Australian TV TV

Cyclone Tracy (Channel 9 1986 with Tracy Mann and Chris Haywood)

Cyclone Tracy

Cyclone Tracy is one of those real life events that everyone of a certain age in Australia remembers. On Christmas Day 1974 a devastating Cyclone ripped through Darwin killing over a hundred people and leaving tens of thousands homeless as well as laying waste to 80 percent of the buildings in the area.

Made in 1986 this big budget mini series puts you right in the eye of the storm as it tells the story of the devastating catastrophe.

Made with a real documentary feel the first part deals with the coming cyclone – its a long hot summer and with Christmas on its way many of the locals ignore the growing warnings – the storm is seen through the eyes of half a dozen or so characters, single mum Connie, Steve, who is able to rise above his problems by helping out others; There is also token American Nicholas Hammond who has a cargo of drugs he needs to offload. It’s these personal stories that really bring home the cost of the cyclone to you. Much of the later part of the drama focuses on the aftermath of Tracy and focuses on the spirit of the legendary “Aussie Battler”.

Beautifully shot by Andrew Lesnie who would go on to work on Lord of the Rings, Cyclone Tracy is incredibly watchable, real and heartfelt. As journalist Steve Parish says in voice over “In the days that followed Tracy, many left Darwin, many never to return. Those of us who stayed began the big clean up and the rebuilding of our lives. It was a time of sadness and joy, of compassion and hope for our future. For Tracy changed all of us, finding our strengths and weaknesses and forcing us into directions we probably never would have taken. Tracy had an impact that went beyond the individual.”

production details
Australia / Channel 9 – PBL / 3×120 minute episodes / Broadcast 5-7 November 1986

Writers: Michael Fisher, Ted Roberts, Leon Saunders / Design: Stewart Burnside / Costume: Helen Hooper / Camera: Andrew Lesnie / Music: Martin Armiger / Producers: John Edwards, Timothy Read / Directors: Donald Crombie, Kathy Mueller

cast
CHRIS HAYWOOD as Steve
TRACY MANN as Connie
NICHOLAS HAMMOND as Harry
LINDA CROPPER as Joycie
TONY BARRY as Mick Brennan
AILEEN BRITTON as Big Caroline
CAROLINE GILMER as Little Caroline
JACK WEBSTER as Bobby Fontaine
PAUL PRYOR as Hilton
DAVID SLINGSBY as Hawthorne
NOEL HODDA as Lt Tony Baker
JOHN ALANSU as Skipper
FRANCIS Yin as Lee
CECIL PARKEE as Benjamin
KATE RITCHIE