This week, 10 and Paramount+ release the Australian film The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race.
When the movie begins, Penny Anderson (Claire van der Boom) has just left her Sydney property to return home to the small country town of Appleton. She’s going back to her roots to fill in for the town’s GP while Dr Holiday (John Gaden) is off on a holiday, and it takes no time for Penny to make quite an impression on receptionist Joan (Robyn Niven).
Penny’s return to Appleton comes just a few weeks before the town’s key annual event – The Potato Race – and her sister Nikki (Katie Wall), the local hairdresser, is the reigning women’s champion.
In fact, Nikki and Penny come from a long line of Potato Race champions, and Penny is shocked to learn that the men’s race gets $2000 prizemoney while the women’s only get a measly $200.
When Penny sets out to bring about some prizemoney equality, she upsets everyone that she came home to reconnect with. Is a small-town Potato Race really worth the fight?
Joan’s son Gavin (Andy Ryan) is squarely against the idea and lets his frustrations known at the local pub. Meanwhile, his brother Mark (Rohan Nicol) is struggling after being retrenched. Elsewhere, we also get to meet Penny’s Aunt Barb (Genevieve Lemon) and Uncle Bob (Tiriel Mora) who celebrate her return home.
Screenwriter Melanie Tait, who is adapting her play which stemmed from personal experiences, has done something magical here. It’s a simple premise but it’s engaging from the outset and there is a lot to love, with a jam-packed cast of Aussie talent, including Maggie Dence and Cece Peters in small roles.
The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race is a delightfully charming and the best Australian telemovie this year.
The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race premieres tonight, July 26 at 7:30pm on 10 and 10Play, and will be streaming on Paramount+ from tomorrow, July 27.