Seven Releases First-Look at ‘RFDS’ Season 2

RFDS Season 2
Image credit: John Platt

“RFDS” is gearing up to premiere Season 2 after Seven committed to reviving the outback drama.

Season 2 will pick up one year after Eliza (Emma Hamilton) left Broken Hill.

Hamilton (“Ten Pound Poms”) returns to the cast, as does Stephen Peacocke (“Five Bedrooms”), Rob Collins (“Total Control”), Justine Clarke (“Going Country”), Ash Ricardo (“Force of Nature: The Dry 2), Jack Scott (“Joe v Carole”), Sofia Nolan (“Home & Away”), Rodney Afif (“Ali’s Wedding”), Ash Hodgkinson (“Heartbreak High”) and Thomas Weatherall (“Heartbreak High”).

Emma Harvie (“Colin From Accounts”) also joins the cast in the role of Chaya, a charismatic mental health nurse.

The show is filmed on location in and around Broken Hill, charting the dramatised lives of the doctors, nurses, pilots and support staff in the Royal Flying Doctor Service as they navigate retrievals across some of the most inhospitable places in the country.

Seven said: “The determined team will face some of their most confronting challenges – in the air, on land, with each other, and within themselves – set against the outback’s isolation, beauty and brutality.”

“RFDS” is executive produced by Endemol Shine Australia’s head of scripted Sara Richardson, Imogen Banks (“Kindling”) and Julie McGauran for Seven. It is produced by Ian Meadows (“Upright”) and Ross Allsop (“The Artful Dodger”) and directed by Jeremy Sims (“Last Cab To Darwin”), Rachel Ward (“Rake”) and Adrian Russell Wills (“The Warriors). Season 2 is written by Ian Meadows, with other writers including Claire Phillips (“Offspring”), Magda Wozniak (“Bad Behaviour”), Kodie Bedford (“Mystery Road”) and Adrian Russell Wills.  

RFDS Season 2 on 7 Image credit: John Platt

At Screen Forever last year, Brook Hall, the Seven Network’s director of content scheduling, revealed the network was looking at options for reviving the show. Hall backed the show after Season 1, but said it had become a victim of the industry’s fixation with the immediate overnight ratings figure, particularly the one derived from the five metro markets of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.

This makes them look less successful than they actually are, he said, with the full story not being understood by the media cycle and advertisers alike.

“I loved that show,” he told Foxtel’s director of television, Brain Walsh, who has since passed away. “It’s one of those ones that gets hurt by the old metrics the most.

“So the metro overnight was doing like 450,000… But then when the regional [viewing numbers] came in, of course that over indexed, it did 400,000 there. And then the timeshift did 200,000, and then the BVOD [broadcast video on demand] did 200,000.

“So when all those metrics were added in, for the end-of-year analysis, including all the free-to-air broadcasters “Home & Away” was number one and “RFDS” was number two, but it got lost… because the media cycle had moved on.”

Despite the potential challenges of reviving “RFDS”, Hall said the broadcaster was increasingly looking at how it can get premium local dramas to survive and thrive on its BVOD service 7Plus.

“I still think [“RFDS”] is so premium that it belongs on Seven… But how do we make it financially work for us?… We’re actually in advanced discussions to try and get season two up… because it did succeed.

“Did it make financial sense? Maybe not so much. But can we do it differently to how we were talking about? I think we can… We’re encouraged by it. We’ve just got to make it financially work.”