ABC confirms Time of our Lives cast

By David Knox on July 2, 2012 / Filed Under News 13

The ABC has confirmed the cast for its next drama series The Time of our Lives.

Both the title and the cast had been leaked some weeks ago by TV Tonight ahead of today’s official announcement.

As tipped, they include Claudia Karvan, Justine Clarke, Shane Jacobson, William McInnes, and Stephen Curry. Newcomer Michelle Vergara Moore (Black and White Sex) also lands a lead role.

The 13 x 60min drama series began shooting last Friday.

But ABC releases more on the synopsis and the characters: “The Time of Our Lives invites you into the sometimes crushing embrace of the Tivolli family as they juggle, fight, love and play their way through the challenges of contemporary family life.

“Love, work and family are what drive most of us and the Tivoli family is no different. They believe if you treat family like friends, and friends like family, life will always be good but like any happy family, life sometimes gets in the way.”

The series comes from The Secret Life of Us co-creator Amanda Higgs and writer Judi McCrossin, produced by their company JAHM productions.

Carole Sklan, ABC TV Head of Fiction said “It’s meant to be the time of our lives but somehow it’s more complicated. We’re thrilled to be working with this talented creative team who have such great credentials in contemporary relationship drama.”

Judi McCrossin and Amanda Higgs said “The ABC is the perfect home for The Time of Our Lives. We feel very fortunate that our series has attracted such an extraordinary cast to bring to life this joyful, messy family.”

Claudia Karvan is Caroline, an over-protective mother, who feels her gifted five-year-old Carmody requires 24-hour attention if he’s to realize his full potential.

Justine Clarke is Bernadette, a warm and passionate wife, friend and mother attempting to balance young twins, a teen stepdaughter, and a return to the workforce.

Shane Jacobson is Luce, Bernadette’s husband, a work-from-home dad sharing a dishevelled but happy life with Bernadette and kids as he tries to fulfil a long-held ambition in music.

Stephen Curry is Herb, an up-for-anything stand-up comic, who dreams of opening his own comedy room with his best mate, Luce.

William McInness is Matt, a sports agent, who now faces the toughest choice of his life with his wife Caroline.

 Michelle Vergara Moore will play Chai Li. Chai Li’s dreams are about to come true , but her wedding day suddenly takes an unpredictable turn and changes the course of her life forever.

Writers for the series include Judi McCrossin (Beaconsfield, The Surgeon, The Secret Life of Us), Michael Miller (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Kris Mrksa (The Slap), Blake Ayshford (The Straits), Ursula Cleary (Beaconsfield script editor), and Tony McNamara (The Rage in Placid Lake).

The series is expected in 2013.

13 Comments »

  1. TM July 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm -

    @Proposition Joe and @Victor – thanks for the sermon. You forgot to say ‘hear endeth the lesson’!

    I’m looking forward to this, though I have to say, as much as I think they are fantastic and very watchable actors, seeing Claudia and Hustine in these kinds of roles yet again feels a bit samey. Still, as I said, they’re so good it’s a minor quibble.

  2. victor July 3, 2012 at 10:19 am -

    Thank you for Proposition Joe for adding to the debate about Australian drama writing which simply has to happen. The fact is that there is enough money spent across the networks to develop and support higher quality writing and ideas for Australian drama and comedy. The fees writers are paid are more than adequate and have no bearing on the end result. Nor do the budgets. One of Australia’s finest comedies, Frontline was made on a shoe string and shot on sub broadcast cameras. It didn’t matter because it was brilliantly written and conceived. The ABC in the 2008 Federal Budget was given $180 million dollars to spend on drama, comedy, documentary and ABC3. Given this huge amount of money there are only two shows I can think of which are very well conceived, written and produced, The Slap and Dance Academy. The rest have been average to poor. It has been a great opportunity lost.The commercial networks have had similar failure with the exception of Seven. The talented writers are out there and there are better ideas to be developed. But unfortunately their is no inspiring, nurturing and coherent career path for them and those who remain have no choice but to join writing teams developing mediocre ideas commissioned by the networks. In such an environment they will not develop and thrive. The Scandinavian crime shows we have seen on SBS are a great example of what small countries can do, mastering a genre and giving it its own edge. Why are we unable to consistently raise the bar in Australia? The ABC was uniquely placed to do this but has failed.

