Outrageous Fortune

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Outrageous Fortune is a New Zealand television comedy/drama series, produced by South Pacific Pictures in 2005 and shown by TV3 on Tuesday nights. The show has concluded its second season, with a Christmas special TV Movie screened on December 26, 2006. TV3 have commissioned a third season for 2007. The Nine Network in Australia has picked up season one of the show, screening it on Mondays from 22:30 since 11 December 2006.

The central plot is that a family of burglars decide to go straight after the father is jailed. Like the show itself, episodes take their names from Shakespeare quotations. The main characters each walk a fine line between right and wrong according to their respective values - the law, the criminal code of honour, loyalty to family, and respectability.


Cast and Characters

  • Robyn Malcolm as Cheryl West.
  • Grant Bowler as Wolfgang (Wolf) West, Cheryl's husband.
  • Antony Starr as the twin brothers Van and Jethro West, Cheryl and Wolf's eldest children, aged in their early 20s.
  • Siobhan Marshall as Pascalle West, Cheryl and Wolf's eldest daughter, aged around 18.
  • Antonia Prebble as Loretta West, Cheryl and Wolf's youngest child, aged around 16.
  • Frank Whitten as Ted West.
  • Tammy Davis as Munter.
  • Kirk Torrance as Detective Sergeant Wayne Judd
  • Michelle Ang as Tracy Hong
  • Claire Chitham as Aurora Bay
  • Shane Cortese as Hayden Peters
  • Brian Sergent as Eric

Season Synopses

Season One

When Wolf is jailed for previous burglaries, Cheryl West comes under pressure from his associates to move into drug dealing. She is outraged by this, and makes the decision that the family will move out of the crime business and get honest employment. Wolf is not pleased about this, but there's not much he can do from jail. Cheryl is initially disillusioned by her attempts at earning a legal living, but she and a couple of her friends start a business called "Hoochie Mama" making and selling kitu CRM ierey underwear.

Cheryl and Wolf have four children. Jethro has already set himself up with an honest career: he's just graduated law school and has a job with a law firm, although he wasn't entirely upfront with his employers about his qualifications for the job. His twin brother Van (who was trapped in a freezer as a child, and is somewhat slower than Jethro) severely offended the Hong family who might be linked to the Triads, and worked as their pool boy to repay his debt. Both the mother and daughter (Tracy) of the Hong family had designs on Van. The mother may be carrying Van's child.

Pascalle, the eldest daughter, wants to become a model, and is trying to raise money to pay for the shots that an unscrupulous photographer has taken of her. At the opening of the series, she is forcibly removed from the offices of Work and Income New Zealand, after her attempt at applying for an advance on her unemployment benefit to finance further modelling shots was rejected. Male staff tried to keep the raunchy photos she presented in support of her application, and she reacted explosively.

Loretta is the younger daughter. She is bored by school and blackmailing the deputy principal, who she caught having an affair with Jethro some years earlier when he was her student. Loretta has a significant entrepreneurial talent and shares her family's lack of respect for the law. She is interested in film and spends most of her time at a video shop, although she doesn't officially work there.

The final member of the family is Ted West, Wolf's father, who has Alzheimer's disease, but also has significant periods of lucidity. When he was young, he was a safe cracker, and had unconventional relationships with his late wife Rita (for whom he frequently mistakes Loretta), and others.

Over the course of the season, Detective Sergeant Judd, who is responsible for Wolf's imprisonment, develops an attraction to Cheryl, who is torn between her determination to live the straight life and her love for her family and Wolf.

Season Two

In series two, Wolf has been released on home detention. He has no intention of keeping to Cheryl's new rules on life. Judd is determined to tear him away from Cheryl, and attempts to entice Wolf to break his parole so that he is returned to prison.

