Punchy new Aussie series drops tomorrow
Foxtel's gritty new original series throws the heavy topic of voluntary dying in your face - and also manages to make you laugh at the same time.
The End, a 10-part series, finally premieres on Fox Showcase on Tuesday after being filmed on the Gold Coast about three years ago.
It features a stellar cast, including a hilarious Dame Harriet Walter (Succession, The Crown) as Edie Henley - a grandmother who feels strongly about her right to die.
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The Missing star Frances O'Connor plays Edie's daughter Dr Kate Brennan, who is regularly confronted with the topic of voluntary euthanasia in her line of work and is against it.
Queensland-based Kate then ships Edie from her home in England and forces her into a local retirement village to keep an eye on her.
It's a conversation that has grown louder in recent years, with films like Million Dollar Baby and Me Before You bringing it to the masses via Hollywood mainstream.
Not to mention the timeliness in a local capacity, with voluntary assisted dying becoming legal in Victoria in 2019 - albeit in limited circumstances.
At this stage it is not lawful in any other Australian state or territory but the option to die is a major discussion point with several states introducing Bills into parliament in the last couple of years.
Despite the divisive plot, O'Connor, 53, said assisted euthanasia was a conversation that Australians need to be having.
"(While) we kind of get into it (euthanasia debate), we never take a super specific position, so it's left to the viewer to muse about how they feel about it," the Golden Globe nominee said.
"The other thing is, I know it's called The End, but in a lot of ways it's also about life and how we live life."
The series has been a long time coming for writer Samantha Strauss, who was inspired to pen the story back in 2003, when her grandmother was forced into a nursing home after becoming a widow.
"She was shipped up to a retirement village on the Gold Coast. She arrived really depressed and all dressed in brown," Strauss told Foxtel Insider.
"Dad gave her six months to live - he's a doctor and he thought she was on her way out. Mum looked around and went, 'No, we just have to get her into the cool group. Treat it like high school.'
"I was just out of high school at that point and we would go up there a couple of times a week and just make sure that she became friends with the right people - because if she looked like she was popular then she would be, was the idea."
She added: "Then she did go wild - she made a best friend called Pamela, who's the basis for Noni's (Hazlehurst) character, and within six months, instead of being dead she was wearing a red dress and driving a red car and dancing on tables and drinking atrociously and getting home at 5am.
"I would spend heaps of time there because they were such interesting characters - you would have 80-year-olds tell you how they wore out their vibrators."
The show also stars Brooke Satchwell, Luke Arnold and John Waters.
A co-production between Foxtel and Sky UK, the series is directed by Jessica M. Thompson and Jonathan Brough.
"Foxtel is committed to telling Australian stories for Australian audiences and we are very proud of The End, a series which is bound to spark a national conversation," Foxtel executive director of television Brian Walsh said.
"At times confronting and yes, controversial, it is a series which is incredibly moving and emotional, but above all, entertaining."
The End airs on Foxtel's Fox Showcase Tuesdays at 8.30pm
Originally published as Punchy new Aussie series drops tomorrow