Australian Crime Stories: Sept 23

This week’s episode of Australian Crime Stories reads like a movie script…. in 1971 an extortionist, “Mr Brown,” threatened to blow up a passenger plane if Qantas didn’t pay him $500,000.

He told Qantas the plane would explode once it descended below 20,000 feet, unless they piled the money in $20 notes from the Qantas headquarters into the back of a Kombi van. A fascinating game of nerves….

Filmmaker Scott Hicks (Shine) even turned it into a film, Call Me Mr. Brown, starring Chris Haywood -which Qantas later tried to stop from ever seeing the light of day.

This episode includes some of that footage plus Hicks and original key players.

It was a brazen heist, a plot ripped straight from a Hollywood movie. An extortionist calling himself Mr Brown threatened to blow up a plane full of passengers, unless Qantas paid him a ransom of $500,000… We follow the money trail left by Mr Brown that led to his capture and his connection to two unsolved murders.

8:40pm Wednesday on Nine.


  1. I wonder if any TVTonight readers can help me with this request:
    There was a made- for- TV film, “The Doomsday Flight”, written by Rod Serling that screened in the USA in 1966, with a plot involving a bomb planted on a plane, an extortion attempt etc.
    It was a huge hit, highest rating ever till that point for a made for TV movie and even had a cinema release in the UK.
    It was a bit too much of a hit and inspired many people to try the same thing as a hoax in the US and then “Mr. Brown” here in Oz!
    In ’71, the American Federal Authorities asked for TV stations to voluntarily refrain from screening the film and so it was ‘banned’ from TV.
    I believe Nine here in Oz had screened it in a Universal movies package but also withdrew it from telecast and I don’t think the film has ever been seen again.

    Can any readers share their memories of this incident please.

  2. Awesome, i luv a good heist story! and seems like all new material not a rehash of older shows? or did i see the story on 60 Minutes a few years ago…..oh well, worth rewatching. I don’t suppose anyone knows if ‘Call Me Mr. Brown’ is available on dvd? Going on your comment David, i’m guessing no, unless its one of those rare out of print ones only avall on ebay …(had a quick look but nothing there)

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