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person or book cover
Screencap from promotional trailer.
form y separately published work icon The Slap series - publisher   film/TV  
Adaptation of The Slap Christos Tsiolkas , 2008 single work novel
Note: Individual episodes written by Alice Bell, Emily Ballou, Brendan Cowell, Kris Mrksa and Cate Shortland; script producer, Tony Ayres; story consultant, Christos Tsiolkas.
Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 The Slap
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The series starts at an Australian backyard BBQ. Amongst alcohol, friendship and a children's cricket game a man slaps a child who is not his son. The party comes to a sudden halt. The child's parents are so affronted they vow to take the man to court. As the series unfolds the police become involved and friends and family are forced to take sides. One cousin is forced to testify against another. Couples are caught in the crossfire. Beliefs are tested and relationships strained.

'The story is told through the points of view of eight characters as the court case proceeds, as affairs begin and end, as a pregnancy is decided and marriages morph and change. Each character's life is profoundly affected by "the slap", and each of the main character is metaphorically slapped as they are forced to face up to fundamental truths about themselves.'

Source: The Slap website (Sighted 11/10/2011)



  • Christos Tsiolkas on the adaptation process:
    'If it was going to work, it had to change - it is a different medium. You have to be faithful to the spirit of the book, which I think everyone who has been involved has been, but you don't have to be faithful to what happened on page 33 - there are more important considerations to make.'
    Source: 'About Christos Tsiolkas' (Sighted 11/10/2011)


form y separately published work icon The Slap : Hector Kris Mrksa , Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011 Z1816203 2011 single work film/TV 'It's the eve of Hector's 40th birthday and his wife Aisha has organised a barbecue with their friends and family. Hector is ambivalent about celebrating the milestone and longs for the carefree days of his youth. He loves his wife, but her controlling nature and singular focus on the party only serve to heighten these feelings. Nonetheless, Hector is a genial host. The party begins, and tensions arise almost immediately between Hector's mother Koula and Aisha. Koula has catered, despite Aisha's protestations, and she and Manolis have bought Hector a birthday present - a family trip to Greece - which clashes with Aisha and Hector's planned trip to Bali. When Hector refuses to confront his parents about it, Aisha is infuriated by what she sees as his loyalty to family over her. Hector escapes by taking drugs and flirting with 17-year-old Connie, the teenager he's having an affair with.

'As the day progresses and guests arrive, frictions between the adults and children emerge. Hugo, the four- year-old son of Rosie and Gary, persistently creates havoc amongst the other kids, picking fights, breaking other kids' games, and refusing to play by the rules. However rather than disciplining him, Rosie dotes on him, refusing to acknowledge his problematic behaviour. There are clear familial and social divisions within the group, and differences in race, culture, wealth, and morality, shape the way people interact. When another fight amongst the kids breaks out, Hector tries to remedy it with a game of backyard cricket. But things quickly turn ugly when Hugo throws a tantrum after Hector's nephew Rocco, bowls him out. Swinging the cricket bat in fury, Hugo refuses to sit out of the game. When Harry spies this and fears that his son Rocco might be in danger, he slaps Hugo. Rosie and Gary are outraged. This event and what follows divides the group as each person at the barbecue is forced to take a side.'

Source: ABC website,
Sighted: 18/10/2011
Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011
form y separately published work icon The Slap : Anouk Emily Ballou , Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011 Z1816221 2011 single work film/TV

'Anouk leaves the BBQ more appalled by seeing Hector flirting with Connie than Harry slapping Hugo. Her life is full of pressure - her mother is ill, a young writer at work has his sights set on her job - and the slap is the last thing on her mind. Feeling ill from what she assumes is stress, Anouk visits a doctor, where she discovers to her shock, that she is pregnant with her much younger boyfriend's child. She tries to talk to Aisha, but can't bring herself to. Her confusion is compounded when Rhys proposes they quit their jobs to travel around the world together. She is torn by her feelings for him, his kindness, and commitment to her, and the fear of tying him down and holding him back.

