Ever since The Newsreader premiered on ABC in 2021, industry pundits have been playing something of a guessing game.
Who was the inspiration for the lead roles, particularly ruthless 1980s news boss Lindsay Cunningham played mercilessly by the commanding William McInnes?
“So many people contacted us and thought their old bosses must have been who Lindsay was based on. So that speaks badly for the industry!” executive producer Joanna Werner told TV Tonight.
But creator Michael Lucas revealed: “Everyone wanted confirmation, ‘Is it Peter Meakin, is it John Sorell?’ The answer is I heard a lot about both of them, and they’re all sort of fused in together.”
It was longtime Melbourne news staffer Carol Hall who gave Lucas some of his best insights.
“Carol Hall has been sort of been my main research contact, but now it’s sort of bled out to a lot of them. She came up through Seven Nightly News, then she went to Hinch, A Current Affair, then she went to The Project. She began as a news researcher and a librarian. She was perfect because she knew the whole world. She had all the contacts and a background and research.”
“She came on set and gave us some direction, because all of our extras in the newsroom, for example, all have a specific job. So they learned how to be the librarian or trolley pusher, and knew what exactly each person would do,” Werner added.
“We got a fantastic response from those in the media and it was really fantastic to be contacted by journalists we admire, talking about their experiences and how closely they related to the show. To see that now happen in the UK with journalists talking about their experience being reflected back to them from the show. So that’s all been great. We certainly found out that there’s some good fans within the press.”
Lucas agreed. “I feel like now they seek me out and they just want to tell me all of their worst stories of their worst bosses. And I’m really happy to hear that!”
The Newsreader continues 8:30pm Sunday on ABC, all episodes on iview.