Ted Kotcheff's Wake in Fright (1971)

Network Ten has commissioned a new adaptation of Wake In Fright, Kenneth Cook’s classic Australian novel.

Wake In Fright is the story of John Grant, a young school teacher who descends into his own personal nightmare after being stranded in the small outback mining town of Bundanyabba.

Cook’s novel also birthed Ted Kotcheff's iconic 1971 film, which starred Donald Pleasance, Chips Rafferty, Jack Thompson, John Meillon and Gary Bond.

Ten’s two-part series will be produced by Lingo Pictures in association with Endemol Shine Australia, with the assistance of Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

The news follows on from Foxtel’s announcement earlier this week that it plans to adapt the iconic Picnic at Hanging Rock into a six-part series.

Network Ten head of drama Rick Maier said there are few Australian stories as original or compelling as Wake in Fright.

“Kenneth Cook’s novel, now re-imagined for a new generation, deals with the biggest themes. Provocative, morally complex and brilliantly realised, this classic story is guaranteed to stay with you long into the night and – possibly – for years to come.

“It will be a privilege to broadcast this major television event on TEN,” he said.

The team behind Wake In Fright includes producers Helen Bowden (The Slap, Devil’s Playground) and Kristian Moliere (The Badabook), writer Stephen M. Irwin (Secrets & Lies), director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog, A Place To Call Home) and executive producers Jason Stephens (Lingo Pictures), Mark Fennessy and Carl Fennessy (Endemol Shine).

“Based on a novel that is as fresh as the day it was written, with compelling scripts, and a director at the top of his game, Lingo Pictures is extremely proud to be making Wake In Fright for Network Ten,” said Bowden.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said: “Screen Australia is thrilled to be a major investor in Lingo Pictures’ Wake In Fright, which sees the Aussie thriller genre making a triumphant return to Network Ten.”

The cast for Network Ten’s Wake In Fright will be announced soon, and is set to premiere in 2017.

Join the Conversation


  1. As I played Robyn, the girlfriend of Gary Bond in the original movie I am delighted to hear that it will be a mini-series

  2. First “Picnic At Hanging Rock” and now “Wake In Fright”… I’m sure however that Miller turned down the great opportunity of transforming “Mad Max” into a 6-part drama/series. What about the original Government support John Gorton and Whitlam provided that allowed Australians to imagine, dare and create such iconic films that came from the 70s?

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