Iconic Aussie drama Prisoner had so many fans around the world, they included Princess Di and Sarah Ferguson.
Star Val Lehman recalls learning the news during a fan tour of the UK.
“I knew that Di and Fergie watched it because some of the fans who actually worked in Buckingham Palace told us. I remember going on the Underground when a chap would come up with a bowler hat, briefcase and brolly saying ‘Oh I say, I think you’re splendid in that show!'” she said.
“For the 30th anniversary a man who had written a book about being in Alcatraz (wrote a letter) and said ‘Thank you to the women of Prisoner for changing peoples’ attitudes and sympathies towards prisoners.’ And I suppose the show did do a lot of that.”
Lehman along with actor Amanda Muggleton and musician Allan Caswell discussed the series in On the Inside: A Prisoner Celebration, which will screen for free online on Friday 19 June.
The Q&A event was held by the National Film and South Archive of Australia in Canberra last year to mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic Aussie drama. Online audiences will now be able to hear what really went on behind the scenes at Wentworth Detention Centre.
Join Val Lehman (Bea ‘Top Dog’ Smith), Amanda Muggleton (Chrissie Latham) and musician Allan Caswell (creator of the theme song, On the Inside) as they discuss their involvement in Prisoner and its ongoing impact on audiences across the world. The presentation includes rare clips from the NFSA collection, as well as a live performance by Allan Caswell.
Following its premiere on 27 February 1979, Prisoner ran on Network Ten for eight years and a total of 692 episodes. Thanks to its enormous success in Australia, the Grundy production also became an international hit. Prisoner inspired numerous spinoffs and remakes, including the ongoing award-winning Foxtel series Wentworth.
In addition to On the Inside: A Prisoner Celebration, the NFSA website also features an online collection dedicated to the show, which includes rare clips from the 1981 male spinoff Punishment (starring Mel Gibson) and 1991 US remake Dangerous Women. It is available now at: https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/prisoner.
NFSA Live presents: On the Inside: A Prisoner celebration
- When: 6pm AEST, Friday 19 June 2020
- Where: https://live.nfsa.gov.au
- Tickets: Free online event; register now to receive a reminder before the event starts: https://ontheinside.eventbrite.com.au