On 21st April 1976 a gang of gunmen held up more than 50 members of Melbourne ’s Victoria Turf Club, the audacious heist left the police with not a single clue but recriminations and rivalry threatens to bring the gang down… Mike Power (John Bach) who led the robbery had been in Prison in England when he learns of the way the Turf Club operates and after getting out on parole returns home to put his team together.
The Great Bookie Robbery which dates from the mid 80’s is one of those Australian drama’s that has lived long in peoples memories and is based on a real life event that took place at Melbourne’s Victorian Turf Club.
The gritty feel of the serial makes it hyper realistic, similar in style to UK productions like Widows or Out, there’s a rawness to the production that was a great antidote to all the glossy shows that were being made then. It’s pretty gruesome at times too, notably when things start to get a little out of hand after the robbery and the gang find themselves targeted by mobsters The Templer Brothers which leads to death and execution and an outcome which is surprisingly downbeat.
The cast, which includes a pre Home and Away Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher), is fantastic, John Bach as gang ring leader Mike Power is a very strong presence but there are also fine performances from a young Gary Sweet, the ever reliable Gary Day and even Rebecca Gibney. The 1980’s saw a major explosion in the fortunes of the Australian mini-series that was felt all over the world and whilst The Great Bookie Robbery probably didn’t conform to the typical costume drama epic it is easily the equal of any number of Town Like Alice’s or Sara Danes.
Channel 9 – PBL / 3×120 minute episodes / Broadcast 15 – 17 November 1985
Writer: Philip Cornford / Camera: Ellery Ryan / Design: Michael Ralph / Costume: David Rowe / Music: Dave Skinner / Producer: Ian Bradley / Directors: Mark Joffe, Marcus Cole
JOHN BACH as Mike Power
CATHERINE WILKIN as Carol Power
GARY DAY as Colin Reynolds
BRUNO LAWRENCE as Cracka Park
ANDY ANDERSON as Tony Lott
GEORGE SPARTELS as Jaffa Davis
DENIS MOORE as Russ Lockhart
PAUL SONKILA as Merv Temple
RAY MEAGHER as Bob Temp
CANDY RAYMOND as Sonya Reynolds
GARY SWEET as Chicka White
SCOTT BURGESS as Robbins
REBECCA GIBNEY as Bonnie
VICKI ANGUS as Mrs Casey
Above The Law (Channel 10 2000, Nicholas Bishop, Scott Burgess)
Crime drama series Above The Law detailed life for the residents of an apartment complex which features a police station on the ground floor.
NICHOLAS BISHOP as Matt Bridges
SCOTT BURGESS as Bill Peterson
KIRSTY WRIGHT as Belinda Clark
MEME THORNE as Sunny Rodriguez
BRIDIE CARTER as Senior Constable Debbie Curtis
ALYSSA JANE COOK as Olivia Murray
TEO GILBERT as Skeez
JOLYON JAMES as Constable Stavros
Creators: Tony Morphett, Inga Hunter
Script Editor: Christine Milligan
Producers: Hal McElroy, Rocky Bester
Executive Producers: Hal McElroy, Di McElroy
Network and Production Companies: Channel 10 – Columbia Tristar
Duration: x50 minute episodes
Aired From: 2000
Murcheson Creek (Channel 9 1976, Mark Edwards, Rowena Wallace)
In one off thriller Murcheson Creek Andrew Murcheson returns to his home town to take over his father’s medical practice (the town being named Murcheson Creek in honour of his family.) He begins an affair with an old flame Karen Fields and also finds himself stirring up secrets that should have stayed buried after trying to settle his father’s accounts.
Mark Edwards as Dr Andrew Murcheson
Rowena Wallace as Karen Fields
Abigail as Donna Lewis
Sandra Lee Paterson as Dr Myfanwy Mckenna
Director: Terry Bourke
Writer: Robert Caswell
Producer: Ross Hawthorn
Executive Producer: Bill Harmon
Network and Production Companies: Channel 9 – Cash Harmon
Duration: 1×90 minute episode
Aired From: 1976
Australian Gangster (Channel 7 2018)
Australian Gangster is a crime drama that will have a distinctly modern vibe. No real plot details have been released as yet but it’s being talked of a grand tale of crime in Western Sydney where glitz and glamour vie with drugs and laundered money. The behind the scenes crew have impressive pedigrees – it’s been written by Gregor Jordan (of Two Hands fame) and Romper Stomper author Malcolm Knox.
Producer John Edwards said “Just as Two Hands was an oblique take on a familiar form a generation ago, Australian Gangster will be a genre-bending crime drama series – confronting, affronting, touching and often laugh-out-loud crazy.”
Filming will begin early next year in and around Sydney.
Writer: Gregor Jordan, Malcolm Knox
Producers: Dan Edwards, John Edwards
Director: Daina Reed
Network and Production Companies: Channel 7 – Roadshow Rough Diamond – Screen Australia – Create NSW – Red Arrow International
Duration: Not sure as yet
Aired From: In production
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