The Sullivans

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Television series
German title The Sullivans
Original title The Sullivans
Country of production Australia
original language English
Year (s) 1976-1983
Crawford Productions
length approx. 22 minutes
Episodes 1114 in 8 seasons
genre Soap opera
First broadcast November 15, 1976 (Australia) on Nine Network
first broadcast
March 1997 on DF1 Herz & Co

The Sullivans (Original title: The Sullivans ) is an Australian soap opera that takes place during the Second World War . The series is about the Sullivan family from Melbourne , consisting of father Dave, mother Grace, sons John, Tom and Terry and daughter Kitty Sullivan, who tried to cope with everyday life during the war. In addition to national popularity, it also had great success in the United Kingdom , Ireland , Gibraltar , New Zealand and the Netherlands .


Start of production

The broadcaster Nine Network began to broadcast without a pilot episode. 14 authors were assigned to 13 different storylines that were previously developed. When the script began to work, not even the complete cast was determined. Only Vikki Hammond and Noni Hazelhurst had already been hired for roles.

In 1976 it was the biggest budget production for an Australian commercial television project and was therefore very highly regarded. In retrospect, the production costs are said to have been $ 1 million at the beginning.

General information on production

The series is known for its high production standards. In the war scenes, for example, attention was paid to historical and cultural accuracy. Some discussions in the military were reconstructed from historical documents. The weather was also reconstructed from old newspaper data and implemented according to the date. Even with the props, care was taken to ensure that they corresponded to the time. Not only was real furniture from the 1930s used, but old, packaged food was also placed in the pantries and in the grocery store.

Action and scope of action

The action begins with the declaration of war on Germany . The following plot focuses on the Sullivan family and the neighborhood. There are several storylines. Much of the series deals with the war and the consequences for Australia. Scenes from battles in Greece , the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, New Guinea and others were filmed in or around Melbourne.

main characters

  • Dave Sullivan ( Paul Cronin ) is a patriarch, veteran of the First World War and the husband of Grace. He is an Anglican , but without any reference or practice. After the outbreak of World War II, he encouraged his sons to go to war themselves. However, he later registers himself voluntarily. In 1948 he was hit by a car and died of his injuries.
  • Grace Sullivan ( Lorraine Bayly ) is the daughter of a doctor, matriarch and the wife of Dave. At first she is against the idea that her sons serve in the war, later she comes to terms with the situation. She is a devout Catholic and therefore often argues with her husband. She later flies to London to be with her son John, who is hospitalized due to war injuries. When a German rocket hits the hospital, she dies.
  • John Sullivan ( Andrew McFarlane ) is the eldest son of Grace and Dave and a medical student. He is completely against the war, which leads to a lot of problems with his father. Another problem is his relationship with the German-born emigrant Anna Kaufmann. After her death, he joined the medical service in the war until he apparently went down with the ship at sea and was held missing for two years. His return is never shown. However, he is visited by his mother when he is in the hospital. He doesn't die and is only slightly injured when the missile hits the hospital.
  • Tom Sullivan ( Steven Tandy ) is the second eldest son of the Sullivans and, unlike his brother John, goes to war to fight for his country. He spends most of the series in the army, where he is eventually made an officer . However, he later returns to lead a civilian life. He starts studying and marries the American lawyer Patty Spencer ( Penny Downie ). However, the marriage is unsuccessful.
  • Terry Sullivan ( Richard Morgan ) is the youngest son of Grace and Dave and a student who dreams of working for the Air Force. Problems with his inner ear prevent this, however, and he joins the army. He marries Caroline ( Geneviève Picot ), but soon has problems in his marriage, but also in the army. He was sent to the Changi POW camp and later struggled with problems in civil life. In 1946 he was imprisoned for an armed robbery and two years later escaped with another inmate. In the final episode, he is the one who drives the accident vehicle that causes the death of the father. He is indirectly responsible for his father's death.
  • Kitty Sullivan ( Susan Hannaford ) is the youngest child of the Sullivans and the only daughter. At first she was shy and reserved, but the war shaped her so much that she became a nurse at the end of the war. She marries the war correspondent Robbie McGovern ( Graham Harvey ), who, driven by his war experiences, later commits suicide.
  • Harry Sullivan ( Michael Caton ) is the younger brother of Dave Sullivan, the uncle of John, Tom, Terry and Kitty, Grace's brother-in-law. In contrast to his brother Dave, he was not able to participate in the First World War due to his age. Due to the problematic post-war situation in Australia in the 1920s, Harry never learned a profession and always kept himself afloat through various businesses. At the beginning he is married to Rose. After nobody is found to run the merchant's shop, Harry and Rose move into the merchant's house and run the shop. After the tragic death of Rose, Harry meets army member Louise "Lou" and marries her. When Louise is transferred from Melbourne to Sydney, Harry gives up the shop and follows her.
  • Rose ( Maggie Dence ) is Harry's wife. After a while, she falls into depression and drowns while having a picnic in the Yarra River .
  • Maggie Hayward ( Vikki Hammond ) is the divorced bar owner of The Great Southern pub . Maggie gave birth to a child as a young woman and then given it up for adoption. Through a lawyer, she learns that her now adult daughter is looking for her and they both begin to establish contact. Finally Alice, who has since lost her adoptive parents, moves in with Maggie. Maggie later marries Norm Baker ( Norman Yemm ), with whom she had written contact during his military service in New Guinea.
  • Norm Baker ( Norman Yemm ) served with Dave Sullivan in World War I. He moves into World War II with Tom Sullivan and becomes a captain. Finally, after the death of his first wife Melina ( Chantal Contouri ), he marries Maggie Hayward.
  • Alice is the daughter of Maagie Hayward. She grew up with adoptive parents and after their death sought contact with her birth mother. Alice falls in love with Michael Watkins, Mrs. Jessup's nephew. After many problems, the two married after Michael's return from the hospital. Alice, who works as a temporary conductor, gives up her job and uses her inheritance to buy the Kaufmann family's orphaned shop. Michael is against this purchase and refuses any support.
  • Melina ( Chantal Contouri ) is from Crete and Norm Baker's first wife. She is being executed by a Nazi officer.
  • Jack ( Reg Gorman ) is a barman in the pub and also served with Dave Sullivan during World War I.
  • Ida Jessup ( Vivean Gray ) is the Sullivan's neighbor who lives next door. She was born and raised in Battersea, England. Her late husband served in World War I and returned to England as an invalid after gas poisoning. Initially rather through the gossip in the neighborhood, she shows more and more understanding and compassion for the actions of the other residents over the course of the series. She later marries the Englishman Arthur Pike ( Wallace Eaton ).
  • Bert Duggan ( Peter Hehir ) is, together with his neglected wife Lil ( Noni Hazelhurst ), subtenant of Ida Jessup. To avoid a prison sentence for illegal bookmaking, he goes to war and is killed in North Africa.
  • Hans Kaufmann ( Leon Lissek ) is the shop owner of The Universal Shop. A German immigrant who increasingly gets into problems because of his origin in the course of the series. Finally, after the outbreak of war, he is considered an enemy.
  • Lottie Kaufmann ( Marcella Burgoyne ) is the wife of Hans Kaufmann. She too is harassed because of her origins and is also referred to as an enemy after the war broke out.
  • Anna Kaufmann ( Ingrid Mason ) is the daughter of Hans and Lottie and the future wife of John Sullivan. Because of this, she is not considered an enemy and escapes the harassment that her parents face. However, she later becomes very sick and dies.


