Underbelly: TV And Real Life, by Greg Tingle - 14th
punters, entertainment news junkies, politicians...one
and all. 'Underbelly', the Australian crime drama
continues to keep Australian (and international internet)
audiences captivated. Then of course there's the real
life Underbelly happenings across Australia with 'Sin
City' Sydney being home to most of the action lately.
Media Man takes you on another wild ride via the Underbelly
Life Underbelly: Kim Hollingsworth Fact Often Stranger
is, or perhaps, was, best known as the pro in TV's
Underbelly, but these days its her love of nature
and horses the generate much of the headlines. Kim
Hollingsworth, whose former life as a call girl, hooker...
call it what you will, will continue to feature in
Sundays Underbelly 3 finale. Today Kim's horses
help her get through her rough lot in life, but things
continue to look up. Hollingsworth, 44, of Wilton,
described her Wodonga childhood as Pollyanna-like.
She lived with an abusive boyfriend in Sydney, but
was able to get an out. "What do you do, stay
and get killed? Or do something like that, get the
money then go ... it may have saved my life".
One thing led to another, getting into stripping and
hooking, and eventually breaking free to become a
police officer like her father. The cop dream turned
to nightmare when she informed on corrupt cops to
the Wood Royal Commission. "They knew. It was
ok I was a prostitute...but the moment I put that
court report in, it wasnt ok any more,"
she said. "It was payback." Then came ejection
from the Goulburn Police Academy, a "commission"-forced
sojourn in an Adelaide brothel, and the bullying-forced
withdrawal from a police training course in which
she had won enrolment after a court battle. Her salvation,
she said, was a mare of her fathers, which had
been acting up at Warwick Farm racecourse, before
coming to the Ellis Lane property she had moved to
from Cronulla in 2000. "She was kicking her heels
up and running around and that gave me a reason to
get up ... whereas before I just laid in bed all day,"
she said. Hollingsworth said she was still dealing
with her past, including the death of a cop who had
become a dear friend. "You dont realise
at the time that you are getting stronger; you just
try to survive," she said. We wish Kim well with
her ongoing recovery.
Gets Average TV Viewership In February...
had to happen eventually. The TV Underbelly series
numbers have done down. The third Underbelly telemovie
'The Man Who Got Away' came out in 9th for the night
with just over a million viewers for Channel 9. It
was beaten black and blue (pardon the pun) in its
timeslot by a new episode of 'Bones' on Channel 7,
which snatched 1.148 million. Seven's 'My Kitchen
Rules' was champion of the night with an massive 1.457
St Ives Gets Gunshots For Underbelly TV...
residents were instructed not to be alarmed by machine
guns before scenes from series of a couple of Underbelly
takes were shot in an otherwise quite St Ives street.
Filming took place at two homes in Waterhouse Ave.
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities is set in the years
from 1976 to 1986. Series on-set manager Chris Wheeler
said the street was a good reflection of houses from
this period. "St Ives shows the 70s and 80s style
for the series in the most beautiful way," he
said. Residents were informed of filming via a letterbox
drop. In the letter, location manager Carl Wood said:
"The production of Underbelly in Sydney (rather
than Melbourne) is considered to be something of a
coup for Sydney, and the NSW Government is right behind
the project." The prequel cast includes Peter
OBrien, Roy Billing, Asher Keddie and Matt Newton.
Star Gambles On De Niro Flick, by Greg Tingle - 20th
crime TV and movies continue to wow the Hollywood
movers n shakers, most recently icon Robert Di Niro
(Casino, Goodfellas et al). Yeah, we know we went
with a headliner grabber and a bit of hype, but it
reads better than 'Robert Di Niro Gambles On Up And
Coming Aussie'! Media Man takes their eye in the sky
to see what's cooking 'Underbelly' - Hollywood style...
plays the toughest guy in Kings Cross.
the star of Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Firass Dirani,
says he's going to have to 'man up' for his next role
opposite veteran US actor Robert De Niro, known of
course as the Living Legend of movies, and who could
forget his portrayal of Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (Frank
"Lefty" Rosenthal) in Martin Scorsese classic
now cross to Dirani, Cleo Bachelor Of The Year...
going to have to take my middleweight gloves off and
put my heavyweight gloves on," Dirani half jokes.
going to have to man up."
been a childhood dream. I've imitated this guy since
I was five, since I could speak - doing the whole
crumpled-up face thing.
just pinching myself. Honestly, I'm just gobsmacked
by the whole thing."
will also star alongside Hollywooders Jason Statham
and Clive Owen in The Killer Elite, a flick about
ex-SAS soldiers who are being hunted down by assassins.
known for playing 'Sin City' Sydney colourful (aren't
we all) identity John Ibrahim in the third series
of the ratings hit Underbelly, was seated on the head
table at a Network Nine function and pow wow celebrating
the network's drama programs in Sydney this past Wednesday.
man of the moment, the mans threat, the woman's regret,
says he remains stunned to be included in the star
line up at the network.
weird isn't it? (I'm at) the creme de la creme table.
