Australian TV TV

Shiralee, The (Channel 7 1988 with Bryan Brown and Noni Hazlehurst)

Australia / Channel 7 – SAFC Prod / 2×120 minute episodes / Broadcast June 1988

Writer: Tony Morphett / Novel: D’Arcy Niland / Camera: Geoffrey Simpson / Design: Kristian Fredrikson / Costume: Anna French / Music: Chris Neal / Producer: Bruce Moir / Executive Producer: Jock Blair / Director: George Olgilvie

Period drama serial. In the mid 1980’s the Australian mini-series was King and Bryan Brown was a key figure in making the genre a success, having shot to fame in the hugely successful A Town Like Alice (definitely a candidate for a DVD release if ever there was one!).

This utterly charming late 1980’s two parter sees Brown at his best. Set in the dusty, dry and harsh Australian outback post world war II and in to the 1950’s, the rugged actor plays drifter Mac, who moves from town to town as a labourer, however, he isn’t on his own. Tagging along with him is his 9 year old daughter Buster (a brilliant performance from the young Rebecca Smart who won a Logie – Australia’s top acting awards – for her portrayal). She is, in fact, The Shiralee of the title – Aussie outback speak for a burden.

Although Mac sometimes feels the pressures of fatherhood and having to look after Buster as well as himself, the two of them have the most amazing bond that simply cannot be broken. No matter what the world throws at them.

Based on a 1950’s novel by D’Arcy Niland, The Shiralee is excellent, the kind of drama that Australian TV does best. Packed full of incident and drama and with great performances from the likes of Playschool’s Noni Hazlehurst, Norman Kaye and Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart from Home and Away). A very successful production which also picked up a logie for most popular miniseries. Filmed in Quorn.

cast
BRYAN BROWN as Macauley
NONI HAZLEHURST as Lily
REBECCA SMART as Buster
LEWIS FITZ-GERALD as Tony
LORNA LESLEY as Marge
NED MANNING as Jim
MADELAINE BLACKWELL as Lucy
SIMON CHILVERS as Thaddeus
JULIE HAMILTON as Bella
REG EVANS as Luke
WILLIAM ZAPPA as Donny
FRANK GALLACHER as Beauty
NORMAN KAYE as Desmond
RAY MEAGHER as Polkadot