News

Doctor Blake future in doubt after new Craig McLachlan allegations

Seven is facing a hole in its 2018 schedule with the centrepiece of the network’s drama slate in serious doubt after fresh allegations emerged on Saturday regarding the behaviour of The Doctor Blake Mysteries star Craig McLachlan.

Fairfax Media reported a number of new allegations relating to the behaviour of McLachlan on the set of The Doctor Blake Mysteries during its time airing on the ABC. After the ABC axed the show, its highest rating local drama, last March, Seven rescued it, announcing the apparent coup in October, at the network’s 2018 upfronts.

Allegations of sexual harassment by McLachlan – which he strongly denied – previously related to his time on stage in The Rocky Horror Show.

Today’s fresh claims come after both the ABC and the makers of The Doctor Blake Mysteries, December Media, had previously said they were unaware of any allegations relating to McLachlan’s conduct while filming the show.

But staff who worked on the set of Doctor Blake have now come forward to make allegations about his behaviour working on the series between 2013 and 2016.

The former Neighbours star takes the lead role in the Ballarat-set period drama, playing Dr Lucien Blake.

December Media had already announced a “temporary” halt to pre-production on what would have been the sixth series of the program and its first on Seven.

Seven had planned to spread the series across the year as a number of heavily promoted telemovies. Programming boss Angus Ross told Mumbrella last year that the track record of the drama on the ABC meant the show’s ratings would be “almost as reliable as sport”.

But the new claims leave Seven and December Media with three unpalatable choices – axing the show; the unlikely possibility of replacing McLachlan with another actor; or going ahead with him in the role and facing a public backlash.

Mumbrella could not immediately reach December Media for comment. The SMH quoted CEO Stuart Menzies as saying yesterday: “This afternoon we received a list of specific allegations and questions from Fairfax Media. If these allegations are substantiated this points to a serious breakdown in the adherence to the policies and procedures that December Media has in place.  We reiterate that until this afternoon December Media had received no complaints from the set of Doctor Blake 5.”

ADVERTISEMENT

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing