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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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The Slap – introduction

The Slap

Based on Christos Tsiolkas' best-selling novel, The Slap is a new eight-part Australian acquisition for BBC Four that traces the shattering repercussions of a single event upon a group of family and friends. It is a searing portrait of middle-class life and the mores and morality that shape modern, multicultural Australia.

At a suburban barbeque, a tight-knit group of friends celebrate Hector's 40th birthday. Food and wine flow and as the guests enjoy a long, lazy lunch they debate everything for soap operas to state schooling.

When the kids start climbing the wall Hector sets up a game of cricket. It's all going well until four-year-old Hugo takes his turn to bat and gets bowled out. Suddenly the game escalates into a fight, resulting in Harry, Hector's cousin, slapping Hugo, who is not his son.

Starring Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda); Jonathan La Paglia (Cold Case); Melissa George (Grey's Anatomy); Essie Davis (Australia); and Alex Dimitriades (Neighbours), the story unfolds through the points of view of eight characters as the court case proceeds, as affairs begin and end, as a pregnancy is decided and marriages morph and change. Each character's life is profoundly affected by "the slap", and each character is in some way "slapped", forced to face up to fundamental truths about themselves.

Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, says: "The book was a runaway success and I'm pleased to bring this very well made tale of our times to the channel. It reflects BBC Four's desire to bring viewers the best programming from around the world and its focus on social contemporary issues will bring a different tone to the channel."

The Slap explores what happens when the veil of civility that binds us as a society, is ripped apart by one disturbing action. It brings to life, vivid questions of parenting, the rights of children, race, class, sexuality and the different perspectives of men and women.

Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, says: "The Slap is a phenomenon, one of those books which everyone seems to be reading. This fine Australian adaption brings the novel's keen-eyed dissection of suburban living to the screen with tremendous performances – it is a truly powerful, compelling and thought-provoking watch."

The Slap is produced by Matchbox Pictures for ABC TV Australia, Screen Australia, Film Victoria and DCD Rights; Tony Ayres is the showrunner; produced by Helen Bowden, Tony Ayres and Michael McMahon.


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