Prisons and picnics: tough talk and accent in Australian TV drama

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Reflecting on the current TV landscape dominated by global streaming, Fremantle’s Jo Porter suggests that Australian TV is currently riding a high, with ‘quality’ dramas ‘cutting through’ and ‘getting noticed’ internationally. For Porter, this level of global visibility is occurring despite the barrier of its regional or ‘accented’ voice. However, in this article, I suggest that the global cache of certain Australian dramas may in fact be the product of accented storytelling rather than something to be conquered or overcome. In shaping this argument, I consider language politics and accent shifts in Australian TV history particularly in relation to exporting, format trade and remaking, exploring links between Grundy Television and Fremantle. By comparing language and accent in the cult classic Prisoner with Fremantle’s Wentworth and Picnic at Hanging Rock, I consider how the inclusion and exclusion of vernacular voice sheds light on industrial change and TV history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
JournalMedia International Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • accent
  • Australian TV
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • post-broadcast TV
  • Prisoner
  • television
  • TV drama
  • TV formats
  • voice
  • Wentworth

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