Developed by Ruby Entertainment (Crackerjack, the Murray Whelan telemovies, Bed of Roses), it is an historical fiction about the colonisation of Australia and the escalating conflict between Indigenous inhabitants and the newly arrived white settlers.
Described as an “epic tragedy”, it centres around Will Thornhill, a former convict, brutally treated and impoverished in England, lead by desperation, fear and ambition towards a crime of terrible savagery.
“The Secret River is a profound and moving story that has captivated its readers. It’s wonderful that ABC TV can help bring such an iconic, landmark novel to a broader Australian audience,” said Carole Sklan, Head of ABC TV Fiction.
Producer, Stephen Luby said, “It’s a great privilege to be working with ABC TV on a project which promises to be not only wonderful viewing, but is truly about us, about Australia. When I first read Kate Grenville’s novel, I felt it was a story that all Australians should have the opportunity to encounter. This collaboration with ABC TV offers just such an opportunity.”
It already has a formidable development team in Oscar nominee Jan Sardi (Shine, Mao’s Last Dancer) and writer Mac Gudgeon plus director Fred Schepisi (The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Evil Angels, Six Degrees of Separation).
The Sydney Theatre Company’s adaptation of the novel sold out in January this year while the novel won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2006 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in the same year.