Gods of Wheat Street co-producer Lois Randall with the series’ writer Jon Bell.
Gods of Wheat Street co-producer Lois Randall with the series’ writer Jon Bell.

Grafton jail to star in TV series

A NEW TV drama series being produced on the Northern Rivers will feature Grafton jail as the home of one of the key characters.

Gods of Wheat St (GOWS) is a six-part indigenous drama based largely in a fictional old-world version of Casino and will employ 77 people full time for six months, with a smaller production team for longer.

The production, which is supp

orted by ABC and the Northern Rivers Jobs Plan (NRJP), will have a main cast of 14 and was written by Aboriginal actor, writer and former DOCS family case worker Jon Bell.

Every Cloud Productions, which made the East of Everything series in the Byron Bay area in 2008, is overseeing GOWS.

Co-producer Lois Randall said the aim was to keep as many jobs as possible in the local area, which was made easier because of the base of highly skilled film industry professionals living locally.

"Many professionals have to leave the area to work on a project like this," Ms Randall said.

"There are still gaps in the local crew base which we'll have to bring in, but most people will be local."

One of the characters, said Ms Randall, is spending time in a Grafton jail and the crew had already been to the facility seeking approvals for filming inside cells and other parts of the jail.

Though she would not reveal the extent of the NRJP's assistance, Ms Randall said the support had made it easier for the production to be made in a regional area, which could be quite expensive.

Mr Bell, who wrote the script several years ago, told the Northern Rivers Echo in 2009 that the series was like "the Aboriginal Neighbours or Home and Away".

"But it's not as nice as Neighbours and not as outlandish as Home and Away," he said.

"There's plenty of fist fights and love affairs, but not in a soapie way."

The story will follow the lives of four siblings in the Freeburn family - Odin, Ares, Tristin and Isolde - whose mother died when they were young and the family was split up.

The eldest brother, Odin (played by Jon), manages to bring the family back together and the story really begins from that point.

The series is aimed at a family audience with an intimate journey into the lives and hearts of a modern Aboriginal family of local legends.

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