Wentworth girls to reap rewards
IF Wentworth is a massive hit, it will have more to thank the 1980s TV series Prisoner for than just inspiration. The new pay TV series needs to achieve just half the success of Prisoner and the Wentworth cast will be in for a financial windfall. This eluded the cast members of Prisoner.
It was not until after some of the actors of Prisoner, via the union, went to court did Australian soapie stars get paid residuals, explains Colette Mann.
Mann, who played teddy-hugging Doreen Anderson for more than 290 episodes, was also the union rep at the time – and she took up the fight for residuals with the Reg Grundy Organisation, which made Prisoner.
‘‘The Prisoner girls went into bat for residuals and I was the union rep who had to represent them in court,’’ says Mann. ‘‘Grundy’s never paid anyone residuals but they agreed to pay residuals after Prisoner finished.’’
Mann now reaps the rewards of her well-fought harvest as a cast member of Channel 10’s long-running soapie Neighbours. ‘‘ Neighbours – Jason and Kylie, have a lot to thank me for,’’ she laughs.
Elspeth Ballantyne, who appeared in every episode of Prisoner as warden Jackson, also bears no grudge about missing out on what could be tens of thousands of dollars.
She is grateful for having a permanent job as an actor that allowed her to raise two children as a single mum.
Wentworth is a ‘‘reimagining’’ of Prisoner and contains most of the leading character names including Bea Smith, Franky Doyle and Doreen Anderson.
It’s also set within the grey walls of Wentworth Correctional Centre where Meg Jackson is now governor and in-mate Lizzie Birdsworth is the peacemaker between prisoners and the screws.
Among those in the lead roles are New Zealand actress Danielle Cormack (who plays Smith), Catherine McClements (Governor Jackson) and Celia Ireland (Birdsworth).
Wentworth: Wednesdays, 8.30pm, SoHo. The Witnesses 1.30am, SBS1
M. 2007. A group of friends contend with the first outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in Paris, 1984. Refreshing French take on a subject most often tackled by Hollywood. Andre Techine directs an ensemble cast that includes Michel Blanc, Emmanuelle Beart and Sami Bouajila.
– DARREN CARTWRIGHT
Colette Mann with Shareena Clanton.