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The day Manly starred in prime-time TV drama

The following story first appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday January 12, 2000.  By Sasha Westwood.


I just want to say that in the article there are a number of miss prints and incorrect facts stated by the reporter and not by myself while typing out this article.  However please do not contact the newspaper about this mistakes, over 500 people have already done so.


Actor Catherine Bell isn't in the JAG courtroom for the latest episode of the American military drama.

Yesterday she swapped her pristine white naval uniform for a blue string bikini on Manly beach for filming of the show's 100th episode.

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Catherine Bell gets some direction as she prepares to shoot a scene on the beach yesterday.

Joining her on the South Steyne film set were co-stars David James Elliott, Patrick Labycoreaux and Australian cast member Trevor Goodard as well as dozens of local extras.

About 100 people gathered along the promenade around the fenced-off set yesterday to watch the bikini-clad action, which was more like an episode of the popular beach series Baywatch then the usual JAG courtroom action.

Bell was even wearing a topaz stone in her navel while Goodard opted for blue knee-length board shorts.

"We're all having such a fantastic time," Bell said.

"We're only been here for one and a half days so I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the city."

Thirty-five cast and crew arrived from the US at the weekend to shoot the birthday episode.

Filming began on Monday, inside the Rimini Cafe (the name was changed to the Uluru cafe to make it more Australian) and will continue for the next two weeks, visiting more of Sydney's famous icons, including the Opera House and Circular Quay.

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Above: David James Elliott, the leading man of the US series JAG, during shooting at Manly beach yesterday.

JAG's consistently high Australian rating in the top 30 is said to be one of the reasons the show's producer Dan Bellisario chose to head Down Under for the birthday episode.

But insiders say it was his wife, Vivian Lee, who made the final decision.

Lee, who grew up in Newcastle, has influenced the Australian touch to the show, with the addition of Australian cast member Trevor Goodard and the birthday episode's location.

The stars have been seeing Sydney's sights during their stay.  On Monday, David James Elliot took the family to the Sydney Aquarium while Catherine Bell and husband Adam dined at Bondi.

Insiders at the harbourside Quay West, where the cast and crew are staying, say JAG's cast are refreshingly down to earth.

Between takes yesterday the cast welcomed the attention, willingly signing autographs and answering questions from the crowd.

The JAG series investigates fictitious crimes within the US military each week.  The stars - Bell, who plays recovering alcoholic Major Sarah McKenzie, Elliot, who stars as Lt Commander Harmon Rabb jnr, who is searching for his missing father, and Goodard, who plays an Australian - play the roles of navy lawyers.

The Sydney scenes, which will include a cameo appearance from Channel 7 news reporter Monique Wright, will screen in Australia later this year.


First appeared 22nd January, 2000