Mercer Wanted Down Under


Mercer

Families sample Australian life. A former property developer from the Wirral and his family visit Darwin for a week, but it turns out to be an emotional time for them all.


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Transcript


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Welcome to Wanted Down Under,

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the show that catapults a British family

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to the other side of the world

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to help them decide whether to stay in the UK or to move to Australia.

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'The Mercer family from the Wirral want a fresh start down under.

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'Tony Mercer lost his business and dreams of a new life in Australia.'

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The UK's got fundamental problems that won't be fixed overnight.

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'His wife Jane's had a tough time recently.'

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It's been hard in a lot of ways.

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Tony being really down regarding losing the business.

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I've got upset thinking about me brother and sister. Sorry.

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'A fresh start might be possible for the Mercers in Australia.'

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This is what we need to be aiming for.

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Sam, this is table three - Nick, Marley, Tom...

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'But will it be that simple?'

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I'm shocked what you get for your money.

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Why are we doing this? We've got a beautiful home.

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'And will Sam be happy?'

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You're going to miss your friends, mate?

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Don't get sad. It's OK. It's a sore point for him.

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People think it's an easy decision. It's not an easy decision at all.

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'Around 150 people a day migrate to Australia for a better life.

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'Anyone who's under the age of 45 and on the skills shortage list

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'could head down under at the head of the queue.

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'But for all these families, how hard is the decision,

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'and do they find what they're looking for?'

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20 British families have been pushed to breaking point,

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as they find out about real life down under.

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After just one week they'll vote one way or the other.

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Whether to stay in the UK or to move to Australia.

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'Jane and Tony Mercer and their two children, Sam and Jess,

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'are about to leave their life in the UK.

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'Tony ran his property development company until the credit crunch hit and was declared bankrupt.

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'Now, they're going to sample life in Australia.'

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It probably made me a bit stronger.

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But it made me a lot weaker before it made me stronger.

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'He has struggled to find work in the UK

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'and believes that a fresh start in Australia might be the answer.'

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I'm not naive thinking it's all roses and rainbows over there.

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The UK's got fundamental problems that won't be fixed overnight.

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I don't want to be here while they're changing.

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I'd rather go somewhere else.

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'Tony's wife Jane disagrees.'

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Initially,

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I did feel that he was wanting to pick us up and run away.

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It's part of the reason why I said,

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"No, I'm not going. We will work through this.

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"We'll build it back up again." We will.

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It's not running away.

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It is just trying to find a better life for the family. Absolutely.

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'Tony is a property developer turned house-husband,

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'something he struggled to adapt to.'

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As soon as you do one room, the next room's a mess.

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Then they want feeding. Then you've got the washing.

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Oh, well. Can't complain. My wife's at work.

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'Jane, now the sole wage earner, works as a senior hair stylist

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'in a salon in the Wirral.

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'In Australia she would have to support the whole family,

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'a daunting prospect.'

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I feel a lot of pressure about being the main visa applicant.

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It's down to me to make sure when we get there that I get a job

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and get the income coming in straight away.

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'She has very high expectations of what Australia could offer.'

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It's really in demand to have British hairdressers over there.

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I think the salary's much better than here in the UK.

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I'm hoping so, anyway!

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'All seven-year-old Sam is worried about is whether he can fit his toys in his suitcase.'

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I'm kind of excited because I've never been to Australia before.

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And I'll kind of miss my friends.

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Sam will take to it like a duck to water.

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'Then there's four-year-old Jess.'

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Jessica might... She might take a little bit of time, I think.

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Do you think you'll be all right in Australia? Would you like to go?

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Jessica keeps herself back and doesn't make friends so quickly.

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But she's four years old and she'll adapt.

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'After the loss of Tony's business life has been difficult

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'but they have a close family who'll be hard to leave behind.'

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Some people don't think it's the right decision -

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friends and family.

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I don't think they're prepared to tell us that but I can see the way they feel is slightly different.

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As much as I really want to go and see what it's like,

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I know I'm going to get homesick. I never thought I would.

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Now we're getting nearer, I know it's going to be a problem.

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We're very strong as a family, I'm hoping it's going to be enough.

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There's going to be no-one else.

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'We're sending them to Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory,

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'and Australia's most remote city.

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'Despite being surrounded by the outback, it has a cosmopolitan feel.

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'Rebuilt in 1974 after a cyclone, it offers a very warm climate.

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'Australia's fastest growing city,

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'it has plenty of job and housing options.'

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We found three different lifestyles for our family,

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each offering a new way of life for them to try on their budget.

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Which one will be the most suitable?

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Let's see what the city has to offer the Mercers.

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On their budget of £225,000, they might find property expensive.

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Four-bedroom houses would be just out of their reach.

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On the edge of the city, plots are more generous and there are plenty of hair salons.

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So potential work for Jane could be close by.

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Very different from their life in the UK.

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What about the second option?

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Darwin's coastal suburbs would offer a more idyllic life.

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Though not as well serviced,

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local malls would make everything convenient for Tony.

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Jane would be able to find work in a local salon and avoid the 50-minute commute into the city.

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Property is sought-after and expensive.

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Four-bedroom family houses such as this one cost around £240,000,

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which would stretch the Mercers' budget of £225,000.

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That all looks very inviting, but what about the third option?

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The outer suburbs will give the Mercers more space for their money.

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Four-bedroom houses like this should be manageable on their budget.

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The outback's on the doorstep

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for Tony and the children to explore.

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Jane would have to commute 30 minutes to work.

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Three very different options. All of them life-changing.

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So where did we send our family?

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We decided on the city for the Mercers.

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With its many hair salons for Jane close-by

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and cheaper property in one of the suburbs,

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it's the best option.

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'We set Jane up with a trial job...'

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-What is the salary for a senior stylist?

-I've got the pay scale...

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-'..and properties to view.'

-It's like a static caravan.

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'And an Australian family to meet.'

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I've got a job for you!

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-I've got a job! See ya.

-I've got the visa, baby!

