Mcleod's Daughters: articles

South Australia's McLeods fight

HIGH-RATING TV drama series McLeod's Daughters - filmed north of Adelaide - wants a minimum $500,000 State Government handout to remain in South Australia

The show's producers and the SA Film Corporation yesterday warned the future of McLeod's Daughters was in doubt, with the possibility it might be axed or its production moved interstate.

An internal SA Film Corporation document obtained by The Advertiser reveals the makers of McLeod's Daughters last month made an urgent appeal for State Government funding in a bid to convince the Nine Network to commit for another season of the show.

In the February 8 production investment application to the SAFC Board, the show's creator, Posie Graeme-Evans, stated: "In light of major restructuring and cost-cutting that is taking place within the Nine Network, the production company, Millennium Television, is seeking support from the SAFC to secure a commitment from Nine for the eighth series."

SAFC documents obtained by The Advertiser under Freedom of Information laws reveal McLeod's Daughters has received $2.516 million in State Government funding since the first series in 1999.

According to the minutes of an SAFC Board meeting last month, obtained by The Advertiser, a $200,000 grant over the next two financial years to McLeod's Daughters was approved.

SAFC chief executive Helen Leake yesterday said an additional $300,000 for the show was being sought from ArtsSA, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Trade and Economic Development.

If the show was axed, the $500,000 would be returned.

"It may or may not go ahead," she said.

Ms Leake said that in the past serious consideration had been given to "build sets in Sydney, do a lot of interior shooting there, and just send a second unit to do landscape shots".

While that had been ruled out, the option "was still on the cards".

McLeod's Daughters, one of the last drama series to still be shot on Super 16mm film, is also one of the most expensive Australian TV shows to produce.

The estimated cost of making another series is $19 million, according to Ms Graeme-Evans' investment application.

Ms Graeme-Evans was yesterday unavailable for comment, but her husband, Millennium Television managing director Andrew Blaxland, said: "Nine is in a state of some change . . . we are in very early discussions.

"I think the more likely possibility is the series will not continue, not that it will go somewhere else.

"It's an economic decision."

The producers claim that since 1999 the show has spent about $72 million in SA, $44 million on employing SA crew and "has injected over $27 million into businesses from Adelaide to the Gawler/Barossa region".

Gawler Council's economic development manager, David Morton, said the show was a "good drawcard for the region" and provided flow-on benefits to the local economy. "A lot of people who come to our Visitor Information Centre ask about McLeod's Daughters, " he said.

A spokeswoman for the Nine Network last night said the head of drama, Jo Horsburgh, could not be reached for comment.

By Michael Owen
March 02, 2007
The Advertiser