The Crown’s Harriet Walter and Mr Selfridge’s Frances O’Connor are set to star in The End, a family drama for Sky and Australia’s Foxtel. It is produced by The King’s Speech and Top of the Lake indie See-Saw.
The show, which will air in 2019, is about three generations of a family with separate but intersecting obsessions – trying to figure out how to die with dignity, live with none and make it count.
O’Connor plays Dr Kate Brennan, an Australian-based specialist in palliative care. Euthanasia is a hot-button topic in Kate’s field of work and she is passionate in her opposition. On the other side of the world, Kate’s mother Edie Henley, played by Walter, feels just as strongly about her right to die. Kate has little choice but to ship Edie out from England and deposit her in a nearby retirement village in the Gold Coast – Edie’s worst nightmare. While Kate struggles with her own problems, her children are trying to work out who they are, and who they want to be. What follows is a story about parents and children, ethics and emotion, and mostly how it’s never too late to start again.
The ten-part series, which is being filmed in Queensland this year, was created and written by Samantha Strauss (Dance Academy) and directed by Jessica M Thompson (The Light of the Moon) and Jonathan Brough (Rosehaven). Executive Producers for the series are Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Rachel Gardner, Samantha Strauss, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman. Louise Smith and Carol Hughes are Producers, with Patrick Walters as Associate Producer. Executive Producers for Sky are Liz Lewin and Anne Mensah. Executive Producers for Foxtel are Penny Win and Carly Heaton.
Walter said, “This is a really original project and I can’t wait to get stuck in to the character of Edie who is not quite like any other part I’ve played. Exciting.” O’Connor added, “It’s thrilling to be returning home to Australia to be part of such an original series and to be playing a character as complex, interesting and conflicted as Dr Kate Brennan.”
Strauss said, “So often we shy away from death and try to sanitize it, pretend it’s never going to happen. This series aims to do the opposite. As our characters figure out how to die, they’re really grappling with how they’ve lived and what they’re going to do with the time they have left. The series is also fairly mad with things like giant vaginas and lots of bad sex. No one’s perfect in this family but they love each other for their flaws and hopefully audiences will too.”
“It’s rare to see the complexities of life for middle aged and older women depicted on screen but Sam Strauss has created just that with a group of characters with trials and tribulations that will resonate for all ages – we couldn’t wish for a more wonderful cast to bring these characters and Sam’s startlingly original scripts to life,” added Gardner.
Endeavor is selling the series internationally.