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'So, the Mercers are jetting off for a week to sample life down under.

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'Will it live up to their expectations,

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'or will the UK prove to be too much to leave behind?

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'After a gruelling 10,000 miles

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'they emerge on the other side of the world at four in the morning.

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'So how are they feeling?'

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It was OK. Tired.

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-Sweaty.

-It was very boring.

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He's been asking every five minutes, "Are we nearly there yet?"

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'It's a gruelling journey, especially when you've got children,

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'but they're almost there.

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'The family are staying in a large apartment in Larrakeyah, ten minutes from the city centre.'

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Wow. What a huge room.

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Living room, kitchen and dining room all in one room. Perfect for us.

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-JANE: I think this is mine.

-It's got an en suite as well.

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Oh, wow! Look at this! Three beds in here!

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Don't bounce on the beds!

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'It looks like the kids are waking up, which is just as well as the day is beginning.'

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I had this vision of new bungalows or two storeys,

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I guess, like you see in the States.

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First impressions, the sunlight's coming up,

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it's not what I thought.

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The palm trees, that's as you'd expect,

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but the style of houses, the flats, wasn't what I was expecting.

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I think the house is great as a base.

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-As a holiday home?

-As a holiday home, yeah.

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I think, as a home to live in for the family,

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-I would expect newer, modern.

-This might be the norm.

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-We just don't know.

-No.

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'This apartment may not be what they're looking for but it's a great base to explore Darwin.

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'Finding the right property is crucial. Let's hope they find something suitable tomorrow.'

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'In the UK, Tony and Jane live in a three-bedroom house in the Wirral,

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'which they bought in 2005 for £148,000.

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'It's a great location and they spent time and money on renovations,

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'so any house in Darwin will have a lot to live up to.

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'We found three homes for sale.

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'The first is in the suburb of Karama, a 20-minute commute from the city.

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'This three-bedroom, one bathroom house in on the market for:

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'Depending on what they sell their house for,

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'they should be able to afford it.

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'The only trouble is, it's on a main road.'

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JANE UNSURE: OK...

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From the '60s!

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Quite small, isn't it?

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It's just decor, nothing that couldn't be...

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couldn't be changed.

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It reminds me of a caravan.

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-It's like a static caravan.

-It is, isn't it?

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Is it me, or is it really dark?

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-Is it the light?

-The whole building seems really dark.

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-HOLLOW KNOCKS

-Is that timber-framed construction?

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-The wall's about that thick.

-Ah...

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'Their first impressions aren't great.

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'Tony's experience in property development would be needed

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'to make this house suitable.

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'But is it enough?'

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There's nothing stopping this wall coming out and door going here.

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One room with a bath and a shower, more conventional as we know it.

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I can't get over how caravan-y it feels.

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Everything's four-inch stud walls. There's no insulation.

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-Again, it's so dark.

-It is dark, isn't it?

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If this was all we could afford, you could make it nice, couldn't you?

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-Absolutely.

-I'm looking at the outside, where we want to be.

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Yeah, it's only decor but it's only three bedrooms.

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Which, I know is all we need,

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but for the size of that lounge, if people were going to stay,

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-where would they stay?

-Is this all you get for your money?

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'The inside hasn't impressed and this is one of the best-value areas.

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'The outside might make up for it.'

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-TRAFFIC HUMS

-It's much better, isn't it?

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Let's have a look at the pool.

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-It's a really nice size pool.

-For us, that would be perfect.

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-What spoils this...

-It's that road. TRAFFIC HUMS

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Do you learn to live with that and not hear it?

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It's intrusive but it's not offensive. You could live with it.

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'The traffic may be noisy, but the nearby road may make this property more affordable.'

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I'm a bit disappointed in the house, the inside.

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It looks a little bit run-down, the area.

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-Right next to a main road.

-The road doesn't bother me now.

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The outside space makes it a five-and-a-half instead of a four.

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You could live here but it would just be transitional accommodation

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for 12, 18 months then move on.

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'If this isn't up to scratch, maybe the next house is better suited.

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'Property two is a bit further out in the suburb of Gunn.

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'This three-bedroom, two-bathroom house costs around:

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'So it would be a stretch, especially with just Jane working.

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'But the area is great for families and there's a play park next door.'

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This looks a lot better, doesn't it?

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JANE: Wow!

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This is better! Oh, yes!

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It isn't that much bigger, just laid out different.

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-It's one level so it feels bigger, doesn't it?

-I like the tiled floor.

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The rooms are probably the same size but it's light.

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I think it's smaller,

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but it's got the built-in wardrobes, which is a bonus.

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Jessica, stop touching.

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This is nice. It's got an en suite as well.

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-It's much nicer.

-I like the sliding doors.

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-Jane?

-Nice, yeah. It is nice. And the double shower.

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-Two sinks. Two showers.

-One toilet.

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That's bedroom two. Where's the third bedroom?

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-So this is the third bedroom.

-It's being a study.

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It feels like it's been squeezed in as a third bedroom.

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It should be listed as a two-bedroom with study.

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'It was looking so good but, with a family, space might be an issue.'

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When you come in you think, "Fantastic! It's new!"

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When you walk round it a few times, it's actually very small

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-for what you're paying.

-Yeah.

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The kitchen is probably half the size of what I've got at home.

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So far, I'm shocked at what you get for your money in Australia.

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-The value for money is not what people make out.

-No.

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It's a lot more expensive than you think.

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-Shall we see what you get outside?

-Yeah.

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-Big push!

-Well done.

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You feel the heat, can't you, coming out?

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This is lovely.

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Wow! Look at the waterfall!

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-Much smaller garden and back area than the last.

-Yeah, much smaller.

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I'm not bothered about having big spaces to maintain.

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'This house seems more suitable but what do they make of it all?'

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-This is a great starting point.

-But it's not starting money.

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-No, I suppose not.

-You're talking about an acceptable standard.

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I totally agree with you, but you're not talking starting money.

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It's not as cheap as everyone's making it out to be.

