White Collar Blue: articles

Richard Carter, Brooke Satchwell

Show gets gong and axe

LESS than two weeks after being axed, television crime drama White Collar Blue has picked up the prize for best television series at the Australian Writers Guild annual awards.

The popular show was recently axed.

The Channel Ten drama was voted best TV series at the 36th Awgie awards, held in Sydney on Saturday night.

Head writer Kristen Dunphy picked up the gong for episode 14, in which Kingsway police boss Hudson has to deal with the crimes of his schizophrenic son.

It beat episodes of The Secret Life of Us, All Saints, Stingers and Grass Roots.

But the award is of little consolation for Dunphy and cast members such as Peter O'Brien, Freya Stafford and Don Hany - who recently finished filming the show's two-hour finale, due to screen in November.

"I know there have been a lot of calls to Channel 10, but I can't imagine the win will turn it around - (former ABC drama) Wildside won a lot of awards after it was axed," Dunphy said.

"It's sad that it's ended. Blue Heelers took years to get to their ratings, but it's all controlled by international sales now."

One of the key reasons given for the axing was difficulty in selling the show internationally, where it was competing with a flood of new crime dramas, including CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and The Shield.

The dumping comes despite the show attracting between 800,000 and 900,000 Australian viewers a week.

The need to make dramas that appeal locally and internationally was putting compelling and risky drama at risk, Dunphy said.

"It makes things less Australian and more homogenous, but you have to think that way these days," she said.

"I'd like to see a bit more risk-taking—I can't see shows like Six Feet Under and The Sopranos being made here. They'd be seen as a big risk for the producers and networks involved. But then, it's not my money I'm risking."

Sydney writer Tony McNamara won the major gong and feature film adaptation for his debut feature The Rage in Placid Lake.

By Katrina Strickland
August 18, 2003
The Australian