Cassidy (miniseries)

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Genre Drama
Based on novel by Morris West
Written by Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Carl Schultz
Derek Hayes
Starring Bill Hunter
Caroline Goodall
Martin Shaw
Theme music composer Paul Grabowsky
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 2 × 2 hours
Producer(s) Wayne Barry
Bob Weis
Cinematography Ellery Ryan
Editor(s) Tony Kavanagh
Lyn Solly
Production company(s) Arrow Films
Bob Weis co-production
Budget $5.5 million[1]
Original network Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Original release 25 October – 26 October 1989

Cassidy is a 1989 mini series, screened on ABC Television in Australia, based on the novel by Morris West. It told the story of Charles Parnell Cassidy, a fictitious premier of New South Wales.[2] It screened on BBC One in May 1990.[3]


Charles Parnell Cassidy, the premier of New South Wales, arrives in London to visit his estranged daughter, Charlotte (also known as "Charlie"). Cassidy commits suicide, leaving Charlie a briefcase with a video and computer discs. The video explains his death, and details his corrupt dealings, which are substantiated by the evidence on the disks. As executor of Cassidy's estate, Charlie is given the option of selling the files to Cassidy's business partner for $20 million, handing them over to the NSW Attorney-General or carrying on her father's business. She returns to Sydney to deal with his political and business legacies.

Charlie's central role in the plot is a departure from West's novel, which used Cassidy's son-in-law as the main protagonist. Writer Murray-Smith said that she thought it was more interesting to use the daughter to drive the plot, with the opportunity to examine the "whole notion of blood ties" and inheritance.[4]



The series was a co-production of the ABC and Bob Weis. In 1988, Five Arrows Films Pty Ltd, an investment vehicle managed by Rothschild Bank Australia,[5] had bought the rights to nine of West's works. Cassidy was the only one of these works to be produced as a film or television series.


The mini-series garnered generally positive reviews in the major metropolitan newspapers. The television critic for The Age in Melbourne called it "exciting ... the drama created by [Charlie's] adventures is powerful and entertaining."[6] The Sydney Morning Herald's critic called it "an almost (but not quite) super political thriller", singling out Goodall's "outstanding performance" as Charlie and Murray-Smith's "beautiful screenplay".[7] The Sun-Herald's critic noted the "superb international cast, glamorous locations and a rattling good plot".[8]

In Sydney, the first episode won the non-news ratings for the evening, with a 16-point share. The second episode, with a 14-point share, was beaten by the final season episode of Fast Forward and the movie An Eye for an Eye.[9]


  1. ^ Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 105
  2. ^ Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970–1995, Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 181
  3. ^ "Listings". Genome Radio Times 1923-2009. 
  4. ^ Schembri, Jim (19 October 1989). "Of Maturity and Morality". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  5. ^ 'Premier Saga', The Sun Herald, Sydney, 21 August 1988
  6. ^ Teh, Katharine (19 October 1989). "Legacy of a corrupt father". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  7. ^ Oliver, Robin (23 October 1989). "Someone rotten in the State of NSW". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  8. ^ Sadlier, Kevin (22 October 1989). "Politics of Corruption". Sun Herald (Sydney). Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  9. ^ Oliver, Robin (2 November 1989). "ABC Has Its Best Performance This Year". Sydney Morning Herald. 

External links

  • Cassidy (TV movie 1989) on IMDb
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