Foxtel: Why Wentworth has ended

Fans are bereft it has ended, but Foxtel explains its decision to wrap Wentworth -and could a sequel be possible?

It was an explosive (literally) finale for Wentworth last night after 9 years of drama.

Wentworth has amassed a legion of fans in Australia and overseas with fervent websites, social media accounts, fan fiction, petitions, and conventions.

As the final credits rolled to the sounds of Lynne Hamilton’s “On the Inside” from the original Prisoner, fans took to social media to express both anguish and praise.

The show was formally axed at 7 seasons but fan frenzy demanded two more instalments, taking it to a mammoth 100 episodes -the most for any Foxtel original drama.

But the show’s success left the Subscription TV company unable to proceed with other projects.

“There are other stories we want to tell”

“There are other stories we want to tell,” says Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh.

“We’re running a commercial business here. We’ve got a finite budget. I’d rather the show go out on top. Wentworth could go on, but it’s time to tell some new stories.”

Producers Fremantle have not yet shut the gates on the Wentworth world, already exploring sequel ideas. And who can blame them, with a diehard fanbase and a hit series with Netflix around the world?

Foxtel has first rights of refusal on any further stories from the Wentworth universe, so would it entertain the idea of a sequel or spin-off?

“I think it’s an obvious question,” Walsh admits.

“But I think we need to have a break. I don’t think necessarily, we’d recreate Wentworth Correctional Centre but I think that world is still tantalising and attractive.”

Such a project would likely be years away with new stories to take priority.

Foxtel plans to replace the series with 10 part jury drama The Twelve, in mid 2022.

“Each season will be a different crime and a different jury”

“We are in final stages of casting for The Twelve which is going to be a big ensemble piece. It’s the replacement for Wentworth only in the sense that it’s a crime series. Our ambition is that it will be multi season. Each season will be a different crime and a different jury. We start filming on the 29th of November. That will be shot in Sydney and it’s a long shoot it’ll go through until May.”

Filming has also completed on Love Me starring Hugo Weaving and Bojana Novakovic. It is currently in post production.

“I’m thrilled with how it’s come up. It looks so cinematic, and so global. There’s something about Melbourne that really works on the screen as an international city,” Walsh explains.

“Hugo Weaving really doesn’t do a lot of television. Bojana Novakovic, who’s primarily worked in the US for the last decade, is a fabulous actor. We have Bob Morley, another great Australian actor, who’s largely worked in the US on The CW series The 100 and then the emerging stars that are coming through, William Lodder, Heather Mitchell, who’s acting royalty. It’s just a fabulous cast, a beautiful story, a multi-generational story.

“We’ve been looking for a show since A Place to Call Home and I really feel that Love Me in terms of reflecting a contemporary Australia, a story about three generations of a family who rediscover love at different stages of their life, will hit a nerve. I’m really thrilled about it.

“We’ve just announced a second season of Upright. We have Tim Minchin and Milly Allcock who of course will be a global star once Game of Thrones sequel House of the Dragon goes to air next year. We start filming mid January in Far North Queensland.

“And then we have another couple that we’re yet to announce.”

28 Responses

  1. It will be interesting to see what they do with Upright. The first series was very tightly written around 2 characters and their coinciding missions. And it has been a long time, though I guess they might have come up with another good idea, but it will likely be like a different show.

  2. i didn’t watch this show for 2 reasons, not a Foxtel subscriber and mainly, i watched the original Prisoner series (on reruns in the 90’s), and just couldn’t get used to a ‘re-imagining’. Maybe one day i might get onto the show, even just purely for the fact it has such a reputation for being such a well made production. So i can’t comment alot about Wentworth.

    But what i can say is i’m really happy for the success of this show both in its own right & as a tribute to the original. Just in terms of the sheer amount of work it has given to cast & crew & others associated is great to see in Aussie productions, plus the international exposure it gives them too.

    On that note then, surely tis better to end on a high note than keep going with a show endlessly & possibly ruin it with a decline in quality. Congratulations to all involved with the show & hoping you go onto continued success with whatever else you do.

  3. Now that unfortunately the series has ended and the dust is settling, it would be soooooo good if they released the alternative ending to Series 7 from when they thought that it was the final episode ever. I know they had to reshoot the ending to Series 7 when Series 8 and 9 went into production. It’s obviously where the missing cameo’s from Val Lehman, Fiona Spence and Collette Mann are. I doubt they would have deleted it and it’s ready to show us 🙂 Please Please Please!

