Foxtel has made its first drama commission of 2012 – a “reimagining” of Prisoner Cell Block H more than 25 years after the last episode of the cult Australian drama aired.
Titled Wentworth, after the prison in the original series, the drama will be produced by FremantleMedia Australia. It will be the first major production to be led by FremantleMedia director of drama Jo Porter who joined the company in the new role in January. Previuously Porter worked at Seven, where she launched series including All Saints and Packed To The Rafters.
Featuring an ensemble cast, Wentworth will be a modern day version of the story of lead character Bea, played by Val Lehman in the original Prisoner.
“I think it’s time to take a look at Prisoner and do a 2012 reimagining of the show,” Brian Walsh, Foxtel’s director of television told Encore magazine.
The orignal show, produced for Network Ten by the Reg Grundy Organisation, ran for nearly 700 episodes from 1979 to 1986. As well as Australia it picked up a large following across most of the English speaking world.
Walsh said: “It’s going to be provocative in a way that it could never be on Channel Ten but certainly can on subscription television.”
The series will be shot in Melbourne later this year.
The commissioning of FremantleMedia marks a return home for Prisoner. FremantleMedia Australia was formed six years ago by the merger of Grundy and Crackerjack.
- Read more about Foxtel in the Encore profile of Brian Walsh, Foxtel’s director of television in the March issue of Encore. To suscribe visit Magshop.