The PM’s Daughter

Cat is yearning for normality in her life, but not when her mum moves into the Lodge in ABC ME's new tween drama.

Last time a narrative series was set at The Lodge, all hell broke loose.

That was At Home with Julia on the ABC in 2011 when the PM got up close and personal with the First Bloke under the Aussie flag (fun fact, same director here for later episodes).

ABC ME returns to a faux Lodge for The PM’s Daughter, a -presumably- safer backdrop for a new 10 part tween drama from Fremantle.

Episodes centre around the frustrations of Cat (Cassandra Helmot), the spirited teen daughter of the newly-installed PM Isabel Perez (Claire Fearon) -the first Australian PM with Spanish ancestry.

They move from Perth to Canberra with aunt Jacinta (Cecilia Yeomans), given that her husband and Cat’s father had previously died. While her mother is happy to no longer be in FIFO-shuttle mode, Cat isn’t happy about so much change. Even her pets had to stay behind due to biosecurity laws. Bummer.

But Cat encounters a new troupe of friends at high school, provided she can get past Federal Police, including the fast-talking political junkie Sadie (Natalie English), Ollie (Jaga Yap) who is also son of Deputy PM Tim Duong (Anthony Brandon Wong), Mirro (Nya Cofie) a ‘diplobrat’ son of a US dignitary and the very princessy Georgina (Amelie James-Power) who is daughter of the Opposition Leader.

Cat has also inherited her mother’s former activist streak and rails against all the trappings of Canberra -from a stuffy olde worlde bedroom to being forced to wear girly dresses.

Her mother tries to empathise but concedes, “The sad fact is I do have to consider appearances whether I like it or not. I’m a woman in politics.”

I guess she’s seen plenty of of Annabel Crabb’s series? Or the writers have…

Cat’s also passionate about climate change and hates that her mother is the target of local protestors, the Action Uprising group.

“I should be out there with them,” she sighs.

But when you’re the PM’s daughter, there are rules everywhere, even when you try to switch off.

“I can’t even turn on the TV without mum telling me what to do.”

The series also features a plum-in-mouth head of staffer Henry (Lewis Fitz-Gerald) who is on hand to curtail any sense of teenage fun under his watch. Thankfully he gets to do some gags with real-world relevance.

“Dry sense of humour. Reminds me of John Howard,” he quips.

There’s even a Katter-like akubra on one pollie and use of ABC News studios.

The series created by Tristram Baumber and Matthew Allred endeavours to view Canberra through teenage eyes, with a sense of humour whilst maintaining a social conscience relevant to kids.

It’s also the second drama, following Stan’s Bump, to centre around a Chilean-Australian family. There’s a poppy soundtrack (I’m sure I heard Montaigne), which adds to the freshness.

ABC ME is kicking off 2022 with another promising show in its scripted drama.

The PM’s Daughter screens 5:30pm today on ABC ME.

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