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Byrne’s unit

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.

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