There's something special about Sando
CAN a self-obsessed discount furniture queen find redemption? That's the central question in the ABC's new Aussie comedy Sando.
The series, from the creators of The Moodys, Here Come The Habibs and No Activity, centres on Victoria 'Sando' Sandringham - the charismatic CEO of department store chain Sando's Warehouse.
The country knows her as the larrikin 'package deal queen' but putting the business first has come at a cost.
Things begin to unravel when, on the day of her daughter Susie's wedding, it is revealed that Sando is pregnant after a drunken fling with Susie's fiance Kevin. She is excommunicated from the family and only a crisis at work forces her to reconnect with them 10 years later.
"For me the storyline is the redemption with her daughter. Will she ever acknowledge that stooping your daughter's fiancé before the wedding and having the child is something your daughter may never get over?," star Sacha Horler says.
"She's so deluded and so unaware of who she is. What (creators) Phil (Lloyd) and Charlie (Garber) have written is a hybrid of Harvey Norman, John Singleton and Joyce Mayne. Then I threw in a bit of Bob Hawke and a healthy sprinkling of Kerri-Anne Kennerley in the wardrobe."
Every episode starts with an ad for Sando's Warehouse.
"Anyone 35 or older will remember what we call the best of the world advertising in Australia - people who can't act, who are in a family business and who jump out of fridges and say 'How much do you expect to pay?'," Horler says.
"When we used to sit around the TV back in the day sometimes the ads were better than the show. Why I love the show and script so much is there's this happy nostalgia for a simpler time when you just got your Chinese takeaway and sat around the telly and watched a bit of 60 Minutes and you'd watch the ads as well."
Horler was called up at short notice to take over the leading role after Genevieve Morris was forced to leave the production for health reasons.
"She very generously gave me her blessing," she says. "So I cut my hair off, died it red and started shooting. Our business is crazy but the rest of the cast have been incredible."
As well as writing and producing Sando, Lloyd plays Sando's long-suffering ex-husband Don. When Sando makes her dramatic return to the family, their now adult children Susie and Eric are both living back at home with Don.
"They've created a world where everyone is uniquely odd. When you follow this family they're all stuck in a house together. Sando's come back because she won't admit she's gone bankrupt, that she's being pushed out of the company, and that sleeping with her sexy co-worker doesn't satisfy her anymore. In a true cliché of TV she has to go through a journey to change," Horler says.
"The great skill of the screen writer is to write someone who has a sharp fall from grace, and that's what Phil has written - a woman who still thinks she can get into the races for free and be given a box seat when, in fact, nobody knows who she is and nobody cares. If you've got nothing then you've got to finally admit it."
Sando premieres tonight at 9pm on ABC-TV.