How Janet King was a pitch for marriage equality, under a thriller.
"We wanted the audience to fall in love with her before we knew she was 'a big 'ol lesbian,'" says writer Jane Allen.
Producers of ABC drama Janet King deliberately kept her sexuality under wraps in order to endear her character to the audience.
Speaking yesterday at a special industry Q&A session at the Screen Forever conference Jane Allen said her sexuality wasn’t revealed in the show’s predecessor Crownies until the 8th episode.
“We very carefully didn’t introduce Janet’s sexuality until episode 8 because we wanted the audience to fall in love with her before we knew she was ‘a big ‘ol lesbian,'” she acknowledged.
“We really wanted to make sure she wasn’t going to be rejected, because of that. There were hints early on. She had a partner …named Ash. So it was absolutely a very conscious thing.
“When she morphed into Janet King, one of the things that makes me so proud of that show, was that it was a show about a same-sex relationship that had children.
“It was kind of a pitch for marriage equality before it came on the agenda. It was hidden underneath a legal thriller format. It was a classic example of ‘The vitamin’s in the ice-cream.’
Writer Jane Allen, moderator Patricia Karvelas
“The very first scene in Janet King is Janet with her partner and her kids. And the very last scene in the series is Janet with her partner and her kids.
“What I really loved about it was it was the first primetime lesbian lead character on the ABC, but that wasn’t the issue. Here’s a story she happens to be a lesbian, but that’s not what the story’s about. She’s not in angst about that.
“This is just who she is.”