Director's Statement

Steve Jodrell

Director Steve Jodrell was thrilled at the invitation to return for series two of The Circuit. “The first series was an outstanding success – and not only from a critical standpoint. More than any other series I’ve worked on, people would stop me to express their gratitude for the impact it had on their lives.”

Jodrell has directed mainstream television drama for all the major networks, including series such as Halifax fp, Sea Change, Good Guys Bad Guys, Stingers, The Man from Snowy River, McLeods Daughters and A Country Practice. The Circuit however, is especially dear to his heart.

“It makes a difference to be working on a show with the potency to shift public opinion – the first series tackled many issues such as sexual abuse yet to be brought into the public consciousness. It’s a tribute to the first series that the majority of the cast and crew returned for the second. Their passion and commitment was palpable at every level of production.”

Jodrell made very few changes to the stylistic concepts established in the first series by director Catriona McKenzie. “My attitude was, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Having said that, I had many discussions with the Production Designer Sam Hobbs, about ways in which we could build upon the first series. We have attempted to further define the magnitude of the circuit traversed by our characters, the many thousands of kilometres and the vastness of terrain contained within the Kimberley region. We have also continued on from the time frame of the first series, from the dry into the sweltering heat and oppressive, almost electric atmosphere of beginning of the wet season.”

The thematic elements of this series tend to coalesce around the notion of family and the struggle not only to find one’s roots but the tensions contained within the concept of family, of belonging and of finding ones place.

“At times the tensions are depicted in the moving skyscape, the dynamic between vast landscape and small figures held in close scrutiny through the use of long lenses and shallow depth of field. The busy camera movements of the first series are harnessed further in an expression of uncertainty and restlessness that pervades the life of the characters.”

Returning to Broome two years after production of Circuit 1, Jodrell found the locals enthused and excited at the prospects of a second series. “There was a fierce pride, a sense of triumph in the accomplishment of the first series. And a determination to push the boundaries even further. People were approaching us in the street asking how they could get onto the show either as actors, extras or crew members.”

Shooting Circuit 2 was demanding. “Actor and crew restrictions meant starting the second series much later in the year than the first series. Temperatures were significantly hotter - sometimes fifty-four degrees in the sun with no rain.” Jodrell had nothing but praise for the crew who worked often under trying situations. “But there were also the fond memories  - camping under the stars at remote locations, almost being trampled by runaway cattle, not to mention the many variety of poisonous snakes…”

Jodrell paid special tribute to Director of Photography Danny Batterham, who died four months after completion of shooting. “Danny took over from Joe Pickering, part way through the series and was not only highly respected but also much loved by the crew and cast. His contribution to the Australian film and television industry is inestimable. I am proud and privileged to have been a colleague.”

SBS Shop

The Circuit, Series 2 (DVD)

The Circuit, Series 2 (DVD)

It’s a sweaty, dusty journey for city lawyer, Drew Ellis, and the travelling Circuit team as they face new cases and new dilemmas.

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The Circuit, Series 1 (DVD)

The Circuit, Series 1 (DVD)

Drew Ellis joins the challenging world of the Kimberley Circuit Court. One law for two cultures doesn't equal a fair go.

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