Thought the Aussie outback was all sand and shrubs? Think again, mate!
Picnic At Hanging Rock, Wednesdays from 11 July until 15 August, 9.05pm, BBC Two/HD (CH 102/162). Complete series available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > BBC iPlayer after 15 August
Natalie Dormer is well versed in bringing classic characters from fiction to life on screen. She’s been Game Of Thrones’ Margaery Tyrell and The Hunger Games’ Cressida, and now she’s travelling back in time to 1900s Australia to play Hester Appleyard, the unsettling, enigmatic star of new series Picnic At Hanging Rock, based on Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel of the same name.
After a Valentine’s Day picnic by Hanging Rock in the Australian bush, four women – Appleyard College governess Greta McCraw (Anna McGahan) and three young students, Miranda (Lily Sullivan), Irma (Home And Away’s Samara Weaving) and Marion (Madeleine Madden) – inexplicably go missing.
As news of their disappearance begins to spread around the town, paranoia sets in and long-buried secrets are dug up and put on display. All the while, Ms Appleyard remains stern, cold and unmoved.
Across six hour-long episodes, writers Beatrix Christian (Jindabyne) and Alice Addison (The Hunter) dig deep into the source material, while adding a darker and refreshingly modern veneer. Originally broadcast in Australia, Dormer says she is delighted to bring the story to the BBC. “I’m excited that BBC Two is bringing this magical re-imagining of an Australian classic to the UK. It’s a collaboration I’m very proud to be a part of,” she said. Look out for a star turn from Aussie star of Orange Is The New Black, Yael Stone, as bible studies teacher Dora Lumley.
You might already be familiar with the novel or its 1975 film adaptation, but even if you are, you won’t regret diving into this deeper, even creepier version of its world. And don't worry if you miss and episode, the complete series Box Set will be available on BBC iPlayer for thirty days after the thrilling finale airs on 15 August.
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Image credits: Picnic At Hanging Rock © Freemantle Media