Nine has now released further details on Howzat! from Southern Star, including more on the cast involved.
The two-part miniseries, currently filming in and around Melbourne for six weeks, stars Lachy Hulme (Beaconsfield, Offspring) as Kerry Packer taking on the cricket establishment to launch World Series Cricket.
Other cast members include Abe Forsythe (Laid, Marking Time) as John Cornell, Clayton Watson (Out of the Blue) and Damon Gameau (Balibo) as Ian and Greg Chappell, with Brendan Cowell (Beneath Hill 60, Love My Way) as Rod Marsh, Matthew Le Nevez (Offspring, The Society Murders) as Dennis Lillee, and Richard Davies (Offspring) as David Hookes.
Hamish Michael, Ryan O’Kane, Alexander England, Mandy McElhinney, Cariba Heine and Travis McMahon also star.
In 1976 Australian businessman Kerry Packer, annoyed at not having been granted TV broadcasting rights by the Australian Cricket Board and fearing the game was dying, threw the cricket world into turmoil by secretly signing up fifty of the world’s best cricketers and creating ‘World Series Cricket’. He knew the players, who had been underpaid for years, were on the point of rebellion against the cricket authorities. His rebel games clashed head-on with official test matches, and the war was on.
Despite poor crowds at first, a brave new world of sports broadcasting had begun, ushering in the era of one-day cricket played under lights.
Howzat! – Kerry Packer’s War tells the story of the bitter two-year cricket war between Packer, with his highly-paid elite professionals and the cricket Establishment doing its best to protect the hundred-year legacy of pride in the traditional nature of the poorly paid game. The result was to change cricket forever. World Series Cricket introduced into the game a dramatic new era of dynamism and elite professionalism and thrust cricket into the modern era, shaping the game we know today.
Southern Star’s John Edwards (Beaconsfield, Offspring, Paper Giants, Rush) and Mimi Butler (Rush) are producing Howzat! for the Nine Network. Daina Reid (Paper Giants) directs from a screenplay by Christopher Lee (Paper Giants).
“Kerry Packer played such an intrinsic role in shaping the Nine Network, with his legacy still very much alive today,” Michael Healy, Nine Network Director of Television, said.
“Coupled with Channel Nine’s long history of broadcasting cricket, we couldn’t be more excited about bringing this extraordinary story to Australian television.”
Southern Star producer John Edwards said: ‘World Series Cricket was a great adventure for everybody involved – and it’s a great adventure for us too, to get to tell that story.’
Howzat! is now shooting in Melbourne and will be broadcast later this year on the Nine Network.