  4. The only let down for me, as it has been all season, was the atrocious acting by Jane Hall. She might be more suited to Home and Away, but amongst this stellar cast she really stood out as awful.

  5. If anyone will be missing their fix (like me) and you want some more, Avlu (The Yard) on Netflix is easily as good (albeit basically the same storyline). If you do watch on Netflix, make sure you watch original language with subtitles to get the full experience of the superb acting. Patiently waiting for further eps on Netflix, there are more available online, but, alas, I don’t speak Turkish.

  6. It was a great ending except for a couple of things

    1 they should have killed off Allie so she was out of pain and finally reunited with Bea
    2 the last scene should have been a released Boomer having her baby
    3 there should have been cameo’s from original prisoner characters like there would have been if it ended at season 7
    The credits rolling with on the inside playing had to happen and thankgod it did

    1. I actually wasn’t a fan of the bloopers… it broke the mood for me. I was dealing with all the trauma… mourning the end of a favourite show but I had to watch mugging faces and dancing lines. Another time and place for that.

  7. Hi David,
    Did I recently read that Fiona, Val and Colette were going to cameo in this final episode? I jnew it was originally for 2 seasons back, but thought you mentioned to look out for the Prisoner ending, unless that was referring to the credits?
    PS. Wentworth will definitely be missed. I think I’ll have to re-watch from the beginning, like I did with Prisoner.

  8. I’m sad that Wentworth has ended, but I’m so glad it went out with a bang, which lots of pilot twists!

    If Wentworth ever wanted to do a “spin-off”, I think they should explore how Joan Ferguson manages to mould back into society, while trying to be caught and be put back into Wentworth by the authorities!

  9. Sadly this was the most underwhelming finale I can remember. It seemed like a season end, not series end. Unless they already have the spin off in the works, why couldn’t they go ahead in time 3 years and show us: Boomer with a baby, Allie in rehab and taking her 1st steps, Rita as top dog and Joan… Maybe that’s the spin off – “The Freak”…

  10. It was a very good finale (not as excellent as I’d hoped)… but in an age where most shows struggle to properly finish off their runs satisfyingly, it was one of the better ones. I was left a little empty at how abruptly it ended though. The last scene with the camera panning out, I kind of mumbled to myself “is that it?”, that moment felt a little too cliche for Wentworth tbh. I sound like I disliked it, but I thought overall it was good. It had fan service character moment (music in particular got longtime fans all nostalgic, especially Prisoner fans), and the return of the original theme song was such a nice touch. I mean there were plenty of kick ass moments… I didn’t realise I craved a Vera vs. Anne fight scene for example. Oh, and don’t mess with Joan’s goldfish.
    It just all felt a little ambiguous if I’m being honest. Plenty of story left to tell if they want to revisit (which from your interview is what I suspected all along, we will see more in the future). A hell of a run.

  11. David,we keep hearing wentworth is a hit around the world so would’nt it generate enough revenue to keep it going? The way foxtel explain it, it is costing them loads of money? Who is making the money from international sales?…for me the best character was lizzie birdsworth and her death was the best episode ever..such good acting.

      1. Are Aussie networks a bit behind in terms of entering into co-productions with the big international streamers, something which has enabled dramas in other countries, noteably here in the UK, to continue to be produced to the standards viewers expect without all the cost being on the local broadcaster.

        1. Not really. Quite a few ABC comedies dramas + kids, Seven made Rafters for Amazon. Firebite made for AMC, The End is Foxtel / Sky, The Tourist is BBC / Stan / HBO, 10 has some kids titles with Netflix …but Wentworth goes back to 2012 so although it screens on Netflix the money had a different set-up. Most dramas now have international partners.

    1. Foxtel is mostly interested holding Foxtel and generation Binge subscribers, so they want to invest in other shows. It isn’t making enough money from foreign sales for Freemantle to keep it going for them alone. And of course it won’t count for Foxtel’s local content if they don’t show it, or get all the subsidies and tax breaks. Freemantle hasn’t given up on the universe, but a lot of the actors will want to move on and do something new too. Productions end, 100 episodes is good run and will generate residual income for all those who get a cut.

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