Cocaine and cleavage: The iconic TV series Westside returns

by Fiona Rae / 16 June, 2019
Westside. Photo/Supplied

Westside. Photo/Supplied

RelatedArticlesModule - westside tv

In the return of the West family saga, it’s 1987 and Ted West and the gang are waiting to rob a safe.

It’s a new season of Westside (Three, Monday, 8.35pm), and there’s a new Cheryl West in town. Jessica Grace Smith steps into the iconic role for season five and you never know where that could lead. Perhaps even a Queen’s Birthday honour, as it did for Outrageous Fortune’s older Cheryl, Robyn Malcolm.

Smith is a graduate of Toi Whakaari and, apart from roles in 2009 horror-comedy Diagnosis: Death and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, she has also written and directed her own short film, Everybody Else Is Taken. She is also known to soap fans as Denny in Home and Away.

She is certainly landing in the deep end on Westside – as if there were any other end. As the season begins, twins Van and Jethro are three and Cheryl is about to give birth to Pascalle.

And as co-creator James Griffin joins the dots in what has become known, to Griffin at least, as the Outrageous Televisual Universe (it’s like the Marvel Cinematic Universe but with Westies, more crime and fewer special effects), another OTU loop closes. As Pascalle arrives, so does Brandon, Wolf’s son with Anne-Marie Gibbs, who was revealed in season two of Outrageous Fortune.

Smith says the season is all about Cheryl and Wolf’s early years as parents and “protecting my kids like a mother lion, fighting and making up with and fighting some more with Wolf, and punching a certain character in the face”. As ever, Rita (Antonia Prebble) is hiding a tonne of secrets.

It’s now 1987, and as the country celebrates our defeat by Dennis Conner in the America’s Cup, Ted (David de Lautour) and the gang are hiding out waiting to rob the safe of a gold futures firm.

But the times, they are a’changin’: Lefty (Dan Musgrove) and Ngaire (Esther Stephens) have been seduced by the deregulated future promised by Rogernomics and by the cocaine flowing into the country to cater to the yuppie stockbrokers on Queen St.

There is also a worrying number of security cameras capturing both Ted and Wolf’s gangs, which is where a new villain comes in. Businessman Frankie Figgs, played by the veteran Peter Elliott, is not best pleased that Wolf (Reef Ireland) and the gang have ripped off his warehouse.

The West family saga reaches a milestone this season – beginning with Outrageous Fortune, their story will rack up 150 episodes, which raises the question of how many more it will take to span from 1987 to 2005. Plenty, we hope.

This article was first published in the June 15, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Writer Robert Macfarlane finds deeps truths in Underland
108287 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Books

Writer Robert Macfarlane finds deeps truths in Und…

by Tony Murrow

In a new book, Robert Macfarlane heads underground to ponder mankind’s effect on the planet.

Read more
Why extra virgin olive oil is back on the menu for frying
108203 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Nutrition

Why extra virgin olive oil is back on the menu for…

by Jennifer Bowden

For decades, the word in the kitchen has been that olive oil shouldn’t be used for frying, but new research could change that.

Read more
Abstract artist Gretchen Albrecht's true colours
108108 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Profiles

Abstract artist Gretchen Albrecht's true colours

by Linda Herrick

Gretchen Albrecht paintings may be intangible, but they are triggered by real-life experience, she tells Linda Herrick.

Read more
That's a Bit Racist is playful, but it packs a punch
108435 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Television

That's a Bit Racist is playful, but it packs a pun…

by Diana Wichtel

The taboo-busting doco is trying to change our default settings on race, but some people aren't stoked.

Read more
Are there too many tourists in NZ?
108444 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Are there too many tourists in NZ?

by North & South

Here's what's inside North and South's August 2019 issue.

Read more
Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a breakthrough in New Zealand?
108428 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Tech

Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a break…

by Peter Griffin

The tech company at the centre of a trade war between the US and China is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prove it can be trusted.

Read more
The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing Grace
108368 2019-07-15 00:00:00Z Movies

The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing…

by Russell Baillie

A long-lost concert movie capturing Lady Soul in her prime is heading to the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Read more
The untold history of China's one child policy
108182 2019-07-14 00:00:00Z History

The untold history of China's one child policy

by RNZ

Nanfu Wang explains the story behind her film One Child Nation, which screens at the International Film Festival this July.

Read more