Screen Australia has made the rare move of financially backing Seven’s telemovie The Blake Mysteries, breaking away from its regular policy, to keep the project alive.
Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia said, “Screen Australia is generally only a direct investor in early seasons of television shows, however due to the prospect of the Blake franchise not proceeding, and the resultant sudden job losses, in this instance we will fund the telemovie as a one off.
“It is essential for Screen Australia to support the cast and crew in this unique situation, and there is no doubt audience demand for this Australian story remains. The Blake Mysteries will offer viewers the chance to see this beloved tale through Jean Beazley’s eyes and we’re proud to support this new direction.”
Screen Australia has matched Film Victoria funding in an out-of-rounds special funding commitment.
It isn’t clear if the title change was part of a December Media strategy to attract funding. In the past some of Nine’s Underbelly projects were retitled as Underbelly Files in order to enable funding.
The 90 minute telemovie, to star Nadine Garner whilst Craig McLachlan addresses allegations, will see the story skip forward by 3 years.
Film Victoria CEO Caroline Pitcher said “Our commitment to The Blake Mysteries is an investment in Victorian screen businesses, crew and associated services who rely on this production for employment and skills development.”
“We support new and diverse storylines and have great confidence that December Media, who mirror our commitment for ensuring safe and supportive workplace environments, will produce a high-quality and entertaining telemovie.”
Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley said “The extraordinary success of this project provides enormous economic and cultural value to Victoria – and I am delighted to see that further support of the series will sustain hundreds of local screen jobs.”
The joint press release also noted Film Victoria had recently released its updated screen industry Code of Conduct.
The Blake Mysteries is a December Media and Gambit Media production for Channel Seven with principal production investment from Screen Australia and Film Victoria.