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There is much to like about Love Child

Jessica Marais, left, and Mandy McElhinney in a scene from the TV series Love Child. Supplied by Channel 9/WIN. Please credit photo to Simon Cardwell.
Jessica Marais, left, and Mandy McElhinney in a scene from the TV series Love Child. Supplied by Channel 9/WIN. Please credit photo to Simon Cardwell. Simon Cardwell

AT last they are smiling over at Channel Nine.

It's been a long time since we've seen those smiles. I wasn't sure if any of the execs had teeth, to be honest…

But a solid ratings win is just the tonic, and those pearly whites now need sunscreen, they're on show so much.

There is much to like about Love Child, Nine's period drama series about the girls in Stanton House - a home for unwed mothers, which premiered last Monday night.

Set in Kings Cross in 1969, there is nowhere for the production designers to hide. Luckily, they do a stellar job recreating the look and feel of that very different era.

One early streetscape scene drew a gasp it was so authentic…cars, shopfronts, pay phones, street signs, fashion - just like a photo from that momentous year.

Such effort for what was a five-second shot.

Gracie Gilbert, centre, and Jessica Marais, right, in a scene from the TV series Love Child. Supplied by Channel 9/WIN. Please credit photo to Simon Cardwell.
Gracie Gilbert, centre, and Jessica Marais, right, in a scene from the TV series Love Child. Supplied by Channel 9/WIN. Please credit photo to Simon Cardwell. Simon Cardwell

Mick Jagger visits Sydney in an amusing sideline plot and, there it is again, Come And See The Real Thing is on the soundtrack. Ka-ching goes Russell Morris' royalties tally.

The script lilts gently between humour and despair; and already, you care about what happens to these girls in a horrible situation.

Sophie Hensser plays Viv Maguire. I don't know who she is, but I am looking forward to finding out. She is brilliant in a role that demands a switch from carefree kid and naughty class clown to betrayed daughter drugged by her own father and driven to Stanton House.

Somehow you wonder how these kids could even end up pregnant. They seem so innocent, so young and whatever the opposite of jaded is. I guess that's the point.

Jonathan "Lock Jaw" LaPaglia delivers lines as if he has a cigarette permanently between his lips - even though he had a ciggie in precisely one scene only.

Enunciate Jonno! Aloof and arrogant doesn't mean mumble.

Jessica Marais is nice and glam as the recently-returned nurse from London. She has "mysterious girl with a past" all wrapped up.

And Ella Scott Lynch, Mandy McElhinney and Miranda Tapsell are all top-notch.

It's white-bread and accessible like Brides of Christ was. Sure, it dances on the edge of cliché, but good writing, some surprise acting talent and excellent production values make for a cracker watch.

Topics:  channel nine love child opinion rebecca marshall


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