Wild at heart

Cal­lan Mul­vey cer­tainly looks the part as he brings one of Australia’s blood­i­est bikie bat­tles to the small screen, writes Holly Byrnes

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - BROTH­ERS IN ARMS TDT, pre­mieres Tues­day, 8.30pm

THE con­crete walls of an in­dus­trial unit block tucked away in sub­ur­ban Syd­ney pro­vide the per­fect cover for the cast and crew of Broth­ers In Arms.

But it’s not the pa­parazzi this pro­duc­tion is hid­ing from, tak­ing no chances as they re- en­act one of the blood­i­est bikie bat­tles Australia has seen.

It may be al­most three decades since the Milperra Mas­sacre on Fa­ther’s Day, Septem­ber 2, 1984, but ten­sions be­tween the real war­ring par­ties re­main as hot as ever.

For Chan­nel 10, it’s the kind of heat mar­ket­ing money can’t buy ahead of the broad­cast of this six- part minis­eries.

On set, E Guide finds the mood a cel­e­bra­tory one as the cast recre­ates a party scene in a pur­pose- built Co­mancheros’ club­house.

AC/ DC is blar­ing, beer is flow­ing and mul­lets are de rigueur as ac­claimed di­rec­tor Peter An­drikides watches the ac­tion on a mon­i­tor, gig­gling like a school­boy.

It’s a light mo­ment in this dark tale, which will shock au­di­ences with its Un­der­belly- style bru­tal­ity.

Just as that TV crime fran­chise was crit­i­cised for glam­or­is­ing gang ac­tiv­ity, Broth­ers In Arms should brace for the same charge as it ex­plores the bond that drove these men to kill and die for each other.


Spencer was the loyal lieu­tenant brought into the Co­manchero fold by club boss Jock Ross ( played su­perbly by Matt Nable) who would later lead the mutiny against his pres­i­dent’s tac­tics and leave to start an Aus­tralian chap­ter of the US mo­tor­cy­cle club, Ban­di­dos.

With pride at stake, an al­pha male war be­gan. It would end in blood­shed on that fate­ful day at the Vik­ing Tav­ern, Milperra, when seven peo­ple ( in­clud­ing a 14- year- old by­stander) were shot dead and 40 club mem­bers hos­pi­talised.

Keep­ing on the right side of those al­le­giances and ‘‘ do­ing jus­tice to this story’’ was a chal­lenge for Mul­vey, who re­vealed he did not have con­tact with real club mem­bers.

‘‘ They’re very pro­tec­tive of the brother­hood and they bloody should be,’’ he says.

‘‘ They would die for each other and I have the ut­most re­spect for the clubs.’’

Re­search­ing the story, as well as

‘ You’ve got your brother’s back and noth­ing will come be­tween that’

watch­ing ac­claimed US out­law bikie drama

Sons of An­ar­chy, Mul­vey ad­mits he ‘‘ en­vied’’ the club ca­ma­raderie.

‘‘ You’ve got your brother’s back and noth­ing will come be­tween that. You take your brother’s side first and I think that would be a beau­ti­ful thing to ex­pe­ri­ence." That’s not to say the crim­i­nal­ity is to be ad­mired or ex­cused, Mul­vey says, but hon­our­ing the story and the re­la­tion­ships at the heart of the drama was a key to get­ting the story right.

‘‘ It’s hard to get it right for both sides . . . both sides seem to have con­flict­ing sto­ries and there will be a lot of peo­ple who feel Sn­oddy shouldn’t be made a hero or that Jock’s been de­monised.

‘‘ I want the peo­ple who are still alive to feel they’ve been re­spected and we’ve done jus­tice to this story.’’ Bulk­ing up for the role of Sn­oddy, the 37- yearold de­liv­ers a bal­ance of tough guy and vul­ner­a­ble loner who finds a fam­ily and or­der within the club ranks.

Mul­vey’s on- screen chem­istry with Maeve Der­mody, who plays Spencer’s girl­friend Lee, pro­duces some of the drama’s most touch­ing mo­ments.

While Der­mody’s most no­table roles have been in film and theatre, she jumped at the chance to take on her first ma­jor TV gig.

‘‘ The op­por­tu­nity to play a char­ac­ter like this is rare. I just chase that stuff,’’ she says.

Born af­ter the real events, Der­mody shares viewer fas­ci­na­tion ‘‘ about why these groups ex­ist, how they ex­ist and their al­most tribal code of con­duct’’.

Writ­ten by Greg Had­drick, of Un­der­belly fame, this is the sort of flesh- fest that se­ries be­came in­fa­mous for. Der­mody says the bikie world ‘‘ was a very misog­y­nis­tic cul­ture on the whole, [ but] there’s also this re­ally strong loy­alty to their ‘ old ladies’.

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