Networks say no to Julia Gillard telemovie

Exclusive: A telemovie featuring Rachel Griffiths as the former PM will now be re-worked as a feature film.


EXCLUSIVE: TV networks have all rejected a telemovie project with Rachel Griffiths cast as Julia Gillard, which will now be envisioned as a feature film.

“No Australian broadcaster wants to tell the story of Australia’s first female Prime Minister,” said producer Richard Keddie, who has previously produced the Hawke and Curtin telemovies.

“All the broadcasters said ‘No way’ to the Julia film. I got told unequivocally I couldn’t even get Hawke or Curtin made these days.

“One broadcaster told me ‘Everyone hates Julia Gillard, nobody is remotely interested in her.’

“But I believe the opposite. I believe there is so much interest in the truth.”

Both Hawke and Curtin were ratings hits and went on to win a Logie and an AFI Award respectively.

Keddie, who also worked for both Julia Gillard & Kevin Rudd, has also produced documentaries on former Victorian premier John Brumby, and interviews with premiers Joan Kirner & John Cain. He also directed 2013 election ads for Labor and ACTU campaigns.

But delays to the telemovie, originally based on the book “The Stalking of Julia Gillard” by Kerry-Anne Walsh, have led to extensive research and a much bigger narrative.

“I have a much better story now. The best story I’ve ever seen – I love it. I’m hoping now to get into finance later this year and shoot early next year. Now it is theatrical it means I don’t have editorial controls on me from broadcasters,” he says.

“It’s about us. It’s the most incredible insight into who we are as a people.

“It’s about how everyone treated the first female Prime Minister –on every level: the media, Rudd, Abbott, the people and the Labor Party. Nobody comes out smelling of roses from it.

“It’s kind of a Lord of the Flies story. It was a blood sport to kill Julia. But there is so much more than that.”

Next week interest in the Gillard and Rudd feud will undoubtedly surge, with ABC’s documentary series, The Killing Season, by Sarah Ferguson. Keddie is convinced his project takes a different approach.

“My story is a lot bigger than politicians fighting each other and I hope the ABC’s is as well.”

Rachel Griffiths remains attached to the project, with other key actors also attached.

45 Responses

    1. Are you serious? — “It’s kind of a Lord of the Flies story. It was a blood sport to kill Julia. But there is so much more than that.” — This sportsfans is exactly why people will not want to watch this…this makes her sound like a helpless victim. She was a ruthless politician that seized an opportunity that was indeed orchestrated by background thugs. The Liberals are no better…its a bloodsport for both sides and its never pretty. Julia, a poor helpless female victim? Gimme a break!

  1. It would draw ratings. However good call by the networks placing common sense before dollars. Obviously they read the scripts or pilots and had people in the know who realised that the story was BS and didn’t want to associate themselves with it.

    People who claim Gillard is sexiest answer this question, Is it possible for someone disagree with a women without being labelled sexiest? What ever happened to women being treated as equally as men.

    Politics is politics. Get over it Julia and harden the $&@( up

  2. If it wont fly as a TV show, where viewing is free….what the heck makes anyone think it will on the big screen, where people have to fork out big dollars to see it….A pipe dream methinks….

  3. Are people really interested in political dramas which are nearly always fabricated anyway and then all the dirt comes to the surface again and no one has any good words to say about anyone, yet when people are in the limelight they have nothing but praise for their colleagues and are real hypocrites when things go wrong. Let sleeping dogs lie.

  4. I hazard a guess that the majority of people interested in a JG movie would be “insiders” and diehard labor voters only . Everyone else, including me, has moved on.

  5. It would of rated over 1.5 million. She won an election and became our first female PM. She never lost an election. Wonder how many people can say that. She governed with a minority and got things passed in a very difficult parliament. I for one love Julia Gillard. Through all of this the lady stayed classy so all you haters can keep hating and watch our budget deficit keep climbing under Abbott even though he made a huge deal about it under Labour.

  6. But I’m sure a mini-series based on Tony Abbott would be secured by a network… There is so much that you could highlight in such a series. His lunacy, creative photography, backflip after backflip, anger, treatment of previous leaders, lies, absurdity, and horrifying sequences of embarrassment = an enigmatic show worthy of an award for its lead! Now to think… who would be the perfect casting choice?

  7. It sounds like a very partisan attempt to make a martyr of Gillard. That’s not something that’s likely to wash with audiences, given the way Gillard gained power. I’m not remotely surprised everyone has turned it down. There’s a Gillard story to be told, but clearly Keddie is not the person to do it.

  8. Very short sighted of the tv bosses to knock this project back.It could have made for some fascinating viewing.I daresay if Julia represented the other side of politics,it probably would have been given the go ahead from the tv honchos.

    1. No script or rehearsals to my knowledge. ABC was always open-ended about it, but speculation about whether she would be toppled or not (which dragged on for an eternity) steered them off renewing. In the end producer Rick Kalowski made Wednesday Night Fever and became ABC Head of Comedy.

  9. [One broadcaster told me ‘Everyone hates Julia Gillard, nobody is remotely interested in her.’]
    Politics and politicians are dull and uninspiring. Julia Gillard was as dull and uninspiring as they come as well a being widely disliked, to put it politely! No broadcaster wants to screen a show that would prompt millions of viewers to reach for their remotes to switch over to ‘Celebrity Back Wax’!

  10. “But I believe the opposite. I believe there is so much interest in the truth.”
    Here we go…what “truth” Mr Keddie? Gillard was treated no worse than Rudd was, or Abbott is. Only difference was that Gillard could play the sexism card.

    1. I don’t recall mobs of people chanting “down with the witch” and worse about Rudd or Abbott. Nor do I recall any radio shock jocks saying that either Rudd or Abbott should be stuffed in a chaff bag and dropped at sea, or that their fathers had died of shame.

      Gillard got to “play the sexism card” because she was subjected to such appalling sexism from many quarters, including within her own party.

      1. So, are constant and continuing references to ‘budgie smugglers’ not sexist? Abbott and Hockey get heaps of personal abuse from commentators, comedians and protesters but I don’t recall any ‘misandry speech’.
        When Gillard played the ‘sexism card’ and made that misogyny speech we knew that the teasing had got under her skin. So we lost even more respect for her when a more dignified response would have been to have to ignored the trolls.

      2. Secret Squïrrel”I don’t recall mobs of people chanting “down with the witch” and worse about Rudd or Abbott. ”

        Really? How about the Union official in Geelong Trades Hall setting up an “Assassinate Tony Abbott” Facebook page? How about the Fairfax journalist Clementine Ford selling (and then have a nice long article supporting her sales pitch in the Age newspaper) “F*** Tony Abbott” t-shirts (And the Fword was spelt out on the T-shirt in full?) Only two of the many appalling cases of abuse Abbott has got

        1. Agree, both appalling acts but one person designing an offensive t-shirt or another saying something horrible on social media are not in the same league as someone like Alan Jones inciting a mob at a public gathering (which he did on several occasions).

    2. Got to say I’m more than a little wary of truth telling from anyone who produces election advertisements, everyone must remember the bold statements like “I’m a nurse and ……..” (person is not a nurse), “I’m a truck driver and ……….” (person is not a truck driver), etc.

  11. When was the last feature film made here about a local politician’s biography? If public funds are ever allocated to this and it is actually made, it will sink like a stone at the box office-there would be a very limited market here and none whatsoever overseas for it. Do a youtube video instead…

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