First Person - with Debbie Clarke

Debbie Clarke - Fife Free Press
Debbie Clarke - Fife Free Press

I AM very excited about the return of an Eighties US soap classic this week.

Dallas made its television comeback last night - 20 years after it was a ratings success, attracting large audiences all over the world.

Everyone who watched it in its heyday remembers that crucial cliffhanger question - “Who Shot JR?” in a storyline that proved to be TV gold.

Can the new series live up to the hype and prove to be as popular as the original?

Some of the old favourites are back - Larry Hagman (JR); Patrick Duffy (Bobby) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen), albeit a little bit older and Sue Ellen has finally beaten her addiction to alcohol and is back in top form ready to take on her manipulative ex-husband.

The producers will be hoping to re-create some of the 1980s’ nostalgia, but here’s the problem; it’s a different time and, 20 years on, things have changed.

We are now in a recession and back in the day, Dallas was all about glamour and the millions being made in the US oil industry.

So, where does it fit in today’s society?

Who did shoot JR?

The programme-makers have tried to move the series forward by bringing in younger characters namely the Ewing sons John Ross and Christopher, but will they be able to match the power struggles and the back-biting that went on between JR and Bobby? It was undoubtedly the love-hate relationship between those two that made Dallas so watchable.

The show was known for credible storylines such as “Who Shot JR?”, but it’s also known for some which were completely ridiculous to say the least.

You know the one I mean ... that infamous episode where right at the end before the credits rolled, we saw Bobby getting lathered with soap in the shower, despite the fact his character had been killed off!

Generally, I don’t think it is a good idea to revive shows or films from the past, but it is becoming a popular trend - look at recent remakes of movies like Judge Dredd and Total Recall.

What I don’t understand is that they were hardly box office smashes the first time round so why re-make them? Certain things belong in certain eras and that is where they should stay.

Decade of excess

The 1980s were all about the Yuppy lifestyle and spending to excess on fancy cars, outfits and houses.

These days have clearly gone now. People don’t have the money to spend lavishly so I am not quite sure how Dallas will fare being resurrected today.

I suspect it may be more about the younger characters instead of the ones we know and love, and only time will tell whether or not the it proves to be a ratings hit.

But I will be looking forward to seeing Bobby Ewing, JR and Sue Ellen again.

It will be interesting to see whether or not the actors have the same on-screen chemistry which once made them so popular.

If the new show does take off perhaps it will open the doors for other 1980s series to make a comeback including Dynasty, The A Team, Knight Rider, Baywatch.

Then again, maybe there are some things that should just be kept in the past ...