SYDNEY — After a seven-month legal wrangle Down Under, Nine Network crime drama “Underbelly” will finally screen in the southern state of Victoria, where it had been banned.
Skein centers on that state’s gangland war from 1995-2004, but it was suppressed by a magistrate for fear it would influence the upcoming trial of one of the underworld figures that it depicts.
Now Nine has been allowed to screen an edited version of the first five episodes of its drama, which scored big for the network in other states. But the rest of the series will have to wait.
“We intend to try and have further episodes screened in Victoria and are working hard behind the scenes to achieve that,” said Jeffrey Browne, Nine Network exec director.
“Underbelly,” a Screentime production, has been one of the biggest hits of the year, regularly scoring in excess of 1 million viewers even without the southern capital tuning in. The series also was heavily downloaded from file-sharing sites and sold on bootlegged DVDs, despite the ban.
The series will begin with a two-hour premiere on Sept. 14 at 8:30 p.m.