One line synopses Episode 1 Helen Tremain returns to the island where she works as a remote area nurse to find that it is not the laid back paradise she remembers. Episode 2 When a young man is drowned ferrying contraband alcohol to the island, Helen finds herself in the middle of a war about a wet canteen. Episode 3 The island chairmanGÇÖs son returns to declare religious war on his father and Helen decides to join in the fight. Episode 4 Sol is married to a white girl, Nancy is falling in love with a white boy. Can love survive the colour divide? Episode 5 Helen watches, helpless as Paul loses the plot and possibly his lover and his job. Episode 5 Here comes the wet season and with it a dengue fever outbreak, as Helen considers her future on an island she has come to love. Episode One Helen Tremain returns to the island, where she has spent the last five years as remote area nurse, with a strong sense that this place is now her only home. Her mother has died and Helen is the last of her family. But the island isnGÇÖt the tropical paradise she remembers. The substitute nurse was a disaster and the indigenous health workers are rebelling. And thereGÇÖs Myrtle. Intellectually disabled, Myrtle is pregnant yet again to another anonymous stranger. She pleads with Helen to let her have the baby on the island. Even though itGÇÖs against the rules of the health department. Helen takes the risk that threatens her career - she will help Myrtle deliver her baby in secret. But she needs the help of Paul, the chief health worker who has gone walkabout, and his sister Nancy, who is home from medical school. Their father is the Island Chairman, Russ Fenton. He is a charismatic man who runs the island and his family with an iron grip. The visiting doctor discovers HelenGÇÖs plan to help Myrtle and sends a posse to the island. Myrtle is tackled in RussGÇÖ front garden, forcibly sedated and flown off to the mainland. Russ is furious. And Helen faces the sack. Strange then, that Russ vents his public fury on his children, Paul and Nancy, effectively saving HelenGÇÖs neck. What is stranger is RussGÇÖ overture to her - GÇ£YouGÇÖre the most interesting thing on this islandGÇ¥ he says - and Helen is attracted and alarmed. Episode Two The island is rocked by a sudden and cruel death. Giddy Fenton - the son of the islandGÇÖs cop, Mick - drowns at sea while attempting to ferry contraband alcohol onto the island. Island Chairman, Russ Fenton goes on the warpath. HeGÇÖs enraged by a patriarchal system that entices islanders to behave like furtive delinquents. To ensure that GiddyGÇÖs death is not in vain, he proposes to overturn the ban on alcohol and establish a wet canteen. RussGÇÖs daughter Nancy leads the opposition to the plan, claiming that it would spell disaster - a return to the bad old days. Russ woos Helen to his side. An infuriated Nancy accuses Helen of being bought out by the promise of funds to a new clinic. Their long-term friendship feels the strain. But itGÇÖs RussGÇÖs personal overtures towards Helen that are more unnerving. The moves he makes are subtle, refined, even flatteringGÇª but if Helen were to act on her feelings, it would not only destroy all the trust she has built up on the island, including the influential female elders, it would also be a betrayal of RussGÇÖs wife, Ina, whom Helen admires. And thereGÇÖs a professional consideration - Helen has to guide Russ through a health crisis. ItGÇÖs all too impossible, however much Helen feels herself drawn towards this charismatic and powerful man. Then Helen discovers that Russ has been planning the wet canteen for some time and that GiddyGÇÖs death has been a tragic but timely way to help it happen. Right, she decides. This is war. Episode Three The return of RussGÇÖ first-born child Eddie sees the island divided for the first time in years. Long estranged from his family, Eddie has not only come back to claim the land his father once promised him, but heGÇÖs going to build a church on it. For Russ, still unwilling years later to acknowledge the charismatic young Eddie as his son, it is nothing short of war. But for Helen, this is a golden opportunity. As an outsider, she has until now been a pawn in RussGÇÖ game of island politics. Aligning herself with Eddie, exploiting this father-son dispute, she sets her sights on closing down the wet canteen. Playing Russ at his own game. With his double. For when she looks at Eddie, she sees his father as a young man - muscular, headstrong, a born leaderGÇª Russ has taught his son well. A natural diver, skilful orator, not to mention a mesmeric dancer, there seems there is nothing in which he cannot match his fatherGÇª except perhaps in HelenGÇÖs affections. Eddie and his church gather rapid support and Russ suddenly finds his power base split. Confronted by a younger, stronger version of himself, he must fight tooth and nail to regain control of his island. Even if it means killing himself. Episode Four Tensions flare when a white trawler fisherman goes poaching local crays. Solomon, RussGÇÖ second son, is enraged. These white boats with their tide charts and their sonar systems have every advantage over the local fishermen, and still they take and take. A bloody confrontation out on the water strands two white boys in the clinic overnight, alert to the sound of the islanders sharpening their spears outside. Helen is pissed off at being aligned in the eyes of the islanders with the views of some of the