White Collar Blue: articles

Sydney's new film location

CHEAPER location fees and a lack of exposure has attracted a major new Australian drama production to Sydney's scenic southern beaches.

Network Ten's White Collar Blue, starring Freya Stafford, Peter O'Brien and Brooke Satchwell, has been filming at Cronulla for the past few months and begins airing in early August.

Producer Steve Knapman hailed the Sutherland Shire as an "untouched paradise" which would give their show a different look from their competition.

"The film community have completely ignored this area and most television police shows have exhausted inner city and eastern suburbs locations," Mr Knapman said.

"It is only 25 minutes from the city and we haven't been stung by the location fees which have gone through the roof in those other suburbs. People are also amazingly friendly—we do letter box drops to tell people what we are doing and we've had letters back from them thanking us for being polite and non-intrusive."

The North Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club is the set for the Kingsway Police Station which is the focus of White Collar Blue's action and drama.

As well as paying for the use of the club, the production also donated television and video players and other "hardware" for which the club had been unable to secure funding.

Freya Stafford, who plays Harriet Walker, said it was important Australian audiences were introduced to other significant locations by local dramatic productions.

"It's great to bring a place like this into loungerooms around Australia," she said.

"When I first got down here, I thought it was great to have a view of the beach but after a while, we realised how lucky we were because it's not just the beach—there are so many other varied, interesting and great places around here."

Mr Knapman said Australian audiences were hungry to see more of their own backyard after being forcefed a plethora of American cityscapes in the past decade or so.

The Nine Network's rival police drama Young Lions has also ventured out of the studio and into Sydney's CBD and eastern and inner-west suburbs.

"Many of the police shows we have seen in Australia have been designed on American models and in trying to compete directly with that product, they end up looking like those ubiquitous, dark metropolises," he said.

"It's fantastic to be able to celebrate our own culture and place in the world by using these stunning locations with great names which are so Australian.

"Besides, crime doesn't just happen in the city."

July 28, 2002
The Daily Telegraph