Home Television Drama Contrabandits


1 9 6 7 – 1 9 6 8 (Australia)
30 x 60 minute episodes

The ABC’s answer to Homicide, Contrabandits, was produced by Eric Tayler, whose credits included Maigret and Z Cars.

The top man was Chief Inspector Ted Hallam (English actor Denis Quilley), the no-nonsense head of the Special Branch of the Department of Customs and Excise – known colloquially as “The Contrabandits”.

His team comprised brash and outgoing Bob Piper (John Bonney), tough guy Jim Shurley (Ben Gabriel), office girl Mardi Shiel (Janet Kingsbury) and radio operator Ross (Bob Haddow).  John Gregg joined the regular cast from episode nine as Customs agent Charles Keally.

Hallam’s team investigated and combatted smuggling on the Sydney waterfront and in the city.

The Department head, mentioned but never seen, was called ‘The Collector’.

Guest stars during the two seasons included Sir Robert Helpmann, Helen Morse, Rowena Wallace, Max Cullen, Kirrily Nolan, Tom Oliver, Marilyn Mayo, Shane Porteous, Benita Collings, Mike Dorsey, Slim de Grey, Ron Shand and Disc Jockey Ward Austin.

Based on the actual activities of the Customs Prevention and Detection Branch, the series had the approval of the Department of Customs and Excise which made an officer available to the ABC as a technical adviser and checked all episodes for accuracy and authenticity.

The other star of the series was Sydney Harbour, giving its best at all times.

Chief Inspector Ted Hallam
Denis Quilley
Bob Piper
John Bonney
Jim Shurley
Ben Gabriel
Mardi Shiel
Janet Kingsbury
Bob Haddow
Charles Keally
John Gregg


Cage A Tame Tiger | Bait And Little Fishes | Horse On The Wing | Corner Of The Market | Sweet And Sour | A Drop In The Ocean | Madame Ukelele | Target, Smokehouse | Films Are Just For Kicks First John Gregg | Deadly Harvest | A Case Of Kinetics | Man On The Hook | Time Out || Closed Circuit | Samson Out Of Joint | Money For Jam | In For A Penny | The Professionals | Double Exposure | Game For Two Players | Tiger By The Tail | According To Arcadius | Write-Off | A Mention In Despatches | Fool’s Gold | Collectors Piece | File It Under Personal | Double Entry | Blind Man’s Bluff | A Good Way To Go