'The next day, Anouk gets into a heated argument with her boss, and quits. Still reeling, she catches up with Aisha and Rosie for a drink that night. When the conversation turns to the slap, and Rosie tells them she and Gary are pressing charges against Harry, Anouk doesn't hold back in telling them how she feels. Rosie and Aisha are stung at Anouk's reaction, and she storms out feeling estranged from her two closest friends.

'Feeling guilty, Anouk visits Rosie's house the next day to apologise, and inadvertently confesses that she is pregnant. Saying it out loud, and trying to persuade herself that it is a chance for renewal, Anouk realises she doesn't want to have the child. The morning after her abortion, Anouk wakes to find Rhys cooking her breakfast. Unaware of her decision to terminate, but having worked out she was pregnant, Rhys is overcome with excitement at the idea of having a baby. But when Anouk tells him there is no baby, Rhys is devastated. Furious at not giving him the choice, he leaves her.'

Source: ABC TV website,
Sighted: 18/10/2011

Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011
form y separately published work icon The Slap : Harry Brendan Cowell , Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011 Z1816225 2011 single work film/TV Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011
form y separately published work icon The Slap : Connie Alice Bell , Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011 Z1816251 2011 single work film/TV

'When Hector broke things off with Connie, her feelings for him didn't change, if anything, they got stronger. So, when Hector drives her home one night after babysitting, she kisses him, and Hector, in a moment of weakness, takes things further. Connie is thrilled by this development until she sees Aisha at the vet clinic, and her excitement turns to guilt. She tries to make contact with Hector but he doesn't respond. Unable to resist seeing him, and knowing Aisha is out, she dresses up and visits him at home, aiming to seduce him. But her plan goes awry when Hector not only rejects her advances, but tells her he regrets their affair and will never love her.

'Devastated and humiliated she takes off to a party, where she finds Richie, and blurts out that Hector raped her. Richie is shocked and insists she tell the police, but she refuses. At the party, Connie quickly forgets about Hector when she comes to the attention of Ali, a handsome, popular boy from school. After walking her home at dawn, and asking for her number, Connie is enthralled by her new love interest. As she slides into bed, still tingling with excitement, the teenage Connie is oblivious to the trouble her lie has created.

Source: ABC website,
Sighted: 18/10/2011

Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011
form y separately published work icon The Slap : Rosie Cate Shortland , Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011 Z1820050 2011 single work film/TV 'Rosie receives notification of the court date. Finally Harry will be punished for what he did. But her relief is short lived when she realises she is alone in her crusade. Aisha won't attend the trial as it puts her in a difficult position with her family and Anouk won't testify as she's staying out of it. Even Hector wants nothing to do with it, and is only going because he's been summonsed. When Rosie starts to doubt herself, her spirits are lifted by Shamira, a guest at the BBQ, who contacts her and agrees to testify as a witness against Harry. Thrilled to have an ally, she tells Gary, but he hates that things have gone this far, and pleads with her to let it go. Rosie refuses, she's in too deep, and Gary lashes out, revealing his disdain for his wife.

'The day of the court case arrives and Gary and Rosie are barely speaking. Hector gives his statement, then Rosie, and then the prosecution annihilates her. Harry's lawyer assassinates her and Gary's characters, and reveals that Rosie suffered from post-natal depression. Her irresponsibility and questionable parenting skills are deemed the reason things escalated that day. Harry is found guilty but with no conviction recorded as the offense is deemed so minor. Rosie is shaken to the core. She returns home and lies to Hugo, telling him Harry was punished, but the ordeal has changed everything.

