More drama as Picnic at Hanging Rock producer quits

Foxtel dominated the Drama wins at the Logie Awards on Sunday but the production dramas on Picnic at Hanging Rock are at risk of upstaging the storyline, following recent events.

The FremantleMedia production is now onto its third producer following the resignation of Ewan Burnett.

The well-regarded Burnett joined the production in January, replacing Antonia Barnard, but resigned earlier this month.

It follows industry furore last year when the Australian Directors Guild challenged a decision to hire Canadian Director Larysa Kondracki over local talent. The backlash is understood to have angered Foxtel, before parties resolved by adding a third director alongside Kondracki and Aussie Michael Rymer.

FremantleMedia denied there were rumblings on set, with a spokesperson telling TV Tonight, “Producer Antonia Barnard established the production and the key creative team before having to leave for personal reasons.

“Ewan Burnett stepped in to the role to kick-start production and now FMA’s Head of Production – Drama, Brett Popplewell, will grow his existing responsibilities with Picnic At Hanging Rock and assume the role of Producer.

“Brett was previously the Line Producer of Wentworth.”

The series, which features Lola Bessis, Yael Stone, Anna McGahan, Sibylla Budd, Dony Hany & Marcus Graham, is due to air later this year.


  1. You have to wonder why Foxtel didn’t do a season two of the brilliant series The Kettering Incident rather than waste their money on a show that few believe will live up to the expectations of the original film.

  2. There is no way that this series is going to be better or equal to the 1975 peter weir film, that is a classic and this is a unnecessary remake. Same goes for 10’s remake of Wake in Fright(also a classic australian film from the early 1970s), do not understand why people think remaking things is the way to go, rarely the remakes are better than the original.

  3. This sort of politics will not encourage future investment in Australian productions it will do the opposite. With industry voices recently protesting about the lack of Australian content on Netflix, the chances of getting heard will be less likely if the money goes elsewhere.

  4. Sorry but a line producer is an elevated production manager who puts the nuts and bolts of a production together. It is a completely different job to a producer who oversees and appoints the creatives and then the production. Promoting a line producer to a producer role is not a solution but given what has happened few experienced producers would want to inherit what is clearly a troubled production. A one-off television drama mini-series is driven by a producer and foundation writer from the very first draft of the script and followed through to the end. It does not bode well.

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