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Wentworth arrives on free to air TV

22 March 2018

Fans of the iconic Prisoner series which pushed boundaries more than three decades ago, and still today boasts a loyal following worldwide, will remember Bea Smith as gutsy and fearless, ruling Wentworth Correctional Centre with an iron first.

But who was Bea Smith before prison? How did a wife and mother from the suburbs become top dog without rival?

Wentworth is a dynamic, often confronting, drama series that begins with Bea’s (Danielle Cormack) early days in prison. Set in the present day, it is a modern adaptation of Prisoner that contemporises legendary characters and their stories for today’s audience. This ten-part series takes the viewer ‘inside’ to an uncompromising environment that explores the politics of women in a world without men, and how such a threatening experience both challenges and often changes those confined and working behind the razor wire.

The audience is introduced to Bea all over again and meets her allies and enemies in the form of iconic inmates: Doreen Anderson (Shareena Clanton), Liz Birdsworth (Celia Ireland), and Franky Doyle (Nicole da Silva). And there are new faces such as Jacs Holt (Kris McQuade), the ruthless matriarch of a crime family that now reigns over Wentworth.

Other favourite characters also return: Meg Jackson (Catherine McClements) carries a shameful secret; Vera Bennett (Kate Atkinson), the well-meaning officer who discovers everyone has a price; Erica Davidson (Leeanna Walsman), the crusading lawyer; and Matthew Fletcher (Aaron Jeffrey) who believes in retribution rather than rehabilitation. And a new face - Meg’s husband Will Jackson (Robbie Magasiva), whose past still haunts him.

Each episode explores an individual character’s back story providing an insight into what makes them tick and the circumstances that led them to Wentworth. In doing so we discover that the difference between an inmate and a prison officer is sometimes simply geography, because they’re all prisoners in surprisingly different ways.

Like the original Prisoner, Wentworth is at its heart, a series about survival, a character drama featuring women living in a pressure cooker environment. Despite the rivalries and power struggles, this family of misfits and rebels is forced to forge unlikely friendships and alliances if they want to survive their time inside.