THE LAST WORD... ‘ I’d be care­ful look­ing at this as a com­plete history’ ver­sion of our early


The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - THE LAST WORD - WithHol­lyByrnes

“THE se­ries sort of ex­plains it­self when it comes to what Jimmy [ Ban­ished co­pro­ducer Jimmy McGovern, who has been crit­i­cised in some cir­cles for the ab­sence of in­dige­nous cast mem­bers in the se­ries about the ar­rival of the First Fleet in Syd­ney] wanted to do with it. It’s 1788 in the pe­nal colony of Aus­tralia and he used that as a plat­form to tell pretty emo­tional, of­ten epic sto­ries in a very per­sonal way. And I think it suc­ceeded in that way. It’s not pre­tend­ing to be a docu-drama or a tale of mod­ern history at all. I’d be care­ful look­ing at this as a com­plete ver­sion of our early history. I know one of the things peo­ple were crit­i­cal about, which I spoke to Jimmy about ini­tially, was the lack of hav­ing na­tives [in­dige­nous Aus­tralians]. Ob­vi­ously Jimmy is a huge ad­vo­cate for in­dige­nous rights, hav­ing done Red­fern Now and ev­ery­thing, but he said if he wants to tell that story he wants to tell it prop­erly and give it the at­ten­tion and the truth that it de­serves.

You can’t do that in seven, one-hour episodes when it’s con­tained in these two weeks and you’ve got all these other char­ac­ters to serve. It’s a char­ac­ter-driven piece, like all the great se­ries on at the mo­ment. I mean, I took three at­tempts at Game of Thrones be­fore I worked out which per­son was from which world; and in a sim­i­lar way, if you jump on board with [ Ban­ished], get in­volved with the char­ac­ters and start car­ing about them, then it has a life of its own.

I’ve only seen a few episodes for [post­pro­duc­tion] and will see it out here like ev­ery­one else, but all in all, I think it works well. In the UK it came sec­ond in its times­lot when it was re­leased and re­mained very high in the rat­ings. My char­ac­ter’s [Pri­vate Mac­Don­ald] re­la­tion­ship with Joanna Van­der­ham [as Kitty McVi­tie] is a tale as old as time … that love tri­an­gle with Joseph Mill­son as Ma­jor Ross [who com­mands his mil­i­tary ju­nior to share his lover]. Joanna was a saint, just re­ally lovely and a vi­brant young woman. These guys [UK cast] came down and were in Syd­ney for the first time.

When you all get chucked in to­gether and they say, ‘Let’s just do this for five months’ you form re­la­tion­ships re­ally quickly and well. Mac­Don­ald re­ally doesn’t get a break in this se­ries and his love for her is his own un­do­ing. He feels like he’s butting his head against a brick wall and is this in­ter­est­ing ex­plo­ration with Ma­jor Ross … does he ma­nip­u­late her? Does he not? The idea that women were com­modi­ties and owned by sol­diers, which ab­so­lutely would have taken place, is a fas­ci­nat­ing look at the pol­i­tics of the day and how the law was chang­ing in this new place.” BAN­ISHED THURS­DAY, 8.30PM, BBC FIRST

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