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Distant Shores (TV series): Wikis


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Distant Shores
Format Dramedy
Created by Caleb Ranson
Starring Peter Davison
Samantha Bond
Tristan Gemmill
Emma Fildes
Matthew Thomas-Davies
Gareth Thomas
Opening theme Nick Bicat
Composer(s) Nick Bicat
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 12
Executive producer(s) Carolyn Reynolds (series 1)
Kieran Roberts (series 2)
Producer(s) Sue Pritchard
Location(s) mainly Craster, Northumberland[1][2]
Camera setup single camera
Running time ~ 46:30
Original channel ITV
Picture format 16:9
Original run Wednesday January 5, 2005 – February 9, 2005
Series 2 un-aired in the UK, but was aired elsewhere in the world
Status Ended[2]

Distant Shores is a dramedy first shown in the UK on ITV in January 2005. Like the similar fish out of water dramadies, Northern Exposure and Doc Martin, it focuses on the difficulties of an unwillingly-transplanted metropolitan doctor who is forced to adjust to a rural environment.

The show's recurring cast is unusual for featuring major actors from three significant British franchises — Doctor Who, Blakes 7 and the James Bond film series. The programme itself is notable for being a rare example of a show to have an entire series shelved in its country of origin following the completion of post-production.



Peter Davison plays a successful London plastic surgeon Bill Shore. In a bid to save their marriage, his wife Lisa, played by Samantha Bond, accepts a six-month veterinary research job on a small Northumbrian island called Hildasay.[3] Bill reluctantly agrees to relocate on the island with his wife, daughter and son. The stories revolve around the various ways in which the family adjust to the island and its welcoming, but sometimes peculiar, inhabitants. The dominant themes of series 1 are Bill's attempts to leave the island, and the tragedy which befalls Lisa as she gradually pursues an adulterous relationship with one of its inhabitants. This over-arching storyline is essentially reversed in series 2, with Lisa wanting to return to London and Bill considering starting an affair on Hildasay.

Broadcast history

The first series was broadcast in 2005 on ITV. According to one of the show's recurring co-stars, Yvette Rowland, it was "immensely popular", and brought in a viewership of over 6 million.[2] Canadian press releases put the number slightly lower at 5.2 million, but still called the programme "a major hit for Britain's ITV".[4]

Actual ratings data shows both these numbers to be correct, if incomplete. The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board reported that the debut episode of the series was the 20th most popular programme in the United Kingdom for the week ending 9 January 2005, with 7.53 million initial viewers. It was one of only three non-soap operas in the top 20 that week.[5] From this high-water mark, however, the show's audience declined, hovering between 5.2 and 6.2 million viewers. Despite this slip, it usually won its 9pm time slot. In the last two weeks of the run, however, BBC1 managed to win the time slot due to special programming.[6][7][8][9][10]

A second series was filmed for the next television season, copyrighted 2006.[11] However, it was not aired in the United Kingdom,[12] resulting in the original run of the programme being only six weeks. Rowland has described ITV's failure to broadcast the second series as "a mystery".[2] Davison himself agreed with Rowland's diagnosis in April 2007 when he expressed puzzlement over the shelving of the show, adding, "There's a fair chance it will never be shown in Britain."[13]

Nevertheless, the second series aired outside the UK. In Australia it debuted on Seven Network, and was repeated as late as 2009 on Hallmark Channel.[14][15] In Canada, it premiered on VisionTV,[16][17] while in the United States, it was initially syndicated to PBS stations for a two-year period from December 2006 to December 2008.[18]

Critical reception

During its initial run, two media reporters for The Guardian concluded much the same thing about the series: that it was "genial" or "very comforting" viewing, but that it was an obvious twin of shows like Doc Martin and Ballykissangel.[19][20] The Times agreed, calling the show "an even cosier version of Two Thousand Acres of Sky and Doc Martin" which was "undemanding, predictable and pleasant".[21] Indeed, the similarities to Doc Martin were obvious enough to have crept into pre-launch publicity. Peter Davison responded to the charges in a personality piece in The Journal of Newcastle by saying, "It's only like Doc Martin on paper ... Distant Shores has a completely different tone and feel to it."[22]

External links


  1. ^ "Craster - A Visitor's Guide" (in English). Northumberland, England: Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  2. ^ a b c d Rowland, Yvette. "Distant Shores" (in English). self. Retrieved 2009-10-22.  
  3. ^ Not to be confused with the real-life Scottish Hildasay.
  4. ^ "Prisoner of paradise" (in English). 1 August 2005. Retrieved 2009-10-22.  
  5. ^ "Ratings - Who's reaping rewards of Freeview sales uplift?" (in English). Broadcast Now. 27 January 2005. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  6. ^ Plunkett, John (13 January 2005). "Houswives favourite for C4" (in English). The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  7. ^ Brook, Stephen (20 January 2005). "BBC1's FA Cup drama brings in over 8m" (in English). The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  8. ^ Deans, Jason (27 January 2005). "Football gives Sky a second leg up" (in English). The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  9. ^ Deans, Jason (3 February 2005). "Good night's sleep for BBC1" (in English). The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  10. ^ Deans, Jason (10 February 2005). "Football bore draw pulls in nearly 8m" (in English). The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  11. ^ "(untitled on screen)". Caleb Ranson (writer); Sue Pritchard (producer). Distant Shores. No. 1, series 2. 46:30 minutes in.
  12. ^ Ford, Coreena (30 August 2009). "Tracy Beaker heads North to film at La Gesse" (in English). Sunday Sun. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  13. ^ Methven, Nicola; Polly Hudson (27 April 2007). "Down the Drain" (in English). The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  14. ^ "Australian Hallmark Channel series page" (in English). Retrieved 2009-10-22.  
  15. ^ "Distant Shores - The Shore Family Profiles". Australia. Retrieved 2009-10-22.  
  16. ^ "VisionTV Fall Highlights 2005-2006". Retrieved 2009-10-22.  
  17. ^ "A Shore thing" (in English). VisionTV. 1 March 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-22.  
  18. ^ "Distant Shores (Series II)" (in English). American Public Television online. Summer 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  19. ^ Novakovich, Mary (5 January 2005). "Pick of the day" (in English). The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  20. ^ Smith, Rupert (6 January 2005). "Rearranged marriages" (in English). The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  21. ^ "Viewing guide" (in English). The Times. 5 January 2005. Retrieved 2009-10-24.  
  22. ^ Marlow, Wil (3 January 2005). "Doctor on Distant Shores" (in English). The Journal. Newcastle upon Tyne. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  


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