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BLIGH’S DAUGHTER

Regency romance, four hour miniseries.

When William Bligh of the Bounty fame was later sent to govern NSW, he took with him his daughter Mary, whose temper was as fiery as her father’s. Bligh was displaced as Governor by a rebellion led by officers of the NSW Corps and lingered in Australia until Governor Lachlan Macquarie arrived to replace him. With Macquarie came his second in command, Lieutenant-Colonel (later General Sir) Maurice O’Connell. He and Mary Bligh met, fought, fell in love and in three months were married. Bligh’s Daughter is like a Pride and Prejudice set in 1810 in the British penal colony of Sydney Cove. It is Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy in the South Seas. The hopes and passions of a strong young woman, the reservations of an irascible yet honourable man, the misunderstandings, fights and reconciliations, the classic battle of the sexes, instant attraction combined with mutual antagonism preceding the overcoming of obstacles, all ending in wedding bells. This is a love story from the era made famous in the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.
Concept document available

STARSHIP HOME

Science Fiction, eight hour miniseries

In a slave raid, the alien Slarn arrive on Earth and take away most of the population. Among them are high school teacher Meg, knockabout school bus driver Zachary and two high school students, athlete Zoe and computer geek Harold. The starship they are on is wounded in a space battle, the crew and most of the captives are evacuated in escape pods, and the four find themselves alone on her. And it is literally “her” because the starship pilot is sentient, containing within herself the mind of a mediaeval English nun named Guinevere. They persuade the starship to take them back to Earth but because of the wounds inflicted in the space battle, they return to where they started but 90 years in the future. In those 90 years, civilization has collapsed, wild animals which have escaped from safari parks roam the Australian bush, an outlaw biker gang has evolved into a horse-riding, sword swinging aristocracy, cannibal Looters roam the terrain looking for victims, and Zoe’s kid sister, now an ancient crone, rules the matriarchal Forest People. Survive they must, but now they learn that the starship is primed to self-destruct in 40 days unless they learn how to heal her. The clock is ticking.
Screenplays available

THE NEW GOLD MOUNTAIN

Historical drama, four hour miniseries

The Australian gold rushes beginning in the mid-19th century attracted gold seekers from all over the world, among them Chinese miners from the See Yap district of Guangdong. One of these, Chin Tow, teams up with a hard-bitten larrikin Australian and together they follow the gold rushes. Chin Tow goes respectable and becomes an import-export merchant but then adventure calls and he and his Australian larrikin mate set off on one last adventure which takes them to the goldfields of North Queensland. Here, tragedy strikes. Suit Chinese co-production.
Screenplays available
Copyright © 2013 Tony Chenn/Morphett and Hunter Pty Ltd.

THE OUTLAW CONSPIRACY

13 hour miniseries

Australia’s most successful bushranger gang was led first by Frank Gardiner and then by his successor Ben Hall. This gang pulled off the Eugowra Rocks gold escort robbery, getting away with, by today’s valuation, a million dollars worth of gold, only half of which was ever recovered. After Frank Gardiner fled to Queensland and was later arrested there, Ben Hall and his Canadian associate John Gilbert, staged 600 armed hold-ups in the space of three years. But when Ben Hall was finally tracked down and killed by the mounted police they found only 75 pounds in cash on his body. Which raises the question: what happened to all the money? There are many such unanswered questions and improbable elements in the official history of the Hall gang. He was pursued throughout his brief career by Inspector Sir Frederick Pottinger, the baronet son of an English general. What was this member of the English Establishment doing in a dusty little frontier village at the time? Furthermore, in 1865, in the space of six weeks, Pottinger, Hall, Gilbert and Billy Dargin, the Aboriginal tracker who led the troopers to Hall’s camp, all died violent deaths. On 9 April 1865, Pottinger, on his way to face an official enquiry, died of an allegedly “accidental” gunshot wound. The enquiry never went ahead. Then 26 days later, 5 May 1865, Ben Hall was tracked down by Billy Dargin and shot more than 30 times by troopers. Eight days after this, 13 May 1865, Johnnie Gilbert was shot dead by troopers. Six weeks after Hall’s killing, Billy Dargin, the only civilian witness to his death, talked in public about what happened and died of poisoning. And in a footnote, when Frank Gardiner was released from prison he was immediately exiled and shipped out of the country, spending his last years in the USA. The whole thing reeks of an official cover-up. Pottinger, Hall, Gilbert and Dargin knew too much and had to be silenced. The thesis of The Outlaw Conspiracy is that Hall was raising money to fund a Fenian uprising masterminded by important Colonial figures based in Sydney and Pottinger was sent by Whitehall to investigate. Then things went terribly wrong and a cover-up became necessary.
Concept document available.
Developed by Tony Morphett. Copyright © 2013 Peter Slee Entertainment P/L

LOLA MONTEZ

Fact-based historical drama, six hour miniseries

Before there was Madonna, before there was Marilyn, before there was Marlene, before there was Evita, there was Lola Montez. She was born in Ireland but passed as Spanish. She was not a great dancer and singer but her beauty and sex appeal won her a reputed 80 lovers, among them the composer Franz Liszt, the novelist Alexandre Dumas and the King of Bavaria who lost his throne because of her. She toured Europe and the Californian and Australian goldfields always leaving scandal in her wake. Three of her lovers died suspiciously convenient deaths. Finally, her health severely affected by tertiary syphilis, she tried a comeback in the USA. The old magic, however, was fading. She repented of her wicked ways, lectured fallen women on the dire consequences of sin, and died in New York City in 1861, at the age of 42.
Concept document available.

BLOOD TIES

Modern Western, four hour miniseries set in North West Australia. In a small town a rape and murder by a local landowner are covered up by a corrupt cop. Now, 25 years later, the girl who was born as the result of the rape, now an international catwalk model, and her half-brother, a hit man for the Calabrian Brotherhood, return to wreak revenge.
Screenpays available