Streaming giant Stan has announced that British actress Michelle Keegan will lead a top-line cast for its blockbuster Stan Original Series ‘Ten Pound Poms’. The Our Girl star, 35, will play a British immigrant in the big-budget BBC co-production, which is being filmed in New South Wales.
The Australian government promise the family a better house, better job prospects and a better quality of life Down Under, far away from dreary post-war England. But the couple soon discover the grim reality of migrant life as they battle the poor living conditions in a hostel for ‘New Australians’, as well as prejudice.
The six-part series dramatises the famous Assisted Passage Migration Scheme, which brought more than a million people to Australia after World War II. Game of Thrones actor Faye Marsey and Warren Brown from BBC crime series Luther play a married couple who come to Australia in 1956 after paying just £10 for their passage out.
Also in the hostel is Kate (Keegan), a young nurse desperate to rewrite her devastating past after arriving in Australia without her fiancé. Meanwhile, Australian actor Leon Ford will play a new arrival struggling to survive Down Under after losing his business back in England.
Declan Coyle from SBS series The Family Law also stars as a teenager trying to escape a dysfunctional family relationship. Rob Collins of Mystery Road also appears in the drama as an Indigenous war veteran who feels like an outsider in his own country.
Other cast members include The Castle’s Stephen Curry, rising star Hattie Hook and Emma Hamilton of The Tudors. The limited series was created by BAFTA winner Danny Brocklehurst who says the show will ask questions about ‘success and failure, identity, parenthood and belonging’.
The Australian government launched the so-called ‘ten pound pom’ scheme to bolster the country’s population, which was only 7.4 million in 1947. When the APMS ended in 1982, Australia was home to 15 million people.
The Assisted Passage Migration Scheme brought more than a million people to Australia after World War II. Meanwhile, 25 per cent of Britons who joined the scheme returned home. Danny Brocklehurst describes the series as a ‘bold character piece’.
‘Ten Pounds Poms is about what it means to start again, to be an outsider in a new land,’ he said. Leading the production team is Joel Wilson, Executive Producer of British company Eleven, the makers of Sex Education.
‘It is a huge privilege to be working with Danny,’ he said. ‘We are both deeply passionate about the stories of the hundreds of thousands who took part in the assisted migration scheme.’ Jamie Stone (Doctor Who) and Australia’s Ana Kokkinos (Fires) will direct. Ten Pound Poms will be coming to Stan.