Why Wentworth is the incredible Australian drama you forgot to watch.

 

There’s a TV show many Australian’s still don’t know about.

Charmed by the high-budget effects of Game of Thrones and black comedy of Orange is the New Black, they simply haven’t tuned in long enough to know just what they are missing.

But be distracted no more.

Listen to Laura Brodnik and Tiffany Dunk chat with Wentworth star Pamela Rabe about why this show is so compelling. 

Wentworth is the best drama on Australian TV at the moment and the good news is that if haven’t heard of it before, you have four gloriously gritty seasons to binge-watch to catch up to where it is now at Season Five.

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Unlike Orange is the New Black, that has been accused of glamourising or at the very least minimising life inside a women’s prison, Wentworth does the opposite.

It shows life inside a fictional women’s prison, Wentworth Correctional Centre, as being the stuff of nightmares.

Wentworth began as a reimagining of iconic Aussie TV show Prisoner (ask your parents) that aired on Network Ten for most of the eighties from late 1979 until 1986, but from the very first episode producers of Wentworth made it clear they were doing something very different.

The show began by introducing us to Bea Smith, a battered and abused wife who fought back and assaulted her husband only to find herself under arrest and shoved into Wentworth Correctional Centre to await trial.

Bea is separated from her teenage daughter Debbie but looks forward to being reunited with her soon.

Danielle Cormack as Bea (right) and Nicole da Silva as Frankie. Image: Showcase, Foxtel

Until Debbie is killed by a deliberate drug overdose, orchestrated by one of Bea's nemeses at Wentworth, who gets her son to deliver the fatal dose.

Bea hunts him down and puts a bullet in his head.

And that's how the initial episodes were expanded into a blissful now-five-season run in which we got to know the women in Wentworth and understand just what makes them tick.

As well as what makes them explode.

Pamela Rabe takes the original character of The Freak and turns her into a horror movie character. Image: Showcase, Foxtel

There's a violent hierarchy at Wentworth with a so-called "Top Dog" running the place. They are constantly being killed and challenged, as is the boss of the prison referred to as the Governor.

But amid the violence and struggle and attempt to survive are a group of women who forge a friendship so loyal they will repeatedly risk their lives for each other and even die for each other.

And that's what makes Wentworth a beautiful show to watch.

Offspring's Kate Jenkinson plays Allie Novak on Wentworth. Image: Showcase, Foxtel

There's something to be said for the fact Wentworth is more popular overseas than it is in Australia, although we are doing a pretty good job of catching up.

You won't find a more real, more gritty, more terrifying and enchanting show than Wentworth where good and bad aren't black and white and female friendships, female relationships and female power are explored completely.

You can watch Wentworth on Tuesday at 8.30pm on Showcase which you'll find on Foxtel.

Listen to the full episode of The Binge.

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