Two new dramas for Prime

I had to read this press release twice as I initially thought they were commemorating 100 years since Gallipoli.

Prime Television is excited to confirm two special ANZAC projects as the centrepieces of the channel’s 100th WWI anniversary commemorations in 2014.

The free-to-air channel’s local production slate continues to go from strength to strength and channel manager Kathy Wright said Prime’s commitment to these two landmark projects further cements this.

“We have looked to invest in local projects that we really believe resonate strongly with our audience and this has been proved by the success of our documentary specials such as Prime Rocks; The Exponents, and documentary series such as Aftermath, The Animal Files and New Zealand from Above,” she said.

“We have also upped the ante with our news and current affairs offerings with 60 Minutes and Back Benches and have been searching for a drama series that really makes sense for us to invest in, and we believe we have found the perfect one as part of our ANZAC Centenary commemorations,” said Ms Wright.

Wellington’s Gibson Group has been commissioned to produce an innovative World War One documentary series War News, where the efforts and involvement of New Zealanders during five key events will be reported as contemporary one-hour news bulletins.

From the withdrawal from Gallipoli to the battle for the town of Le Quesnoy and the end of the war in Europe, the five-part series offers a unique look at century old events using present day reporting technologies such as live satellite links and social media.

Prime is also joining forces with Australia’s ABC to produce a local six-part WWI drama series ANZAC Girls.

Based on the book The Other Anzacs by Peter Rees, which draws on the diaries, letters, photographs and historical achievements of ANZAC nurses, the six-part series tells the remarkable true story of these extraordinary young Australian and New Zealand woman who experienced horror, heartbreak and triumph caring for the original ANZACS at both Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Produced by Screentime, a Banijay Group company, the miniseries will be filmed in South Australia and offers a unique and rarely told history of the war through the nurses who served amidst bombing raids, poison gas and terrible disease, saving lives and transforming the spirits of the soldiers.  The key cast was recently announced and includes Antonia Prebble (Outrageous Fortune, The Blue Rose, White Lies), Georgia Flood (Wentworth), Laura Brent (Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Anna McGahan (Underbelly: Razor) and Caroline Craig (Underbelly, Blue Heelers). Casting in both New Zealand and Australia continues.

The landmark series has been written by Felicity Packard and Niki Aken, and is being series produced by Lisa Scott and produced by Felicity Packard. ANZAC Girls is to be directed by Ken Cameron (Dangerous Remedy, Brides of Christ, Bangkok Hilton) and Ian Watson (Janet King, Killing Time, Love My Way), with cinematography by Geoffrey Hall (Drift, Red Dog, Chopper) and production design by Scott Bird (as production designer – Janet King, Nim’s Island II and Emmy Award winning art director of The Pacific). Screentime’s Des Monaghan and Greg Haddrick are executive producers with the ABC’s Carole Sklan and David Ogilvy. Philly de Lacey is Executive Producer of New Zealand content along with Kathy Wright from Prime Television.

Both projects have received funding assistance from New Zealand On Air.  ANZAC Girls is also supported by the South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Australia.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Dave Ian Batten

    Oh god! More shite dramas!

  • pea.brain

    so a mini series? and a one off thats not investment well not atleast in the long term

  • Reece

    The Aussie Co-production if you could call it that was probably going ahead with the commitment from Prime/Sky or not.

    60 minutes as it currently appears is hardly committed to localism.

    I also ask how much does Prime or any broadcaster for that matter actually pay when the show is actually funded by NZ on Air is it a fee similar to international content?

  • Arthur

    Networks pay a licensing fee which is a small portion of the money put up by NZOA. It is still, however, a substantial sum and usually more than they pay for comparable international content. Prime supporting local content is a very good thing, both for viewers and local producers. Also an Aussie co-pro can not work as a co-pro without a local broadcaster – so Prime’s support is essential.