17 February 2003 | Victor Field
An Australian cross between "Emergency!" and "Baywatch." Sounds great, huh?
From the same folks that also gave us "Sons and Daughters," "Prisoner: Cell Block H" and "Neighbours," "Chopper Squad" was set around the Australian coastline, but it was more in the footsteps of "Emergency!" than "Baywatch" - that is, the stories dealt more with the rescues and the people than with the bronzed beauties of either sex (in any case, the main cast was predominantly male).
As the only other person to comment on this pointed out, this did have a splendidly funky theme (by Mike Perjanik, who also wrote the more romantic themes for "A Country Practice" and "Home and Away" - oh for the days when you could settle with something cosy and Australian on ITV in the afternoons), and it remains the most memorable thing about the show. It passed the time, but in spite of the reliably beautiful Australian scenery and the Squad having a lower success rate than the Baywatch crew or Gage and DeSoto (in one episode the youngest member's female friend was injured on an island, and she died before he could get to her) you can see why this is less widely or fondly remembered than Skippy, Skippy, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.
This followed a 90-minute pilot movie produced by the O-Ten Network (now Network Ten, and the network that showed "Chopper Squad" in Australia) with different cast and characters; both movie and series made it to the UK on ITV, and the movie was on TV here not that long ago. The movie starred Rebecca Gibney some years before she did "Return To Eden." That was dire as well.