TV Week: “Valley of Tears” A Country Practice (Part 2) 16th October 1993

TV Week
16th October 1993

Part 2 continues…

Although details surrounding the last episode, due to screen in a two-hour special on November 22, are being kept under wraps, TV WEEK was allowed to record the emotion charges scenes immediately following the final wrap.

Popular cast members Michelle Pettigrove and Kym Wilson proved they are great criers, while Joyce Jacobs (Esme to millions of devoted viewers) held herself together quite beautifully.

“I can’t believe it’s over” seems to be the catchcry of the evening.

Amid the hectic scenes of the final day’s filming, former ACP stars Grant Dodwell and Georgie Parker dropped by to wish cast and crew well. George readily gives credit to A Country Practice for establishing her career.

Never lost for words Penny Cook (Vicki the vet) stood on a chair to deliver a speech which paid special tribute to James Davern. With the emotional throwing filtering out into Seven’s Sydney car park for the last time, Brian Wenzel (Frank Gilroy) elected to stay behind for a silent wander through the sets which had formed the interior of Wandin Valley and neighbouring town Burrigan.

Brian lingered in the “pub” and as a souvenir, kept the tap that has poured many a beer over the 12 years of the show’s reign.

So, after 1058 hours of television and 20 TV WEEK Logie Awards, Wandin Valley is no more, and a way of life for many Australians is now a part of history.

Penny drops in for old time’s sake

PENNY COOK wouldn’t have missed the farewell episode of ACP for quids.After all, the series established Penny as one Australia’s most popular actors with her portal of happy-go-lucky ver Vicki.

“I would have been devastated if I hadn’t been asked to come back for the last ep,” she says. I wanted to do it even before they asked me.

Penny says the news of the show’s demise saddened her.

“I was devastated, I still watch it, she says. “I think anything coming to an end is sad. ACP has been such a major part of Australian television. Working on the show was one of the most wonderful experience of my life.

“It was very much an actor, crew and people show. I am so lucky to have had that involvement with something that I think is incredibly wonderful, correct and genuinely nice. We were a proper family.”

Penny is full of praise for the show’s creator, TV WEEK Logie Awards Hall Of Face inductee, James Davern.

“If James Davern asked me to walk across water, I would.” She says. “I think he’s a truly amazing man.”

Unfortunately, for avid ACP fans, Penny will not be joined on screen in the last episode by her ACP husband, Grand Dodwell (Simon).

“It was sad Grant wasn’t there. I remember our auditions together,” Penny says. “I was so sure he had the job I thought I had mucked it up. And then I got it.

There are so many fonds memories, I was forever being bitten by that damn wombat. There was a sense of fun being involved in the program.”

As well as doing The Great Outdoors, Penny will be taking to the stage of Sydney’s Tilbury Hotel until the end of the year for Sunset Boulevard. The Pantomime, co-starring Tony Sheldon and Garry Scale.

“I’ll be playing the William Holden part and Tony will be the Gloria Swanson roles,” she laughs.

“It is going to be traffic fun.

“Apart from Sunset Boulevard. I don’t know what I’m doing next. I mean, I could get run over by a bus and that would put a stop to being in the last episode.

“But I’ll tell you this, if I am run over by a bus, I’m going to make sure they use old footage of me anyway!”

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