The complete first series of the Australian drama State Coroner has just been released on DVD in the UK. Originally broadcast in 1997 this programme features a mixture of police, medical and courtroom action.

The first DVD volume of State Coroner is out now.

We meet magistrate Kate Ferrari (Wendy Hughes) who begins work as the State Coroner at the Coroner’s Office in Melbourne where they investigate mysterious, suspicious and downright odd deaths. Kate has problems at home with a teenage daughter and an estranged husband called Hugh who is played by Robert Grubb from The Flying Doctors. The problems continue at work where Deputy Coroner Clive Trimble (Bob Baines) is eyeing up her job, but Kate soon has other worries when she fears that she might have breast cancer.

Other members of the coroner’s team include medical pathologist Julie Travers (Elaine Smith) and the ambitious Detective Sergeant Dermot McLeod (Christopher Stollery) who acts as the police department’s liaison officer. As we will learn the team have to deal with grieving families, autopsy reports, conflicting evidence, lies and cover-ups to try and get to the bottom of how a person ended up dead.

In the feature-length pilot episode three people die in a head on collision with a juggernaut and it appears that illegal drugs could have been involved. Mayhem follows a bombing at the Government Security Agency, a four-year-old asthmatic boy dies unexpectedly in a hospital casualty department, a teenage vandal dies whilst painting graffiti, and a high profile investigative reporter who had been receiving death threats mysteriously drowns.

Wendy Hughes plays State Coroner, Kate Ferrari.

Elsewhere an innocent man is killed whilst the police are in pursuit of two hoons in a stolen car, and when an elderly woman perishes in a house fire we wonder if a cut price toaster was to blame. When a light aircraft crashes the coroner’s court must decide if it was an accident, pilot error or as a result of the plane being poorly maintained.  A man is run down and killed by a speeding fork-lift truck in a warehouse with a shocking safety record, and when a woman with cerebral palsy drowns whilst bathing the coroner must decide if her death was an accident or a case of medical negligence.

Meanwhile a woman is concerned about her sister’s premature death after she was hospitalised with Motor Neurone Disease, tragedy strikes during a school bush-walking trip, and Clive Trimble looks into the case of a fatal nightclub bashing. The death toll continues to rise when a woman high on drink and drugs commits suicide and we wonder if she took this course of action due to her connection to a cocaine smuggling racket.

Two New Australians object to an autopsy being carried out on their baby on religious grounds and the police force find themselves under the spotlight following a fatal shooting during a drugs bust. The police are back in the coroner’s court again when a young boy being pursued by a constable plunges to his death on a building site.

Neighbours fans will remember Elaine Smith as Daphne Clarke but in State Coroner she plays a medical pathologist.

When a promising young law student dies at a rave it appears that his death is connected to ecstasy, out in the bush a farmer meets his maker after his tractor overturns, and a fourteen year old girl has to give evidence after her abusive father shoots her mother and then tops himself. A boxer collapses and dies at home as a result of head injuries sustained in the ring, and a desperate farmer threatened with repossession is shot dead after he takes a policeman hostage.

A host of familiar faces appear in this box set including Paul Cronin from The Sullivans; Alan Dale, Nick Carrafa, Gemma Bishop, Janet Andrewartha, Rachel Blakely, and Geoff Paine from Neighbours; Dennis Coard from Home and Away; Michael Muntz and Andrew Blackman from A Country Practice; and Alex Papps from The Flying Doctors.

State Coroner Volume 1 and a wealth of other Australian television classics can be ordered in the UK exclusively from Eaton Films. Viewers who are located in Australasia can place their orders with Crawford DVD. Fans who are based in any other part of the world should email Eaton Films for shipping details.

Clive Trimble (Bob Baines) has ambitions to become State Coroner.

    All Photographs copyright Crawford Productions/Eaton Films/WIN Corporation/Harvey Taft Productions.
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