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To come to Australia, go through the moving,

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leaving the family and friends and work, leaving everything,

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I don't want to take a backwards step.

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'So far, things aren't looking good.

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'It seems as if Tony might be changing his mind.

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'But what about the final property?

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'It's close by in the outer suburb of Durack.

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'This four-bedroom, two-bathroom home has stunning views.

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'But at around £425,000, it's way out of their price range.

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'If Tony went back to work and they got a good price for their UK house,

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'they might manage it.'

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-This is a nice entrance, isn't it?

-It's a bit more like it.

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Look at this, guys!

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Very stylish. Very modern.

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Good size room.

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Just from the front room I'll have it! We'll take it!

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I think it's your bedroom.

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-I think you're right. Wow.

-Beautiful bed and flowers.

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It is beautiful, there's no denying it. It's perfect!

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'So far, so good, although Jane has reservations.'

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-What do you reckon to that view?

-I could get used to it.

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-Do you think there are any crocs in the lake?

-No crocodiles in there.

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-Sure? Do you want to test the water?

-No.

-I don't think so!

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-It's lot of work keeping the floor that shiny.

-That's your job!

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'I don't know about that, Tony!

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'This may be out of their price range but Jane has a solution.'

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-You could build us something like this.

-One day, yeah.

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-Of course I could.

-You could build those?

-Not the lake but this house.

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This would be your room, Sam.

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Everything comes with built-in wardrobes.

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The space is space you've got rather than having to put wardrobes in.

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-It all blends in nicely.

-It's really subtle.

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'Outside, there's a toy for Tony.'

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-Built-in barbecue.

-A barbie and a half.

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Yeah, not like our little one in our garden.

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Imagine cleaning the glass.

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-Sticky fingerprints everywhere.

-Yeah.

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You couldn't put a washing line up anywhere!

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-You just wouldn't want to spoil the view.

-Lower the tone.

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'It's an impressive house and Tony's getting a little bit swept away.'

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I see myself living here, playing golf over there,

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Jane going off to work, me looking after the kids.

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Only joking. No, I can see myself living here.

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It's what we need to be aiming for, not only for quality of life,

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but something that motivates you, a target you want to achieve.

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-Something like this will motivate me. I'm sure it'll motivate Jane as well.

-Absolutely.

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Move this house over to the UK.

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So we can live here and we can see our friends again.

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'Oh, dear. The house may have impressed Tony and Jane, but Sam's starting to miss his friends.

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'That's three properties.

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'The first house in Karama cost £225,000.

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-'But it didn't go down well.'

-Like a static caravan.

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'Tony didn't think much of the neighbourhood.'

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-What spoils this...

-It's that road.

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'The second was more expensive at £260,000 and seemed to be suitable, but space would be a problem.'

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-It's actually very small.

-'And too pricey.'

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Value for money, it's not what people make out.

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'The third property was better. Tony and Jane wanted to move in.'

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I'll have it!

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'However, at £425,000 it's beyond their budget for now,

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'and they'd both have to work to afford it, unless Tony built one.'

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I could build this house.

0:22:260:22:28

'So do they prefer property in the UK or here in Australia?'

0:22:280:22:33

Based on the properties that we've seen today, our vote goes to...

0:22:330:22:38

Australia.

0:22:410:22:43

Australia.

0:22:430:22:45

UK.

0:22:450:22:47

My decision is based purely on value for money.

0:22:470:22:50

'Despite that, they were all swept away by the last property.

0:22:500:22:55

'The first two were unsuitable and brought Tony back down to Earth.

0:22:550:22:59

'Later, the Mercers find out how much their UK house is worth.'

0:22:590:23:04

We really have put our heart and soul into the house.

0:23:040:23:08

-It's quite sad, cos you just want it to be so much more.

-Yeah.

0:23:080:23:13

'And the atmosphere gets tense.'

0:23:130:23:15

This is why, at home, I do all this. Because Jane's useless.

0:23:150:23:19

'But for a potential move to become reality, Jane needs a good salary.'

0:23:190:23:25

Property in Darwin can be expensive.

0:23:290:23:32

To afford a mortgage, it's down to Jane to find work.

0:23:320:23:37

Hi, Jane. I'm Colette, one of the owners of Stone Island hairdressers.

0:23:370:23:44

We're looking forward to meeting you.

0:23:440:23:46

We've been here for 11 years. We're quite a large salon.

0:23:460:23:50

We're really busy so when you come to Darwin, please come and see us.

0:23:500:23:55

'In the Wirral, Jane works as a hairdresser.

0:23:550:23:58

'Since Tony's bankruptcy, she's been the sole wage earner.

0:23:580:24:03

'It's vital that any potential salary can support the family.

0:24:030:24:08

'Will it live up to her expectations?'

0:24:080:24:11

I've heard, regarding the salary,

0:24:110:24:14

that it's pretty much double, compared to the UK.

0:24:140:24:19

And I believe that the hours aren't as long.

0:24:190:24:23

The salon I work in is open seven days a week.

0:24:230:24:27

Some days are ten-hour shifts, especially the days that I teach.

0:24:270:24:32

It can get quite tiring. I've heard that the hours are very different.

0:24:320:24:39

'Jane's meeting owners Colette and Fiona.'

0:24:390:24:42

You must be Jane. I'm Colette. Nice to meet you.

0:24:420:24:46

-This is my business partner, Fiona.

-Hi, how are you?

0:24:460:24:50

Come through this way.

0:24:500:24:52

We have four basins.

0:24:520:24:55

They're lovely massage basins - Shiatsu massage and normal massage.

0:24:550:25:00

The basins move up and down.

0:25:000:25:03

This is Kelly. Kelly, can I introduce you to Jane?

0:25:030:25:07

Jane, this is Kelly.

0:25:070:25:09

'After a quick look around, it's time for a test of Jane's skills.

0:25:090:25:14

'Will she be able to wow them with her cutting?

0:25:140:25:19

'The family's future hangs on how Jane wields the scissors.

0:25:190:25:23

'This could be the most important styling she's ever done!

