“I’ve told some lies, but I had my reasons,” declared wealthy socialite Simone Kendall (Sarah Kendall) as her world unravelled in the opening episode of the comedy/drama Frayed. In truth, her life was mostly an assembly of lies – rich husband, sprawling British country estate, yachts, ski chalet. The only real thing seemed to be her two children, Lenny (Frazer Hadfield) and Tess (Maggie Ireland-Jones).
So flimsy a world could never have hoped to hold up and so it all unravelled when Simone’s husband Nick died under predictable conditions: in flagrante with a prostitute, full of drugs and in the arms of Bunny, whose tear-stained, clacky-heeled honesty would have been endearing had she not just killed her client after a sex marathon in a fashionable London hotel room.
If the plot of Frayed sounds writ large from the 1980s, it is. It’s a harder decade to capture visually than you might imagine, though the metallic teal payphones and Sammy’s monumental Krystle Carrington-inspired helmet coiffure help it along. It’s also bad news for Nick. Without going into too many of the gory details of the story setup, had it been set two decades later his mobile phone would have been a quarter of the size.
Needless to say Nick’s estate is insolvent and like To the Manor Born‘s Audrey fforbes-Hamilton before her, Sammy is promptly turfed out as the walls of the estate are washed blue in the family’s financial blood. With nothing to show for her marriage except two kids who barely knew their father, Simone has returned to Newcastle — “a northern suburb of Sydney,” she tells the kids — and the name, Samantha Cooper, she ran away from decades earlier.