ABC will produce a telemovie profiling long-distance folk hero Cliff Young.
The 61 year-old Victorian potato farmer grabbed world headlines when he beat the finest distance runners in the 1983 Sydney to Melbourne ultra marathon. Young beat them all by running while they slept, and his ungainly running style became known as “the gumboot shuffle.”
Set against the backdrop of the early eighties, Cliffy retraces his journey from famously training in gumboots among cow paddocks through the six day ultra marathon to his emergence as Australia’s most unlikely sporting hero.
After the race, 62 year old Young married Mary Howell, 39 years his junior. The marriage lasted 5 years. He died aged 81 in 2003 following a battle with cancer.
Carole Sklan, ABC TV’s Head of Fiction said “Few stories capture the public imagination like that of Cliff Young. Nearly 30 years after famously shuffling from Sydney to Melbourne and into Australian folklore, Cliffy continues to fascinate and inspire. We are delighted to be partnering with such an accomplished creative team to bring this iconic tale to ABC TV.”
Cliffy will be produced by Clock End Films for ABC1. It will be directed by Dean Murphy (Charlie & Boots, Strange Bedfellows) with Nigel Odell (Strange Bedfellows, Long Weekend) as producer. The telemovie has been written by Robert B. Taylor (Muggers).
Producer Nigel Odell said “Dean and I are thrilled to be working with ABC TV to bring to life the story of this Aussie legend. Here is a man, who at the very mention of his name makes people smile. Everyone relates to Cliffy because secretly we all feel we have the ability to do amazing things if only we were given the chance and we love an underdog. He embodies everything we value in Australia and it’s fantastic that ABC TV is giving Australian audiences another chance to celebrate this amazing man and his incredible achievements.”
Casting is currently underway with filming to start in mid April across Albury-Wodonga and regional Victoria.