TV1 Announces August NZ Sunday Drama Slate

How To Murder Your Wife's Simon O'Connor and Geraldine Brophy.

How To Murder Your Wife’s Simon O’Connor and Geraldine Brophy.

The award-winning How to Murder Your Wife will next month launch the latest season of NZ Sunday Theatre dramas.

It’s one of four NZ On Air-funded productions that will premiere 8.30 Sundays on TV1 from August 16.

How to Murder Your Wife is a dramatised black comedy about a 65-year-old who conspires to kill his pushy partner in 1977 Wellington.

Starring Simon O’Connor as Alf Benning, “an unlikely and lovable murderer”, and Geraldine Brophy as his overbearing wife, Betty, it won three awards at the New York City International Film Festival 2015: best comedy in a feature film, best actress in a supporting role (Brophy) and best cinematography in a feature film.

Venus and Mars dramatises how the 1996 brutal attack on Palmerston North detective Brent Garner and the arson of his house raised fears about a “satanic avenger” targeting the police — only for an investigation to reveal it was an inside job.

Craig Hall, Ande Cunningham, Paul McLaughlin, Joel Tobeck and Sara Wiseman star in this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction case of the disgraced detective.

Abandoned stars Dominic Purcell (Prison Break), Greg Johnson, Peter Feeney and Owen Black as the crew of the Rose Noelle who survived 119 days adrift at sea — only to reach shore and endure a media frenzy that would cast doubt on their against-all-odds tale.

The Monster of Mangatiti is a docudrama teenager Heather Walsh’s shocking ordeal at the hands of the sexual predator who held her captive over the winter of 1985 in the remote Mangatiti Valley.

As well as narrating her own story, excerpts of Walsh being interviewed are intercut with the re-enactments.

TV1 announced the new season within a day of NZOA confirming its latest drama funding commitments.

They didn’t include the weeknight soap TV3’s planning but the agency is bankrolling another season of the network’s Westside ($7.6 million for 10 hours) and new TV1 crime drama Dirty Laundry ($6.7 million for 13 hours).

About a middle-class family whose mother is jailed for money laundering, it’s from the veteran drama team of Rachel Lang, Gavin Strawhan and Stephen Zanoiski.

NZOA’s also backing two telemovie dramatisations: Bombshell – The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior ($2.85 million) and Jean ($3.15 million), about aviatrix pioneer Jean Batten.

John Banas (Underbelly NZ) is writing the former for Screentime, and Paula Boock and Donna Malane (Field Punishment No. 1, Tangiwai) the latter for Lippy Productions.

“We are very impressed by the calibre of drama applications – this genre is alive and well,” NZOA chief executive Jane Wrightson said.

“This is a significant investment in drama yet funds remain for future projects.

“We acknowledge recent discussion about a new soap. We have not yet received a funding application for this: it may come to us for assessment in the coming months along with other projects in development and potential returning series.”


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