Puberty Blues director admits audience concerns ahead of its return on Ten

Puberty Blues 2 TenDirector of Puberty Blues Glendyn Ivin is glad the second series is “finally out there” and admitted the delay in its launch may impact ratings for the second series which comes 18-months after the finale of the first.

Ten has recently seen poor ratings for string of big shows including The Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance and on Monday new drama Secrets and Lies as they struggle against competitors, and Ivin told Mumbrella he hoped the existing fanbase would return after the wait.

He said: “They (Channel Ten) sat on it for a while. In theory it was meant to be on last year and I’m not sure why they didn’t show it, but I’m glad it’s finally out there. Definitely. We’re very proud of it.”

Without big audiences for its current shows, Ivin said Ten is tapping into Puberty Blues’ existing fan base and using social media, outdoor and special screenings to promote the return of Puberty Blues, whereas other shows seem to mostly promote on TV.

He said: “The thing for Channel Ten at the moment is to try to get people aware of it who aren’t watching. There’s an online presence and promotions in bus shelters and other places where it isn’t on TV, whereas I can see Channel Nine shows that are doing well are promoting on air which seems to be the best way to promote a TV show.”

As Ten launched its highly anticipated drama series Secrets and Lies to 403,000 viewers on Monday night, Nine’s period drama Love Child based on the forced adoptions of the 1960s at a Sydney hospital, pulled in over 1m for its third outing, after the network announced a second series on Sunday.

L-R Ashleigh Cummins as Debbie Vickers and Brenna Harding as Sue Knight

L-R Ashleigh Cummins as Debbie Vickers and Brenna Harding as Sue Knight

Screenings of the first episode of Puberty Blues 2 have been held in cinemas around the country, engaging with its fan base including 177,134 who like the Puberty Blues Facebook Page. A page for the second series is still some way off with nearly 5,200 likes so far.

However Ivin, of production company Endemol Southern Star, is confident the fan base will grow for the second series as he and the team take the show beyond the pages of the 90 page book the first series was based on.

Having established the Puberty Blues world of 1979 suburban Sydney in series one, Ivin said they were able to then take the takes the characters further “down the rabbit hole” as they pick up six months after they left off in October 2012.

“If does feel like it’s much richer, because now we’re kind of free of the book,” Ivin said. “We’ve kind of cracked it open and it’s really beautiful. It’s got this wonderful storyline that is still very much rooted in that Puberty Blues world, but the characters can now be more defined and be richer.”

Writers Tony McNamara and Alice Bell returned to write the second series, along with John Gavin, who plays Graham the counsellor and makes a bold appearance in the first episode – without any underwear.

“What I love about Puberty Blues is that in every scene we try and really take the audience on that roller coaster and think am I meant to be watching this? And then you laugh, and then you cry,” Ivin said.

“We’re trying to constantly mix it up, and there are not many shows, tonally, that I think you can work that way. In other shows you’re always trying to establish a tone, to say here we are and it’s sad, or it’s funny, but Puberty Blues allows us to constantly juggle those emotions.”

Ivin calls it a casual brutality, partly to do with the period because it was from a time when people did not speak about things, which allows for more action, and less talk about the events that are impacting the characters, and at the same time, the audience.

“What surprises people is that it is an incredibly dark show, there’s a lot of really heavy things that go on, in series one and in series two, but it’s heavily sprinkled with humour and sort of truths, so there’s a beauty to it,” he said. “I say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, so I feel we can go darker if we sprinkle light around everywhere. The lightness actually prepares the audience to go deeper.”

Puberty Blues 2 has nine episodes and will run at 8.30pm on Channel Ten. The series was promoted at Channel Ten’s upfronts for 2013 soon after the first series ended, and again in November as the network announced its 2014 lineup.

Channel Ten declined to comment on its promotion and marketing for the series, or reasons for delaying the launch of the show.

Clarification: Channel Ten has just one Facebook page for both series one and series two of Puberty Blues, with over 177,000 fans. The Puberty Blues 2 Facebook page is a fan page not operated by Channel Ten.

Megan Reynolds


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