This is a site devoted to the Aussie police drama Blue Heelers, which has graced our TV screens ever since 18 January 1994. The show's premise is simple: a group of policemen, stationed in the country town of Mt Thomas, solve crimes and problems in the community. And it's now into its ninth season, which is just amazing. Few Australian TV shows have kept going for this long. Hundreds of actors have passed through Blue Heelers, as well as loads of crew members. Cast regulars Lisa McCune and William McInnes became very well-known due to their roles on the show. Despite the rise of other Aussie dramas like Water Rats, SeaChange, All Saints and The Secret Life of Us, Blue Heelers is still making the Top 10 pretty often in the TV ratings. It looks like it's going to stick around for a while yet.
I didn't watch Blue Heelers regularly until the 4th and 5th seasons, but after watching a lot of old episodes, I became really interested in the background of the characters, and it was great to see how they had developed as the seasons passed. After all, that's one of the major attractions of the show; It's not slick like shows such as Water Rats and Murder Call, but people seem to love it for the characters. And that's got to be great for creators of the show, because that's what they set out to achieve: "Cops with heart". And I guess this web site is sort of like my little tribute to a small slice of Australian history.
It's well-known that Australian TV audiences have a thing for Aussie cop shows: productions from Homicide and Cop Shop to Water Rats and Stingers have attracted huge followings, and Blue Heelers has definitely grabbed its share of popularity. It was the highest rating drama of 1997 in both Sydney and Melbourne, and according to The Age it was the most popular program on Australian TV during the 1990s. The show also shares the characteristics of many other previous Aussie dramas: it's set in a small country town, with a few eccentrics here and there; it presents a group, not a bunch of invididuals; the regulars are either "goodies" or "baddies"; and most curiously, there are very few non-white actors to be seen (especially in non-stereotyped roles).
I don't like the show anymore (PJ & Jo?!?) — to me, it just seems like old storylines are being recycled (and in a really boring way), and everyone is getting with everyone else in the station — all this soapie stuff that used to stay in the background (more often than not anyway). I know a TV show can't stay the same forever, but to me it just seems too different now. 'Course that's just my personal opinion — I'm definitely not criticising current fans for watching the show. Anyway ... all this is the reason why I haven't updated stuff like the BH Moments to the latest seasons — I can't get motivated to watch the show.
So — why "alternative" in the site title? Well when I made the site, there weren't any other sites with lots of memorable moments transcripts, except for the Unofficial PJ and Maggie Shrine, but I wanted to have transcripts that weren't focused on Maggie and PJ. I don't think there were any sites with wallpaper either, or listings of famous people who'd been on BH, or info on important side characters.
Also, I didn't have any episode guides, picture galleries and other things which other sites had (I figured there were enough of them already). I wanted to make a kind of archive on the show and not something that only applied to the current going-ons, partly because it seemed like a cool idea and partly because I probably wouldn't be able to do constant updates (which has proved true enough). I was also planning on having articles and interview transcripts, but unfortunately the Special section and the character profiles weren't developed enough to get online until long after I put the site up in early 2000. I thought my site would be something different and came up with "alternative". Of course, everyone wants their site to be different and original, so I suppose I just liked the name and it stuck.
This site came about after a month of free time during the 1999/2000 Christmas holidays. The first things I made for this site were the wallpaper images. So a huge, huge thank you to the VKC 2 web site, because without the fantastic collection of BH images on that site, I wouldn't have been able to make half the wallpaper images, which basically got the site started. I also wouldn't have been able to get most of the pictures for my 'BH Moments' and 'Characters' sections.
My most major, huge, mega mega-thanks goes to Larina, because without her tapes, I wouldn't have been able to make about 80% of this whole site. Actually, I wouldn't have even considered making it, since I'd missed so many episodes, and wouldn't have known anything about the characters' backgrounds, and I wouldn't have anything for my 'BH Moments' section either.
Also a big, big thanks to Nadine, creator of the famous Unofficial PJ and Maggie Shrine, who let me use bits off her site, and got me some screenshots, and also gave me heaps of useful information about the characters' early histories (which I have yet to use!). And her site's episode guide was really helpful for me in making this site.
Thanks also to Sarah ( Sarah's Blue Heelers Web Site ) for the Season 1 image. And other sites like The Blue Heelers Information Site where I got some of the pics.
Last but definitely not least, a mega, mega thanks to all the people who have given me any sort of feedback on this web site. I really appreciate it.
And just a final note, for anybody who wanted to know what programs I used to make this site: (all of these are free except for Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro)
- Adobe Photoshop : most of the text-images (ie. the headings, etc.) you see on this site were made using this. Also, just about all of the images, whether they're photos or otherwise, have gone through Photoshop, just to polish them up.
- Electronic Cosmo's MPEG Suite : for encoding and decoding mp3s. Easy to use.
- Match Head : great little program for converting RGB --> Hex and vice-versa (for colours on web pages). Another great little program for colours is Eyedropper, which gives you the colour information of any pixel on your screen.
- Paint Shop Pro : useful for saving jpegs - its options for balancing size/quality are better than those in Photoshop 4.
- Tyler : to make the photo mosaic wallpapers. Easy to use.
- Windows Notepad, AceHTML, Arachnophilia and Notetab for HTML editing. All the pages on this site are coded by hand. I like to do that 'cos that way I can have more control over the pages.
- WinMorph for making the Ben - PJ morph on the Special page. It's easy to use.
- WS_FTP : one of the most popular ftp programs on the net. It's free and does the job.
- Xenu's LinkSleuth : great for checking through the site for dead links. It's really quick.
If you're looking for other great graphic programs, check out the About.com Graphics Software Links.
I would *really* appreciate any feedback about any aspect of my site ... please let me know! Comments, suggestions and/or corrections are very welcome!
PLEASE NOTE: My compilation of this site is in no way connected to Blue Heelers, the Channel 7 network or Southern Star. I have just made it for the benefit of sharing information about this great TV show with other fans, and if anything on this site breaches any copyright according to the show, etc., please contact me immediately.