1 9 8 0 (Australia)
4 x 100 minute episodes
In an attempt to repeat the commercial success of their 1978 drama series Against The Wind, Channel Seven and writers Ian Jones and Bronwyn Binns turned to the true story of Australia’s most famous bushranger with John Jarratt starred in the lead role.
Considered to be the most historically accurate depiction of the Ned Kelly story ever made, this four-part mini-series portrayed his childhood and apprenticeship with bushranger Harry Power, the formation of the Kelly Gang, the shoot-out at Stringybark Creek, the hold-ups and years on the run.
The story culminates in the siege at Glenrowan, Kelly’s trial and his inevitable fate at the end of the hangman’s rope in Melbourne Gaol.
Other main characters include Joe Byrne (Steve Bisley); Ned’s cousin and most formidable supporter, Tom Lloyd (Lewis Fitz-Gerald); youngest Kelly son, Dan (John Ley); Dan’s loyal mate Steve Hart (Ric Herbert), a young jockey and unlikely outlaw; flash and eccentric Irishman Aaron Sherritt (Peter Hehir), who was Joe Byrne’s lifelong friend but destined to unwittingly destroy the Kelly gang; 15-year-old Maggie Kelly (Debra Lawrence), the gangling head of the Kelly household who becomes a child bride; beautiful Kate Kelly (Sigrid Thornton) who catches the eye of young Irish policeman Constable Fitzpatrick (Adrian Wright); and the family matriarch, Mrs Kelly (Elaine Cusick), a small, lean, indomitable woman who married American George King (Paul Mason).
Each episode is feature film length, so the story is covered with magnificent detail.
Celia De Burgh