Speculation has been mounting that the show is ending because the number of hours produced will soon exceed that which qualify it for substantial financial subsidies from Screen Australia. However, Foxtel claims talks about the possibility of more seasons ‘continue’ with production house Freemantle Media.
Speaking exclusively to WHO amid the mounting axing furor, actor Socratis Otto – who played transwoman Maxine Conway – says the groundbreaking show was hugely important for Australian television.
‘Wentworth marked a new chapter in Australian TV,’ he says. ‘And the world noticed - and continues to.
‘May its legacy power on and Australian TV remain brave, groundbreaking and unapologetic by placing women in their prime and from all walks of life at the forefront of such compelling and relatable stories.’
Socratis, who left the show amid some controversy, with many fans feeling that his hugely popular character Maxine had been written out very abruptly, only speaks highly of the culture on set while he was filming. He also describes talk of an axing as 'speculation' at present.
‘The work ethic and commitment from everyone involved was something I hadn’t experienced before,’ he tells WHO. ‘Demands remained intensely high and we all shared a deep bond and a commitment for truth.
‘On a personal note, it was a remarkable experience helping bring Maxine’s story to life. A gift in every sense.’
Socratis is the first star from the show to speak out, after Sigrid Thornton yesterday declined to be drawn on the matter during an appearance on Studio 10, claiming she’d been unaware of the axing talk until the story broke while she was in the makeup chair.
‘My lips are sealed,’ she said of her policy of not talking about Wentworth rumours. ‘I can't tell you how sworn to secrecy Wentworth cast members actually are.
‘The depth of that fanbase is such as I've never seen - they will sniff out a rumour before the rumour's anywhere.’
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford yesterday insisted during an interview with Melbourne radio station 3AW that the show has definitely been axed, and claimed the Melbourne sets are already being binned.
‘Officially Foxtel won’t confirm it, not while the current series is on the air,’ he alleged. ‘But the word I’m getting from people who work on the show is that they’ve been told, this is it, you’re not returning.
‘The set in Newport is currently being dismantled.’
But even if the worst turns out to be true, fans still have plenty of Wentworth to look forward to.
The seventh season of the critically and commercially successful show – which finishes filming later this month - will screen in 2019.
News of the possible axing came as a surprise for fans, especially since the show performed so well at this year’s Logie Awards - earning gongs for Most Outstanding Drama Series, Most Popular Drama Program, and Most Outstanding Actress for Pamela Rabe.