The Genie from Down Under
The Genie from Down Under is a British/Australian children's comedy television series. It was a co-production between the ACTF, the BBC and the ABC from 1996 to 1998. It was released on video in the 1990s, and is available for order via the ACTF website or Purchase on iTunes. The Director of the ACTF Patricia Edgar came up with the idea for the series. Esben Storm, Steve Spears and a team of writers work-shopped the storylines. Following the demonstrable success of Round the Twist on the BBC, the head of children's television Anna Home agreed to put up half the $4.1 million budget for a co-production. With this project, the ACTF broke new ground with a production financing structure.
|The Genie from Down Under|
|Created by||Patricia Edgar, Esben Storm|
|Directed by||Esben Storm, Brendan Maher, Jeremy Swan|
Rhys Muldoon (series 1)
Sandy Winton (series 2)
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producer(s)||Patricia Edgar, Anna Home|
|Producer(s)||Patricia Edgar, Phil Jones|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Original release||3 June 1996 –|
19 August 1998
Penelope Townes, a 13-year-old British girl, comes into possession of an opal pendant when she explores the dusty attic of her family's decaying mansion. The opal contains two Australian genies, Bruce and his son Baz, who have been living inside the opal for 130 years waiting to go back to their home in Australia. This is the setting for a battle of wits and a clash of class and culture. Penelope has the power. Bruce, the Genie has the magic. Typically, an episode revolved around the consequences of one of Penelope's flippant wishes, or the efforts of an outside party to steal the opal (and thus, the genies).
Bruce is an ocker and Penelope is a selfish snob who sees the genies as her property.
When Penelope inherits a property in Australia (Townes Downs), Bruce and Baz are very happy because it means that they can spend more time in their own country. When they go to inspect the property, they meet Otto von Meister, who runs tours of outback Australia. His family had once owned the opal, and according to Otto, Penelope's great grandfather had stolen it from his family years before. When he finds out that Penelope has the opal, he tries to steal it from her. He often enlists his nephew Conrad to help him. Penelope falls in love with Conrad, which gives Otto far more opportunity to steal the opal.
Things are further complicated when Bruce (the genie) falls in love with Penelope's mother, Lady Diana Townes. She is already supposedly in love with Lord 'Bubbles' Uppington-Smythe, however, it is revealed that this is only because of his money, and she in turn falls in love with Bruce.
In the end, Penelope accepts that Bruce and her mother are in love, and gives the opal to her mother, allowing Bruce to reveal his true identity. Bruce and Diana end up marrying.
- Alexandra Milman as Penelope Townes
- Rhys Muldoon as Bruce (series 1)
- Sandy Winton as Bruce (series 2)
- Glenn Meldrum as Baz
- Anna Galvin as Lady Diana Townes
- Monica Maughan as Miss Mossop
- Mark Mitchell as Otto von Meister
- Fletcher Humphrys as Conrad
- Jacinta Stapleton as Sophie Mills
- Ian McFadyen as Lord Bubbles Uppington-Smythe
- Joe Ireland as Hugh
- Tom Fisher as Stephen
- Erol Cimen as Brady
- Christian McVeigh as S.Mac
Two series were produced. The first during 1995 and 1996 and the second during 1998. Rhys Muldoon wasn't able to return for season 2, so Sandy Winton took over the role. The scenes of Penelope's mansion in England were shot at Werribee Park Mansion near Melbourne.