Family Affairs

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Channel Five (ended 2005)

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Family Affairs

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On its launch night (30th March 1997), Channel 5 broadcast the first episode of its original soap opera: Family Affairs. The series was Britain's first 5-days-a-week soap and has been broadcast every weekday since its launch. Family Affairs: The Hart Years (From Pilot to Episode 480) The show followed the lives of the Hart family from Charnham, Kent, story lines surrounded Chris, Annie and their children Duncan, Holly, Melanie and Jamie Hart as well as Chris's father Angus, Annie's parents Elsa and Jack Gates and their friends and neighbours for 2 years. Friends and neighbours included Roy Farmer, Nick Trip and Maria Simons. However, ratings were low and it wasn't long before Channel 5 threatened to axe Family Affairs. Drastic action was needed if the show was to survive, and so drastic action was taken: Brian Park, then producer of Britain's no. 1 soap Coronation Street, was hired at the end of 1998. In the next couple of months the Gates' were killed-off and early the following year, the decision was made to axe the Hart family all together. On 29th January 1999 (Episode 480), the Harts (minus Duncan who had already left the series) were killed off in a boat explosion on Mel and Roy Farmer's wedding day. Family Affairs: The Era of Change (From Episode 481 to Episode 1300) A more varied bunch of characters emerged such as Cat and Dave Matthews, Yasmin McHugh, Gemma Craig, Fern Sinclair, Declan Byrne, Gabby Johnson, Sadie Hargreaves, Siobhan Jones, Clive Starr, and later Nikki Warrington and her various family members. As a result of the much hyped boat explosion and the introduction of colourful new characters, Family Affairs started to do well - although it didn't last. The series became known for its bad acting and over the top story lines and viewers were not impressed. In 2000, ratings once again hit a rocky patch. In an attempt to win over viewers, the series decided to relocate. Previously the action took place in a series of suburban homes whose geographic relation to one another was not clearly defined by the series, and the primary meeting place for characters was Pete Callan's slick and modern riverside bar: The Lock. In 2000, Pete sold up and bought The Black Swan on Stanley Street and, despite the fact that the evil Pete was the most despised character, the series regulars followed him to his new pub! As time went by, viewers discovered that the homes and workplaces of many Family Affairs regulars were actually located on Stanley Street too including Yasmin's mini-market, Cat's hairdressing salon and Sadie's home (despite earlier location shooting that indicated her home was located in a spacious suburban housing estate of similar dwellings). Later, in became clear that Charnham wasn't in Kent anymore but had amazingly become a London suburb. Family Affairs: Just another soap? (From Episode 1301 to Episode 1675) Episode 1301 saw Family Affairs' second re-branding. It aired on the 25th March 2002 to mark the soap's 5th anniversary - this was to become Family Affairs' shortest era to date. With the series' relocation to Stanley Street complete, the series had almost completely detached itself from it's roots and began to resemble the British prime time shows like Coronation Street and EastEnders but once again fell under criticism for bad acting and bad writing. Despite having had a ratings boost in 2001 by the introduction of Australian soap Home and Away in the 6pm time slot before Family Affairs, the series continued to struggle and within 18 months the show once again faced the axe . . . Family Affairs: The Marquess/Davis Era (From Episode 1676 to Present) In September 2003, Paul Marquess took over as Family Affairs' Executive Producer, his right hand woman is Series Producer Alison Davis. The series was once again relaunched, almost as dramatically as the boat explosion 4 year before, almost every cast member left the show. Between September and November of 2003, there was a car accident (killing off two long serving characters and leading to another being imprisoned) and a fire (killing off original cast member Roy Farmer -- leaving Pete Callan (played by David Easter as the longest serving cast member). The dramatic events led to the departure of several other characters including Roy's wife Nikki Farmer (formerly Nikki Warrington). Initially, the relaunch came under criticism but the show soon won round old fans with the introduction of the Costello family, the Boulter family and in 2004 the Williams family. As well as stories never before covered on British soaps, Family Affairs began experimenting with new storytelling methods including a week set over a dramatic 24 hours, a flashback week and in May 2004, Family Affairs fans got the chance to vote for who they thought Marc Mackenzie should end up with, his wife Yasmin Mackenzie, or his long time girlfriend Geri Evans in British soap's first interactive storyline. This latest relaunch seems to have done the trick for fans with the series attracting up to 1.4 million viewers every day. This era will soon be coming to an end. Paul Marquess is leaving talkbackThames and rumour has it that Alison Davis already has! Their shoes will be filled by Jonathan Young (Executive Producer) and Sean O'Connor (Series Producer). O'Connor said that he wanted to get Family Affairs a bit of security and he planned to give the show a unique look and feel. However, it seems that he won't have much of an oppertunity to do that. On 2nd of August, Five announced that they'd come to the decision to axe Family Affairs. The series will cease shooting in October and will go off the air for good in December. Family Affairs is produced for Five by talkbackThames. To keep up with the latest news and gossip from Charnham keep checking out this site for our daily updated episode guides as well as constant cast updates.moreless
David Easter

David Easter

Pete Callan (1997 - 2005)

Kazia Pelka

Kazia Pelka

Chrissy Costello (2003 - END)

Liz Crowther

Liz Crowther

Annie Hart (1997 - 1999) [Original Cast Member]

Rocky Marshall

Rocky Marshall

Duncan Hart #1 (1997 - 1998) [Original Cast Member]

Simon Cook

Simon Cook

Andrew Warrington (2000 - 2001)

Miles Anderson

Miles Anderson

George Shackleford (2001)

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