Production on next Doctor Blake Mysteries series suspended after Craig McLachlan allegations

December Media, the production company behind popular television show The Doctor Blake Mysteries, has “temporarily” stopped pre-production of its upcoming series after lead actor Craig McLachlan was accused of indecent assault and harassment by a number of female cast members on the 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show.

McLachlan was to return to screens in this year in his role as Doctor Lucien Blake on Seven, but doubt was cast yesterday as to whether this would go ahead in light of the allegations.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries production preparations have been temporarily suspended

While McLachlan denied allegations made in the joint investigation by Fairfax Media and the ABC calling them “made up” and “baseless”, a statement sent to media late yesterday said while December Media was confident there had been no incidents involving members of cast or crew on their series, it would temporarily hold production preparations.

“Throughout the six years of production of Doctor Blake it has not only been an enormously popular show on air but popular with cast and crew who come back to work on the series year after year,” the statement said.

“Craig has been central to this success both in front of camera and on set. It is not appropriate for December to respond to the allegations about Craig McLachlan’s behaviour in relation to another production he has appeared in.

“However, in the light of these allegations December Media will temporarily hold production preparations for the new series to allow due process.

“December Media is committed to a safe and secure working environment. We do not tolerate any form of behaviour, which makes anyone feel threatened or uncomfortable for whatever reason in the workplace. December has policies and procedures in place to ensure all staff feel confident about reporting any issue or incident to management and can be assured that management will act swiftly.”

December Media made no further comment, noting the allegations were subject to a police investigation.

At the same time, the ABC has pulled the fifth season of The Doctor Blake Mysteries from ABC iview.

The company’s response comes after Seven sought an “urgent update” on the upcoming series, in light of the allegations.

ABC axed The Doctor Blake Mysteries early last year, saying the time was right to bring it to an end. In October, Seven revealed it would save the McLachlan-fronted program.

December Media is the second production company to be caught up in the allegations. Late yesterday, The Rocky Horror Show’s production company, The Gordon Frost Organisation, decided it was “not appropriate” for McLachlan to continue to play the role of Frank N Furter in light of allegations.

Journalist Tracey Spicer told Mumbrella yesterday “duty of care” needed to be addressed by theatre companies and production houses.

“A lot of the theatre companies and productions houses are really cracking down and saying if you speak out we’ll sue you for defamation. There’s a lot of very scared young women out there and I hope that this story that we’ve published today and will be broadcast tonight will encourage other women of the entertainment industry to come forth with their stories,” she said.

McLachlan allegedly exposed himself, touched women’s genitals and groped their breasts, according to reports today

“If they don’t address it, there are going to be some pretty serious lawsuits happening over the next couple of years.

“I do believe that things are changing but they’re not changing quickly enough. The first response is still to shut these allegations down rather than dealing with them in an appropriate manner, following the policies and procedures that most of these organisations have in place.”

McLachlan is the second high-profile local media personality accused of indecent behaviour in two months, after Spicer launched an investigation into the Australian media industry. In late November, Don Burke was accused of sexually harassing a string of female colleagues throughout his career.



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