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:: Underbelly TV series launch party

By: Carmine Pascuzzi; photos by Matt Deller

Much secrecy surrounded the venue for the Nine Network's launch of the new TV series Underbelly. Publicists rang all the attendees on the day to disclose the venue - the rooftop of the Waterside Hotel - and it signalled the intention by the network to reclaim its position as the number one television station in Australia.

Underbelly is a 13-part series that tells the story about Melbourne's gangland wars since 1997. Many of the fantastic cast attended the launch which was MC'd by Eddie McGuire, complete with broken finger, where he introduced the guests to some of the cast and crew, before watching a sneak preview.

Eddie emphasised Nine's position as being able to push the button on achieving quality local drama and he said that Underbelly covered 82 days of filming, with 1300 extras and over 200 main and supporting cast. Every effort was made to make the series as accurate and authentic as possible, except things like ecstasy tablets that were made out of glucose.

Vince Colosimo, who playes Alphonse Gangitano, spoke to the guests, saying how he grew up in the North Carlton area, the scene of the some of the incidents, so he knew of the people involved. Vince explained, “Working on a script that is based on real life occurrences is a thrill. There was real energy and a buzz around the filming.” He mentioned that he had never felt so much anticipation around a series like this.

Also speaking at the launch was Nine chief executive David Gyngell who said he was optimistic about the network's future and congratulated Screentime on producing the series, while co-author of “Leadbelly: Inside Australia's Underworld Wars”, alongside Andrew Rule - the basis for the show, John Silvester described the significance of the launch party venue - the Waterside - as being the drinking place for the Painters and Dockers workers and some of the protagonists behind what led to Underbelly. The man, also known as Sly Of The Underworld, told amusing stories about the events and places in Melbourne that dominated the crime scene.

Stars from the show were in attendance including Vince Colosimo, Alex Dimitriadis, Les Hill, Rodger Corser, Caroline Gilmer, George Kapiniaris, Caroline Craig, Damian Walshe-Howling, Marcus Graham, Frankie J. Holden and Simon Westaway. They rubbed shoulders with media and other Nine Network celebrities.

Victoria Police was also represented with two uniformed police, members of the Purana Task Force and a flashing police car beside the red carpet. Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon was invited to attend the Waterside Hotel function but did not appear.

The show is scheduled to commence on the Nine Network on Wednesday, February 13 with a 2-hour premiere at 8:30pm.

Unfortunately, due to a court ruling, a judge has ruled that the supposed impact that the show could have on upcoming criminal cases, prevents her from allowing the Nine Network to screen the series in Victoria at this stage.

Here are pictures from the fabulous launch party, by Matt Deller.

Nine Netowrk CEO David Gyngell Eddie McGuire with injured pinky
Eddie McGuire with Vince Colosimo
John Silvester Vince Colosimo & “other friends”
Vince Colosino Vince with Carla McGuire
Eliza Szonert, Caroline Craig, Petra Kalive & Caroline Gillmer Eliza Szonert
Damian Walshe-Howling Brett Swain
Callan Mulvey & Ian Bliss Bernard Curry & Jody Kennedy
Nathaniel Dean & Simon Westaway Marcus Graham
Matylda Buczko
Matylda Buczko Matylda with Deborah Tabone
Petra Kalive & Eliza Szonert and “new friends” Petra & Eliza
Frankie J Holden with Nicky Wendt Shelley Craft, Adam Zwar & Catriona Rowntree
Shauna Mac & Alex Dimitriades Kat Stewart
Adam Zwar & George Kapaniaris Robert Mammone with Eliza Szonert & Petra Kalive
Laura Gordon & Nathaniel Dean Laura Gordon
Les Hill Kevin Harrington & Brett Swain
Gyton Grantley, Les Hill & Callan Mulvey Gyton Grantley
Greg Haddrick Jody Kennedy
Brian Vriends & Deborah Tabone Kat Stewart, Marcus Graham & Eliza Szonert
Rebel Wilson, Bernard Curry & Glenn Butcher Rodger Corser & Gyton Grantley
Shelley Craft Kim Gyngell & Neil Melville
Catriona Rowntree Derryn Hinch & wife Chanel
Des Monaghan & Marcus Graham Rohan Nichol, Neil Melville, Frankie J Holden & Damien Fotiou
cast members
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