BBC Worldwide Australia and NZ announces first local production

Louise Duffy | 14-03-2014

BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand has announced Banished, the first local commission that will screen on BBC First on Foxtel in 2015.

Banished is a seven-part series from writer/creator Jimmy McGovern, loosely inspired by events in the 18th century when Britain established a penal colony on the other side of the world. Starring David Wenham (Top Of The Lake), Russell Tovey (Being Human), Myanna Buring (Ripper Street), Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour) and Ryan Corr (Wolf Creek 2), the series starts filming in Sydney this April before moving to Manchester in the UK. The series has been co-commissioned by BBC Two in the UK and BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand.

Independent production companies RSJ Films (Accused, The Street) and See-Saw Films (Top Of The Lake, The King’s Speech, Shame) have joined forces for the first time to co-produce Banished. The series will be the first locally produced show to screen on BBC Worldwide ANZ’s new premium drama and comedy channel BBC First, which will launch on Foxtel in August this year.

Natalie Edgar, director of television, BBC Worldwide ANZ, said: “This is a very exciting first commission for BBC First. It exemplifies all the things that BBC drama stands for with outstanding talent on both sides of the camera. Jimmy McGovern has been responsible for some of the most ground-breaking drama series created over the years and after the huge success of Top of the Lake I’m delighted to be working with See-Saw Films again as well as the talented team at RSJ.”

McGovern said: “How the first convicts survived is the best story I've come across in over 30 years as a dramatist. When you've got something like that, you don't worry about the narrative; you just concentrate on the characters. That is what we did. Consequently I don't think I've ever written anything so character-driven.”

Banished was commissioned was by Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, and Janice Hadlow, the outgoing controller of BBC Two and is executive produced for the BBC by Polly Hill, head of BBC independent commissioning. Natalie Edgar, director of television, leads the co-commission for BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand. The drama will be screened on BBC First in Australia and UKTV in New Zealand. BBC Worldwide is the distributor of Banished.