TV series The Code cost ACT $200k

Tom McIlroy



The ACT Government will consider special funding for new instalments of the runaway political thriller The Code as production plans continue for a second series of the 2014 hit.

Shot on location around Canberra in September 2013, the first season of the six-part ABC TV and Playmaker Media co-production received $200,000 in funding from Screen ACT’s Screen Investment Fund.
Praised by audiences and critics last year, The Code’s second series will reportedly see brothers Ned and Jessy Banks facing extradition to the United States over top secret national security breaches.

Screen ACT director Monica Penders confirmed an application to the ACT Government for second season funding was currently being considered.

Ms Penders said the fund provided support to film and television productions which included shooting and production in the ACT.

“It is the top end of our funding range. The Code has done incredibly well and has been sold all around the world,” she said.

“Canberra looks amazing so we definitely want more of those kinds of productions.”

The Screen Investment Fund initially ran for four years but was not renewed in ACT Government’s 2014-15 budget.

Ms Penders said discussions with the government about the fund’s future were ongoing and any grants for new episodes of The Code would come in the form of out-of-round funding.

UK audiences saw shots of Lake Burley Griffin and Parliament House when The Code aired on BBC Four in October. Networks in the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Denmark have also bought local rights to the series.

Starring David Wenham, Lucy Lawless, Adam Garcia and Dan Wyllie, the plot follows the journalist and computer hacker as they unearth sensitive information reaching from Broken Hill to the heart of Australia’s federal government.

Created by writer Shelley Birse and director Shawn Seet, the production was also backed by Screen Australia and Screen NSW. Ms Birse and writers Blake Ayshford and Justin Monjo won two Australian Writers’ Guild Awards for the series.

The second season will include more dark panoramic shots of Canberra and see Ned and Jess return to their dangerous adventure.

Canberra’s next major production is expected to be Secret City, the television adaption of The Marmalade Files by journalists Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis.

Work on the Foxtel mini-series, produced by Matchbox Pictures and with support of Screen ACT, is expected to begin in mid-2015 and will be entirely shot in the ACT.

“Canberra is now considered to be a viable production hub, which is really exciting,” Ms Penders said.

“It took us a long time to get here but when you have got The Code and Secret City and this level of drama that has never really been produced in Australia before starting to happen, and we’re involved in two of the biggest, it is really exciting.”

Other projects supported by the Screen Investment Fund include feature film Galore, set against the backdrop of the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

Written and directed by Rhys Graham, the production was one of two Australia films included in last year’s Berlin Film Festival.

ABC TV’s Canberra Confidential documentary with Annabel Crabb and the Locks of Love anthology feature also received funding.