Bikie saga is back in TV mini-series

From left, Luke Hemsworth, Callan Mulvey and Damian Walshe-Howling star in the TV mini-series Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms.
From left, Luke Hemsworth, Callan Mulvey and Damian Walshe-Howling star in the TV mini-series Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms. Contributed - Mark Rogers, Network Ten

IF HISTORY is anything to go by, then the police should be worried about the bikie violence spilling onto our streets.

In 1984 it was a similar string of tit-for-tat violence between the Comanchero and Bandido bikie gangs that led to a bloody Father's Day shootout at a public swap meet at Milperra in south-west Sydney.

Known as the Milperra Massacre, the firearm battle ended with the deaths of six bikies and an innocent bystander and triggered one of the country's biggest court cases of the time.

The saga comes back to life in Channel 10's new six-part mini-series, Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms.

Based on the book by Lindsay Simpson and Sandra Harvey, the series is produced by Screentime and directed by Peter Andrikidis, who has helmed acclaimed telemovies My Husband, My Killer and directed the first series of Underbelly.

Andrikidis brought his experience in the true-crime genre to Bikie Wars.

"I remember that day and hearing it on the radio. You think six bikies shoot each other and that's it but there's quite a build-up to it," he said.

"They're all human beings. They've got families and kids so it's not just a bunch of guys shooting at each other."

The mini-series follows Comancheros president Jock, played by former NRL player Matt Nable, and new recruit Snoddy (Rush star Callan Mulvey), who leaves the Comancheros to start his own club.

Nable and Mulvey are supported by a stellar cast including Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Luke Ford, Anthony Hayes, Damian Walshe-Howling and Luke Hemsworth, all barely recognisable under layers of make-up, tattoos, scars and 80s-style hair.

And not to be outshone by the men are the series' two central female characters played by Susie Porter and Maeve Dermody.

"The centre of the show for me is their relationship with their women," Andrikidis said.

"There's all that bravado but that (the women) is the focus because then you understand who they (Jock and Snoddy) are.

"It's portraying them as human and why they decide to do that. We're certainly not trying to glamorise them.

"We're trying to figure out why people turn to that side."

Like Underbelly, there's plenty of violence and sexual content in Bikie Wars, which is told exclusively from the perspective of the bikies involved.

"Those debauchery moments we had to portray," he said.

"If you soften those events then you tend to glamorise it. You've got to let the audience decide who's right and wrong."

Getting paid to ride motorcycles for the mini-series was a "dream job" for actor Todd Lasance.

The Crownies star plays Kiddo, who is initiated into the Comancheros club just before the split between Jock and Snoddy.

"I got my bike licence four or five months before I found out about the role, so it was just perfect timing," Lasance said.

"I ride a Kawasaki Ninja, so for anyone who rides they would know the riding position and the way it handles on the road is completely different (to a Harley).

"So even though I had riding experience I had to get comfortable on Harleys and Triumphs. It was like a dream job turning up on set and doing half days of just riding."

The swap-meet showdown is the most violent scene Lasance, and indeed many of the other actors, has ever shot.

"It was pretty full-on," he said.


Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms - Ten - Tuesday at 8.30pm

Topics:  channel 10 tv tv series

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