Killing Time stalled by Underbelly-style court case

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Pay TV's ambitious drama series is hit by legal issues in Melbourne.

It was supposed to be one of Foxtel's flagship dramas for 2010, but now TV1's Killing Time is hanging in an Underbelly-style limbo due to legal proceedings in Victoria.

The 10-part drama was set to premiere on September 5, but now it has no premiere date.

The series starring David Wenham is the most ambitious project TV1 has ever mounted.

Produced by FremantleMedia Australia it follows the true crime story of Andrew Fraser, the high-flying criminal lawyer who represented the famous and notorious, including Dennis Allen, Jimmy Krakouer, Alan Bond and those accused of the Walsh Street murders in Melbourne.

But when he became addicted to a thousand-dollar-a-day cocaine habit Fraser was disbarred, discredited, broken financially, imprisoned and his marriage was destroyed.

After his years behind bars, Fraser eventually wrote a book that became the basis for the drama series.

FremantleMedia assembled a team with an impressive background, including producer Jason Stephens (The King, Choir of Hard Knocks), with Ian David (Blue Murder, 3 Acts of Murder) to head up the writing team plus writers Mac Gudgeon (Halifax FP, Stingers) and Katherine Thompson (Satisfaction).

The cast also includes Diana Glenn, Colin Friels, Richard Cawthorne, Kris McQuade, John Brumpton, Terry Norris and Kerry Walker.

But a legal case looming in Victoria could cause the drama to breach contempt of court, were it to go ahead. It mirrors the legal complications that faced the first season of Underbelly, which still has not seen a full, unedited series go to air in Victoria.

Unlike Nine's ability to play out Underbelly in other states, subscription television programming is national.

The hurdle comes at the eleventh hour for TV1. It has already sent preview copies of the drama to media.

But the news may not be all bad. After all the show is in the can, and working on the theory that "all publicity is good publicity" it may ultimately make the show even hotter when it does arrive.

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