It's not fair, Isidammit!

By admin
01 April 2011

What exactly is going on at Isidingo? There’s certainly something happening behind the scenes.

For months there have been rumours of unhappiness on the set – and actors such asHlubi Mboya (Nandipha), Gugu Zuma (Lesedi) and Don Mlangeni (Zeb) are saying farewell after hearing they no longer have steady jobs.

The fact that the show’s publicist, its executive producer, the SABC and production company Endemol are refusing to explain what’s going on has fuelled further speculation that the show is on the verge of cancellation.

The speculation is hogwash, those in the know say; it’s not nearly as bad as some make it out to be.

“Isidingo’s budget was increased marginally for 2011 by 0,8 per cent, well below inflation,” the insider says. “Money has a large part to play in what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Some of the actors are bitter about how they’re being dealt with, regardless of financial issues.

“The way they treated us is very rude,” Don says. “They had plenty of time last year to tell us there was a new family coming in.”

The new family he’s referring to are the wealthy Sibekos, who make their appearance in June.

Viewers shouldn’t conclude that their favourite characters are disappearing, head writer Ilse van Hemert says. “Just because someone is no longer on contract doesn’t mean they’re gone.”

There’s a reason some people are going to be used less. Contracts at Isidingo, which are typically negotiated in December, specify a certain number of calls – the number of days actors are expected on set. The average is between 135 and 145 a year.

For many of the actors losing a stable source of income has been a nightmare. Some were offered two-month contracts this year after the SABC was late in renewing Isidingo’s contract.

You can interpret this offer two ways, explains Jennis Williamson, an agent for Creative Entertainment. Either the show is extending your 12-month contract by a further period or you’re being short-changed.

One actor who agrees is Hlubi Mboya, who after 10 years on the show has decided to leave. “It was a bit of a shock but I see it as time to spread my wings. It’s a blessing in disguise.”

Odelle de Wet (Farrow), who was taken off contract last year, agrees it depends how you see the situation. “It wasn’t great purely for financial reasons. I was worried how I would make it work.”

But the new arrangement has freed her to pursue opportunities such as teaching at an acting school and doing a yoga instructor’s course.

Even Tshepo Maseko, who moaned bitterly about being put on call last year, says in the end it worked out for the better.

If all the actors’ issues aren’t resolved it seems there will soon be more drama on set than in the soap itself.

In the issue of YOU, 7 April 2011 you'll find a list of all the actors that are "in" and "out"...

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