Wentworth wraps filming

100 episodes completed, wrapping through COVID conditions, but is this really the end?

Wentworth completed its final filming on Friday, bringing to an end 100 episodes of the acclaimed Foxtel series.

There were speeches in the lunchroom, with special thanks to Line Producer Sue Edwards and Head of Production Brett Popplewell for navigating filming through the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria. The show’s original set-up director Kev Carlin helmed the final episode.

Foxtel sent individual bottles of champagne to thank the team for their extraordinary efforts.

While Season 8 Part I is currently screening on air, Part II will air in 2021.

The Fremantle show is Foxtel’s longest-running local drama and is remarkably still drawing in subscribers.

TV Tonight understands the On Demand audience (where Drama viewing is almost entirely played out on the Foxtel iQ) is still ferocious -along with the fanbase. Which leads to the next question…. is it really the end? There are several schools of thinking on this front.

Foxtel is rightly proud of what it has achieved, drawing popular and critical acclaim, awards and subscriptions. But Drama funding is expensive and limited. It has other projects, other stories, in the pipeline it wants to green light. It views the series as going out on a high at 100 episodes -also Australia’s longest running drama on air, outside of two serials.

But the fans remain devoted to the show.

They rallied hard to save it after Season 7. They trigger online petitions and attend Wentworth conventions around the world. Through Netflix, the show has a global fanbase, and on IMDb nearly half the User ratings give it a 10 / 10 score. Those with long memories will remember Prisoner, too, enjoyed a diehard following. In Los Angeles bikers gave Franky Doyle (Carol Burns) a funeral in 1979 when the character was shot during an escape.

Many shows have switched platforms after being axed, and Netflix may well express interest given they have global rights to existing seasons. Another future could be a spin-off of some kind….

COVID-19 has also reset the game.

In the US broadcasters have renewed more “on the bubble” shows than ever before. It’s safer to proceed with existing shows than the risk of new, both in terms of audience and in getting production in the can. Wentworth has proven it can complete a season under Stage 4. While it doesn’t attract the Producer Offset incentive after 65 episodes, Season 8’s 2 x 10 eps qualified for Location funding -for which there is no episode cap.

If this sounds like a clarion call to rethink the conclusion, it’s just that. But it’s made from observations of scripts, performance and global audience in a COVID world.

We owe much gratitude to Foxtel for having the gumption to think it could reimagine what was already an Aussie drama classic. Executive producers Penny Win & Jo Porter delivered a knockout drama -will we ever see another Aussie drama reach 100 episodes?

I hope so.

11 Responses

  1. Saddened to know that “Wentworth” is coming to an end, as it is one of the best series on air. Such outstanding writing and production values combined with wonderful acting. Great cast of strong actors – some of the best in the country, indeed, of an international standard. I will miss it.

  2. How does it work with the season 8 part 1 and part 2 next year, isn’t that just like saying next year is season 9, or is it done like that due to the location funding subsidies etc.
    Love this show, after ep1 this year was so worried what the freak was up to, still hate to think.

  3. I really do hope Netflix considers continuing the series (or a spin-off with essentially the same cast… goodness knows they have the budget for it). For me, Wentworth is up there – along with Oz – among the best prison dramas ever produced (there are quite a few!). Orange is the New Black is one of the worst (sorry!).

    1. I think OITNB started strong with its first 3 seasons but definitely lost its way for quite a while, falling in to the trap of becoming a bit too preachy for its own good on a lot of issues… but it absolutely smashed it out of the park with that wonderful final season.

    2. Well you never know, if quotas are brought in for streamers Netflix might go straight for Wentworth with an already engaged following. You’d think with established characters, sets etc would also make it attractive for them too.

  4. I’ve thought for a while this would be the perfect show for 10. This type of drama hasn’t been on FTA for years. I’d love to see it back on it’s original “Prisoner” home.

  5. Well everyone knows where I stand on what is the greatest Australian drama ever produced. It has consistently topped my favourite show of the year over the past 8 years… 5 times in fact… That is international shows included. It’s just that bloody good.
    So I really hope it isn’t the end. I’ve treated it as such… perhaps foolishly, naive and ignorant in my knowledge of its impending series finale. It’s amazing how a show set I reckon 85% of the time inside the confines of the prison… with little to no flashbacks (95% played out in real time), can still be so compelling and fresh after so long (i.e. doesn’t resort to cheap storytelling gimmicks to lazily flesh out characters). Every episode is just as great as the last… the level of consistency is astonishing.

    Please please please don’t let this be the end. There is just so much more story to tell. #foreverteal

  6. I think Wentworth has actually become my all time favourite TV show so I am really hoping this is not the end for it. I still salivate over every episode and it engages more passionate conversations with fellow fans than any other show I’ve been a fan of. There are still so many stories that can be told within its walls.

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