Parliament rolls out red carpet for TV series

SCREENWRITER Shelley Birse is filming her new political thriller Code at Parliament House in Canberra during a week where politics was also at the forefront of real life in Australia.

Raised at Lake Macquarie, Birse is the creator, co-writer and producer of the series, which stars David Wenham for ABC television.

She believes Code is the first Australian drama to receive access to film at Parliament House. “I’m walking on air at the moment,” Birse said via phone from the Canberra set.

“They are doing such a beautiful job. We’ve got such a great cast with people like David Wenham and Aden Young.”

The six-hour political thriller, which will also film in Sydney and Broken Hill, stars Dan Spielman (Offspring) and Ashley Zukerman (Rush) as brothers who stumble across technology that those in the highest political echelons will kill to keep secret.

The production will film in Canberra for another week.

Birse said the idea for the series came three years ago when she was visiting her husband’s family in Israel.

She said it was the beginning of the Arab Spring, in which social media played a huge role, and also the time charges were brought against Julian Assange.

“I felt like Australia was having an incredible impact on the world stage,” Birse said.

“There was suddenly a different way of having a powerful voice in the world using brain power and technology rather than being a sporting hero.”

One of the brothers in the series is an internet journalist but the story is also about their relationship.

Birse has two young sons and the family regularly visits her parents at Coal Point. She moved to Sydney in the early 1990s after finishing school at Toronto High and studying for a communication degree at the University of Newcastle.

Code will air on the ABC next year.

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