Sitting with David Gyngell and Lisa McCune - the faces
of Channel Nine," he says.
don't mind that - (being) the rookie of the year.
I'm loving it."
Media Man wish Dirani well and look forward to seeing
him rip up Hollywood, Las Vegas, Atlantic City and
readers will be aware that punters can now place bets
on the success of upcoming films with a number of
betting agencies and the like, so be sure to give
a good look over the Gambling911 website for more
on those great opportunities to make a killing.
take good care of our 'boy', soon to perhaps become
'The Man' in Hollywood, and Dirani, don't forget your
Aussie mates and especially John Ibrahim and the boyz
of 'The Golden Mile' King Cross. Dirani in line for
an Oscar within 12 months? Yep, you wouldn't be dead
for quids. Good hunting, and long live the AussieWood
- Underbelly - Hollywood connection.
Aussie Go. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!
Man does not represent Firass Dirani
Man does not represent Underbelly
Man does not represent Channel Nine
is the compelling dramatisation of Melbourne's gangland
is an Australian television drama series, based on
the real events of the 1995–2004 gang war in
Melbourne. The series began screening on 13 February
2008 on the Nine Network (and affiliates) in all states
and territories except Victoria, due to a court injunction.
Underbelly is a 13-part mini-series, based on the
book Leadbelly: Inside Australia's Underworld, by
Age journalists John Silvester and Andrew Rule.
key players in Melbourne's criminal underworld, including
the Moran family and their rival, the maverick Carl
Williams, are featured using their real names.
major factions, as presented in the story, are the
Morans, including Lewis, Mark, and Jason Moran, the
"Carlton Crew", which included Alphonse
Gangitano, Domenic "Mick" Gatto, his lawyer
George Defteros and Mario Condello, "the Russians",
led by Nik "The Russian" Radev, and the
Williams family, which included Carl Williams, Tony
Mokbel, Andrew "Benji" Veniamin and, at
different times, Victor Brincat and Dino Dibra.
police investigators, Steve Owen and Jacqui James,
are fictional, but based on an amalgam of several
officers who worked on the Purana Task Force, which
was charged with investigating the gangland war and
halting the killing.
to its marketing, the series "uses the framework
of the murderous war between the two gangs, and the
bigger moral war between the gangs and the Purana
Task Force, to explore a complex array of individual
stories and relationships - some touching, some incredible,
all breathtaking - it is a mini-series that examines
the kaleidoscopic nature of loyalty, love, revenge
and pride when the normal and identifiable emotions
of human attachment are moved from the context of
social decency to social indecency.
was filmed on location in Melbourne. Parts of the
series have been filmed in the Essendon area, near
many of the houses and schools associated with the
'Underworld'. Many of the Carlton scenes were actually
filmed in North Melbourne, primarily around Errol
Street. All La Porcella filming was done at Rubicon
Restaurant Errol Street, the scenes involving Mario
Condello loaning money was filmed at the Lithuanian
Club North Melbourne, the location of Carl Williams
first house is Duffy Street, Maribyrnong, jail visits
were filmed in the players' change rooms at Telstra
Dome, and a restaurant scene was also filmed outside
the Medallion Club, Telstra Dome & scenes of when
Mario Condello moves into a apartment is filmed at
Victoria Point, Docklands. In some earlier scenes
whereby witnesses were contained in witness protection
caravans at Warrnambool, these were filmed in Werribee
lead-up to Underbelly resulted in a heavy marketing
campaign which covered radio, print, billboards and
an increased online presence, including the use of
social networking tools.
the CEO of the Nine network, David Gyngell noted the
need to up its online presence, and embrace social
networking as a valuable marketing tool, the official
website was launched. The original website was launched
on 15 January 2008, with only a 3 minute trailer;
while the full site, with all its features, launched
on 1 February 2008. It was announced that the full
first episode would be available for download on the
site on 10 February, three days before the show premieres
on television, but this option was made unavailable
due to the Supreme court suppression case. This intention
follows a similar strategy used for the launch of
Sea Patrol in 2007. The site was "poised to become"
the biggest and most detailed website the Nine Network
has hosted for a show so far, including features such
as behind the scenes footage, profiles, visitor interactivity
and the use of social networking tools.
first episode of the series was screened privately
to media on 17 January 2008, prior the media had been
treated with extracts and trailers promoting the series.
* On 3 January 2008, The Sydney Morning Herald's critic
Michael Idato declared the series "The Blue Murder
of its time", referring to the critically acclaimed
1995 ABC TV drama Blue Murder, considered by many
to be the finest crime drama ever produced in Australia.