  3. deedeedragons July 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm -

    I doubt they can afford the Green Day song.

  4. Proposition Joe July 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm -

    I find it quite sad that creativity can be restrained by finance. I’m not all that bothered by the look of something, so long as the acting and writing are top notch – a good looking show is just a bonus. Most great British drama of the 80s (Dennis Potter, Boys from the Blackstuff) is a good example of how great writing and acting can overcome a low budget.

  5. David Knox July 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm -

    Budgets are also a significant factor, even in the writing.

  6. Proposition Joe July 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm -

    Apologies to East West 101 and The Circuit, which are probably the best dramas this country has produced. However, they still don’t rise to the heights of the best US TV drama. I suppose that in recent years we have been spoiled by the brilliance of shows such as The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Generation Kill, Friday Night Lights, Deadwood, Justified and Game of Thrones. I know that TV drama can be better than Rake, and I’m not really prepared to cut Australian shows much slack simply because they are Australian.
    We are a country with a long and rich history and, I believe, a rich culture. Our TV shows are bereft of original ideas so they often turn to our history and culture for ideas. This results in muddled and simplified efforts such as the Underbelly series. A case in point is the recent Mabo telemovie. Despite great acting and nice direction, its storyline was muddled and the viewer got very little sense of the context of the time. This was a fascinating story that deserved a miniseries of at least two episodes, but no one seemed prepared to rise to the challenge. Instead, this is probably the only time we will see Eddie Mabo’s story brought to the screen.
    However, there is still hope. Series such as the ones you mentioned have largely, in my eyes, been failures, but they have often showcased great acting and direction. The main problem seems to be in the ideas and writing. This is mainly because most Australian TV writers have to serve a term on the two soap operas, or shows such as Crownies and Tricky Business. This is an experience that would surely destroy any creativity left in someone. However, as a new generation of writers grows up that have been fed on great US drama, hopefully we will see the effects of the groundbreaking work done over there in Australia.
    In the meantime, I look forward to The Time of our Lives with some apprehension, and have great hopes for Redfern Now after that.

  7. David Knox July 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm -

    And apologies to East West 101, Tangle, Mabo, Cloudstreet, Saved, Rake, Hawke, The Circuit etc. etc….

  8. Proposition Joe July 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm -

    I fear that this will turn out much the same as The Straits and Miss Fisher: much hype and great reviews for mediocre, verging on amateur, shows. There just seems to be no talent in Australia when it comes to drama; the only decent one produced in recent years was The Slap, based on a bestselling novel. And even that doesn’t really compare to some of the great drama that’s being made overseas, especially in the US. (Who would’ve thought? The country all pseudo-intellectuals looked down on as a cultural wasteland is now creating shows that test the boundaries of TV.) I will give it a try, and I really hope it does turn out to be good, but this synopsis makes it sound incredibly mediocre. But hey, who knows?

  9. Mia July 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm -

    Stellar cast. I’ll definitely watch.

  10. Ronnie July 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm -

    It’s a pity the ABC is so late to this party. It does feel like the messy family drama space is a bit crowded right now.

  11. David Knox July 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm -

    Harsh. Judi McCrossin did great things with Love My Way and The Surgeon especially. Kris Mrksa has emerged as very talented in recent years, especially enjoyed The King. Is it easier to just lump everyone together?

  12. victor July 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm -

    You rather feel with this series that you’ve already seen it. And I wouldn’t be relying on the writers of The Straits or Miss Fisher where the writing was often amateurish at best with improbable storylines, clumsy exposition or in Miss Fisher’s case just lame and incomplete. What has happened to script writing in Australia? Why is it so generally mediocre? Any answers out there?

  13. Gonzo July 2, 2012 at 11:34 am -

    Wonder if the other Joyful, messy families that have been on TV for a couple of years now will have any baring on how the series rates.

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