McLeod's Daughters is an Australian television drama series created by Posie Graeme-Evans and Caroline Stanton and produced by Millennium Television, Nine Films & Television and Foxtel which tells the story of two McLeod sisters who are reunited when they inherit a vast outback cattle station.
Thrown together after 20 years apart they pull together an all-female workforce and commit to life at Drovers Run, 180 km from the nearest town and 400 km from the city.
The series premiered in Australia on the Nine Network on 8 August, 2001. It comes to an end after the eighth season, which ends in January 2009.
McLeod's Daughters airs in South Africa on DStv's Hallmark channel.
Jack McLeod dies and leaves his heavily mortgaged family farm, Drover's Run, to his daughters. Tess returns home to the place she left more than 20 years before.
Jack was first married to Prudence and they had a daughter Claire and a son Adam. Prue dies giving birth to Adam, leaving Jack to raise Claire.
He later married Ruth Silverman and they have a daughter, Tess. The two girls were close growing up, but were separated when Ruth took 5-year-old Tess back to the city.
Tess, who recently lost her mother to breast cancer, hopes to cash out her share of the farm and opening a cafe in the city, but is disappointed to be met with a less-than-rosy financial picture and the open resentment of her older sister.
Claire fires the male workforce and the sisters run the farm themselves, with the help of housekeeper Meg Fountain, her daughter Jodi, and local girl Becky.
The tentative partnership is the first step in the reunited sisters' effort to heal old wounds, improve their relationship, and lift the property out of debt.
Since Claire's shock death in 2003, Tess's departure with husband Nick Ryan overseas in 2006 and Jodi Fountain McLeod's death, Drovers Run is now in the hands of their cousins Grace, Regan and Jasmine McLeod along with farm hands Moria Doyle, Stevie Hall Ryan and Tayler Geddes.
McLeod's Daughters was launched on the Nine Network in August 2001 and was the third most watched Australian TV drama series in 2002.
Series one of McLeod's Daughters was sold to the giant American cable network Hallmark, who successfully debuted it in the UK in October 2001, and throughout Asia in March 2002.
The series was also been picked up by TVNZ in New Zealand, where it became an instant hit with viewers.
Creator Posie Graeme-Evans developed the original concept for McLeod's Daughters for a successful and high-rating 1996 Nine Network telemovie, and it has been in development since as a series.
Posie says a photograph depicting "blue skies and quintessentially Aussie girls' faces with big wide grins under the broad brim of a classic RM Williams hat" inspired her.
The homestead Anecdotes by country friends and Posie's love of South Australian landscapes, as depicted in Sir Hans Heysen paintings, also contributed to the McLeod's Daughters concept.
While the series was being developed, Kingsford, the property featured in the original telemovie, was put on the market. The Nine Network seized the opportunity to purchase the property in 1999, knowing that being able to film on a working farm would be fundamental to the success of the series.
Although the location remains the same as the telemovie, the characters in the series of McLeod's Daughters have been developed considerably and are played by a different cast.
Jodi Ex-cast member Bridie Carter, who played Tess Silverman McLeod, was a newcomer at the beginning of the series but became a household name along with fellow cast newcomer Rachael Carpani and ex-cast member Myles Pollard. Simmone Jade Mackinnon, who joined the cast at the end of 2003, has fast becoming a recognised name. The highly talented Michala Banas joined the core cast in 2004.
Sonia Todd and Aaron Jeffery complete the core cast and bring diverse experience in both television and features films — contributing immeasurably to what Posie refers to as "a well-balance cast". They are supported by experienced actors Marshall Napier and John Jarratt who play regular guest cast roles.
The four female leads carry the heart of each story throughout the series, which Posie believes reflects much of the truth of what's happening in Australia.
"The timing was right for this type of show - a rural-based series which showcases a predominately female cast and tells stories that reflect the lives and desires of contemporary Australian women," said Posie.
McLeod's Daughters is the first prime-time drama series to be filmed entirely in South Australia. The series is a co-production between Millennium Television and Nine Films and Television, produced with the assistance of the South Australian Film Corporation.