FOXTEL today announced a landmark new drama series –'Wentworth' – which has been described as "a contemporary re-imagining of the iconic Australian drama series Prisoner."
Wentworth will be produced by FremantleMedia Australia - under the direction of Director of Drama Jo Porter - and will start shooting in Melbourne in the coming months.
Produced exclusively for FOXTEL, it will be set in the present and will begin with central character Bea Smith’s early days in prison (ah, Bea Smith... she and 'The Freak' always made the prisoner/'screw' antics so worth watching).
The storylines will include some of the original inmates and staff of the Wentworth Detention Centre (brilliant!) as well as new characters, especially developed for this new series.
FOXTEL Executive Director of Television, Brian Walsh, said: “Wentworth will be a dynamic and very confronting drama series, developed and stylised specifically for subscription television audiences. We have told producers to push all boundaries and honestly depict life on the inside as it is in 2012.
“Wentworth is not a Prisoner remake, but a contemporary drama which brings new life to some of the great female characters so many viewers came to love and loved to hate. There will be surprises, twists and turns all along the way. This is a major drama initiative for FOXTEL which will engage existing Prisoner fans and entice entirely new audiences with its bold storytelling.
"We are especially delighted to work with FremantleMedia and their revitalised drama division under Jo Porter. I know that, after many successful years at Seven, Jo will bring a particular energy to this important drama project for FOXTEL,” he said.
FremantleMedia Australia Director of Drama, Jo Porter, said: “Wentworth is a compelling character drama series about women which will take the audience inside a unique environment governed by its own rules.
“The series explores the politics of women in a world with few men, and how the experience both challenges and changes them, sometimes for the better. It’s a drama series built on the great Australian tradition of overcoming the odds to find mateship and belonging in the most unlikely circumstances. We’re very excited to be casting for so many strong female characters.”
FremantleMedia Chief Executive Asia Pacific, Ian Hogg, said: “An entire generation of Australians grew up watching Prisoner and another is about to do the same with Wentworth. It will be bold, relevant and adventurous. Most importantly, its foundations will be built on amazing stories and wonderful characters.”
Prisoner - and of course many of you know this and watched the original the first time around - is an Australian drama series, produced by the Reg Grundy Organisation.
It premiered on Network Ten for 692 episodes from February 27, 1979 to December 11, 1986. The series is known as 'Cell Block H' overseas, and aired in 14 countries including the United Kingdom, America, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Israel, Italy, South Africa and Sweden.
FOXTEL’s 111 Hits currently screens Prisoner weeknights at 6.30pm.
And here are some of the best bits of the original Prisoner (fights galore!):