Logo of the station that premiered: Nine Network (left) and logo of the station that showed the 2013 series in Germany: Das Vierte (right) Logo of the station that premiered: Nine Network (left) and logo of the station that showed the 2013 series in Germany: Das Vierte (right)
Logo of the station that premiered: Nine Network (left) and logo of the station that showed the 2013 series in Germany: Das Vierte (right)

In Australia, the broadcaster Nine Network aired the series between November 15, 1976 and March 10, 1983. In the UK, ITV u. a. the broadcast, RTÉ One in Ireland and GBC TV in Gibraltar .

In Germany, the series was shown for the first time from March 1997 on DF1 Herz & Co and until December 1999 there and on the successor station Sunset , due to the merger of DF1 and Premiere to form Premiere World. It wasn't until almost 40 years after the first broadcast in Australia that Das Vierte showed the series from July 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 on German free TV . Four episodes of the series were broadcast daily at lunchtime.

DVD release

Initially, the series was only published in the Netherlands with the original English sound and Dutch subtitles. On June 24, 2013, the first 400 episodes were released on eight DVDs in Australia. Another DVD with The John Sullivan Story was also released. In the United Kingdom, Volume 1 (episodes 1-50) appeared on March 12, 2012, Volume 2 (episodes 51-100) on July 30, 2012, and Volumes 3 and 4 (episodes 101-150, 151-200) on May 27 2013.

In Germany, the planned season was season 1 (episodes 1-50) on October 31, 2013, season 2 (51-100) on January 31, 2014, season 3 (episodes 100-150) on April 17, 2014 and season 4 (episodes 151 –200) on July 18, 2014 under the label of TV jewels from Alive AG. Production was delayed, however, so that season 1 was released on January 3, 2014, season 2 on January 31, 2014 and season 3 on April 25, 2014, and season 4 is due to appear on DVD on October 2, 2014.

TV movie

The 1979 television film The John Sullivan Story deals with the time of John Sullivan from his disappearance to his appearance in London.

After his ship sank, John is rescued by a Yugoslav. His superior, Marko, brings John to Macedonia, where he is supposed to work as a doctor. He saves the life of a Jewish girl and is wanted by the Gestapo. However, he managed to escape and a short time later met two Englishmen and wanted to live as a partisan. He is leaving Yugoslavia .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. TV Week Magazine, “The Sullivans Bring Back the War Years,” by Eric Scott, pp. 6 and 7