0:25:230:25:28

'Since Jane has worked full time,

0:25:310:25:34

'Tony's had to get used to being a house husband.

0:25:340:25:38

'Today, he's taking the kids to a play park.

0:25:380:25:42

'Darwin has a lot of these, which the children should enjoy, but Tony has a lot on his mind.'

0:25:420:25:48

I'm worried about how they'll settle in.

0:25:480:25:51

It plays on my mind constantly.

0:25:510:25:55

I've had the guilt trip of losing the business and taking bankruptcy.

0:25:550:26:00

You almost feel a failure.

0:26:000:26:02

When we come here, we'll be taking a backwards step in material things.

0:26:020:26:08

I've even had the emotional side. Have I been a bad dad?

0:26:080:26:12

Have I been a bad husband? We shouldn't be in this position.

0:26:120:26:16

People think it's an easy decision when they see the beautiful surroundings, but it's not easy.

0:26:160:26:23

'And it's not just him. He's noticed a change in Sam.'

0:26:230:26:28

I'm a bit concerned about Sam.

0:26:280:26:30

I think Sam's going to be the one that makes it hard for us to move.

0:26:300:26:36

He's seven and he'll do as he's told, but it's affecting him a lot.

0:26:360:26:41

That in turn's affected me when I didn't think it would do.

0:26:410:26:46

That's a bad feeling for us, really.

0:26:460:26:49

He's really missing his friends.

0:26:490:26:52

My cousins,

0:26:590:27:01

aunties, nans, uncles,

0:27:010:27:04

granddads and all the other friends and families.

0:27:040:27:09

Ben said he can only visit me five years at a time.

0:27:090:27:13

Because of the money. He'd have to save up the money.

0:27:130:27:17

I won't see them for a long time and I'll forget about them.

0:27:170:27:22

'Ah, Sam. A huge decision like this is never easy.

0:27:220:27:26

'How has Jane got on with her crucial haircut?

0:27:260:27:30

'It's judgment time.'

0:27:300:27:32

OK, so we're all finished?

0:27:320:27:34

-Yeah.

-Beautiful.

0:27:340:27:36

-You've got a little bit of styling product already in there?

-Not yet.

0:27:360:27:41

-Technically, it's a beautiful haircut.

-Thank you.

-So that's great.

0:27:500:27:56

Is that OK for you? Yeah. Lovely.

0:27:560:27:59

No doubt we'll see you again...

0:27:590:28:02

'Jane seems to have impressed them, but what about the details?

0:28:020:28:07

'At home, she can earn £20 an hour. How much can she get here?'

0:28:070:28:11

-What is the salary for a senior stylist?

-I've got the pay scale.

0:28:110:28:17

You can take it home with you.

0:28:170:28:19

Every one of our senior stylists are on 22 up to 26.10 an hour,

0:28:190:28:25

with penalty rates when they work late, so they get time and a half.

0:28:250:28:31

I think we're relatively on a par with other states in Australia.

0:28:310:28:36

'Oh, dear. That works out at £11 an hour at the current rate.

0:28:360:28:41

'Jane was expecting double pay, not half. What does she make of it?'

0:28:410:28:45

I really do think I've sort of been led up the garden path,

0:28:450:28:50

regarding the salary.

0:28:500:28:52

I was quite shocked when she showed me the figures.

0:28:520:28:56

I didn't want to gasp, but I was thinking, "Oh, my goodness!

0:28:560:29:01

"That is just so not what I thought."

0:29:010:29:04

If I was the main breadwinner,

0:29:040:29:06

then I would be at work 24/7 with that salary expectation.

0:29:060:29:11

It's very low.

0:29:110:29:13

'There's a job waiting, but the pay's not what she'd hoped for.

0:29:130:29:18

'So how will she vote?'

0:29:180:29:20

Based on what I've seen, working in Darwin, my vote goes to...

0:29:200:29:24

..the UK.

0:29:260:29:28

'For the salary to fall so low below expectations,

0:29:280:29:33

'it's a blow to the family's plans.

0:29:330:29:36

'And they've had some big set-backs recently.'

0:29:360:29:41

Tony being really down, regarding losing the business.

0:29:410:29:45

Me having to leave the kids and go to work.

0:29:450:29:48

'And how will they react when they see messages from family?'

0:29:480:29:52

It's quite emotional for me. I'm trying to be very strong, but...

0:29:520:29:58

'Since losing his business, Tony has struggled to find work and hopes that a move will be a fresh start.'

0:30:020:30:10

The UK's got fundamental problems that won't be fixed overnight.

0:30:100:30:14

'Jane was not keen to go and it's taken persuading from Tony to get her this far.'

0:30:140:30:21

No, I'm not going. We'll work through this, we'll build it all back up again.

0:30:210:30:28

'Although Tony felt that Australian properties were too expensive,

0:30:280:30:32

'Jane liked them.

0:30:320:30:34

'Her notion that hairdressers get paid twice as much proved false

0:30:340:30:38

'and, despite impressing her potential employer, she was shaken.'

0:30:380:30:44

I was shocked when she showed me the figures.

0:30:440:30:46

'To make things harder, Sam, who was initially keen on a move,

0:30:460:30:51

'has started to miss his friends.'

0:30:510:30:53

I won't see them for a long time and I'll forget about them.

0:30:530:30:57

As the main breadwinner, Jane's low salary in Australia

0:31:010:31:05

means that it's important to get a good price for the house in the UK.

0:31:050:31:11

'Tony and Jane bought their three-bedroom house in the Wirral in 2005 for £148,000.

0:31:110:31:17

'They've spent around £40,000 on renovations.

0:31:170:31:21

'They think it's now worth £200,000 and every penny will count,

0:31:210:31:26

'as houses in Australia are proving more expensive than they thought.

0:31:260:31:31

'We sent two estate agents to give it a proper valuation.

0:31:310:31:35

'It's time for Tony and Jane to see what they had to say.'

0:31:350:31:40

Good size family lounge. Nice big bay window.

