Underbelly: articles

Underbelly team ready to expose Brisbane's grubbiest era

QUEENSLAND'S corruption-cursed era of the 1980s will be exposed in a fourth series of the crime drama franchise Underbelly.

The news is sure to send crims scuttling for cover - or at least a book deal - while speculation has already started as to who will play whom in the state's annals of grubby infamy.

Although the Channel 9 was tight-lipped on details yesterday, an insider confirmed the production company behind the series, Screentime, would set the fourth instalment in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley in the notorious 1980s.

It is speculated it will detail the events which led to the Fitzgerald inquiry in 1987 which exposed the city's underbelly of illegal casinos and brothels.

Brisbane had been tipped earlier this year as a setting for series three, but producers opted for a story based around Sydney's infamous sex strip Kings Cross.

Front and centre on any Underbelly series set in the Sunshine State would be the colourful Fitzgerald inquiry figure Gerry Bellino who was accused of running a multimillion-dollar empire of illegal brothels and gambling dens.

Bellino and his business partner Vic Conte were jailed for almost seven years after being convicted of paying bribes to police.

Former police commissioner Terry Lewis and government MP Don Lane were also jailed over charges arising from the inquiry.

Yesterday names being thrown around for the Bellino role ranged from Vince Colosimo to Eric Bana, while Gerry Connolly - who played Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the 1993 telemovie Joh's Jury - would be an obvious choice to play the state premier of the day.

By Geoff Shearer
November 24, 2009
The Courier-Mail