Get Away From It All With Down Under Dramas

Fancy some serious (and not-so-serious) escapism? How about a trip Down Under, courtesy of UKTV Play.

Get Away From It All With Down Under Dramas On UKTV Play

Our on-demand service features a quartet of shows from Australia and New Zealand that'll have fans of crime and quality drama bouncing like a kangaroo. Or curled up as cosily as a koala, depending on how relaxed you're feeling. Here's what's waiting to be discovered.


Where it's set: Whyhope. No, that's not some soul-searching question - it's a cute little town in rural Australia, where our hero Hugh Knight - the Heart Guy of the title - has been banished, on account of being a very, very bad boy.

What it's about: The fall and redemption of Hugh Knight, a brilliant, super-talented heart surgeon who also happens to be a womanising, hard-partying rogue. You know, the kind of guy who's never without a sly smirk on his annoyingly handsome face. After getting in trouble with the proper grown-ups at his job in Sydney, he's dispatched to work as a humble GP in Whyhope, which also just happens to be his old hometown. Which means awkward reunions with exes, lots of confrontations with his scarily domineering mum, and a regular daily diet of humble pie to eat.

Why you'd be a drongo to miss it: The sun-dappled Aussie locations are irresistible - almost as much as Hugh Knight himself, who'll charm your socks off even as you tut at his escapades. It's a classic fish-out-of-water set-up that'll make you want to pack up and move to Whyhope yourself.

Watch The Heart Guy on UKTV Play


Where it's set: The clue's in the name. We're in Brokenwood, New Zealand. Which, in the proud tradition of Midsomer and Morse's Oxford, is an idyllic little place with the body count of a minor war zone.

What it's about: A man who likes to talk to corpses. Don't worry, he's the hero. Mike Shepherd is a rather unconventional cop, and not just because of his penchant for nattering with the recently deceased. He's also a wine slurping, country music-listening, cassette tape-playing bear of a man, who doesn't quite fit into the modern world and doesn't much care. Luckily, he's got a suitably mis-matched partner in the form of Kristin Sims, with whom he has an easy chemistry as they solve a spate of startling homicides in cute little Brokenwood.

Why you'd be a drongo to miss it: Just watching Mike make a cup of tea would be weirdly compelling, while the crimes themselves are incredibly compelling - one of the standouts is the wine critic who's drowned in a vat of vino. The show also has plenty of charm to spare, partly because of the ensemble cast of characters. Look out for the cryptic forensics expert who seems to have a bit of a crush on our Mike.

Watch The Brokenwood Mysteries on UKTV Play


Where it's set: Inverness. No, not that one. We're in rural Australia again, this time for a richly layered melodrama about families, secrets and simmering scandals.

What it's about: Sarah Adams, a woman returning to Australia after experiencing Europe during the tumultuous years of World War Two. On the boat over, she becomes accidentally embroiled in the lives of an exceedingly posh family, the Blighs, who in true aristocratic fashion are a hotbed of concealed agendas and reckless love affairs. When they finally reach Australia, Sarah's relationship with the clan becomes ever more complex, with demons from her past also resurfacing, in the way that demons like to do. Plus, there's the will-they-won't-they thing she's got going with one of the handsomer Blighs.

Why you'd be a drongo to miss it: So many reasons. There's the sumptuous 50s aesthetic for one thing - kind of kitsch, while also impeccably stylish. There's the magnificent matriarch who heads up the Bligh dynasty, and would give Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess a run for her money in the "formidable older lady" stakes. Plus, there's the sheer, delicious melodrama of the whole thing, with heightened emotions and torrid lusts to immerse yourself in.

Watch A Place to Call Home on UKTV Play


Where it's set: It's Melbourne, but not as you know it. We're whisked back to the Jazz Age in this sparkling series, with more Gatsby-like decadence than you can shake a dry martini at.

What it's about: Simply put, it's about one of the most dazzling detectives ever to solve a crime on the small screen. Take a bow, Miss Phryne Fisher, who looks like she's just stepped or strutted out of an Art Deco painting, and is as much a James Bond as a Sherlock Holmes. Whizzing around in a sleek sports car one minute, and flying planes the next, she's a daredevil with an eye for handsome men, who casually disregards everything polite society expects of its women in the 1920s.

Why you'd be a drongo to miss it: Miss Fisher is one of the most iconic sleuths of all time, and is the kind of person you'll wish was your best friend. Sorry, that place is taken by her assistant Dot. But, watching her adventures is the next best thing, allowing you soak up the exquisite style of her era while enjoying her taking down the bad guys.

Watch Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries on UKTV Play