0:31:500:31:54

Lets plenty of light in.

0:31:540:31:56

Finished nicely. Nice room, this one.

0:31:560:32:00

Strange seeing someone in your house when you're not there.

0:32:000:32:04

Good size kitchen-breakfast room.

0:32:060:32:09

'Fitted really well with integrated oven.'

0:32:090:32:14

The French doors onto the garden are a nice feature.

0:32:260:32:30

The trees in the park are lovely. It gets the sun at this time of day.

0:32:300:32:35

This is a very family-friendly, family-orientated garden,

0:32:350:32:41

which is a great selling point.

0:32:410:32:43

A lovely contemporary bathroom suite.

0:32:490:32:52

White's always more popular than any other colour.

0:32:520:32:56

Fitted recently. An excellent selling point.

0:32:560:33:00

'There's our room!'

0:33:000:33:02

Good size master bedroom with fitted mirrored wardrobes.

0:33:050:33:09

And bay window. And a huge king size bed.

0:33:090:33:14

-Super-king.

-Super-king! Get it right!

0:33:140:33:17

Sam's toys everywhere, eh?

0:33:200:33:23

'It's a really well presented, three-bedroom semi'

0:33:230:33:27

in a popular residential location.

0:33:270:33:29

The large sunny garden's a big positive. A good selling point.

0:33:290:33:35

To achieve a quick sale, we'd price the property

0:33:350:33:38

at around £180,000.

0:33:380:33:40

-Ooh.

-Eugh.

0:33:400:33:43

A lovely three-bedroom semi, just the kind people are looking for.

0:33:430:33:48

As long as the price is just under £200,000 I would expect a lot of interest.

0:33:480:33:54

In the current market they may have to take an offer

0:33:540:33:58

more around:

0:33:580:34:01

'That's less than they thought, by about £10,000.'

0:34:010:34:05

-It's dropped a lot, hasn't it?

-Yeah. Quite a shame.

0:34:050:34:09

They're saying you can buy a house with that amount of space,

0:34:090:34:13

finished to that standard for £180,000 for a quick sale.

0:34:130:34:17

Over here, to buy something that needs loads of work, um...

0:34:170:34:21

and not particularly to your taste, or what your dream is,

0:34:210:34:26

-and it's still maybe another 50, 60 grand above that price.

-Yeah.

0:34:260:34:31

When we looked at property my vote was UK

0:34:310:34:35

because I think you do get more for your money in the UK.

0:34:350:34:39

It's clear, by watching that.

0:34:390:34:41

We really have put our heart and soul into the house.

0:34:410:34:45

-It's quite sad, really. You just want it to be so much more.

-Yeah.

0:34:450:34:50

You do think, why are we doing this?

0:34:500:34:53

We've got a beautiful home and our family around us.

0:34:530:34:58

Coming out here,

0:34:580:35:00

we might not be able to have as nice a home, and no family around us.

0:35:000:35:04

We'll be living in a tin hut dirt box, some of the things we've seen!

0:35:040:35:09

It doesn't sit right.

0:35:090:35:11

-I've got a lovely house there and we're looking at dirt boxes made out of tin here.

-Corrugated iron.

0:35:110:35:18

It's a bit of a head scratcher.

0:35:180:35:20

-I can't quite get my head around what I'm doing here.

-It IS a dream.

0:35:200:35:25

Yeah, is it a dream? I'm not quite sure at the moment.

0:35:250:35:30

The value of their house has come as a shock to Tony and Jane.

0:35:300:35:35

They have to work out how much it costs to live in Darwin

0:35:350:35:39

to see if they can afford to make the move.

0:35:390:35:43

'We've provided the Mercers with details of everyday costs,

0:35:430:35:47

'but will the numbers add up?'

0:35:470:35:50

Right... Australian costs of living.

0:35:510:35:55

The tax is quite high, isn't it? 30%.

0:35:560:35:59

-Stamp duty's 5%.

-That's big, isn't it?

0:36:000:36:03

That's a hell of a lot.

0:36:030:36:06

Electricity bills. Gee whiz.

0:36:070:36:10

To have a pool costs money. It's not just water in a hole.

0:36:100:36:14

-So, £500 a month...

-On electricity.

-On electricity alone.

0:36:140:36:18

You're basically 40% more for your food.

0:36:190:36:23

Are we working it out weekly? It's 2,000 there.

0:36:230:36:27

-Say, £200.

-Read it properly, love.

0:36:280:36:31

Right, you're not reading this properly.

0:36:340:36:37

-These are our energy bills in Australia.

-"Home electricity".

0:36:370:36:42

So our energy bill a month is £254.

0:36:420:36:45

Our energy bill here is £250.

0:36:450:36:48

-You do it.

-LAUGHING: No.

0:36:490:36:52

This is why, at home, I do all this.

0:36:520:36:55

Because Jane's useless at it. I do it.

0:36:550:36:59

'After some serious number crunching and a little loss of temper,

0:37:010:37:06

'can they afford the move to Australia?

0:37:060:37:09

Based on the cost of living and what we've just gone through,

0:37:090:37:13

our vote goes to...

0:37:130:37:15

BOTH: Australia.

0:37:190:37:21

We have skills. I know what I'm capable of when the opportunities are there.

0:37:210:37:26

I know that if we're making it work in the UK when things are tough,

0:37:260:37:32

here, where there's far more opportunities for us,

0:37:320:37:35

-I definitely vote Australia cos I know we can do it.

-So do I.

0:37:350:37:40

Darwin can be expensive and Tony would need to get a job,

0:37:450:37:49

but what would life be like?

0:37:490:37:51

'On the other side of the world, there's no getting away from school.

0:37:510:37:57

'Tony and Jane have been concerned about how the children would settle,

0:37:570:38:02

'so they've arranged for Sam to spend the day at Jingili school.'

0:38:020:38:07

Welcome to Jingili primary school. I'm Jodie, the principle.

0:38:070:38:11

-I'm Tony.

-I'm Jane.

-Good morning.

