NZ version of Underbelly a possibility

A Kiwi version of hit Australian crime series Underbelly could be on the way shortly with funding given by NZ On Air.

Production company Screentime has received a $20,000 cash injection from NZ On Air to investigate whether New Zealand underworld stories could be told in an Underbelly style on Kiwi screens.

“We are in the very early stages of talks with TV3. It’s very much in the inception stages,” Screentime executive director and head of production Philly de Lacey said recently.

The series would attempt to mirror the Australian Channel Nine drama which has run three seasons and has several tele-movies on the way.

The second season centred on Kiwi druglord Terry Clarke, played by actor Matt Newton, who was active in the 1970s and 80s.

Dr Greg Newbold, who now works at Canterbury University as a criminologist, said there is no shortage of stories to be told of crime in New Zealand.

Newbold would know, as he himself was involved in the heroin trade in the 1970s and served time for selling the drug. 

“I know a lot of stuff that people don’t know I know. If they are going to talk about some criminals I know, I’m always open and happy to talk,” he said.

“The quality of the programme will depend on the quality of the information.”

However, Newbold said there would be no way the producers could pursue themes of police corruption due to the lack of it in this country, compared to Australia in the past.

“There would be nothing there really of any substance. They would have to focus on some criminal stories without accusing them of something they haven’t been convicted of, if they are still alive. If they are dead they can say what they like,” he said.

Source: Herald

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  • aaronimpact

    They could base some stories on the undercover police documentaries that screened on TV1.