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A well-coiffed woman in her sixties is playing the solo card game Australians call patience, and Americans call solitaire. Her left hand is in a cast, the result of a prison brawl. Her name is Jacs, and she is the reigning gangster queen of Wentworth Prison. She has two specialities: injecting her conversations with sinister subtext and getting her henchwomen to physically, and occasionally psychologically, torture her enemies.
The henchwoman gave her some gossip magazines to cheer her up. Jacs is a woman who has had hot tea poured on fellow inmates and has even had people on the outside killed. Such seemingly mundane conversations, loaded with meaning by constantly ratcheting tension and superb acting, are what make Australian prison drama Wentworth stand out.
The storyline is fairly standard prison-drama fare: the show follows Bea Smith, a hairdresser in her forties convicted of attempting to murder her abusive husband, as she navigates the prison hierarchy. But its Sopranos-like approach to the subject matter — simmering tensions punctuated by occasional violent outbursts and shifting relationships — distinguishes it from other prison shows, even the obviously similar American series Orange is the New Black.
The show follows Bea Smith, a hairdresser convicted of attempting to murder her abusive husband Credit: Foxtel. It has since been adapted into Dutch, German and Flemish versions and syndicated in territories. Wentworthis set to return to the air for its seventh season in Its popularity with Australians is tied to its history.
Wentworth was conceived as a remake of the soap opera called Prisoner called Prisoner: Cell Block H in the UK and USa wildly successful drama that ran from to Wentworth was conceived as a remake of the wildly popular soap opera Prisoner Credit: Alamy. Luckily, Wentworth lived up to the expectations that Prisoner set — and possibly exceeded them. Both series are now a source of great cultural pride for Australians, according to Pobjie.
But Wentworth is different. Australians are always quite chuffed to be able to surprise the rest of the world. When Wentworth premiered, many critics said the same. The boundary-pushing female characters come to life with exceptional performances Credit: Foxtel.
Danielle Cormack, the Julia Roberts-like actress who plays Bea, has appeared in a slew of TV and stage roles since rising to instant fame on Wentworth. Perhaps even more impressive is how Wentworth has exceeded the bar set by Prisoner to become an international phenomenon in its own right — and has even conquered US audiences, who tend to resist shows that are neither American nor British.
Any single episode could feature a combination of gang beatings, mutilations, rape or murder. Whereas the ladies of Litchfield make prison life seem fairly bearable, Wentworth leaves viewers completely content to watch from outside the bars.
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By Jennifer Keishin Armstrong 20th February The remake of s show Prisoner has been given a 21st-Century treatment, making it an international success, writes Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. Its Sopranos-like approach to the subject distinguishes it from other prison shows. Around the BBC.Wentworth women sex
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What sets prison drama 'Wentworth' apart?