Chances

Chances

[chans, chahns]

Chances was an Australian evening soap opera, produced from 1991 to 1992. It told the story of the average middle-class Taylor family whose lives are transformed by winning $3 million in the lottery. The series was broadcast by the Nine Network, initially as two one-hour episodes each week.

Principal cast members included John Sheerin and Brenda Addie as Dan and Barbara Taylor, Jeremy Sims as their mischievous son Alex, Deborah Kennedy as Dan's sister Connie Reynolds, Tim Robertson as Dan's brother Jack, Anne Grigg as his wife Sarah, and Michael Caton as neighbourhood friend Bill Anderson. Though ostensibly a family-oriented drama, to help ensure the program's success, Channel Nine asked for nude scenes and risqué elements to also be included in the series. Initial publicity for the show focused on the sex angle, and it was for this that Chances was chiefly known.

The show's early ratings proved disappointing, resulting in several cast re-shuffles that saw many of the original characters written out of the series, and new actors brought in, including Abigail, Lynda Stoner and Patsy Stephen. Attempts to boost the ratings saw an increase in sex and nudity, while storylines became increasingly bizarre and fantasy-oriented, with new stories involving ghosts, an angel on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, Oriental villains, an Egyptian Sun Goddess, man-eating plants, and neo-Nazis hunting valuable Third Reich artifacts. These changes provoked much discussion and comment within the press and the public; however, they did not lead to a strong increase in ratings.

Eventually, low ratings saw the show moved to a late-night slot, and the production rate reduced from two to one episode a week. With the reduced output, the size of the cast needed to be reduced, so further drastic cast purges occurred. In the later episodes, much of the Taylor clan had departed, and Alex Taylor became the focal point of many of the storylines. The series ended in 1992, and has never been repeated on Australian television. Selected episodes have subsequently been released on DVD in Australia.

In the UK, Chances launched in February 1992 on Sky Television, a year after its Australian debut. It began during the same week as E Street and was initially screened at 9 p.m on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Like in Australia, Sky's promotion of the show centred heavily on the sexual and nude aspects of storylines but this failed to achieve high ratings. Eventually, as the series moved on and dropped to one episode a week, Chances was then screened on Thursday nights at 10pm and ended in early 1993. A late-night repeat was enjoyed by few during the early hours of the morning during 1995.

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