertainment is surprisingly inviting. Credit goes to a top-notch cast and the inter-personal relationships structured by writers Christine Bartlett and Michael Lucas.
The action kicks off at an Indian-Australian wedding where those on the singles table at the back of the room are drowning their sorrows.
The five are Liz (Kat Stewart), Ben (Stephen Peacocke), Ainsley (Katie Robertson), Harry (Roy Joseph), and Lachlan (Hugh Sheridan). They are joined by Heather (Doris Younane), who is also Ainsley’s meddling landlady and never short of an opinion. She tells them they could improve their future by pooling resources and buying property together.
Ainsley, who semi-narrates the first episode, explains that “A joke plus 5 wines became an internet search,” and soon all 5 find themselves at an auction for a rambling older-style house which they buy for a cool $2.5m (if you don’t mind).
In next to no time our heroes are moving in, box and dice, full of optimism -except for the very dry Heather who has concerns about Ainsley’s crush on Lachlan, who is in a messy break-up from his wife, Melanie (Kate Jenkinson). Keeping up?
Added to the mix is the lingering drunken-pash between Liz and hot tradie Ben, with Liz now insisting “Co-investors, strictly platonic,” and single Harry who hasn’t told his Indian mother he is gay.
The script cleverly plays with a push-pull between the core 5, leaving enough room for the supporting cast to keep it real. Doris Younane as Heather is perfectly dry with her sage advice, juggling her own dramas with husband & son (Alan Dukes, Kyle Keuris) while Harry’s mum (Kumd Merani) unsubtly applies the pressure for him to marry a nice young Indian girl and produce grandchildren. Expect to see some welcome faces as cameos, too (Roz Hammond as Liz’s boss, bonus).
There are moments of sweetness, awkward humour and conflict across the opening chapter that perhaps pitch this is a lighter, thirtysomething Secret Life of Us.
A likeable cast make the first episode an easy watch. Kat Stewart is never far from cynical humour and her audience will welcome her back with open arms. Now she is matched with Stephen Peacocke who avoids all the blokey tropes that come with being a hot tradie …..which only makes him even more desirable.
Katie Robertson (Wanted, The Kettering Incident) is a sweet addition as Ainsley, playing the sincerity card to some of the noisier characters. I’m also expecting big things from Kate Jenkinson, front-loaded as the jilted / not-jilted wife of Lachlan.
There’s a lot to like here. If network TV is to remain focussed on broad melodramas while streaming and Pay TV detour down niche, dark television, at least we can be grateful for vehicles that give a cast every chance to shine.
Five Bedrooms airs 8:40pm Wednesday on 10.