Lauren Hartwin in ‘Demolition Down Under.’
When WildBear Entertainment’s Veronica Fury and series director and producer Ian Withnall embarked on an observational documentary series that explores the demolition industry, they made a surprising discovery.
There are a sizable number of women – some leading their own crews, others working in partnership with their husbands – in a workforce which they expected to be heavily male-dominated.
Supported by Screen Queensland and French media group Mediawan, the six-part Demolition Down Under premieres on 10’s Bold at 5.30 pm next Sunday; Discovery has the second window.
“It was a nice surprise to find so many strong female characters in the demolition industry,” Fury tells IF. “In the husband and wife teams the women were just as involved as the men in ripping off heavy roofs, dropping giant walls and navigating 50 tonne machines.”
The series follows demolition crews as they tackle everything from high-rise apartments and suburban houses to sunken yachts and massive factories and warehouses. Every job has a punishing deadline, a tight budget and often, a cramped location.
Among the front-and-centre women featured are Lady Penelope (her real name, she says, is “classified information”), who founded the company Thunderbird Demolition.
The series co-producer Glenn Wilkinson discovered Lady Penelope, who was commonly known by that name and decided to christen the company after the Thunderbirds TV series.
Also profiled are Hartwin Industries’ owners Lauren and Myron Hartwin. Lauren is mostly office-based but sometimes goes on site. In her “spare” time she is an actor, model, writer and presenter.
The office and business of Logan City Demolitions are run by company director Jenneffer Mckiernan and RDS Group compliance officer Lauren Bufi.
Withnall says: “It wasn’t long into shooting the first story for this show that I realised we had entered a unique and special world. What we found behind the usually locked gates of the demolition industry were some extraordinary characters with a truckload of skills and knowledge that the outside world would rarely see.
“With my camera rolling I experienced the danger and the extreme drama that tearing down huge structures inevitably brings. I was ringside to see how this unique group of people problem solve and innovate their way out of trouble.
“They were always open and honest about what they were doing and they gave our audience a look at something that on so many levels is an extraordinary and new experience.”
A second series is under discussion with Discovery and Mediawan.