Fight against James Hardie to become ABC miniseries

Screen Australia has announced funding for a number of TV projects including Puberty Blues, Underground: The Julian Assange Story and Howzat!: World Series Cricket.

Funding for new television projects reveals a two-part ABC series telling the tragic story of Bernie Banton (pictured) and his fight for justice against James Hardie Industries. Devil’s Dust will be produced by FremantleMedia Australia and Bravado Productions.

ABC also has The Doctor Blake Mysteries, a period mystery drama series set in country Victoria, from December Films.

Children’s drama Dance Academy, which has its second season in 2012, will return for a third season while comic animation series The Flamin’ Thongs will also air on the ABC.

Meanwhile, live action children’s series In Your Dreams from Southern Star will be set in both Germany and Australia, and will air on Seven Network. Casting is currently underway.

Fremantle Media Australia Pty Ltd and Bravado Productions
Producers Jason Stephens, Antonia Barnard, Stephen Corvini
Writer Kris Mrksa
Director Jessica Hobbs
International Sales DCD Rights
Australian Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis: Devil’s Dust is a thriller of David and Goliath proportions ripping the cloak of secrecy from a huge corporate scandal that exposes how asbestos multi-national company, James Hardie, oversaw a strategy that, by ignoring the dangers of asbestos for decades, was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.

December Films
Producers Tony Wright, George Adams
Lead Writer John Alsop
Director TBC
International Sales ITV Global
Australian Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis: Dr Lucien Blake, a keeper of secrets, a solver of mysteries, returns home to 1959 Ballarat to take over his deceased father’s general medical practice after an absence of 30 years.

Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers John Edwards, Imogen Banks
Writers Alice Bell, Tony McNamara, Fiona Seres
Directors Emma Freeman, Glendyn Ivin
International Sales Endemol Worldwide Distribution
Australian Broadcaster Network Ten
Synopsis: The classic story of the seventies retold. Sex, surf and suburbia rediscovered.

Matchbox Pictures Pty Ltd
Producer Helen Bowden
Executive Producer Tony Ayres
Writer/Director Robert Connolly
International Sales NBC Universal
Australian Broadcaster Network Ten
Synopsis: Set in suburban Melbourne in the late 1980s, Underground follows a teenage Julian Assange and his gang of friends – the International Subversives – as they try to break into the computer systems of the world’s most powerful organisations. Hoping to uncover the inner workings of these groups, the boys wage battle from their bedrooms with the technologies, with each other and with the Senior AFP Detective who is intent on shutting down their group.

Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers John Edwards, Mimi Butler
Writer Christopher Lee
Director Daina Reid
International Sales Endemol Worldwide Distribution
Australian Broadcaster Nine Network
Synopsis: World Series Cricket is the story of how in 1976 businessman Kerry Packer caused a cricket war by signing up 50 of the world’s best cricketers and establishing World Series Cricket, a highly successful rebel group which challenged the establishment and thrust the game into a new era of professionalism.

Werner Film Productions
Executive Producers Bernadette O’Mahony, Joanna Werner
Producer Joanna Werner
Head Writer Samantha Strauss
Directors TBC
International Sales ZDFE
Australian Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis: Tara and her friends are now seniors at the Academy and no one can forget for a second that the Company is watching. It will be a nail-biting chase to the finish line to see who will be offered a contract and finally achieve what they have been working towards for so long… and who will have to find a new dream…

Media World Holdings Pty Ltd
Producer Colin South
Writers Bruce Griffiths, Simon Dodd
Director Kelly Lynagh
International Sales Daro
Australian Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis: Whale Bay is home to Australia’s least visited tourist attraction, the Giant Thong. But that may be about to change, for all the wrong reasons.

Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producer Noel Price
Writers John Armstrong, Tim Gooding, Kym Goldsworthy, Julie Miller
Director Ralph Strasser
International Sales Endemol Worldwide Distribution
Australian Broadcaster Network Seven
Synopsis: Australian teenage twins Samantha and Ben Haselton discover what ‘culture shock’ is all about when they spend the summer with some eccentric, aristocratic and accident-prone relatives who live in a remote German castle.


  1. Secret Squïrrel

    @JB – couldn’t agree more but I’m hoping that this will be more about Packer Jnr and his “if you can’t join them, beat them” attitude toward the ACB and his attempt to wrest the broadcast rights from the ABC.

    I have very little interest in Cleo magazine but Paper Giants was very good. I’m hoping that this will be more of the same.

  2. I’m so pleased Bernie Banton is going to have his important story told to a new generation that were too young to understand at the time, a true gentleman to the end. x

  3. Great to hear there’ll be a story about Bernie Banton and his fight against James Hardie/CSR and the story of the asbestos cover up. I read a book in the 80s called Blue Murder which covered the decades of appalling company cover up and it’s a story that most definitely needs to be told.

  4. Southern Star. So why does Screen Australia fund 3 Southern Star projects at one Board meeting? Southern Star is now a fully owned subsidiary of Endemol, a foreign based company. Surely for the sake of fairness a limit must be placed on how much subsidy per year it accesses. Otherwise few other Australian owned companies will get a look in.

  5. Mr rabbott (or the unhinged one) could make a special guest appearance in the “Devil’s Dust” as himself reprising his heart warming quote that Bernie Banton was not necessarily “pure of heart”.

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