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BINNELANDERS (article first published : 2005-08-23)

The cream of South Africa's television production talent has been gathered to produce M-Net's first Afrikaans drama series, Binnelanders. The new hour-long series, subtitled in English, will make its debut in the middle of October 2005, and run for a year on M-Net, on Thursdays at 19h30.

Experienced actors like Gys de Villiers, Elzette Maarschalk, Rolanda Marais, Hans Strydom, Franci Swanepoel, Milan Murray and Jurgen Hellberg play the leads, with the support from a top behind-the-scenes team with years of experience.

Carl Fischer, Head of M-Net Local Productions, says the pay channel decided to produce its first Afrikaans drama series in light of the tremendous performance of a number of kykNET series which have recently appeared on M-Net. "M-Net viewership for series like Song vir Katryn and Amalia has been huge. We believe that the time is right for the introduction of a big Afrikaans drama series, tailor-made for the M-Net audience."

Jan du Plessis, Head of Programming at M-Net, adds that the Binnelanders setting is different to anything else seen in local drama. "Dramas about doctors and medicine are the 'in thing' around the world, and we believe that Binnelanders own special brand of intrigue will get South Africans watching."

While the main characters in Binnelanders are top doctors, the show wonít follow the international trend of trauma dramas like ER. It will focus instead on the interpersonal drama between doctors, their loved ones and the patients under their care.

Binnelanders is produced by the team which made Generations one of the country's most best shows: Friedrich and Elsje Stark, and the man behind top local shows, Mfundi Vundla. They are joined by line producer Johann Schoeman and a handful of top directors, writers and television gurus.

Chief director of Binnelanders is Danie Joubert who earned his production stripes on films like Jock of the Bushveld and has held the reins as executive director at Generations for the last couple of years. Other directors include Ilse van Hemert and Hannes Muller. Van Hemert gained fame in the theatre world for her sensitive and exciting approach before proving herself as a television director. Muller is a well-known television and theatre personality, at home both in front of and behind the camera.

One of SA's best TV writers of the last decade, Mitzi Booysen, is responsible for the Binnelanders storyline. She was previously the head writer at Isidingo. Booysen has a strong team of writers on her team, with well-known dramatists Saartjie Botha and Harry Kalmer, as well as journalists Schalk Schoombie and Marguerite Robinson, seasoned writer Percy Pretorius and young playwright Albert Snyman on board.

Binnelanders tells the story of the Binneland Clinic's charming orthopaedic surgeon Zieg Combrinck (Gys de Villiers), and the people - particularly the women - in his life. After the death of a patient, Zieg wrestles with his conscience. As if that isnít bad enough, an attractive young nurse rattles some skeletons in his closet.

The first episode will be broadcast on October 13 at 19h30 on M-Net.




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