Golden Fiddles was a co-production between Canada and Australia originally aired in 1991. The story is set in the late 1920s and 1930s Australia struck by the great Depression, and was first written by Mary Grant Bruce and then turned into a television series, which totalled approximately three hours in length. The director was Claude Fournier.
We are introduced to the struggling Balfour family who barely have enough to make it through the day. A worn-out but caring father (John Bach) and his wife (Kate Nelligan) try to keep the family on its feet as they all invest their efforts in getting the much needed cash. The children is forced to become subject to charity or take on less desireable jobs, such as selling rabbits on the streets, in order to help the family.
Then suddenly, a distant relative dies and leaves the Balfours his whole fortune of two-hundred thousand pounds. This means that the Balfour family never has to worry about money again and they buy back the old family estate - Samarkand.
Golden Fiddles is an interesting insight into one family's journey from the lowest of classes all the way up to the upper class. It turns out that happiness cannot be achieved with the aid of money alone. New challenges await the Balfours after their massive inheritance.
Gerda Nicolson plays Miss Birrell, a friend of Kate Nelligan's character. She serves the series as an 'explainer' - telling the family about, for example, other people's envy when it comes to the new family fortune. She seems a very dear friend of Mrs. Balfour. One of the most touching scenes in Golden Fiddles occurs at the end, when all are gathered, listening to the youngest daughter's violin fiddling. A feeling of reconciliation fills the screen. Miss Birrell reaches out her hand in friendship to Mrs. Balfour and they both hold on throughout the music. This scene is one of Gerda's last, and it all becomes all the more touching when considering that this is Gerda's last screen work ever. In less than a year after Golden Fiddles' TV-premier Gerda Nicolson passed away. A very much liked and respected actress had been taken away from her family, numerous friends and countless fans.
|Gerda as Miss Birrell in Golden Fiddles.|
|Miss Birrell congratulates Mrs. Balfour to the inheritance.|
|Gerda in one of her last scenes in Golden Fiddles.|