Vale: Michael Jenkins

Renowned writer director, best known for Blue Murder, Heartbreak High, Wildside and Careful He Might Hear You, has died.

Renowned writer director Michael Jenkins, best known for Blue Murder, Heartbreak High, Wildside and Careful He Might Hear You, has died aged 77,

Jenkins died on Monday afternoon with his long time partner Amanda and close family by his side, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2020.

His credits included writing the award-winning feature Careful He Might Hear You and Robbery Under Arms, directing the features Emerald City and Sweet Talker and as writer and director, The Heartbreak Kid and Rebel.

His work on miniseries includes writing Water Under the Bridge and directing Scales of Justice, Dirtwater Dynasty (which he also wrote), Leaving of Liverpool and Blue Murder. 

He was series creator, director, writer, executive producer, and script editor on Heartbreak High and Young Lions and series creator, executive producer, director, and script editor on Wildside. He also directed for The Gillies Report.

In 2016, he directed and produced the two-part miniseries Blue Murder: Killer Cop.

He won an AFI Award for directing and writing plus an AWGIE Award.

Veteran director Ian Barry recalls, “I’d long marvelled at Mike’s talent as a film maker and his ability for capturing truth in performance and to achieve startlingly realistic visual styles and I clearly remember one day in preproduction when we were having a coffee rave about movies we admired and the process of maintaining a truthful and distinctive style and Mike said, ‘when I first arrive on a location, I decide upon the hardest place to shoot the scene from and that’s where I put the camera.’ And though I got the wisdom of it and was maybe drawn to applying it to my own shooting, conventions of symmetry and the perfect frame would always be there to seduce me. But that was the innovative tenacity and the magic of director Mike.”

He added, “The industry will always remember him as a master film maker, but beyond the passionate and driven personality, Mike will always be remembered as a warm, fair and empathetic friend and of course a tender and loving husband and father. Unequivocally, Mike has been a prodigious creator of excellent and groundbreaking film and television spanning five decades.”

Screen Producers Australia said, “We offer our condolences to Michael’s family, friends and colleagues. Michael’s legacy will live on through audiences enjoying productions he worked on for generations to come.”

A memorial will be held at the Independent Theatre, Thursday 18 April 2024 at 12.30pm.

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