* In review on his blog on 17 January 2008, David
Knox, stated that Underbelly "is our own Sopranos",
and awarded it 4½; out of 5 stars. He also
If there are any criticisms to be found with Underbelly,
they are few. One or two shots give away that period
Melbourne was actually shot in 2007. And while watching
these gangsters thrive on power with ballsy disdain,
it was hard not to think of the behaviour of some
television executives in recent history. This aside,
Underbelly looks set to be one of the highlights of
the 2008 television year.”
* A review appeared in the Herald Sun on 18 January
2008, in which critic Paul Anderson quoted:
"Whether you followed the Melbourne gangland
war or not, there's a fair chance you will be blown
away by the coming TV series Underbelly. Underbelly
is a slick, violent and sexually charged dramatisation
backed by a ripping soundtrack."
* In an article appearing on 31 January 2008, The
Daily Telegraph's TV editor, Marcus Casey, said of
Underbelly after viewing the first four episodes:
"If the quality is maintained then, while not
perfect, Underbelly should equal, if not better, Australia's
best ever crime dramas - the Phoenix series and Blue
Family Groups reaction
11 February the Australian Family Association (AFA),
was publicly outraged that Underbelly would be screening
at 8:30pm, well within reach of children, after clips
of the series were leaked onto the internet. The clips
highlighted the use of extreme profanities, and scenes
that show a violent bashing, a cold-blooded murder,
and a sexual encounter.
Nine Network defended the timeslot and the M classification,
saying the clips, leaked from the Network's production
department, were indeed from the series, but not all
of them made the final cut. The Network set its
own classification, under the accepted rules of the
Australian Commercial Television Code of Conduct.
Australian Family Association threatened to take the
matter to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy if
the content of the show was anything near that of
an unauthorised promotional clip leaked from Nine's
opening double episodes, which aired on 13 February
attracted 1,326,000 and 1,324,000 viewers nationally,
minus Victoria, where a court ban prevented its screening.
In Victoria alone, the series was expected to atrract
800,000 to 1 million viewers, which would have put
Underbelly figures over the 2 million mark. The replacement
movie for Underbelly in Victoria, The Shawshank Redemption,
managed only 271,000 viewers.
third episode, which aired on 20 February, managed
to hold most of its viewers from its premiere, attracting
1,273,000 viewers nationally (except Victoria),
a decline of only 50,000 viewers. In Victoria, CSI:
Miami was broadcast in Underbelly's place. The fourth
episode, which aired on 27 February, managed to hold
nearly all of its viewers from the previous episode,
attracting 1,250,000 viewers nationally (except Victoria),
a decline of only 23,000 viewers.
leaked copies of episodes one through to thirteen
are available online, the show is continuing to attract
huge television audiences, according to The West Australian.
Court writ threat
Defteros, a high-profile lawyer cleared of charges
relating to underworld war, disrupted the lead-up
to the series' launch, when he threatened the Nine
Network with a Supreme Court writ on 26 January 2008.
Defteros, said to be portrayed by George Kapiniaris,
engaged a top Melbourne defamation specialist, saying:
“ Any attempt to depict me as a lawyer of low
impropriety and unethical behaviour will be met with
legal proceedings instituted by my lawyers, I regard
the depiction of the gangland wars, in particular
my role as a lawyer acting for parties, as nothing
more than farcical and pure pantomime. We'll be watching
it very closely.”
Network had subsequently said there would now be no
direct reference to Mr Defteros, despite earlier publicity.
A spokeswoman for the network said "There is
no lawyer called Defteros in Underbelly" but
Defteros said he could still be defamed by implication,
noting "It's already been advertised as me".
case was dropped by Director of Public Prosecutions
Paul Coghlan, QC, due to a lack of evidence.
Supreme Court Suppression
screening of Underbelly in Victoria was put into jeopardy,
after last-minute legal proceedings took place due
to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke,
QC. Rapke secured an urgent viewing of the series,
before he decided to seek an injunction stopping its
broadcast in Victoria. A Supreme Court judge called
prosecutors and defence lawyers together after serious
concerns were raised about whether the show could
prejudice a jury for the trial this year of a man
who has pleaded not guilty to the 2004 gangland killing
of Lewis Moran. Although the accused man is not named
in the series, there are concerns the show could hurt
his chance of a fair trial.
Supreme court hearing took place on 11 February 2008
- only two days before the series' was due to premiere.
