Rafferty's Rules

Rafferty's Rules is an Australian television drama series which ran from 1987 to 1991 on the Seven Network.

Rafferty's Rules
Created byBen Lewin
StarringJohn Wood
Simon Chilvers
Arky Michael
Terry Serio
Andrew McFarlane
Catherine Wilkin
Katy Brinson
Lisa Crittenden
Mouche Phillips
Country of originAustralia
No. of episodes86
Running time50 minutes
Original networkSeven Network
Original release12 February 1987 
2 February 1991

The producers of the series were Posie Graeme-Evans (1987–1988), and Denis Phelen. The directors were Graham Thorburn, Mike Smith and Russell Webb. The writers were David Allen, John Upton, Tim Gooding and David Marsh.[1]

Rafferty's Rules was one of the first programs undertaken by the Seven Network's then new in-house drama unit, going into production in May 1985 as "a 15-part courtroom drama". The program had started out as a pilot episode, recorded in early 1984 with the actor Chris Haywood in the lead role. When the pilot episode was remounted later in 1984, Chris Haywood wasn't available and the lead role was re-cast to John Wood. This second recording was eventually broadcast as the program's first episode. Initially it was hoped that the program would make its debut during the 1985 ratings season and there was an option to extend the series to 26 episodes if the initial response was positive.[2]

By mid-1986, the media was asking questions as to why the series, "which had more pilots than TAA [a large airline at the time]", had yet to appear. On Sunday 15 June 1986, The Sun-Herald TV Guide said, "The series was made last year and scripting of a new series has almost been completed".[3]

Rafferty's Rules eventually debuted on the Seven Network in February 1987.

The series was also shown in the UK on Satellite channel Lifestyle in 1991. It was shown daily at 14:00.


Both John Wood and Catherine Wilkin received TV Week Logie Awards for their work on Rafferty's Rules.

  • John received the Logie Awards for Most Outstanding Actor in both 1988 and 1989 and Catherine Wilkin received the Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actress in 1988.[4][5]


Michael Rafferty, who is a Stipendiary Magistrate, drives to work in an old blue VW Kombi van. He owns a cat named Rhubarb.

Rafferty is separated from his wife, with whom he had two children (a son and a daughter).

Rafferty also has an older daughter, Rebecca Browning, who is in her early twenties and of whose existence he was unaware until she contacted him after she had grown up (Rebecca's mother is a woman who Michael Rafferty had known before he met his wife, and who he had not seen since his marriage).

Rafferty also has a brother, Patrick Rafferty, who is a State Member of Parliament.


Guest stars

Series location

The series is based at a Magistrates' Court in Manly (a Sydney beachside suburb), over which Michael Rafferty presided.


"Rafferty's Rules" is also an Australian and New Zealand colloquialism which means "No rules".


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