Dirty Laundry

How will the Rafferty children fend for themselves while their Mum is in prison?

Much like in many average kiwi families, Donna Rafferty feels the costs of her mortgage, school fees and raising four children piling up. Even though times are tough, this mother and widow has always managed to provide a comfortable middle class lifestyle for her children. Having always been hard working, Donna's arrest for money laundering comes as a shock to her family. If her children want to keep the lifestyle to which they’re accustomed, they’ll need to keep the family business going.

Produced by Britta Hawkins and created by Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan, Dirty Laundry is a 13 part drama series for TVOne. Along with its talented creators, Dirty Laundry has attracted a stellar cast of both familiar, successful faces and strong, new talent.

Matriarch Donna is played by Jennifer Ward-Lealand who has had countless onscreen successes. She has recently starred in NZ On Air funded series such as Terry Teo, The Almighty Johnsons and the webseries High Road.

Left to sort out the family business after Donna’s arrest are daughter Kat, played by Go Girls actress Tai Berdinner-Blades, son Matt (Tim Carlsen), daughter Bianca (Victoria MacCulloch) and the youngest Rafferty, Leo (George Ferrier).

We asked Producer Britta Hawkins to share some thoughts about working on Dirty Laundry.

What do you love about NZ drama - why do you think it’s important to have local drama on our screens?

I think we Kiwi’s under rate and under sell ourselves as a culture. We are a young and rapidly evolving nation and I believe we have a truly unique voice and point of view that deserves to be expressed and the creative outlets of music, film and television are great ways to let that voice be heard.

TV drama is such a brilliant way to deeply explore Kiwi stories and our way of life in an honest but entertaining way. With so much change happening in our society right now, there is no better time to be delving into the rich tapestry of what it means to be a New Zealander.

What have been the greatest moments and challenges in producing Dirty Laundry?

Every day is a challenge when you’re trying to make quality TV! We are always striving to achieve world class standards in every aspect of production and I am constantly amazed and impressed at what Kiwi cast and crew accomplish. With Dirty Laundry we challenged ourselves as a group to test the "tried and true” formula of how to make a comedy/drama series and explored some different techniques and styles and I’m really proud of what we achieved.

It’s always tricky balancing the creative instincts and desire of your team with the commercial imperatives of making successful network television and all the while keeping the intended audience foremost in your thoughts. That is the greatest challenge but also in many respects the greatest gift - constraints and boundaries force you to think laterally and that often brings out the best in the work.

Every aspect of TV drama is true collaboration and seeing a group of people come together as collegially as they did on Dirty Laundry is a joy to me and I feel privileged to have been a part of it.

TVNZ Commissioner of Drama and Scripted Comedy, Kathleen Anderson explains how Dirty Laundry fits with their drama strategy.

"After Nothing Trivial ended, TVNZ went looking for a new returnable drama series for TV ONE. This time we wanted a family centred drama that had something to say about making ends meet in New Zealand today. In partnership with NZ On Air we put a number of new ideas into development and Dirty Laundry rose to the top. The character of Donna Rafferty stood out as a Kiwi mum desperate to give her family the best start in life, even if that meant bending some rules. We hope the audience identifies with Donna’s story and loves her as much as we do."


Dirty Laundry is a Drama programme

Filthy Productions Limited for TVOne

13 x 60 minutes

NZ On Air Funding: $6,754,650

I’m really proud of Dirty Laundry. Aside from being warm, funny and heartfelt it also gently explores the very real challenges faced by many Kiwi families in entertaining and unexpected ways.

— Britta Hawkins, Producer

Watch this show

This show has finished airing.
You can still catch up on episodes On Demand.

Also funded by NZ On Air

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