When Wentworth producers were approaching the end of Season 7 in mid 2018 nobody knew if it would be the end.
Eclipsing 65 episodes increased costs, no longer eligible for the Producer Offset incentive, leading writers to an ‘open’ ending that could go one of two ways.
Cast & crew were informed it could be the end, leading to industry rumours the show had been axed.
Not long after the series pulled off a first-ever Logies hat trick of Most Popular Drama Series and Most Outstanding Drama Series. Fans mounted campaigns to save the show, concurrent with a senior change at Fremantle.
Thanks to some strategic funding moves it was renewed for 20 more episodes (producers remain coy on whether it will play our as two seasons, or one split season).
Once the outlook was clear cast regrouped to film and end to the scene.
“We always had two endings because we didn’t know who would be available,” series producer Pino Amenta tells TV Tonight.
“There was always a plan if it went ahead we would shoot the next 3 minutes of the last episode. Which is exactly what happened.
“We told the actors up front, ‘This could be the last so we will shoot the final farewell scenes,’ which we did.
“Then at a point where a big dramatic thing happens we will start the next series.”
Foxtel Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh also recently confirmed, “We are not reshooting scenes but we are shooting additional scenes that will influence the narrative of subsequent seasons. But I will give away the storyline if I tell you any more than that.”
But the filming of what could have been the final season has an upside. As Bernard Curry, who plays Jake Stewart, explains, it gave writers an all-or-nothing approach.
“It genuinely is the best season that has been done on Wentworth. I believe it and I know all of the cast and producers believe it is the best so far. We’re raising the bar every season,” he insists.
“We wanted to really honour it and give it everything we’ve got for the ‘end’. Luckily we’ve got another season to go up.”
Shooting on the next 20 episodes will take place from October 2019 – June 2020.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great season. I’m looking forward to getting back into the family of Wentworth.”
Executive Producer Jo Porter added, “No recommission is easy, it never is. So we are so grateful for the support of Foxtel. We love working with them and to keep bringing this great show.
“We never take it for granted but we’re thrilled when it happens. It’s great for Australian drama, women and our acting fraternity and writers.”
Wentworth returns 8:30pm Tuesday on FOX Showcase.