Bodyline (miniseries)

Bodyline is an Australian 1984 television miniseries which dramatised the events of the 19321933 English Ashes cricket tour of Australia. The title refers to the bodyline cricketing tactic (also known as fast leg theory) devised by the English cricket team during their 1932–33 Ashes tour of Australia.

Bodyline (DVD cover)
GenreDrama, cricket
Directed byCarl Schultz
George Ogilvie
Denny Lawrence
Lex Marinos
StarringGary Sweet
Hugo Weaving
Jim Holt
Rhys McConnochie
Frank Thring
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes7
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Kennedy Miller
Original networkNetwork Ten
Original release16 July[1] 
27 August 1984


The events leading up to the England Cricket Team's 1932-1933 Ashes tour of Australia and the tactics, of bowling directly at the batsman, used by the English cricket team to counteract the extraordinary batting prowess of Australian cricketer Donald Bradman during the Ashes series.



The producers were George Miller; Byron Kennedy and Terry Hayes. The directors were Denny Lawrence, Lex Marinos, George Ogilvie and Carl Schultz. The scriptwriters for the mini-series were Robert Caswell, Lex Marinos, Denny Lawrence and Terry Hayes. The music for the mini-series was written by Chris Neal and Phillip Scott. Photography was by Dean Semler and Andrew Lesnie.


The seven-part mini-series was a ratings success, and was shown over a four-week period.

The UK premiere of the 5 million dollar Bodyline mini-series was originally broadcast on BBC2 Television in 4:3 picture ratio on consecutive evenings at 9.00pm from Monday 3 June – Friday 7 June 1985 and was shown in the significantly longer, original, extended and uncut version. BBC2 divided the series into 5 parts of slightly varying lengths.

The individual original BBC2 episode run-times of the Bodyline mini-series were:

  • 3/6/1985: Part 1 – 85 minutes
  • 4/6/1985: Part 2 – 89 minutes
  • 5/6/1985: Part 3 – 88 minutes
  • 6/6/1985: Part 4 – 89 minutes
  • 7/6/1985: Part 5 – 85 minutes

Total extended run-time: 436 minutes – 7 hours 16 minutes.

When originally shown on Channel 10 Australia in July 1984 over 4 consecutive nights - including extensive ad-breaks - the run-time was approx. 10 hours. Excluding ad breaks: the actual run-time is 7 hours 16 minutes. IMDb and Amazon give the total run-time of the official extensively cut, re-edited and picture-cropped - from the original 4:3 picture ratio to a 16:9 picture ratio - widescreen presentation DVD version as 330 minutes – 5 hours 30 minutes – 7 episodes of approx. 47 minutes each - a total of 329 minutes.

Therefore, the original version transmitted in its entirety by BBC2 Television in June 1985 is approximately 1 hour 46 minutes longer than the official Australian DVD version of Bodyline. BBC2 had licence for UK premiere broadcast and one repeat showing before transmission rights reverted to Australian TV Network 10 and Kennedy-Miller for DVD production.


  1. Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p178
  • "The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia Theatre . Film . Radio . Television Volume 1" Ann Atkinson, Linsay Knight, Margaret McPhee Allen & Unwin Pty. Ltd., 1996
  • "The Australian Film and Television Companion" compiled by Tony Harrison Simon & Schuster Australia, 1994
  • Bodyline TV mini-series 1985 – original BBC2 Television transmission recording 3–7 June 1985
  • Don Bradman: Challenging the Myth - Chapter 4: Bodyline and Myth – Page: 62 - Brett Hutchins 2002
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