Source: ABC website,
Sighted: 31/10/2011

Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011
form y separately published work icon The Slap : Manolis Kris Mrksa , Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011 Z1821945 2011 single work film/TV

'As a man approaching the end of his life, Manolis hates what the slap is doing to his family. His wife is full of even more vitriol, Hector and Aisha are being torn apart by their split loyalties, and Aisha, still furious with Harry, will have nothing to do with the family. When he notices Hector still harbouring resentment towards Harry after the court case, he tries to reach out to him, but Hector rejects his efforts. Hector, as always, is consumed with his own problems. He's getting anonymous text messages calling him a rapist.

'Sandi pleads with Manolis to talk to Aisha, but even he is not sure he can turn her around. Manolis is further dismayed by the selfishness of his family, when Hector appears indifferent to the news that his godfather has died, and seems put out by Manolis' insistence that he attend the funeral. Manolis reminds him that it is a mark of respect, and important that he attend with Aisha and the children, but only Hector turns up.

'At the funeral, Manolis runs into his old friend, Thanasis, who brags about leaving his sick wife, and his new sex life with a much younger Filipina. Manolis is shocked, but secretly envious that Thanasis has put his own happiness first. His envy turns to irritation though after one too many jibes from Thanasis, and he lashes out, humiliating himself. Hector extricates him from the melee, and they stop for a drink on the way home. Hector confesses his affair to Manolis. Manolis shrugs and tells him to get a divorce; isn't that what everyone else does? But this is not the advice Hector seeks. Manolis then reveals his own secret. Koula was in love with someone else when they married, but Manolis stuck by her because they had a baby on the way. He put family first and is now regretting it. Hector is shocked.

'Manolis decides to meet with Aisha, to try to put an end to the familial disharmony. He implores her to forgive, to come to Greece with the family, but with Harry coming to, Aisha will not be swayed, and he loses it with her. Regretful, he returns home to Koula, feeling feeble and powerless. But to his surprise, Koula is delighted by his taking action, and the ice between them thaws.'

Source: ABC website,
Sighted: 24/11/2011

Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011
form y separately published work icon The Slap : Aisha Emily Ballou , Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011 Z1827269 2011 single work film/TV

'Whilst the court case is over, the repercussions of the slap are far from resolved for Aisha. Her marriage is buckling, and Rosie isn't returning her calls. Relief comes in the form of a veterinary conference on the Gold Coast. No family. No drama. No slap. At the conference she meets the charming, charismatic Art Martinez, one of the keynote speakers. Art is gorgeous, interesting and doing exciting work around the globe. They click instantly and Aisha sleeps with him.

'After the conference, she meets Hector at a luxurious resort in Byron Bay for their anniversary. They are polite but distant. At dinner they get into a fight about Harry, and it is revealed they know he's hit Sandi in the past. She accuses Hector of covering for Harry, and blames him for revealing Rosie's secrets at the trial, but the truth of it is she feels guilty. Unable to cope, Hector breaks down, and back in their room confesses to an affair. Aisha feigns distress, but deep down feels nothing. They leave the holiday early.

'Back home, Rosie finally agrees to meet Aisha. Aisha confesses the truth about Harry's history of violence, and Rosie explodes, leaving their friendship destroyed. Aisha, Hector and the kids attend Rocco's birthday party. Alone with Harry, she confronts him about his mistreatment of Sandi and vows never to forgive him.'

Source: ABC TV website,
Sighted: 24/11/2011

Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011
form y separately published work icon The Slap : Richie Brendan Cowell , Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011 Z1827277 2011 single work film/TV 'The burden of Connie's secret is taking its toll on Richie. He's worried about her, and disgusted with himself for obsessing about Hector. Whilst everyone knows he's gay, Richie is still struggling to come to terms with it. He feels increasingly alienated from Connie, who's wrapped up in her new boyfriend and friends, so spends more and more time with Hugo, to fill the gap. When Rosie and Gary announce they're moving to the country, Richie is devastated.

'After swimming laps at the pool, Richie bumps into Hector. As Hector dries off naked, Richie takes a surreptitious photo on his phone. Hector springs him and protests, and Richie bolts into a cubicle. Thinking quickly, Hector calls the number that has been sending him anonymous messages, and Richie's phone rings, exposing him.

