Ita Buttrose: I warned producers Paper Giants script was wrong

Former magazine editor Ita Buttrose claims the producers of Paper Giants knew there were inaccuracies in the script before the show screened.

The Southern Star-produced show about the launch of women’s magazine Cleo aired on ABC1 last year to critical acclaim. However, it portrayed Buttrose’s first husband Alisdair Macdonald as selfishly abandoning Buttrose while she was pregnant.

Macdonald sued the ABC for defamation after the show aired. The ABC was forced to withdraw all DVD copies of Paper Giants after settling with him out of court.

Buttrose, who is currently promoting a new edition of her autobiography told Mumbrella in a video interview: “I told them it was incorrect – and that was before the show ever went to air. I couldn’t persuade them to change it.”

Buttrose wrote about Paper Giants in A Passionate Life.

“Overall I was pleased and thought it captured well the spirit of the seventies, but I was always concerned that the drama was a mixture of real people being portrayed as themselves with experiences that actually happened plus ones that didn’t, being portrayed as fact rather than fiction.

This turned out to be particularly true in the way my first husband was depicted. I was upset about this and sent Southern Star producer John Edwards an email on 6 March 2011 – before the show went to air – about my concerns. I also relayed them to scriptwriter Christopher Lee, who was sympathetic but told me ‘you win some you lose some, Ita”.

At time of writing the ABC and Southern Star had not responded to Mumbrella’s invitation to comment.

  • The rest of Mumbrella’s video interview with Buttrose will be published tomorrow

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