A man dragging a suitcase on wheels through an industrial area – not exactly the typical first scene for a TV show. But the fact he is carrying a disco ball under his arm is the first clue that you are in the hands of Retief Scholtz and Beer Adriaanse.
“Bertie Heyns is an unpolished diamond on the wrong side of 30,” Retief explains, who was part of the writing team for series, such as Alles Malan and Dwaalster. “He is supposed to be a “grown up” according to society’s rules, but he takes a huge knock and suddenly he is left with nothing except his disco ball that used to hang in his man cave. He ends up sleeping on his sister’s couch and we see how he makes impulsive decisions, but also how he meets unique people on his search for the truth. What he thinks he is looking for, is not what he finds. What he eventually finds, is much more.”
Ekstra Medium is a light drama – a new genre where the lightness and darkness of life walk hand-in-hand and deeper themes are explored through humour and drama. “We considered calling it a heavy comedy,” Beer says. The idea for the series came about three years ago when a group of writers joked about the saddest bar they’ve ever seen and how it would be a great concept for a series.
In the first episode of the series, viewers not only get to know Bertie and his life crisis, but also his sister and her family, who he includes in his plans. The series explores family themes from all sides, as well as from different ages. The youngest character is eight and the oldest in his seventies. And, as is sometimes the case in real life, one doesn’t always know who the adult is.
“Bertie spends his last few pennies buying a building which holds nostalgic value to him and turns it into a cocktail bar,” Beer says. “We new from the start this must be a character driven story. The cast exceeded our wildest expectations by adding life to our characters.”
Ekstra Medium is a moment in time in an average man’s life. Bertie is not somebody that will make the front pages because of his exciting life, but if you look closer, you will realise that the ordinary is sometimes more exciting than you think. Ekstra Medium is one man’s search for the perfect cocktail and a life that is at once exciting, colourful and extra medium.
The role of Bertie is played by Wilhelm van der Walt and his sister, Sophia, by Cintaine Schutte. Others in the cast include Marvin-Lee Beukes, Llandi Beeslaar, Gerben Kamper, Dean Balie, Mila Guy, Amalia Uys and June van Merch. The director is Beer Adriaanse.
Ekstra Medium starts 22 September at 20:00 on kykNET (DStv 144).