0:38:110:38:13

-This is Sam.

-Good morning, Sam.

-And Jessica.

0:38:130:38:17

Good morning, Jessica.

0:38:170:38:19

This is Mr Dixon, your teacher.

0:38:190:38:21

Sam, would you like to come in? I'll introduce you to everyone.

0:38:210:38:26

Have a nice time! Bye!

0:38:260:38:28

'In a survey, Australian schools were in the top ten in the world,

0:38:280:38:33

'higher than the UK.

0:38:330:38:35

'They're managed according to the state, and so can vary greatly.

0:38:350:38:41

'Sam seems to be settling in, though.'

0:38:410:38:44

It'll probably float. It will float.

0:38:440:38:47

'While Sam finds out what school is like,

0:38:500:38:54

'Tony and Jane are keen to see what the nursery would be like for Jess.'

0:38:540:38:59

Come and have a look what we're doing.

0:38:590:39:02

Natalia's drawing a picture.

0:39:080:39:11

JANE: 'The move, we are worried about Jess.'

0:39:150:39:18

But now it's switching and I don't know whether I should start worrying about Sam.

0:39:180:39:24

'Usually, he's so laid back and he'll go with the flow.

0:39:260:39:30

'He seems to be constantly saying'

0:39:300:39:33

he wants to see his cousin, his friends.

0:39:330:39:36

So it's a big decision.

0:39:360:39:38

'He's feeling quite anxious about the whole thing.

0:39:380:39:42

'If I'm not happy for the children'

0:39:420:39:44

to be moved out to Australia, it won't happen.

0:39:440:39:48

'It seems a lot rests on how the children take to life in Australia.'

0:39:480:39:53

-Did you enjoy it?

-Yeah.

0:39:530:39:55

Good boy. Say thank you, please.

0:39:550:39:58

Sam, it was lovely to meet you.

0:39:580:40:01

Thank you very much indeed.

0:40:010:40:03

-Thank you.

-Bye bye, now. Bye.

0:40:030:40:06

'After a morning at school, the Mercers head off for a swim.

0:40:090:40:14

'Darwin's beaches may look inviting

0:40:140:40:16

'but the family goes to a man-made lagoon, closed off from the sea.

0:40:160:40:21

'It's where locals swim, protected from unpleasant surprises

0:40:210:40:25

'that lurk just off the beach, where you could get a nasty sting.

0:40:250:40:31

'Darwin has some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia,

0:40:310:40:35

'bordered by the warm turquoise waters of the Timor Sea.

0:40:350:40:39

'With a stunning coastline minutes from the city, beaches are empty.

0:40:390:40:44

'Saltwater crocodiles are prevalent in coastal waters,

0:40:440:40:49

'but with crocodile monitoring and numerous croc traps,

0:40:490:40:53

'bathers can be relatively sure the dangerous creatures aren't around.

0:40:530:40:59

'Tony Snelling, CEO of the Northern Territories Surf Lifesaving Team is here to tell us more.'

0:41:010:41:08

We advise people not to swim on the beach eight months of the year.

0:41:080:41:13

From the beginning of October to the end of May, don't go in the water.

0:41:130:41:19

Here in the tropical north we have a particularly dangerous jellyfish,

0:41:190:41:24

a Chironex fleckeri, or locally known as the box jellyfish.

0:41:240:41:29

'The box jellyfish is feared.'

0:41:290:41:31

If you are stung by a box jellyfish, you immediately have extreme pain

0:41:310:41:36

and the toxins can have an effect on your cardiovascular system.

0:41:360:41:42

The box jellyfish has a transparent bell to it,

0:41:420:41:46

and the tentacles are similarly transparent.

0:41:460:41:51

They come out from tidal creeks

0:41:510:41:53

and feed in shallow beach areas and reef areas.

0:41:530:41:57

'Even in the dry season,

0:41:570:41:59

'it's recommended that people only use beaches that have been checked.

0:41:590:42:05

'It's not just swimmers who are in danger.'

0:42:050:42:08

Paddling is dangerous during the wet season, when many stings occur.

0:42:080:42:13

People aren't prepared for that.

0:42:130:42:16

They associate box jellyfish stings with swimming,

0:42:160:42:20

but many occur by people paddling.

0:42:200:42:23

'Luckily, there are times when the water is safer.'

0:42:230:42:27

Nothing's ever completely safe

0:42:270:42:29

and 100% risk-free,

0:42:290:42:31

but box jellyfish are not prevalent during the dry season.

0:42:310:42:35

It's rare for somebody to be stung,

0:42:350:42:38

particularly in June, July, August and September.

0:42:380:42:41

So it's relatively safe.

0:42:410:42:44

It is a real shock, something I hadn't researched about Darwin.

0:42:440:42:49

You automatically think beautiful beaches, you can swim and surf.

0:42:490:42:54

'There's a safe lagoon for the family.

0:42:540:42:57

'Jane reflects on how hard life's been since the bankruptcy.'

0:42:570:43:02

Tony's been at home trying to become the house husband,

0:43:020:43:06

struggled.

0:43:060:43:08

LAUGHING: But he's getting there.

0:43:080:43:10

It's been difficult for me, breaking away from the children,

0:43:100:43:14

especially Jessica, she's so clingy.

0:43:140:43:17

Doesn't really want to do much without me.

0:43:170:43:21

It's been hard for Tony because he was always at work and now she cries continuously for me.

0:43:210:43:28

So it's been hard in a lot of ways.

0:43:280:43:33

Tony being really down, regarding losing the business,

0:43:330:43:38

me having to leave the kids and go to work,

0:43:380:43:41

then come home and pick Tony up for being down.

0:43:410:43:45

And then, still being a mum.

0:43:450:43:47

It's been a really hard 12 months for us all.

0:43:470:43:51

Based on the lifestyle that we've seen here today, our vote goes to...

0:43:540:43:59

'It's been a long day, but what do they make of the lifestyle?'

0:43:590:44:04

-JANE AND TONY: Australia.

-UK.

0:44:040:44:07

UK?

