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Underbelly Razor fans can view full series

Staying as close as possible to true events and not making them fit a television formula is the secret to the success of the Underbelly franchise, executive producer Des Monaghan believes.

"I think what we did from day one is we allowed events to determine the shape of the story rather than following a conventional drama structure where you make sure that your major figures are still there at the end of the series," Monaghan says.

"We allowed the messiness of true life to intrude."

But Monaghan says it surprises him that while audiences seem to like the fact that Underbelly is based on true crime, they still complain when their favourite characters are killed.

"The single biggest complaint we get about Underbelly is that we killed Alphonse Gangitano in the beginning of the first series," he says.

"Everyone says 'but Vince (Colosimo) did a fantastic job', which he did. He did a brilliant job. But we were saying 'that's when he died'."

However, while Monaghan says the producers work hard to ensure the nature of the characters and the events involved are as close as possible to true life, time constraints sometimes mean things need to be changed a bit.

"We work very hard to capture the essence of what went on," he says.

"But obviously in a 13- or 14-part series that can span up to ten years a lot of things are conjoined, characters are combined and shortcuts need to be taken."

And while people will get upset when true life means their favourite characters get the axe from an Underbelly series early, they also complain if they think details in the series are not true to the era it's set in.

"On the current series (Underbelly Razor) there was an enormous amount of comment on social media about our characters smoking filtered tipped cigarettes and people said that's not true, they weren't around then," he says.

"Well they were. Craven A introduced filtered tipped cigarettes in 1920 and they were a very popular brand in Australia in the mid 20s, which was when our story started but a lot of people didn't believe this."

Monaghan says there are currently a couple of new Underbelly series in the pipeline but in the meantime, fans of the latest series will now be able to watch it the way the producers intended.

He says because Nine has to adhere to censorship rules, the true crime franchise doesn't go to air the exact way they envisage.

"We present the show to the network in the form that we believe it should play," he explains.

"That sometimes runs into conflict with the strict rules that apply for censorship."

However, the DVD will have all the deleted scenes reinstated so fans can finally see the full series.

"What you get on the DVD is the show in the form we wanted broadcast before running into the censorship rules," he says.

Underbelly Razor (Uncut) is available on DVD from November 10.

By Kylie Williams
November 08, 2011