Powerhouse team behind Power without Glory revival

An A-List team of writers and producers are hoping to bring Power without Glory back to television.


An A-List team of writers and producers are hoping to bring Power without Glory back to television.

Oscar-nominated producer Jane Scott and screenwriters Jan Sardi (Shine, The Secret River) and Mac Gudgeon (The Last Ride, The Secret River) have secured the TV rights for the classic novel from the Estate of the late author Frank Hardy.

A 1976 production starring Martin Vaughan, Ros Spiers and George Mallaby won rave reviews when it aired on ABC and won Logie and industry awards.

Scott and Sardi  are long-time collaborators on films including Shine and Mao’s Last Dancer while both writers worked on ABC’s upcoming Secret River. No broadcaster is yet attached to the project.

“This will be gripping television. John West’s cut-throat building of a gambling and business empire and his pursuit of political power at all costs is as fresh and relevant today as when the book was first published,” Jane Scott said.

An epic tale of corruption, bribery and murder set in early 20th Century Australia, Power without Glory charts the inglorious rise of gambling czar and political kingmaker John West from his poverty stricken beginnings in the slums and alleyways of Melbourne, to one of the most powerful and corrupt men in the land.

In the history of Australian literature few books have been as controversial as Frank Hardy’s Power without Glory. Carved from the dark history and deeper forces that shaped Australia, it tells a story of mythic dimensions, about a newly minted nation through the journey of one man, Australia’s own “Citizen Kane”. Yet behind West’s unquenchable thirst for power and wealth is a man fiercely loyal to his family and his working class roots, whose fate will ultimately be decided by the indomitable women in his life.

7 Responses

  1. The original rights were held by the famous British TV presenter David Frost, however he felt it needed to be produced in Melbourne so through the efforts of the then Assistant Manager at the time, Clem Semmler, and the not inconsiderable funds provided by the Whitlam Govt. it all happened. Actors pleaded with their agents to be cast including the late and brilliant Wendy Hughes, Graeme Kennedy, Terry Donovan etc. etc. Helen Morse was originally cast in the female lead, but her film commitments clashed with the start of the shoot. Needless to say it was a fabulous and TV history making series to work on with many unforgettable memories.

  2. Wonderful to hear this. As a Proucer / Director of the original ABC series this is something I will watch with great interest. However 12 episodes would not do the story justice it needs to be 26. Unfortunately the writers will not be able to enjoy the privilege I had of visiting the original locations with the author Frank Hardy, however with their credentials I am sure it will be a great success.

  3. Would Netflix pick the remake up to boost local content on its service? It would gain kudos from the Australian production industry if it did. The more outlets for new Australian production the better.

  4. They’ve got big shoes to fill. The 1976 ABC version is an absolute masterpiece of television. I’ve watched it several times and even at 26 hours it still seems too short. I’ll be very interested to see how a modern version pans out.

    1. Oh, I’ve just read that the producers envisage this as two series of six episodes each. It just doesn’t seem long enough to do justice to the novel with its multitude of characters and long timeframe. Surely in today’s media landscape where in drama more is more and stories are told over four or five seasons of 13 episodes, there should be scope for a much more elaborate treatment. Maybe someone like Netflix needs to get involved and give the story the breathing room it deserves.

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