Underbelly: articles

Underbelly 3 being written

AS the second Underbelly series rakes in television viewers, writers are turning their attention to the Australian underworld of the 1980s and 1990s for a third instalment.

The award-winning director of the first Underbelly series, Peter Andrikidis, says writers are currently penning a third edition of the crime drama to link the two series.

"It's being written at the moment and I think it takes it up to the first series," Andrikidis said today.

"So it's the end of this (second) series and up to 1995, that is the plan.

"I'd say it'd have something to do with the people that were set up in series one.

"But they're still developing that, it's just what they can get the rights on."

The multiple award-winning first series of Underbelly told the story of Melbourne's infamous gangland war that raged from 1995 until 2004 and left 27 people dead.

It focused on the rise and fall of convicted underworld killer Carl Williams, portrayed by Gyton Grantley.

The second series, Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities, is about the booming heroin trade and drug kingpins from 1976 to 1987, set in Sydney, Melbourne and Griffith.

Centred around New Zealand drug kingpin Terry Clark, played by Matthew Newton, it is currently the most watched program on television, bringing in more than two million viewers each episode on the Nine Network.

Andrikidis has not been involved with the current series because of a scheduling clash with his SBS series East West 101 but is hopeful of directing the third.

"We're talking," he said.

The AFI Award winning director said Underbelly had helped changed the Australian television landscape.

"It's a good thing that it came along… you actually are delving into the dark side of human beings, which is a great," Andrikidis said.

"There is an audience for material that is not light."

Andrikidis' other credits include the medical series GP, crime drama Wildside, and the upcoming ABC drama documentary Rogue Nation.

And while Underbelly has been a winner for the Nine Network, Andrikidis said he would've liked to have seen Underbelly made by the public broadcaster.

"It should be made on the ABC," he said.

"And it would be easier to make on the ABC without commercial breaks because it is a dense story."

March 11, 2009