The Nine Network was ordered by a DPP subpoena to
hand over tapes of all 13 episodes, as well as outlines
and story lines, to the Victorian Supreme Court by
10am on 11 February 2008. The Nine Network,
refused to voluntarily hand over the tapes, saying
they were incomplete and that the network's lawyers
were closely supervising production but the Network
was willing to comply with any Court order and took
this matter very seriously. The network is also adamant
that the series makes no assertions about the guilt
of the accused killer. The court subpoena stated that
copies of two completed episodes, along with uncut
versions of the other 11 episodes, plus episode outlines
and story lines, must be handed to the court by 10am
on 11 February. At the hearing, which took place at
the Geelong Supreme Court, the judge, Justice Betty
King, gave prosecution and defence lawyers 24 hours
to view the series and return to court the following
day to decide whether it had the potential to affect
the forthcoming trial. Justice King issued a suppression
order on 12 February banning the Nine Network from
broadcasting the series in the state of Victoria and
on the internet indefinitely, until after the murder
trial is completed. It has also been ordered to remove
character profiles from its official website. The
Nine Network offered to air a heavily edited version
in Victoria, but the offer was rejected by Justice
King. It was initially planned that an alternative
program, Underbelly: A Special Announcement, was going
to air in Victoria instead of the series' premiere,
which was to discuss what the series is about. This
idea was scrapped, and the movie, The Shawshank Redemption,
was aired in Victoria instead.
Nine Network declared their intention to appeal against
the decision, and Network lawyers stated that they
would exercise all legal options.
suppression also affects national audiences receiving
transmissions from Imparja Television, a Nine Network
affiliate. Imparja is unable to supply its interstate
audiences with Underbelly, due to its single satellite
signal broadcasts into its specific regions, but also
transmits into some parts of Victoria, which is covered
by the suppression order. Alternative programming
will be shown until the restriction is lifted.
appeal began on February 29, 2008 in the Victorian
Court of Appeal,where Nine Network lawyers argued
that the network should be allowed to broadcast the
first three episodes of the series, saying Justice
King had "erred" in her decision to suppress
the series,as she had viewed the unedited versions
of the series, and not the final edited cut that was
to be shown to audiences.The network believed the
first three episodes, which depicted events from the
beginning of the underworld war in 1995, would have
no potential to prejudice any part of the trial.
The trial in question is due to begin on March 31,
2008. The judges overseeing the appeal retired to
decide their verdict on March 3, 2008.
appeal's verdict was handed down on March 26, 2008,
where the appeal's judges chose to continue a ruling
by Justice King that the series is not to be broadcast
or distributed in or out of Victoria. During the appeal
the Nine Network had proposed to screen the first
three episodes immediately after any successful appeal,
and would give the court seven days written notice
of its intention to show any further episodes that
it believed would not prejudice the murder trial.
The Court of Appeal had dismissed the network's application
to appeal, and the network must now continue comply
with the suppression order issued by Justice King
until the offending trial is complete.
the ban on broadcasting the series in Victoria, Victorians
have still been able to access episodes via illegal
online distribution. The first episode was made available
on torrent sites within 20 minutes of it concluding
in New South Wales. The Nine Network has reportedly
obtained the "ISP address" of the first
person to upload the show, and network lawyers were
considering legal action. The Australian Federation
Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) is currently investigating
the matter, and is expected to make a list of recommendations
to Victoria Police.
of advanced episodes of the series which are yet to
air on the Nine Network have become available on the
internet. Every episode of the 13-part series is available
for download on a range of sites. It was reported
that on mininova.org more than 3,000 users were attempting
to download episode seven late on the afternoon of
27 February 2008. The Nine Network said it was considering
legal action. The broadcaster is also looking into
how copies got into the hands of underworld figures
in Victoria, including Roberta Williams, the former
wife of gangland kingpin Carl Williams.
copies of the entire series were also made available
to the public. People were being offered a 4-disc
DVD set for AUD $10 - $80 in public places such as
carparks and building sites. The episodes were commercial-free
and came with introductory station countdowns, suggesting
a major leak from inside the network's production
department. Two network employees had been questioned
by the network over the matter, but both denied distributing
any copies of the series.. Similarly, versions of
episodes 10 - 13 which are currently available on
peer to peer sites are clearly production (ie pre-broadcast)
versions of these episodes. They feature the production
house's title screen, occasional sequences of rough
editing, and sub-broadcast quality sound issues such
as large variations in levels and absent atmos tracks.
of inside leaks were again aroused, when advance screener
versions of unaired episodes 4-8 were posted online
on 26 February 2008. Screener episodes are generally
shown to select audiences, such as sales staff and
executives, well in advance to being televised.
series will also air in New Zealand on TV3, Scandinavia,
Canada and France. (Credit:
A Tale of Two Cities to Employ Gambling Theme
A Tale of Two Cities Highest Rated Launch Ever
Nine pushes to screen Underbelly series in Victoria
Man has successfully pitched news stories on Underbelly
to media outlets including Gambling911
starts for second Underbelly series - The Australian
local content - The Age
A Tale of Two Cities to Employ Gambling Themes - Gambling911
A Tale of Two Cities Highest Rated Launch Ever - Gambling911