Airdate: Banished

BBC First's local drama begins in late June, but this is no history lesson.


BBC First’s first local commission, Banished, will premiere 8.30pm Thursday June 25th.

The period drama, filmed in New South Wales with David Wenham, Russell Tovey, Ryan Corr, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind-Tutt starts with a double episode.

The seven-part series from writer / creator Jimmy McGovern screened in the UK earlier this year, becoming the fifth highest rating drama series to be shown on BBC Two in the last decade, averaging 3.2 million viewers.

Tim Christlieb, Acting Director of Television, BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand, said: “We are very excited to be bringing BBC First’s first local commission to Australian audiences. It has been a huge ratings success in the UK and in keeping with the ambition we have for the channel is a genuine blockbuster with a fantastic cast. Set over a couple of weeks in the early days of the British settlement it’s a fast-paced story that will bring home the terrible choices faced by those battling to establish the colony.”

Loosely inspired by events in the 18th century when Britain established a penal colony on the other side of the world, Banished stars David Wenham (Top of the Lake), Ryan Corr (The Water Diviner), Russell Tovey (Being Human), Myanna Buring (Ripper Street) and Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour). The ambitious series charts the lives, loves and battle for survival of a group of convicts, the marines that guard them and men who govern them in the early days of this settlement. The series is co-produced by international award-winning independent production companies RSJ Films (Accused, The Street) and See-Saw Films (Top Of The Lake, The King’s Speech, Shame) and was filmed in and around Sydney in Australia and Manchester in the UK with Manly Dam as the setting for the main camp.

Although it is set in the stark historical reality of the founding of the penal colony it is not the story of Australia and how it came to be, but a tale of love, faith, justice and morality played out on an epic scale in a confined community where the stakes are literally life and death.

David Wenham plays Governor Arthur Phillip a pragmatic idealist who hopes to turn this ramshackle settlement from penal colony to land of opportunity for all, while his nemesis Major Ross played by Joseph Millson thinks the only chance of survival is to rule with an iron fist. All that seems unshakeable are the passionate bonds of love and friendship forged between convicts: Elizabeth Quinn (Myanna Buring), Tommy Barrett (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and James Freeman (Russell Tovey). But before long this shared devotion is destined to challenge the very doctrines on which the fledging colony has been founded.

Also featuring in this epic series about human courage and endeavour, love, loss and impossible choices are: Ryan Corr as love-lorn Private MacDonald; Adam Nagaitis (The Inbetweeners 2) as the loathed Private Buckley; Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting)as the pious Reverend Johnson, with Genevieve O’Reilly (The Honourable Woman) as his selfless wife; Brooke Harman (Dance Academy) as Deborah, Governor Phillip’s housekeeper; Orla Brady (Doctor Who Christmas Special 2013) plays intuitive convict Anne Meredith and Joanna Vanderham (The Paradise) is the dangerously beautiful convict Katherine McVitie.

6 Responses

  1. The BBC’s attitude towards fulfilling their Australian content obligations has always been to control it out of the UK. The project before this, Top Of The Lake was a BBC2 commission with no local BBC channel involvement. This only arose when the ABC dropped out after Elizabeth Moss was going to be cast as an Aussie policewomen and BBC London leant on what was then UKTV to step in with some finance and it managed to fulfil its Australian obligations. It is an ongoing arrogance by head office. We do remain a colony in the BBC’s eyes.

  2. It’s about the interactions between people in a British colony in the middle of nowhere for short period. McGovern was story consultant on Redfern Now, so quibbling that he didn’t use any Aboriginal actors here is just people ignorantly trying to force their own agenda on him.

    BBC First is meeting its mandatory local production quota by making a show with a mostly UK cast for BBC2. Six month later they will show it here because there is little coming out of the BBC over their Summer. Still it did give See-Saw, a multinational production company with an office in Sydney, some work employing Aussie crews for the location shoots.

    1. Ignorantly forcing an agenda…

      The British who are responsible for colonising a huge amount of the globe, produce a drama about colonisation, without native people featuring for one moment of the story?

      Oh, those poor colonists!


  3. A drama about colonising Australia, but with no aboriginal actors! None! Terra nullius huh?

    BTW, the 5th highest rating drama on BBC2 really isn’t that note worthy.

Leave a Reply