people who happen to share her skin colour. Her friend Robbo doesnGÇÖt help matters by removing Solomon from the football team for the upcoming carnival after he fails to show up for practice. Helen is angry - itGÇÖs not as though itGÇÖs easy to blend in here. Robbo withstands her rage, clear and calm. HeGÇÖs brutally honest. Helen is deluding herself. Try as she might, sheGÇÖs never going to be one of them. ThereGÇÖs a hint that Robbo might be talking with more personal interest at stake. Through all of this, Lindy, SolomonGÇÖs white wife, feels increasingly distant from her husband who is busily mobilising support to get these whities out of their water once and for all. Where does this leave the one at home in his living room she wonders, and the daughter they have together? And Nancy, the chairmanGÇÖs daughter, medical student and HelenGÇÖs sidekick, must also evaluate her future after an encounter with the trawlerGÇÖs captain. Stranded on a nearby island overnight after the tide rises up around them, with an ocean between them and all of the politics and the social codes of NancyGÇÖs birthplace, they forge a connectionGÇª but can it ever transcend the weight of their backgrounds? Is love really that black and white? Episode Five A long awaited tombstone opening for Paul and BernadetteGÇÖs infant son puts relationships on the island under real strain. While the traditional ceremony is meant to conclude the grieving period, new tensions emerge for the boyGÇÖs parents - both severely stressed by the financial load of the event. And at the all night feasting and dancing following the ceremony it all gets worse. A bitter mix of jealousy, gossip and bad behaviour. And theyGÇÖre not the only ones. Russ and Helen, under the influence of a few drinks, allow the sexual chemistry between them to show when they dance together. This is observed by everyone GÇô most especially RussGÇÖ wife, Ina GÇªand Robbo. Later in the night, a crisis engulfs Helen GÇô she has to perform emergency surgery on a man who is choking. Although she saves the manGÇÖs life, he later dies of an unrelated condition. Helen is shunned by the community, with only Nancy rallying to her support. And when Ina leaves Russ and goes to stay with relatives on another island, rumours begin to spread that in addition to her incompetence, Helen is GÇ£the other womanGÇ¥. Russ, desperate not to make a political mistake this close to the election, is even tougher than necessary on her in an attempt to prove his lack of bias. Hurt and confused, Helen doesnGÇÖt know where to turn. Instead, she crashes headfirst into Robbo. And, in the midst of crises of varying sizes, needing non-judgmental comfort, Helen takes Robbo as her lover. Meanwhile, things go from bad to worse for Paul and Bernadette as Paul begins to have real difficulty controlling his stress levels. He turns to drinking and a shocking row erupts GÇô Bernadette is flown out to the mainland hospital. Russ explodes when Helen accuses him of looking the other way during this and every other domestic violence crisis. Alone with Robbo, she wonders about the nature of love: about the knife sharp divide between passion and pain in this fierce culture of warriorsGÇª and for the first time she wonders just how much longer she can stay here. Episode Six ItGÇÖs the Wet Season: a crazy GÇ£troppoGÇ¥ time. Bernadette has returned to the island GÇô and to Paul. Their Blue Hawaii wedding goes ahead in the Gaibui beach pavilion, the afternoon rains joyously drenching everyone. But with the rains comes mosquito borne dengue fever. Soon the entire island population seems to be ravaged by it. Helen, Nancy and the health workers are frantic. In the midst of this chaos, the election is held. Russ is shocked at the emergence of another serious contender for the position of Chairman - his son Eddie. Russ cannot compete with the energy and charisma of the younger man and is shattered when he loses. Through all of this, the dengue outbreak grows more severe - there are deaths. And talk abounds of puri-puri: bad magic. When Helen believes things canGÇÖt possibly get any worse, Robbo comes down with severe, life threatening, dengue fever. Russ and Helen now find themselves at curiously similar points in their lives: Russ, without the position of chairman, feels lost and at sea; Helen now knows that her future cannot be on this island GÇô but what future is there for her elsewhere? Despite their continuing attraction to each other, both know they should walk away from whatever existed between them - Russ to return to Ina, Helen to face the emotional wrench of leaving this place she has come to love. Christmas night, and Helen conducts an all night vigil at the clinic. Robbo, though severely debilitated, pulls through. He is airlifted out to recuperate down south, both he and Helen now committed to having a stab at a future together GÇª The first week of January brings a bizarre ritual. The men chase the women around the island, taunting them with flour bombs, prawn shells, and coconuts. Tradition has it that, on the last day, any woman who has not emerged, must come out. Helen leaves the clinic, bags packed to leave, laughing as sheGÇÖs pelted with flour and crayfish shells in a joyous demonstration of how much these islanders have, despite all, come to love her. These have been the best years of her life.
Remote Area Nurse (Ran)
A tropical island, a white nurse, a powerful family and the year that changed her life.