SCREEN Australia has announced investment approval for 13 projects that will generate $26.4 million of production. Big winners were Screentime, the makers of Underbelly, who received finance approval for the true-crime story of The Killing of Caroline Byrne. The telemovie for Channel 10 will examine the death of Byrne, a model whose body was found at the Gap in Sydney in 1995. Executive producers are Greg Haddrick and Des Monaghan. The show will be written by Peter Gawler and directed by Tony Tilse. JASON Gann and Adam Zwar will soon be back in front of the cameras to shoot a sequel to their quirky SBS comedy Wilfred. A sales pitch for Wilfred 2 says it’s about ‘‘a boy, a girl and a bong-smoking dog that thinks he is human’’.
Ghost of a chance
CLAUDIA Karvan (left), John Edwards and Jacquelin Perske, the talented team behind hit drama Love My Way, have joined forces again to produce Spirited, an eightpart love/ghost story. The series will screen on Foxtel.
Paws for thought
Wire in ABC blood
THE ABC scored a coup at the Cannes MIPTV market, which attracts program buyers and sellers from around the world. Aunty secured the rights to the acclaimed US series The Wire. The drama, which covers police, press and politics in a declining US city, has become an underground hit with a devoted following via DVD around the world. The ABC has negotiated the rights to series one to four. The move comes after the broadcaster captured seasons one and two of Torchwood, the spinoff series from Dr Who.
Kenny and the jets
AUSTRALIAN writer-producer Jim Shomos was at MIPTV to pitch his comedy series, Mordy Koots, which stars Shane Jacobson of Kenny fame. Shomos says it is the first movieover-game integrated entertainment. Jacobson plays an unlikely hero as a World War II fighter pilot. The series features live action integrated with console game Blazing Angels. It was created and directed by Clayton Jacobson.
Something completely similar
TO celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a special DVD on the team behind it is being released. Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut) features the crew telling how the surrealist comedy started.
Vega star search
VEGA 91.5FM’s Dicko, Dave and Chrissie show (above) has begun a search to find the best unsigned talent older than 30 years. Ian Dickson wants to give one person a chance to experience the life of a superstar, performing in front of a live audience at the Palms at Crown, recording a single and getting airplay on Vega 91.5FM. The concept is inspired by the fact Australian Idol judge and Vega announcer Dickson often hears people say Idol should relax its age limit to allow older people to audition. A judging panel and listener votes will be used to select four finalists to perform at the Palms at Crown on April 30. Public vote will determine the ultimate winner. Singers can try to fast-track their way to an audition in front of Dickson by submitting their demo online at Vega 91.5FM’s website or by showing up at one of the heats from 5pm at the following locations: April 16, Cardinia Club, Pakenham; April 20, Yarraville Club, Yarraville; April 22, Mulgrave Country Club, Wheelers Hill.