Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide -

Un­der­belly seeks Chop­per

ERIC Bana (right) is be­ing courted for a key role in the sec­ond se­ries of Un­der­belly. Se­ries two, which fo­cuses on Vince Colosimo’s Alphonse Gan­gi­tano dur­ing the 1970s and ’80s, starts shoot­ing in Syd­ney in the mid­dle of next month. Cast­ing has be­gun, how­ever stars from se­ries one, in­clud­ing Les Hill, Cal­lan Mul­vey, Rodger Corser, Damian Wal­sheHowl­ing, Kevin Har­ring­ton, Caro­line Gilmer, Gy­ton Grant­ley and Martin Sacks, are all be­lieved to have missed out. The real-life Mel­bourne crime story will be filmed mainly in Syd­ney for lo­gis­ti­cal rea­sons, though fu­ture se­ries will re­turn to Mel­bourne. Tony Tilse, Grant Brown, Shawn Seet and Ken Cameron are di­rect­ing, and Mel­bourne’s Kris Mrksa has joined Peter Gawler, Greg Had­drick and Fe­lic­ity Packard on the writ­ing team. The lift­ing of a le­gal ban has opened the way for the first five (edited) episodes of Un­der­belly to screen in Vic­to­ria, start­ing on Sun­day.

Dif­fer­ent de­liv­ery

MELISSA Tkautz (be­low), Amanda Keller and Kirsty Lee Al­lan star in a new SBS com­edy se­ries from the team be­hind Fat Pizza. Shot in Syd­ney this year, the nine-part com­edy was writ­ten, di­rected by and stars Paul Fenech. Swift and Shift Couri­ers cen­tres on life at a city courier com­pany with each episode fol­low­ing the in­com­pe­tent couri­ers as they go about their de­liv­er­ies. It is ex­pected to pre­miere next month.

Real es­cape artists

CHAN­NEL 7 has picked up a 10-part se­ries in­ves­ti­gat­ing spec­tac­u­lar jail­breaks from Aus­tralia, Bri­tain, the US and New Zealand. From Syd­ney-based South­ern Star pro­ducer Micah Hew­son, Real Prison Breaks is nar­rated by Bri­tish ac­tor Sean Bean, and looks at the Hol­ly­wood-style es­cape by John Killick from Syd­ney’s Sil­ver­wa­ter prison in 1999 af­ter his lover Lucy Dudko hi­jacked a he­li­copter; the mur­der­ous ram­page that pre­ceded the es­cape of Amer­i­can rapist Brian Ni­chols in 2005; Bri­tain’s big­gest ever es­cape in­volv­ing 38 IRA mem­bers from North­ern Ire­land’s no­to­ri­ous Maze prison in 1983; and the 2006 es­cape from Syd­ney’s Long Bay jail of Robert Cole, who lost 14kg to squeeze through the prison bars. The se­ries pre­mieres this month on Bri­tain’s ITV.

Ray re­turns for a few laughs

RAY Martin re­turns to the small screen as a reg­u­lar guest on a new Com­edy Chan­nel se­ries from ra­dio stars Mer­rick Watts and Tim Ross. In an at­tempt to chan­nel the en­ergy found in live com­edy and to keep the sub­ject mat­ter top­i­cal, The Mer­rick and Rosso Show will be filmed be­fore a stu­dio au­di­ence two days be­fore it screens. Other reg­u­lar guests in­clude Ian Thorpe and So­phie Monk. The se­ries pre­mieres at 8.30pm on Oc­to­ber 2.

Con­crete jun­gle mon­keys

FILM­ING starts next month on The Ur­ban Mon­key, a 10-part short-form com­edy se­ries for the ABC star­ring Triple J’s week­end break­fast host, Mel­bourne co­me­dian Sam Sim­mons. Ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by Ja­son Bur­rows of Syd­ney com­pany Jun­gle­boys, the se­ries spoofs 1980s bush ad­ven­tur­ers (think Alby Man­gels) and draws com­par­isons be­tween an­i­mal be­hav­iour and that found in the hu­man world. Trent O’Don­nell is di­rect­ing.

Hol­i­days road tested

FRANKIE J. Holden, Lara Bin­gle, Sam Ri­ley, Laura Csor­tan and Scott McGre­gor are among the celebri­ties road-test­ing re­sorts in a new se­ries of Hol­i­days for Sale screen­ing on Nine from Septem­ber 21. The four-part se­ries is hosted by Gorgi Quill, re­plac­ing Shel­ley Craft, who is busy film­ing Do­mes­tic Blitz and Aus­tralia’s Fun­ni­est Home Videos.

An­i­mals on set

CAST and crew of the ABC drama se­ries East of Ev­ery­thing have been trained to deal with haz­ards pre­sented by the lo­cal wildlife af­ter sev­eral sur­prise en­coun­ters on the By­ron Bay set. The lat­est in­volved star Richard Roxburgh (left) and a baby brown snake. The sev­en­part sec­ond se­ries, which be­gan film­ing last month, prom­ises a birth, a death and more laughs than the first. It will screen on ABC1 next year.

Knight Rider kits up again

CHAN­NEL 7 has sched­uled fresh episodes of US dra­mas in­clud­ing Prison Break and He­roes, along with the con­tem­po­rary re­make of Knight Rider, a few weeks af­ter they screen in the US. Knight Rider stars Justin Bru­en­ing as Mike Tracer, the son of se­ries orig­i­nal Michael Knight, and the orig­i­nal star David Has­sel­hoff makes a cameo ap­pear­ance in the movie-length pre­miere. Prison Break se­ries four be­gan in the US on Septem­ber 1, with the broth­ers fi­nally free and seek­ing re­venge on The Com­pany. The third sea­son of He­roes and Knight Rider screen there later this month.

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