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Everett de Roche Everett de Roche i(A132589 works by)
Born: Established: 12 Jul 1946
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United States of America (USA),
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Americas,
; Died: Ceased: 2 Apr 2014
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Australia,
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Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1968
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BiographyHistory

Prolific script-writer Everett De Roche was born in Lincoln, Maine (United States), in what he describes in his interview with Spectacular Optical as 'a tiny town surrounded by lakes and forests. Not far from Stephen King. I think there's an inherent spookiness in Maine that spurs an interest in the Dark Side.' His family moved to San Diego, California, when De Roche was six years old. In 1968, when he was twenty two, he and his wife moved to Australia.

Despite a strong interest in writing as a child and teenager, De Roche had no training in script-writing when he began writing for Australian television, beginning with Crawford Productions in Melbourne. In his interview, he recalls:

I finally landed a job with the Queensland Health Education Council, where I'd write pamphlets on herpies [sic] and such, and I had a 'Doctor Day' column in the Brisbane Telegraph. It was shit work, but at least I was getting paid to write.

More importantly, I met and befriended a guy who told me that Crawford Productions, in Melbourne, were paying a whooping [sic] $250 for TV scripts. Wow! That was five times my weekly wage at QHEC. I brought a typewriter from work, bought a stopwatch to time various TV shows, then wrote a specky submission for a Crawford's cop show called DIVISION FOUR.

Nine months went by before I returned from work one day to find a telegram from Crawfords, inviting me to Melbourne to try out as a scriptwriter (everything was by telegram in 1970 because few people could afford telephones). And hells bells, it turned out that Crawfords didn't pay $250 per ep at all, it was more like $2500 per ep - enough to put a deposit on a damned house!

His trial run in Melbourne resulted in a year's contract as a staff writer, the first of four years that he would spend as a staff writer on Crawford programs.

De Roche's scripts for Crawford Productions were for the police procedurals in which Crawfords specialised at the time: Homicide, Ryan, Division 4, and Matlock Police. According to De Roche, writing for Crawfords' programs was a matter of trial and error, and 'it took me about three scripts to get up to speed':

Eps were usually assigned according to the writer's experience. All new writers started on HOMICIDE, then graduated to other shows as they proved themselves. A few times I'd write a script for one show and it would be reassigned to another more suitable show (the four top shows were all police dramas so they were easily interchangeable). I did about 15 eps of MATLOCK POLICE. This was my best work because it was more flexible than, say, HOMICIDE, which required at least one murder. Whereas a show like MATLOCK (rural) gave writers a wider choice. In one ep, I had the main cop's granny growing cannabis. Some of the stories got pretty wild as writers were given more and more leeway.

When Crawford's police procedurals Division 4, Homicide, and Matlock Police were all abruptly cancelled within months of one another in 1976, staff writers found that their contracts were not renewed. De Roche moved on to freelance work, writing scripts for such programs as Bluey and Tandarra.

It was at this period, in the mid-1970s, that De Roche began working on the scripts for the 'Ozploitation' films with which his name is now synonymous. De Roche had met and worked with directors Colin Eggleston and Richard Franklin at Crawford Productions (where Eggleston was an in-house script editor and Franklin a director): Eggleston went on to direct De Roche's first film script, the environmental horror story Long Weekend, and Franklin his second, the influential horror film Patrick, both of which were released in 1978. He continued to write freelance scripts for television, including for Solo One, Chopper Squad, and Skyways. His final film script for the 1970s was Snapshot (Sigrid Thornton's first significant film role), which was released in the United States under the misleading title The Day After Halloween.

In 1980, De Roche scripted the alien-abduction three-part television series, Locusts and Wild Honey. He continued to produce television scripts through this decade, including for Special Squad and Police Rescue, but produced a significantly higher number of film scripts, including adventure film Race for the Yankee Zephyr (directed by British actor David Hemmings, who had appeared in De Roche's modern-day Rasputin drama, Harlequin, in 1980), hostage drama Fortress (based on the novel by Gabrielle Lord and directed by Arch Nicholson), and surf film Windrider (directed by Vincent Monton, who had been director of photography on De Roche's earlier films).

At the same time, De Roche was continuing to write horror and fantasy films, including Russell Mulcahy's first film, murderous-boar horror film Razorback; the Verity Lambert-produced murderous-chimpanzee horror film Link (directed by Patrick director Richard Franklin); and the children's fantasy (with a strong element of Indigenous Australian mythology) Frog Dreaming (released in the United States as The Quest).

In the 1990s, De Roche concentrated more on television script-writing than on film scripts, writing for both children's and adults' programs, including The Flying Doctors, R.F.D.S., Blue Heelers, Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Flipper, Ship to Shore, Fire, Medivac, and Good Guys, Bad Guys. This decade also saw the beginning of his involvement with Jonathan M. Shiff Productions, for whom he wrote scripts for Ocean Girl and Thunderstone.

De Roche continued to write television scripts after 2000, including for Something in the Air and Stingers, but also returned heavily to film scripts: hallucination-based horror film Visitors (directed by long-time collaborator Richard Franklin, and for which De Roche won the Victorian Premier's Literary award), hillbilly horror film Storm Warning and the re-make of 1978's Long Weekend (both directed by Jamie Blanks), and his most recent project, the scientific-horror film Nine Miles Down (directed by Anthony Waller).

See also:

Australian Centre for the Moving Image, 'The Making of Storm Warning'. Interview with Jamie Blanks (director), Everett De Roche (script-writer), and John Brumpton and Robert Taylor (actors). Podcast. 15 November 2008. 24min. (http://www.acmi.net.au/podcasts-archive.htm) (Sighted: 29/8/2012)

Graham, Aaron W. 'Crafting "Little Aussie Masterpieces": An Interview with Everett De Roche.' Spectacular Optical: The Official Fanzine of the Fantasia International Film Festival, 1 June 2012. (http://www.spectacularoptical.ca/2012/06/an-interview-with-everett-de-roche/) (Sighted: 29/8/2012)

Exhibitions

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Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

Awards for Works

Stingers 1998 series - publisher film/TV crime detective

'Inspired by true events, Stingers reveals the shadowy and ambiguous world of undercover cops — people with covert lives and constantly changing identities. They are police who defeat crime from within the criminal world — always without a badge and frequently without protection. The series follows the lives of the operatives as they befriend and betray those on the other side of the law. For these select few, it is a deadly way of life.The undercover cops of Stingers are a unique breed. They must juggle their own lives — love, laughter, family and humanity — with the tension of the criminal personas they adopt in their passion for justice.'

Source: Australian Television Information Archive. (Sighted: 7/6/2013)

2005 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
2004 won AFI Awards Australian Film Institute Awards Best Television Drama Series
2003 nominated AFI Awards Australian Film Institute Awards Best Television Drama Series
2001 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
Good Guys, Bad Guys 1997 series - publisher film/TV crime

An edgy and off-beat crime series that relies heavily on humour, contemporary music, and a touch of the bizarre, centring on the character of Elvis Maginnis. An ex-cop from the wrong side of the tracks, Maginnis now runs his own dry-cleaning business but still finds himself drawn into the shady side of life.

1998 shortlisted Logie Awards Most Outstanding Series
Blue Heelers 1994 series - publisher film/TV crime

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.'

1998 winner Logie Awards Most Popular Series
1997 winner Logie Awards Most Popular Series
Last amended 21 Jun 2017 16:25:58
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