Soapie chance comes Out of the Blue

TEN's newest soap Out of the Blue already has a curious history.

A total of 130 episodes were originally commissioned by the BBC to replace the loss of Neighbours. Set in the Sydney suburb of Manly it seemingly has all the right ingredients that have made other Aussie soaps such enduring hits. Rolling surf, a sunny disposition, an uber-pretty cast ...

The drama launched mid-year in the UK in a typically afternoon timeslot. Despite a healthy premiere, it began to lose viewers until it was shuffled off to BBC2. That was bad news for TEN who had taken up an option for the local rights. But since that time Five in the UK has decided to give the soap a second lease of life, and will recommence the series alongside its other Australian stablemates Home and Away and, ironically, Neighbours. It's hoping to find a renewed audience for the show later in the day as part of an Aussie onslaught.

TEN will air the soap in the somewhat unusual timeslot of 10:30pm Mondays to Thursdays across summer. While it isn't the first time a soap has aired late nights (remember Chances?), it's not the norm. But TEN is hoping the timeslot brings less pressure to perform so quickly and that, in time, it will build a fanbase. Summer also delivers more viewers later in the evening.

If you like uncomplicated soaps with a dash of romance, a hint of mystery and loads of attractive middle-class young adults, Out of the Blue might be worth a look. The first few episodes, like most pilots, spend a great deal of time trying to set up a myriad of characters, most of whom are gathered for a school reunion, where one is murdered.

It's by no means the most taxing of television soaps. But then Neighbours got the chop at Seven before TEN revived it too. The rest is soapie history.

Out of the Blue premieres 10:30pm, Monday, November 17 on TEN.

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