Actors Anthony Hayes (left) and Luke Hemsworth (front) in the new Channel 10 series about the 1984 Milperra bikie war massacre. Source: Supplied
THIS new series finally hits the airwaves tonight, vulgar, sensationalist and full of nudity, noise and gore.
In six parts it charts the story behind the so-called Milperra bikie massacre on September 2, 1984, beginning in the early 1970s, when the outlaw bikie scene in Australia was in its fledgling days. The series brings with it that immense sense of violation a violent crime leaves in its wake. Based on the bestselling book of the same title by Sandra Harvey and Lindsay Simpson, it's produced by Screentime, which also continues to give us the unfolding Underbelly series. A stellar ensemble cast includes Matt Nable (East West 101), Callan Mulvey (Rush), Susie Porter (RAN), Todd Lasance (Cloudstreet) and Damien Walshe-Howling (Underbelly).
It starts with a young girl's voice, presumably that of one of the murdered, Leanne Walters, elegiacally reading the lines of white print that appear on a series of black cards, establishing the simple facts of the shootings. She ends with the words of Adrian Roden, the judge of the subsequent long-running trial: "As patriotism can lead to jingoism, and mateship can lead to cronyism, so bikie club loyalty can lead to bikie club war."
The series, conceived really as a modern western, much of it shot in disused quarries and against the backdrop of industrial wastelands, then follows the tribal wars of Sydney's early bikie gangs. These were initially recruited by supreme commander William George "Jock" Ross, who had founded the Comancheros in 1968. Ross, a former British military man, headed for Australia after demobbing in 1966. With his distinctive Coke bottle glasses and a musical Glaswegian accent, he has an abiding love of the television soapie Dallas, known for its sex, intrigue and power struggles. Nable plays him with charismatic authority and a jester's deadly smile, a man who loves a good yarn and a joke.