Echo Beach was inter-linked with a show named Moving Wallpaper, a comedy-drama set in the fictional production offices of Echo Beach. Echo Beach was shown immediately after Moving Wallpaper in the schedule, with Moving Wallpaper airing at 9 pm on Fridays and Echo Beach airing at 9.30 pm. Although initially intended to be shown on ITV2, straight after Moving Wallpaper on ITV, the decision was made to have both on ITV. The theme song was a cover of Martha and the Muffins' "Echo Beach" by Gabriella Cilmi (since the series finished the song has been heard several times on fellow ITV show Coronation Street).
According to the parallel Moving Wallpaper storyline, the soap was originally titled Polnarren, and was intended to be a worthy drama about social issues in Cornwall. The show was then "sexed up", and its name changed to Echo Beach, by new producer Jonathan Pope (played by Ben Miller).
A second series of Moving Wallpaper is confirmed. It was originally reported that Echo Beach would "most probably return, but not necessarily as it is now". However, in July 2008 it was confirmed that Echo Beach has in fact been cancelled and that Moving Wallpaper will now focus on a "Zombie" show.
The soap is centred around Susan Penwarden (played by Martine McCutcheon) and her ex-lover Daniel Marrack (Jason Donovan), who after a long absence, and following the death of his wife, returns to Polnarren to run a beachfront cafe and surf shop with his daughter Abi (Hannah Lederer-Alton) and son Brae (Christian Cooke).
An old feud between Daniel and Susan's manipulative husband Mark (Hugo Speer) flares up, while Susan's and Mark's son Jimmy (Ed Speleers) becomes involved with Abi. Jimmy overhears a conversation suggesting that he might be Daniel's son, not Mark's, making his relationship with Abi incestuous. A shocked Jimmy breaks up with Abi, leaving her to have drunken and regretted sex with his friend Charlie (Jonathan Readwin). A blood test later proves the paternity claim to be false, allowing Jimmy to make amends with Abi, who keeps secret the details of the night she spent with Charlie.
Meanwhile, as Susan and Daniel try to control their feelings for each other, Mark starts an affair with a scheming romantic fiction writer, Angela Cole (Susie Amy), who has previously struck up a false friendship with Susan. When Susan finds out about Mark's infidelity she walks out into the arms of Daniel.
Various subplots supplement the main storylines. Narinder Gurai (Chandeep Uppal) is a terminally ill barmaid who escaped to Polnarren to live out her final days in peace. She is perpetually trying to ensnare Charlie, though Charlie is too dim to realise this. Ivy Trehearne (Gwyneth Powell), the rustic landlady of the local pub, has a soft spot for fellow rustic Fin Morgan (Johnny Briggs), a down-on-his-luck caravan park operator who is also Charlie's grandfather. Jackie Hughes (Naomi Ryan) and Ian Brenton (Marcus Patric) are a local couple who work at Fin's caravan park before a disastrous fire, accidentally started by Jimmy's younger sister Grace (Laura Greenwood), forces it to close. Jackie goes on to work in Daniel's cafe, and becomes the subject of romantic attentions from a brooding Brae, while Ian is himself the subject of attentions from Grace.
In the final episode of series 1, Charlie and Narinda finally get together, Jimmy and Abi fall out when Jimmy learns of Abi's one-night stand with Charlie, Ian and Jackie prepare for their wedding, and, in a confrontation on board Mark's pleasure boat, Mark forces Susan to tell Daniel that she had, many years earlier, miscarried his child. A fight between Mark and Daniel ensues, during which both fall into the sea, their fate hanging in the balance.
|Martine McCutcheon||Susan Penwarden|
|Jason Donovan||Daniel Marrack|
|Hugo Speer||Mark Penwarden|
|Hannah Lederer-Alton||Abi Marrack|
|Christian Cooke||Brae Marrack|
|Ed Speleers||Jimmy Penwarden|
|Laura Greenwood||Grace Penwarden|
|Chandeep Uppal||Narinder Gurai|
|Jonathan Readwin||Charlie Morgan|
|Naomi Ryan||Jackie Hughes|
|Marcus Patric||Ian Brenton|
|Susie Amy||Angela Cole|
|Gwyneth Powell||Ivy Trehearne|
|Johnny Briggs||Fin Morgan|
Actors from Echo Beach sometimes cross over into the sister show, Moving Wallpaper; see Moving Wallpaper: Cast.
Comments from some reviewers, as well as from viewers on discussion forums, indicated a degree of confusion about whether Echo Beach was intended to be a satirical send-up of lame soap operas or a bona fide dramatic offering. The Daily Mirror described the show as "not bad enough to be funny". The Sunday Mirror thought: "Strikingly bad acting, drearily predictable plot lines [...] Echo Beach is just like a normal soap. But there's a difference. This one is supposed to be rubbish. Or at least I think it is."