How Wentworth was brought back from the brink.

Foxtel drama series was an emotional rollercoaster on and off-screen, but a win for fans everywhere.

“It was absolutely horrendous,” Katrina Milosevic (Boomer) recalls of the Wentworth cast learning that the hit Foxtel drama was originally ending in 2018.

It had already been a demanding Season 7 with scenes involving a prison Siege and the death of Lizzie Birdsworth (Celia Ireland).

“I was a mess”

“I was a bit of an emotional, mental and physical wreck, but we were called up to a meeting with (Foxtel execs) Brian Walsh and Penny Win and our producers at Fremantle. We were told we were going out on a high and this was our last season. I was a mess,” she recalls.

Prior to the meeting Bernard Curry (‘Jake Stewart’) suggested a bet that the show was about to be renewed.

“Bernie lost the bet and I was just crying,” says Milosevic.

“And then bits of set were being dismantled and the costumes were all being sorted to go on sale. So it was very real.”

But not too long after that Milosevic was shooting the crucial Season 7 scene where ‘Boomer’ was compelled to smother Lizzie in an act of mercy killing.

“I remember I was shooting the scene where I smothered Liz and it was a very delicate scene,” she continues.

“They had to protect me and Celia from hearing”

“Word had come through that the costume sale was stopped. But I didn’t know this because I was in the middle of doing the scene. Our producer Pino (Amenta) was really excited, running around outside the room where the scene was taking place. But they had to protect me and Celia from hearing.

“All of a sudden the set wasn’t being pulled down and there was this outcry from the fans. So we were treading water.

“We actually finished up not knowing for sure if we were going again.”

Finding a path forward was not easy given the series had eclipsed 65 episodes and was no longer eligible for funding. The show had also picked up both Most Popular and Most Outstanding Drama at the Logies in 2018 -a first ever double feat.

After a long wait producers managed to fund more episodes via the Location Incentive as 20 episodes (Season 8 Part A & Part B).

Filming resumed but had to halt in March 2020 when the pandemic struck. Producers Fremantle, which had done such ground-breaking work with Neighbours to shoot safely, managed to regroup several months later.

But Milosevic laments that after such an intense working period, the pandemic denied a celebratory ending.

“We finished, we got it done. But we couldn’t hug anyone and said ‘see ya’ after a decade.

“It was heartbreaking.”

Wentworth continues 8:30pm Tuesday on FOX Showcase.

4 Responses

Leave a Reply