“We obviously want to keep going”: will The Heights return?
Producers keen to continue on Perth serial, but ABC is up against funding challenges.
Fans of The Heights last night took to social media after its Season 2 finale, all wanting to know one thing: will there be more?
The Matchbox Pictures serial reached a conclusion of sorts, but like many Australian dramas, writers were faced with an ending without ever knowing if it would be renewed.
Co-creator / Producer Warren Clarke tells TV Tonight he still doesn’t know if the Perth-made serial will return -especially given’s ABC funding challenges.
“We’re certainly hopeful that we get to go again, though are appreciative of the circumstances at the ABC and the challenges we would face,” he says.
“We obviously want to keep going”
“We obviously want to keep going but we understand those constraints they’re under, and that hard decisions are having to get made. Given the fact that we haven’t moved, obviously, that window starts to close.”
60 episodes were filmed in total, set in the fictional Arcadia Heights housing commission flats. With arguably the most diverse ensemble in an Australian drama, the show has won critical praise for its slice-of-life approach.
The BBC recently screened the series in an early afternoon soap timeslot and Clarke says the audience feedback has exceeded expectations.
“We got incredible feedback from the fan base”
“There’s such a long tradition of soaps there, so I was slightly nervous about how we’d be received. But we got incredible feedback from the fan base that grew over there. I think we caught a tail end of a lockdown as well, which gave us a great entry point into that market. We’ve been really pleased.”
Last night’s season finale saw a resolution for characters including Ash (Phoenix Raei), Kam (Yazeed Daher), Hazel (Fiona Press), and Renee (Saskia Hampele) amongst others. Clarke admits it was a juggling act to come up with an episode which could serve as a finale should the show not proceed.
“This isn’t a show that drags stories out for too long. It tells them in a timeframe that they should be told. We obviously had closure points to the stories that we were telling. I really feel like we reached those for the second season,” he said.
“Their lives don’t stop”
“In our view, these are real people, and their lives don’t stop. So we’ve given indications of the fact that these lives will go on, and there are more stories to tell.”
Sets in Perth were also sold off after S2 finished filming but Clarke stresses they could be rebuilt should ABC find room to renew.
“When that decision was made, it wasn’t a decision to end the show. We investigated how we would be able to come back and it is do-able. In reality it would be tricky to get some of the exact pieces together, but we certainly wouldn’t be the first show to rebuild from scratch.”
For Clarke and his team there is still good news to come with a guaranteed AWGIE Award, after the show swept all 4 nominations in the Serial category. It’s just a question of who amongst Peter Mattessi, Megan Palinkas, Romina Accurso or Clarke himself will take it out.
“It’s really nice, because those nominees this year are the core in-house team, and Hannah (Carroll Chapman) is the other addition to that team. She was nominated last year. So it’s a nice moment for those guys who have been so committed to this show for the last three years. Everyone was pretty thrilled. I’m not gonna lie!” he admits.
An ABC spokesperson confirmed no decision has yet been made on a third season.
A grateful Clarke added, “ABC have been so supportive of the show. We wouldn’t have had two seasons, if they hadn’t backed us.”