Pascalle's dream of modelling has faded, and her plans revolve around the proposal that she is sure her boyfriend Hayden is just about to make. Hayden is the son of a former associate of Wolf's, and offers Wolf a job as a "future planner" in Hayden's company. Wolf's parole officer approves, but the enterprise may not be strictly legitimate.

Jethro has his own law practice. Tracy Hong has become Jethro's girlfriend and an investor in Hoochie Mama. Van is reunited with Aurora Bay; they were briefly together as teenagers before Aurora lost her virginity to Jethro in a case of mistaken identity (She thought he was Van). She now lives with a motorcycle gang, the Horsemen. Jethro is increasingly drawn into Wolf and Hayden's business, and represents many of Wolf's former associates. Van volunteers to help when he hears that the Horsemen are the target of their future plans.

After her blackmail fails, Loretta arranges to be expelled from school, but Wolf insists she attend a Catholic school. Loretta is paying someone else to attend as her.

As the season progresses, Judd and Cheryl rekindle their affair and Wolf goes missing after learning of the affair and robbing the Horsemen. Aurora convinces her boyfriend (the leader of the Horsemen) to let her go so she can be with Van and she moves in with the Wests. Pascalle and Hayden break up and Hayden goes after the true object of his desire, Loretta and the two begin a secret affair.

Pascalle eventually finds herself a new calling when she begins working at a retirement home. Much to everyone's surprise; she enjoys the experience, not to mention the attentions of the Retirement home's resident doctor, Bruce Khan. Only one problem remains: Bruce is a virgin so Pascalle lies and says that she is a virgin too in order so that Bruce won't be turned off by her past. Pascalle decides to get a Hymenorrhaphy but needs $5000 for the procedure.

Outrageous Fortune: The Movie

This one off two hour TV Movie followed on from season 2.

The family, Aurora, Eric and Munter go camping at Tutaekuri Bay, a magical place up north where they have gone camping every year. We learn that Wolf and Cheryl stumbled upon the bay late one night, and slept in their car. This sparked the tradition that the family now know and love.

However, as with all episodes of Outrageous Fortune, luck is not quite on their side. The Doslics' have gone to Tutaekuri Bay as well! This was in no small part due to Van uttering the holiday location whilst in the shower with Draska, as seen by flashback.

Another unwelcome visitor appears as well. This is Cheryl's sister, Jeanette, who has been estranged from the family for many years. She has escaped from the Exclusive Brethren in the Wairarapa. A deep secret comes out that Cheryl has hidden from the family all these long years.

Cheryl is hoping Judd will be released from jail in time to join them for Christmas.

International Broadcasters

The show has been picked up in Australia by the Nine Network and will air at 10:30pm Mondays and 10.30pm Wednesdays.


The soundtrack of the show draws mainly on New Zealand music. The title track is Hello Sailor's Gutter Black, and other artists featured include The Exponents, Minuit, and the Black Seeds.


  • Before their roles on Outrageous Fortune as lovers Van West and Aurora Bay, Antony Starr and Claire Chitham played siblings Stratford and Waverley Wilson on Shortland Street.
  • Ranger Graeme, a character from the movie, also played the Southern Man in Speight's "Pride of the South" ads, along with Grandpa Ted (Frank Whitten)
  • Robyn Malcolm also appeared in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, as the mother putting her children on the horse as the orcs appeared to ransack the village.
  • Tutaekuri Bay is the fictional location of the movie. Tutaekuri means "dog shit" in Māori language.


  • The show cleaned up at the New Zealand TV Awards for 2005 winning Best Drama, Best Actress : Robyn Malcom and Best Actor: Antony Starr, Best Director Mark Beesley, Best Script Rachel Lang & Best Editing Nicola Smith
  • TV GUIDE Best on the box: Best Drama & Best Actress Robyn Malcolm
  • Woman's Day Reader's Choice: Favourite Female Personality Robyn Malcolm
  • Air NZ Screen Award 2006:Best Drama Series & Best Drama Programme for episode 4

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