0:44:070:44:09

OK.

0:44:090:44:11

Really?

0:44:110:44:12

How come you voted for UK, Sam?

0:44:120:44:15

-Because I'm missing my friends.

-You're gonna miss your friends?

0:44:150:44:20

Don't get sad. It's OK. It's obviously a sore point for him.

0:44:200:44:24

You'll make friends here, but OK, we'll see.

0:44:240:44:28

We'll make the decision as a family, so you'll be fine.

0:44:280:44:32

It seems Sam is really missing his mates back home.

0:44:390:44:43

If they emigrate, they'll all need to make friends.

0:44:430:44:47

The Mercers are up early to meet a local family

0:44:500:44:54

at one of Darwin's many street markets.

0:44:540:44:57

-Hello, good morning.

-Eddie.

0:45:010:45:04

Hello. How are you?

0:45:040:45:06

Here's my wife, Julie.

0:45:060:45:08

My daughters, Courtney and Adrienne.

0:45:080:45:11

-This is Sam.

-G'day, Sam.

0:45:110:45:13

This is Jessie. Hello, Jess. >

0:45:130:45:16

Princess, come on. Say hello.

0:45:160:45:19

Look at the size of these watermelons, Jess!

0:45:190:45:22

-What's that?

-I don't know.

0:45:240:45:26

Eugh!

0:45:260:45:28

'After a quick tour round the market they head to a park,

0:45:280:45:32

'and Tony is eager to find out more about Darwin.'

0:45:320:45:36

-It's absolutely beautiful.

-Yes, it is.

0:45:360:45:39

-There's plenty of work?

-EDDIE: For anyone with a trade.

0:45:390:45:43

There's plenty of work up here. Down south might be different.

0:45:430:45:48

If you want to work, there's always work.

0:45:480:45:52

Cos in the UK it's...

0:45:520:45:55

But as much as people are getting laid off in the UK,

0:45:550:45:59

you could still get a job, if you're prepared to work. >

0:45:590:46:03

Y-yeah. That's fair comment, but you're probably flipping burgers.

0:46:030:46:08

If you need to feed your family, there's work out there.

0:46:080:46:12

< Employers have a bit more scope of people to employ.

0:46:120:46:16

But there's work for trade people who've got skills?

0:46:160:46:20

There's a gas plant starting soon.

0:46:200:46:23

We want to do some work on our house

0:46:230:46:25

and everyone you speak to says the builders have a huge backlog,

0:46:250:46:31

till you can get someone in.

0:46:310:46:33

-You can't ring up and say...

-I want a bathroom fitted next week?

0:46:330:46:37

-Even three months' time.

-Really?

-Yeah.

0:46:370:46:41

That's what I was doing in the UK, remodelling,

0:46:410:46:44

new-builds, cosmetic internal work.

0:46:440:46:47

If you're out here by next dry season I've got a job for you!

0:46:470:46:51

ALL LAUGH

0:46:510:46:53

I'm not going home, I'm just going to stay here.

0:46:530:46:57

-I've got a job. See ya!

-I've got the visa, baby!

0:46:570:47:01

-We'll try and catch up with you.

-Nice to have met you. Thank you.

0:47:040:47:09

When you move back, let us know and I'll sort that job out.

0:47:090:47:14

Thanks again. Bye.

0:47:140:47:16

'Tony may have landed a potential job but Jane knows him too well.'

0:47:160:47:22

Tony can get carried away, really. Say, "This job!" and "That job!"

0:47:220:47:27

I am the feet-on-the-ground person

0:47:270:47:30

saying, "Have you thought this through?"

0:47:300:47:33

Most of the time he has and everything works out really well.

0:47:330:47:38

Sometimes I do have to rein him in a bit.

0:47:380:47:41

Tony may be excited about the prospect of returning to work

0:47:460:47:51

but how will they feel about the move when they've seen messages from friends and family back home?

0:47:510:47:57

Hi!

0:48:010:48:02

Hello.

0:48:020:48:04

-Hi, Jane. Hi, Tony.

-Hello, Sam. Hello, Jess.

0:48:040:48:07

-Hi, everybody.

-Hello, sprog!

0:48:070:48:10

Hi, Tony, Sam and Jessie.

0:48:100:48:12

I couldn't ask for a better brother. He listens.

0:48:120:48:16

I can go to him with anything.

0:48:160:48:19

And he'd fix it. He'd fix it. He's a fixer.

0:48:190:48:23

Super-intelligent.

0:48:230:48:25

If you knew what he'd achieved in his life you'd think, "Wow!"

0:48:250:48:29

-She's a good daughter.

-A nice girl.

0:48:290:48:32

Loyal. And...

0:48:320:48:35

Supportive. They're very good kids.

0:48:350:48:39

-Lovely kids.

-Nice natured.

0:48:410:48:44

I love them. I love those kids so much.

0:48:440:48:48

She's a Daddy's girl. I think she's absolutely beautiful.

0:48:480:48:52

Sam is a very good friend.

0:48:520:48:55

Sometimes very clever.

0:48:550:48:58

-Sam's very funny. We might forget about Sam.

-Yeah.

0:48:580:49:04

NEW SPEAKER: I'll miss her.

0:49:040:49:06

I'll miss Tony because he's loads of fun to be around.

0:49:060:49:10

I'll miss the kids. My children play with them all the time.

0:49:100:49:15

I'll miss her just being there, if I needed her.

0:49:150:49:18

I think the contact, giving them a hug and...

0:49:180:49:22

Knowing that I don't have a brother round the corner.

0:49:220:49:26

Just him turning up and ringing the bell.

0:49:260:49:30

I don't think a day goes by that I don't speak to her.

0:49:300:49:33

I'll just miss her company, really.

0:49:330:49:36

They used to live in London.

0:49:360:49:40

She moved back up here to be near her family.

0:49:400:49:44

Australia's a lot further away than London so I think it'll be tough.

0:49:440:49:49

I think I'm still in a bit of denial.