'That night, Richie goes to Connie's house panicked and insists that she tell the police about Hector. Connie refuses, angry that Richie has brought it up again. The next day after school Richie spies Hector talking to Connie, and feeling his world cave in, seeks refuge at Rosie and Gary's house. When he arrives clearly distressed, they press him for the reason, and Richie blurts out the secret that's been eating him up: Hector raped Connie.

'Gary and Rosie jump on the revelation and immediately march Richie to Aisha's vet clinic. When Gary confronts Aisha about it, she feels sick, refusing to believe it. Connie arrives and denies it, turning on Richie and accusing him of making it all up out of his obsession with Hector. Confused and distraught, Richie runs home and swallows a bottle of pills. His mother finds him just in time and rushes him to the hospital, saving his life.

'Later, Connie explains herself and apologises by taking Richie to a music festival. Richie is relieved to have his friend back and surprised when Lenin kisses him.'

Source: ABC website,
Sighted: 28/11/2011
Australia : ABC Television Matchbox Pictures , 2011

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • c
      ABC Television ; Matchbox Pictures ,
      2011 .
      person or book cover
      Promotional still
      Extent: 8 x 55 minsp.
      • Individual episodes directed by Jessica Hobbs, Robert Connolly, Tony Ayres and Matt Saville. Each director is responsible for the direction of two of the eight episodes.

Works about this Work

Charting Tsiolkas’s Literary Development through Adaptations Liz Shek-Noble , 2022 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , vol. 46 no. 1 2022; (p. 72-84)

'Christos Tsiolkas has occupied an increasingly central position in the contemporary Australian literary and cultural imagination. Starting with his novel Loaded (1995), Tsiolkas’s fiction engages with subject matter that speaks to his personal experience as both a gay man of Greek heritage and a writer concerned with larger social and political issues affecting a multicultural Australia. Examples of recurring themes in Tsiolkas’s fiction include the irreconcilability of Greek and Australian identity, racial and class intolerance, emergent sexual consciousness, and the conflict between familial obligation and individual expression. In contrast to these arguably “reader-friendly” themes—that is, themes that are accessible to a wide and non-specialist audience—Tsiolkas’s early novels (LoadedThe Jesus Man, 1999; and Dead Europe, 2005) possess a subversive edge in how they explore obscenity and social transgression. However, the publication of Tsiolkas’s fourth novel, The Slap (2008), signalled a new phase in his career, in which the formal rawness of his prose and his uncompromising representation of extreme corporeal states gave way to a simplicity in his written expression that mirrored the growing topicality of his subject matter. This change in purpose mirrors the shift in both the reception of Tsiolkas the writer and of his fiction. Prior to The Slap, Tsiolkas was viewed as a “cult figure” who, though of some critical interest, neither captivated the attention of a mainstream audience nor was celebrated by the literary establishment as an “Australian” writer whose fiction reflected purportedly national interests. However, the critical and commercial success of The Slap has ensured that both Tsiolkas and his subsequent fiction have been (re)cast as pivotal sites of commentary on contemporary Australian class and racial politics. Put another way, Tsiolkas’s “increasing visibility … as a public intellectual, if not a literary celebrity”, has resulted in changes to the form, language and subject matter of his novels, and also the ways critics receive and understand his career.' (Publication abstract)

Why Aren’t Greeks Cool Anymore? Con Stamocostas , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: Neos Kosmos , July 2019;

'During the 90’s and Noughties Greeks were everywhere in Australia. The success of comedy productions ‘Wogs out of Work’ and ‘Acropolis Now’ not only broke audience records for both stage and screen but took the Greek Australian experience mainstream. The ‘Heartbreak Kid’, ‘Head On’ and TV show ‘The Slap’ further explored the second generation in adapting to an ever changing culture. But in recent times there has been a distinct lack of Greek Australian stories and characters on TV and film screens.' (Introduction)

