Rudi Dharmalingam in ‘Wakefield’ (Photo credit: Lisa Tomasetti.)
Jungle Entertainment, BBC Studios and the ABC’s Wakefield will be among the first drama series to resume shooting after the shutdown after the producers obtained an exemption from Border Force travel restrictions for Rudi Dharmalingam.
The British actor will return to Australia on July 10 and after two weeks in quarantine will be ready to work when filming resumes on August 3.
In the eight-parter set in a Blue Mountains psychiatric hospital created by Kristen Dunphy, Dharmalingham plays Nik, a psych nurse blessed with a powerful combination of common sense and intuition.
Nik is easily the sanest person in what is a pretty crazy place but when a song gets stuck in his head, a dark secret from his past begins to intrude into his present, forming an intriguing puzzle.
Geraldine Hakewill plays a psychiatrist with Mandy McElhinney as the head nurse, Dan Wyllie and Harriet Dyer as patients and Ryan Corr as the husband of another patient.
Nadie Kammallaweera, who plays Nik’s mother and her younger self in flashbacks, will return from Sri Lanka and Felicity Ward, who plays a nurse, will come back from London. Both are Australian citizens.
Executive producer Jason Burrows tells IF he is grateful to the ABC and co-funders Screen Australia and Screen NSW for covering the majority of the costs of restarting.
Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and Kim Mordaunt, the production was half-way through the 10-week shoot when the producers called a halt due to the COVID-19 risk.
Two extra crew members are being hired to comply with the COVID Safe protocols. Dunphy and Sam Meikle are the series’ showrunners and co-writing with Joan Sauers and Cathy Strickland. The series producers are Shay Spencer and Ally Henville.
The supporting cast includes Harry Greenwood, Sam Simmons, Bessie Holland, Megan Smart, Pacharo Mzembe, Shapoor Batliwalla, Guy Simon, Miritana Hughes, Victoria Haralabidou, Wayne Blair, Heather Mitchell and Kim Gyngell.