0:49:490:49:52

Cos I think, "They won't go."

0:49:520:49:54

They're going to start a new life and they will move on.

0:49:540:49:59

I worry about that...

0:49:590:50:02

We won't have that closeness.

0:50:030:50:06

It's our only grandchildren.

0:50:060:50:09

The only grandchildren we know about!

0:50:090:50:12

I'm going to miss them.

0:50:120:50:15

Miss not having him around, really.

0:50:210:50:23

Don't forget your auntie Jenny.

0:50:270:50:29

I don't care how big you are, Jess, I'll always give you the aeroplane.

0:50:290:50:34

Sam, I'll twiddle you round even when you're grown.

0:50:340:50:37

Good luck. Love you.

0:50:370:50:39

We'll miss you very much, especially Sam and Jess.

0:50:390:50:42

I love you very much, too. Bye.

0:50:420:50:47

Thinking about you. I'll be here for you, wherever you are in the world.

0:50:470:50:52

Whatever decision you make, we're with you all the way.

0:50:520:50:57

All I can say is I love you loads and I'll see you soon.

0:50:570:51:01

If it didn't work, I think it would be hard to come back,

0:51:010:51:07

to admit that it didn't work, but obviously, I hope that it would.

0:51:070:51:13

It's quite emotional. I'm trying to be very strong but...

0:51:370:51:42

Brings it home a bit, that.

0:51:430:51:45

It's very powerful when you see your family upset.

0:51:450:51:49

We've only been away a week. It puts it in perspective.

0:51:490:51:52

They're so supportive when I've been down and really low.

0:51:520:51:56

I shall miss their support.

0:51:560:51:59

If you went anything on that, you wouldn't go. You just wouldn't.

0:52:020:52:07

Nothing's clear cut any more, is it?

0:52:070:52:12

It's been mixed in with a bit of grey. I don't know what to say.

0:52:120:52:16

Other than I'm not sure. I'm just not sure.

0:52:160:52:20

The thought of leaving loved ones hasn't been easy for the family.

0:52:300:52:35

The Mercers have a big decision ahead of them.

0:52:350:52:39

'It's the end of a long week in Darwin for the family.

0:52:390:52:43

-'They haven't found it easy.'

-It's like a static caravan.

0:52:430:52:47

Wow!

0:52:490:52:51

-This is better!

-I want this!

0:52:510:52:54

It's from one extreme to the other within five minutes of each other,

0:52:570:53:03

ten times a day.

0:53:030:53:05

So it's.... It's really hard to cope with.

0:53:050:53:09

'Despite getting carried away with the third property,

0:53:090:53:13

'Tony was stunned by the prices.'

0:53:130:53:16

This is living the dream.

0:53:160:53:18

I'm shocked on what you get for your money in Australia.

0:53:180:53:22

A lot of texture through...

0:53:220:53:24

'The Mercers' dream was dealt a big blow

0:53:240:53:27

'when Jane's idea of an increased salary proved to be wrong.'

0:53:270:53:31

I was quite shocked when she showed me the figures.

0:53:310:53:35

I didn't want to gasp, but I was thinking, "Oh, my goodness!"

0:53:350:53:40

'They enjoyed the lifestyle and made the most of meeting the locals.'

0:53:400:53:45

If you're out here by next dry season, I've got a job for you.

0:53:450:53:50

'But Sam got more homesick as the week went on, a constant worry for Tony and Jane.'

0:53:510:53:58

He's really missing his friends.

0:53:580:54:00

Usually, he's so laid back.

0:54:000:54:03

'It was Tony's idea to move to Australia after losing his business.

0:54:030:54:07

'Having worked so hard to persuade Jane, is he having second thoughts?'

0:54:070:54:13

It's going to be tough.

0:54:130:54:16

When you're here and feel the scale of it, there's no denying it.

0:54:160:54:20

Knowing that I'd not see my brother and sister is... It's sad.

0:54:200:54:25

It upsets me a bit, you know?

0:54:250:54:27

I've got a bit upset. Sorry, I've got...

0:54:290:54:32

Got a bit upset thinking about me brother and sister, sorry.

0:54:320:54:36

SIGHS

0:54:470:54:50

It's not like me, that. Dear me.

0:54:500:54:54

I'll miss my family a lot, you know? I love them all.

0:54:550:55:00

I'll miss them dearly but I've got to do what's best for my family.

0:55:000:55:05

'It's crunch time.

0:55:070:55:09

'Will they choose to stay in the UK, or start a new life down under?

0:55:090:55:13

Based on everything that Darwin has to offer,

0:55:130:55:16

our final vote goes to...

0:55:160:55:18

UK

0:55:210:55:23

TONY AND JANE: Australia.

0:55:230:55:25

We won't see our friends for a long while, or family.

0:55:270:55:32

So that's why I'm choosing the UK.

0:55:320:55:36

I understand.

0:55:360:55:38

I think Australia's definitely the place for us.

0:55:380:55:41

I think so.

0:55:410:55:43

How about this, right? I get you a laptop with a webcam?

0:55:460:55:51

You can speak to all your friends on the internet

0:55:510:55:55

and you can talk to them on a video.

0:55:550:55:58

-Would you like that?

-Yeah.

0:55:580:56:00

Come here.

0:56:030:56:05

'Sam will really miss his friends in the UK but time is a great healer.

0:56:070:56:13

'Tony and Jane think that Australia holds a better future for the whole family.

0:56:130:56:19

'It's still going to take a lot to make it work.'

0:56:190:56:23

Join us next time when we find out what happens

0:56:230:56:27

when another British family decide whether they're wanted down under.

0:56:270:56:31

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:56:510:56:55

Series in which British families, keen to trade in the British weather for the down-under lifestyle, are given the chance to sample what life would be like if they moved to the other side of the world.

Tony Mercer was a property developer in the Wirral, who has been hit by the credit crunch and is now a househusband. Wife Jane is a hairdresser - a job in demand in Australia. They sample life for a week in Darwin, and it turns out to be an emotional time, both for them and their children.


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