Trading Faces Another Slap Laura Parker , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 14-15 February 2015; (p. 12-13) The Canberra Times , 14 February 2015; (p. 10)
‘Whose Side Are You On?’ The Slap (2011/2015) Constantine Verevis , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies , vol. 29 no. 5 2015; (p. 769-780)
'Based on the best-selling 2008 novel by Christos Tsiolkas, the eight-part Australian television mini-series, The Slap (Matchbox Pictures, 2011), generated widespread local interest when it premiered nationally on ABC1 television. An ensemble drama, The Slap follows the repercussions of a fateful moment at a suburban barbecue in multicultural Melbourne when an angry adult slaps a misbehaving child that is not his own (but who, arguably, may have deserved the slap). Promoted with the tagline ‘whose side are you on?’ each of the eight episodes of the series advances the story from the viewpoint of a different character, in the process allowing barely concealed tensions of class, gender and ethnicity to rise to the surface. Upon the release of the series, Tsiolkas noted the specificity of the drama, stating that its approach to multiculturalism ‘reflected the Australia that we do live in’, but the unique programme format attracted international interest, NBC/Universal announcing that it was set to remake the series in the US with Matchbox Pictures' show runner, Tony Ayres, as a co-executive producer. This essay engages critical frameworks of adaptation and translation studies to interrogate various formats of The Slap. It considers not only the cross-cultural remaking of the Australian mini-series for US television, but also the adaptation of Tsiolkas' high profile novel to ‘quality TV’ – in ABC's description, ‘a bold, provocative television drama series that forensically examines the mores and morality of contemporary middleclass life’ (The Slap, Official ABC website). This analysis consists not only of an interrogation of the industrial situations and narrative strategies of the mini-series, but also – and given that Tsiolkas' novel was heralded locally and internationally as a comment upon contemporary (post-conservative government) Australia – an understanding of its reception contexts.' (Publication abstract)
Product Placement Incidental, Says ABC Paul Cleary , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 2 September 2013; (p. 22)
Barbecue Stopper Stephen Romei , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 1-2 October 2011; (p. 26-27)

— Review of The Slap 2011 series - publisher film/TV
Slap Shot Philippa Hawker , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 335 2011; (p. 58)

— Review of The Slap 2011 series - publisher film/TV
Everyone's a Critic... Ivor Indyk Reviews The Slap Ivor Indyk , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 23 October 2011; (p. 6)

— Review of The Slap 2011 series - publisher film/TV
Everyone's Talking About : The Slap 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Times , 22 October 2011; (p. 3)

— Review of The Slap 2011 series - publisher film/TV
Jonathan Feels the Sting Helene Sobolewski , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 2 November 2011; (p. 5)

— Review of The Slap 2011 series - publisher film/TV
Sophie's Slap Bang in Tough Role, Again Sarah Whyte , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 16 January 2011; (p. 16)
The Slap Set to Leave Its Mark on Small Screen Paul Kalina , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 22 January 2011; (p. 11) The Sydney Morning Herald , 22-23 January 2011; (p. 11)
Blame it on Raw Talent Andrew L. Urban , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 19 June 2011; (p. 4)
Showing Series at Festival a Bold Move for Aunty Michael Bodey , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 29 June 2011; (p. 17)
Fairy Story Opens Festival Big on Black Comedies Michael Bodey , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 6 July 2011; (p. 17)


2012 nominated The International Emmy Awards Drama Series
2012 winner AWGIE Awards Television Mini-Series - Adaptation
2012 winner Logie Awards Most Outstanding Miniseries or Telemovie
2012 winner Equity Awards Equity Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast in a Mini-Series or Telemovie Series 4
2011 winner Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards Best Telefeature or Mini Series
Last amended 3 Feb 2017 13:01:26