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SA lands new ABC series Ladies in Black with all-star cast

09 November 2023
The cast of Ladies in Black (L-R): Debi Mazar, Miranda Otto, Jessica De Gouw.

Ladies in Black, the second television series to be funded under the ABC SAFC Content Pipeline Fund, has been announced by the ABC today.

The six-part drama is the second production to be funded through the $5.2 million fund delivered by the State Government to drive screen production in South Australia, create jobs and strengthen the state’s screen industry. It follows popular children’s series Beep and Mort from Adelaide’s Windmill Pictures, which wrapped filming its second season earlier this year at Adelaide Studios.

The cast of Ladies in Black will be led by renowned American actress Debi Mazar (Younger, Entourage), Miranda Otto (The Clearing, Talk To Me) and Jessica De Gouw (The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, The Secrets She Keeps).

Following on from the 2018 film of the same name and drawing inspiration from the much-loved 1993 novel, the new television adaptation sees the beloved women from Goodes Department Store fling open their shop doors to the fabulous 1960’s.

Debi, Miranda, and Jessica will be joined by an ensemble cast of talented Australian actors including Kate Box (Deadloch, Wentworth), 2022 NIDA graduate Clare Hughes, Azizi Donnelly (Secret Society of Lies), Julian Maroun (Aftertaste), Carlos Sanson Jr (Bump), Tom Wilson (Heartbreak High), Sacha Horler (The Letdown), Huw Higginson (Total Control), Russell Dykstra (Rake), Thom Green (Of an Age), Hamish Michael (The Twelve), Krew Boylan (Simply Red), Ngali Shaw (The Twelve), Hazem Shammas (The Clearing), Peter O’Brien (Tidelands), Gemma Ward (While The Men Are Away) and Todd McKenney (Significant Others).

Directed by Gracie Otto (The Arftul Dodger, The Clearing, Heartbreak High), Ladies in Black takes place in 1961, six months after the events of the original story, where amidst this backdrop of major societal shifts, the women embracing more freedom and independence are forced to confront personal choices and challenges which cast shadows over their once cherished dreams.

Minister for the Arts Andrea Michaels MP said: “It is incredibly exciting to secure Ladies in Black for South Australia. We want to tell Australian stories to the world, and we are achieving this through our $5.2 million partnership between the South Australian Film Corporation and the ABC, with this being the second series to be supported through the Content Pipeline Fund.

“Along with the significant cultural benefits of supporting our stories to reach Australian and global audiences, our investment is creating hundreds of jobs for our local screen sector, and driving high quality production outcomes which showcase South Australia’s world-class film and television production capability around the world.

“South Australia is truly the home of Australian stories on screen, and the Malinauskas Government will continue to invest in this important sector for the future.”

South Australian Film Corporation CEO Kate Croser said: “We are thrilled to support Ladies in Black to be made in South Australia under the new ABC SAFC Content Pipeline Fund. As the second production to come out of the fund, this fabulous, quintessentially Australian series will really showcase the diverse capability of our Adelaide Studios production facility and South Australia’s screen industry workforce.”

ABC Head of Scripted Rachel Okine said: “Ladies in Black is a celebration of beauty, ambition and friendships forged against a backdrop of high fashion in the 1960s. We anticipate audiences both here and abroad are going to love losing themselves in this glamorous world and are delighted to be bringing it to the screen in 2024”.

Bunya Entertainment’s Co-Managing Director and producer Sophia Zachariou said: “At Bunya we pride ourselves on bringing stories to the screen that we haven’t seen before and our television version of Ladies in Black is just that. Our Ladies in Black inhabit an intriguing world on the cusp of change. We can’t wait to bring the exquisite characters we’ve created – and their stories – to the screen. I hope audiences fall in love with them just as much as we have”.

Screen Australia Head of Content Grainne Brunsdon said: “We are proud to be part of the highly anticipated drama series Ladies in Black. Beautifully tailored and laced with a fierce intelligence, this charming series skilfully captures Australian culture during a truly transformative era. With its winning combination of cast and crew, this series will transport audiences to a bygone era, yearning for more.”

The series is written by Greg Waters (The Twelve) who also serves as script producer, Sarah Bassiuoni (House of Gods), Joan Sauers (Wakefield) and Randa Sayed (Halal Girls).

Ladies in Black is coming soon to ABC TV and ABC iview.

Production credit: A Bunya Entertainment production. Major production investment from the ABC, South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Australia. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Producers: Sophia Zachariou, Angela Littlejohn, Greer Simpkin, David Jowsey. Executive Producers: Greg Waters, Sue Milliken, Allanah Zitserman. ABC Executive Producers: Rachel Okine & Louise Smith. Distributed by ABC Commercial.

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