Shooting is underway in various locations in Victoria on December Media’s telemovie spin-off of The Doctor Blake Mysteries for the Seven Network.
Series regular Ian Barry is directing The Blake Mysteries: Ghost Stories, which follows Nadine Garner’s Jean Blake as she takes on the mantle of her husband, police surgeon Lucien Blake, as a solver of mysteries after he disappears 18 months after their marriage.
Scripted by another series alumni in Paul Jenner, the plot posits that Jean, murder and mayhem are a potent mix. Joel Tobeck returns as Chief Superintendent Matthew Lawson with Belinda McClory as Doctor Alice Harvey.
The DOP is Craig Barden, another Blake regular whose credits include Nowhere Boys, Wentworth and Molly.
Last year Seven commissioned four Doctor Blake telepics after the AB Ccancelled the show after five seasons. However in January December Media was forced to halt preparations after allegations of indecent assault and harassment were made against the lead Craig McLachlan.
That followed a joint investigation by the ABC and Fairfax Media into claims by several actresses of being abused, indecently assaulted or bullied by McLachlan during the 2014 stage production of The Rocky Horror Show, in which he played Dr Frank N Furter.
McLachlan vehemently denies the allegations and subsequently an investigation commissioned by December Media found no evidence of sexual harassment, misconduct or workplace bullying on his part during the production of season five.
Screen Australia and Film Victoria are investing in the telepic produced by December Media and series co-creator George Adams’ Gambit Media.
Explaining Screen Australia’s decision, head of production Sally Caplan said: “Screen Australia is generally only a direct investor in early seasons of television shows, however due to the prospect of the Blake franchise not proceeding, and the resultant sudden job losses, in this instance we will fund the telemovie as a one off.”