The Secret Life of Us
Created byJohn Edwards
Amanda Higgs
StarringClaudia Karvan
Samuel Johnson
Deborah Mailman
Abi Tucker
Joel Edgerton
Sibylla Budd
David Tredinnick
Spencer McLaren
Damian De Montemas
Michael Dorman
Narrated bySamuel Johnson
Deborah Mailman
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes86 (List of episodes)
Executive producersJohn Edwards
Amanda Higgs
Production locationsSt Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria
Running time45 minutes
Production companySouthern Star Entertainment
Original networkNetwork Ten
Picture formatPAL
HDTV 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release16 July 2001 (2001-07-16) –
28 December 2005 (2005-12-28)

The Secret Life of Us is an Australian television drama series set in the beachside neighbourhood of St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is primarily a drama with some comedic moments. The series was produced by Southern Star Group and screened in Australia from 2001 to 2005 on Network Ten and on Channel 4 in the UK. Initially co-funded by the two networks, Channel 4 pulled out after the third series and the fourth series was not aired in the UK. The series won three silver Logie Awards.

It has been shown in other countries such as New Zealand (TV3) where it is rated R16 in New Zealand for offensive language and sex scenes; Ireland (RTÉ Two), Canada (SuperChannel3), the Netherlands (Yorin), France (Canal Plus, France 4), Estonia (ETV, Kanal 11), Norway (NRK), Serbia (B92, TV Avala), Russia (TNT, Muz TV), Israel (Channel 2), South Africa (M-Net), and the United States (Hulu).


The show revolves around a group of friends in their mid 20s to early 30s who live in a St Kilda block of flats. Their interaction with one another, relationships with other friends, and romantic interests, along with their personal and career developments, are featured.

The actual block is 14A Acland Street, St. Kilda and the rooftop is at the Belvedere Flats on the Esplanade in the same suburb.

History and popularity

The series had its genesis in a telemovie; a 22-episode first season was commissioned by the Ten Network before the movie screened.[1] As its popularity rose, issues arose between the show's creators and Network Ten, which saw higher ratings when it screened before 9:30. This necessitated cutting scenes with sexual themes.[2]

The inclusion of a prominent Aboriginal character (Kelly Lewis, played by Deborah Mailman) attracted comment at the time of the series' broadcast,[3] and has since been cited as a landmark in the history of media representations of Indigenous Australians.[4]

The show's ratings began to dwindle following the departure of several key actors and the introduction of new characters and cast members. This began in the second season with the departure of Joel Edgerton and Damian De Montemas. It was the third season that featured a particularly high character turnover, and included the departure of key original cast members Claudia Karvan and Abi Tucker.

Five main cast members – Sibylla Budd, Spencer McLaren, Dan Spielman, Nina Liu, and Gigi Edgley – left at the end of season three and original lead Samuel Johnson left early in season four, followed by Michael Dorman three episodes later. Original cast members Deborah Mailman and David Tredinnick continued, and seven new regular characters were added for season four. The changes were part of a larger overhaul which had the arrival of a new producer, a new script producer, and a new writing team.[5]

Cast and characters


Main article: List of The Secret Life of Us episodes

Series ratings

Season Episodes Originally aired Viewership
Season premiere Season finale Viewers (millions) Rating Drama Rank
1 22 23 July 2001 26 November 2001 0.977[6] 7.4[6] #10[6]
2 22 18 February 2002 5 August 2002 1.177[6] 8.9[6] #7[6]
3 22 10 February 2003 11 August 2003 0.994[6] 7.4[6] #9[6]
4 20 18 February 2004 11 January 2006 0.581[7] 4.3[7] #7[7]


Production ended in 2004 with the completion of the fourth season. The decision had been made to discontinue production after the first three episodes of the fourth season aired in Australia to disastrously low ratings. At that time, the program was removed from its primetime slot. The unscreened episodes from that final season were broadcast with little publicity in late 2005.[citation needed]

DVD releases

Series Date released Episodes Discs Special features
The Complete Series 10 November 2010[8] 88 25
  • Behind the Scenes Documentary: 'The Secret Life of The Secret Life of Us'
  • Interviews: Talking with Claudia Karvan, Talking with Joel Edgerton, Talking with Judi McCrossin, Talking with Spencer McClaren and David Tredinnick, Talking with Deborah Mailman, Talking with Sibylla Budd and Damien de Montemas
  • Exclusive Interview with Samuel Johnson, Exclusive Interview with Abi Tucker
  • Photo gallery

See also


  1. ^ Michael Idato, "Ten's Secret Is Out", Sydney Morning Herald 21 August 2000, p. 48
  2. ^ Michael Idato, "Secret Life Re-signed", Sydney Morning Herald 10 September 2001, p. 45
  3. ^ Moses, Alexa (26 April 2002). "Aboriginal actors want share of the action". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  4. ^ King, Andrew S. (2009). "Romance and Reconciliation: The secret life of indigenous sexuality on Australian television drama". Journal of Australian Studies. 33 (1): 37–50. doi:10.1080/14443050802672528. S2CID 143005532. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  5. ^ Browne, Rachel (14 September 2003). "The secret life of . . . who?". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Top drama/comedy series before 2004 - In the archive - Australian content - Television - Fact Finders - Screen Australia". Screen Australia.
  7. ^ a b c "Top drama series - In the archive - Australian content - Television - Fact Finders - Screen Australia". Screen Australia.
  8. ^ "Umbrella Entertainment DVD and Blu Ray SECRET LIFE OF US BOX SET (DVD)". Archived from the original on 15 December 2010.