Script-writer and script editor for film and television.
Alison Nisselle moved from work as a news reporter for the Melbourne Herald Sun and Channel Seven into television by working as a military researcher for long-running World War II-based soap opera The Sullivans in 1977. She followed this with work as a script-writer, writing episodes of The Box, Skyways, Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, Carson's Law, The Flying Doctors, and Prime Time.
In 1985, she originated and developed the series Zoo Family for Crawford Productions, and continued to write scripts for such programs as G.P., as well as writing the telemovies The Feds: Deadfall (1993, co-written with Tony McDonald and directed by Kate Woods) and The Feds: Betrayal (1993, directed by Chris Thomson).
In the early 1990s, she co-created (with previous collaborator Tony McDonald) the crime drama Phoenix (1992-1993), which ran for 26 episodes (written by, among others, Jan Sardi, Cliff Green, Denise Morgan, and Deborah Parsons) and won a number of awards, including a Logie Award for Most Outstanding Series (as well as two consecutive AFI script-writing awards for Bill Hughes). Nisselle continued her interest in gritty social realism with the ninety-minute drama Street Angels, a drama following the arduous work of social workers, written for the ABC (and directed by Kathy Mueller) in 1992.
Nisselle and McDonald followed Phoenix in 1994 with Janus, which ran to 24 episodes and won them another Logie Award.
Nisselle continued to write regularly for television: between 1988 and 2006, for example, she wrote at least thirty-nine episodes of long-running soap opera Home and Away. She also wrote widely for children's television, including an assocation with Jonathan M. Shiff Productions that began with Kelly (1991-1992) and extended to episodes of Ocean Girl (1994-1996) and Thunderstone (1999). She continues her work with Jonathan M. Shiff Productions with scripts for the forthcoming Reef Doctors (2013).
She has also written episodes of children's adventure series Ship to Shore (1996).
Since 2000, Niselle has worked largely in adult drama. In 2002, she co-created Marshall Law with Rick Held and Bevan Lee: the series ran to 17 episodes, and included scripts from previous Phoenix and Janus script-writers, including Deborah Parsons and Cliff Green, as well as scripts by such writers as Barbara Bishop, Fiona Wood, and Alison Tilson. Nisselle also wrote scripts for Blue Heelers (2004) and Headland (2005). In 2007, she wrote the biopic Curtin (directed by Jessica Hobbs), which won a Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Drama Series, Miniseries or Telemovie.
As a script editor, Nisselle has worked on The Interview (1998), an award-winning crime film written by Craig Monahan and Gordon Davie; television series Bed of Roses (2010); biopic Hawke (2010), written by Glen Dolman; and The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (2012), adapted by Dolman from Fergus Hume's novel of the same name.
Nisselle's forthcoming work includes not only Reef Doctors, but also Healing (2014), a prison drama directed by and co-written with Craig Monahan, with whom Nisselle worked on The Interview.
'After 18 years in prison, Viktor Khadem is a man who has almost given up on life. For his final 18 months, he is sentenced to Won Wron, a low-security prison in regional Victoria, where Senior Officer Matt Perry has established a unique program to rehabilitate broken men through giving them the responsibility for the rehabilitation of injured raptors – beautiful, fearsome proud eagles, falcons and owls. Against all odds, Matt takes on Viktor as his number one test case, introducing him to Yasmine, the majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle. If these two can tame each other, anything is possible. HEALING is a powerful, moving story of redemption, the discovery of hope and the healing of the spirit – in the most unlikely place, for the most unique men, through the most unusual catalyst.'
(Source: Screen Australia)
'In the life of all Prime Ministers, comes the moment that tests the mettle of the man. In the life of every nation, comes the moment that tests the mettle of its people.
'For John Curtin and Australia those two moments meet in 1941. This is where our story begins.
'As Leader of the Opposition, Curtin (William McInnes) seems poised to reach out and claim his rightful destiny - the Prime Ministership of Australia. But he refuses to make a desperate grab for power. He waits for the government to self destruct. With the war against Hitler intensifying, the last thing the public wants is a weak and bickering government.
'Curtin is the only man deemed fit for the job. Power becomes his. Curtin no sooner moves offices when the Pacific erupts. Pearl Harbour is bombed. For the first time, Australia lives in fear of invasion. The Japanese are working their way down through Asia with alarming ferocity. Australia is completely unprepared.
'Blow by blow, we follow Curtin - our guide, our confidante, through a chilling and tumultuous ride over six months behind the walls of power. We pick up and run to get our footage, pry through half open doors, eavesdrop in the corridors - whatever it takes to keep our subject in focus.
'Curtin lives and breathes his work and is forced to endure the deluge alone, while his wife Elsie, (Noni Hazlehurst) attends to her ailing mother back home. Then, Darwin is bombed. Australian defences are crushed.
'Curtin battles via cables with the Empire's heavyweight, Churchill, to reroute Australian troops to defend home soil. It quickly becomes a monumental battle of wills with Curtin fighting both Churchill and members of his own government. Curtin's health deteriorates rapidly as he desperately seeks support.
'This is a raw and intimate story of a driven and inspirational leader - a man who struggles to battle his own personal demons while serving and protecting a country at war.'
Source: ABC Television website, program guide:
A character-based television drama series about the lives of police officers in the fictitious Australian country town of Mt Thomas, this series began with the arrival of Constable Maggie Doyle (Lisa McCune) to the Mt Thomas station in the episode 'A Woman's Place'. Doyle and avuncular station boss Senior Sergeant Tom Croydon (John Wood) were the core characters of the series until the departure of Lisa McCune.
Immensely popular for a decade, Blue Heelers was cancelled in 2006 after thirteen seasons. The announcement was front-page news in Australia's major newspapers including The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney's Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and The Age in Melbourne, and Brisbane's Courier Mail.
On June 8, 2006 Ross Warneke wrote in The Age:
'It's over and, to be perfectly blunt, there's no use lamenting the demise of Blue Heelers any more. When the final movie-length episode aired on Channel Seven on Sunday night, 1.5 million Australians tuned in, a figure that was big enough to give the show a win in its timeslot but nowhere near big enough to pay the sort of tribute that this writer believes Heelers deserved after more than 500 episodes.It is unlikely there will be anything like it again. At almost $500,000 an hour, shows such as Blue Heelers are quickly becoming the dinosaurs of Australian TV.'