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Dame Harriet Walter and Frances O’Connor to star in new Sky original production

The pair are set to star in The End, new co-production from Sky and Australia’s Foxtel

Airing on Sky Atlantic next year, The End is about three generations of a family with separate but intersecting obsessions – trying to figure out how to die with dignity, live with none and make it count.

O’Connor plays Dr Kate Brennan, an Australian-based specialist in palliative care. Euthanasia is a hot-button topic in Kate’s field of work and she is passionate in her opposition. On the other side of the world, Kate’s mother Edie Henley (Walter) feels just as strongly about her right to die. Kate has little choice but to ship Edie out from England and deposit her in a nearby retirement village in the Gold Coast – Edie’s worst nightmare. While Kate struggles with her own problems, her children are trying to work out who they are, and who they want to be. What follows is a story about parents and children, ethics and emotion, and mostly how it’s never too late to start again.

Harriet Walter said: “This is a really original project and I can’t wait to get stuck in to the character of Edie who is not quite like any other part I’ve played. Exciting.”

Frances O’Connor said: “It’s thrilling to be returning home to Australia to be part of such an original series and to be playing a character as complex, interesting and conflicted as Dr Kate Brennan.”

Creator and writer Samantha Strauss said: “So often we shy away from death and try to sanitise it, pretend it’s never going to happen. This series aims to do the opposite. As our characters figure out how to die, they’re really grappling with how they’ve lived and what they’re going to do with the time they have left. The series is also fairly mad with things like giant vaginas and lots of bad sex. No one’s perfect in this family but they love each other for their flaws and hopefully audiences will too.”

The 10-part Sky original production, will be produced by See-Saw Films, the Oscar® winning and Emmy® nominated producers of the films Lion and The King’s Speech and the drama series Top of the Lake.

Liz Lewin, Executive Producer for Sky, said: “Thought-provoking, darkly comic and full of heart, the show dives into provocative topics with unflinching honesty. The End’s wonderfully complex characters will make you laugh, cry and question how you want to live… and die.”

Rachel Gardner, Executive Producer for See-Saw, said: “It’s rare to see the complexities of life for middle aged and older women depicted on screen but Sam Strauss has created just that with a group of characters with trials and tribulations that will resonate for all ages – we couldn’t wish for a more wonderful cast to bring these characters and Sam’s startlingly original scripts to life.”

Penny Win, Head of Drama, Foxtel, said: “Commissioning The End was a wonderful opportunity for Foxtel and we’re excited to be collaborating with our colleagues at Sky on this, our joint first co-commission. The End will present a universal story that affects us all, with Sam Strauss’s beautiful storytelling being brought to life by an exceptionally talented cast and crew.”

The End, being filmed in Queensland this year, is created and written by Samantha Strauss (Dance Academy) and directed by Jessica M Thompson (The Light of the Moon) and Jonathan Brough (Rosehaven). Executive Producers for the series are Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Rachel Gardner, Samantha Strauss, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman. Louise Smith and Carol Hughes are Producers, with Patrick Walters as Associate Producer. Executive Producers for Sky are Liz Lewin and Anne Mensah. Executive Producers for Foxtel are Penny Win and Carly Heaton.

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