Return to Eden


by Tuna

Return to Eden was the Australian answer to Dallas. The story began with a mini series in 1983. In the original TV Drama, Stephanie (Rebecca Gilling), is nearly murdered by her husband by being thrown to the crocodiles. The woman who was romancing her husband (Jilly), her former best friend, shot and killed him. Stephanie was horribly disfigured by the croc, but a handsome doctor redid her face, turning her into a raving beauty. She came back under an assumed name, became a wildly successful fashion model, exposed Jilly, and then inherited her father's mining company, making her the richest woman in Australia. She married her doctor, and Jilly went to prison.

And all that is just the preface for the story I'm reviewing today!

The prime-time soap opera picks up seven years after the events in the mini-series. Stephanie's two children have not fully accepted the doctor, and there is some trouble in the marriage because Stephanie is a workaholic. A corporate raider has put Stephanie's company in play, and the evil Jilly is released from prison. Stephanie invites her to move in with her to get settled, and her father's unknown will is discovered. Stephanie still gets everything, but the bombshell is that Jilly is actually Stephanie's sister. (Hey, can I get an organ chord here?) Jilly and the corporate raider are both out to ruin Stephanie, both out of revenge. Elsewhere, Stephanie's son is not as mature as he should be, and has collected gambling debts and shown a callous disregard for small things like laws and ethics. Although Stephanie has been trying to make her daughter into a concert pianist, the little nipper switches careers to the fashion business that Stephanie had started under an assumed identity, and then falls in love. Scenes include every imaginable pairing of these and other characters. The last several episodes will remind viewers of the mini-series.

I can understand why the show was popular in Australia and England with those who enjoy soaps. Jilly and the corporate raider are effective and truly villainous as villains, Jilly (Peta Toppano) makes full use of her physical charms to get what she wants, and the writers managed major plot twists in nearly every episode.

That being said, I am not a fan of soaps, and this one is no exception.  The production values are 80s soap quality, including frequent appearances by the boom mike, and one scene shot from a high angle that reveals the actors marks made with gaffer's tape on the floor.

So maybe the nudity makes it worthwhile? No. Those who are not into soaps can't justify watching the show on the basis of nudity. There is far too little skin to justify a 15-hour investment on that basis, and even the very small amount is blurred by shower doors, and is confined entirely to the first two episodes.

Return to Eden 6 DVD Box Set (1986)

* Full screen

* This is a Region 0 PAL, and includes 22 episodes of shows that were an hour long in commercial broadcast TV.  (About 45 minutes each without the commercials)

Click here or on the picture above for purchase info from the American importer.


No reviews online



5.7 IMDB summary (of 10)
  (statistically meaningless)


It was a series on Aussie TV.



  • Virtually none: Peta Toppano and Rebecca Gilling Show their breasts demurely behind frosted shower doors. Those scenes occur in episodes 1 and 2.





Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


But it is only for fans of prime-time soap operas.