Foxtel to remake Prisoner

Foxtel has announced a new, contemporary “re-imagining” of Prisoner.

To be titled Wentworth, the series will be produced by FremantleMedia Australia, formerly known as the original producer Grundys.

It will follow the story of newly arrived prisoner Bea Smith, and her ascendancy to the position of ”Top Dog”.

Developed by Lara Radulovich and David Hannam from the original concept by Reg Watson, it will be produced by Fremantle’s new head of drama, Jo Porter, and be filmed in Melbourne.

Foxtel Executive Director of Television, Brian Walsh, said: “Wentworth will be a dynamic and very confronting drama series, developed and stylised specifically for subscription television audiences. We have told producers to push all boundaries and honestly depict life on the inside as it is in 2012.”

FremantleMedia Australia Director of Drama, Jo Porter, said: “Wentworth is a compelling character drama series about women which will take the audience inside a unique environment governed by its own rules.

“The series explores the politics of women in a world with few men, and how the experience both challenges and changes them, sometimes for the better. It’s a drama series built on the great Australian tradition of overcoming the odds to find mateship and belonging in the most unlikely circumstances. We’re very excited to be casting for so many strong female characters.”

FremantleMedia Chief Executive Asia Pacific, Ian Hogg, said: “An entire generation of
Australians grew up watching Prisoner and another is about to do the same with Wentworth.

“It will be bold, relevant and adventurous. Most importantly, its foundations will be built on amazing stories and wonderful characters.”

A new version was originally on TEN’s 2011 drama slate as Inside Out telling the story of an innocent woman thrown in jail, who comes to realise getting even is the best revenge, written by Ian Bradley and developed by Freehand.

Brian Walsh recently hinted at the new series, telling TV Tonight, “One of the Dramas will be a big ensemble piece, shot in Melbourne. I expect we’ll announce that in the next week or two. It will be broadcast later this year on the W Channel.”

This marks at least the second remake for Prisoner which was remade for the US market as Dangerous Women as well as a stage musical for the UK.

Foxtel has enjoyed ongoing success with reruns of the original series which regularly delivers a solid audience on 111 HITS.

The original series, which aired between 1979 and 1986, remains one of Australia’s most enduring and beloved dramas.

Source: The Age


  1. I as a fan of Prisoner tv series is one of the best ones around. Though i only watch it because it seems quite epic and because it was very funny in my opinion. And because im male i like tosee what life went in 1979/1980 in australian tv with these interesting uniforms and these seats that i still yet see them around at nursing homes believe it or not.

    Its good that foxtel brinsg back Prisoner. And that if Prisoner is to be made again as new.. I would rather hear the same music been played and dont add too much graphics nor much action involved. As you can see the original Prisoner may of been alittle dark and alittle slow and all seems indoors on the hallway of the set. But thats what makes it more interesting.

    Not like todays where they bring back a old series or such and then you realise they transform the original music with added touch of todays beats or that the series ends up been very boring and not very original. So the original cast was good and total plain… Not like today where they would transform that music from prisoner into a more modern sound to it and then have more stack of things in the prison hallway just because we have more things today then what it was when it first came out originaly.

    Lets hope its not one of these where the entrence of the theme music turns out to sound goofy of todays music sound transformation of the orgiinal sound and thats not good. I do wish i was there and u will see whos top dog. 🙂

  2. “I lnow!” says overpaid network executive, lacking any original thought processes, “let’s remake …… err ….. um ….. Cell Block H … no, I mean … err … Prisoner”.

    “Brilliant!” cry the minions.

    $4 million later and the show is cancelled after 3 episodes.

  3. Really happy to be seeing a new series as I’ve been wanting a new prison drama for ages (watch Prisoner re-runs daily).

    Not too keen on the remake though. Would have like to have seen a modern day Wentworth with new characters, with maybe some old cast getting a look in somehow from time to time.

    Yeah, not everyone has Foxtel, but Channel 10 aren’t funding it, so no Wentworth for them (Soup Nazi voice).

  4. This is great news, can hardly wait, people have been waiting for years of a Prisoner spin off, to this day one of Australia’s most successful shows and it looks like this time it will finally happen. The high ratings of Prisoner on 111HITS proves that even to this day there is a demand for Australia’s best ever drama series.

    It’s also great that they will be focussing on Prisoner’s most popular character; the tough almighty top dog Bea Smith. If they get the casting and everything else right this could be a big success, it’s high time we had a drama as good as the original Prisoner.

    Just a shame that one of the free to air stations like 9 or 10 who are in desperate need of some good Australian drama content couldn’t make this happen so that everyone could see it.

  5. Stop making remakes of our favourite shows. They only ruin them! Look at the US as a prime example. They are full of remakes each and every year.

  6. I agree with JulieS. There’s a giant leap sideways. It worked 30 years ago for a reason – however the world has moved on. Where’s a drama exploring contemporary women on W? The rumours have been circling around this over for 2 years. Fremantle must have pushed very hard to get this commissioned.

  7. Looks like Australian television has run out of ideas and is following the US in re-imaging/re-booting old TV shows. You would think by now that Australian would have learnt the lesson that updating old TV shows does not work.

  8. According to his Twitter, Eastenders Pete McTighe is writing it.!/PeteMcTighe

    His FB is private – any one got any more goss?

    Controversial move doing a “re-imagining”. But wow.

  9. daveinprogress

    Wow! Fab. Great News.
    But Bea is such a daggy old fashioned name – i get what they are doing, but unless it is set again in 1978, which it is described as a contemporary re-imagining, surely a more contemorary name for the lead character? But very excited about this.

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