AustLit logo
form y separately published work icon A Second Opinion single work   film/TV   crime  
Issue Details: First known date: 1971... 1971 A Second Opinion
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Goods are being hijacked from trucks all over Victoria, obviously in a highly organised network. The Matlock police are called on to catch the hijackers in their area.

'Their investigation leads them to "Buttercup" Sands, a small time criminal who operates a second-hand building materials yard and who proves to be responsible for the local operation of the hijacking ring.

'As a sub plot, there is the story of Monty, son of Sands' de facto wife, Edie, by an earlier liason [sic]. Monty is both physically spastic and suspected to be autistic. The police feel that Edie may not be a fit mother for the child. Helping Monty is complicated by the fact that a chiropractor has been treating the boy's physical condition and clashes with the medical profession over what can best be done for him. This story reaches a climax when Monty escapes from home and falls down a mine shaft, to be rescued by Sergeant Maddern and the chiropractor.'

Source: Synopsis held in the Crawford Collection in the AFI Research Collection (RMIT).

The script held in the Crawford Collection in the AFI Research Collection includes the following character notes (excluding regular characters):

'TONI CARBONI American Italian aged about 40. Qualified Chiropractor, quietly spoken, thoughtful. Has been in Matlock only a few years. Physical trainer in local football team.

'DR. SUTHERLAND Established.

'"BUTTERCUP" SANDS About 40. Small time crim, operates a second-hand building materials yard, fire wood, etc. Impulsive, rather stupid, can be aggressive, arrogant. Known to Maddern. Has done time for larceny and assault. DRIVES.

'EDIE 30±. Sands' defacto wife. Rather a slob, easy going, careless, untidy, has had to battle during the last eight years to bring up her autistic boy. Has only been with Sands for the past few months.

'MONTGOMERY (MONTY) 8 years old. Edie's boy. Austistic, also only able to walk or run with an extremely awkward gait. Does not speak other than to sing an endless "Da-da, Ma-ma" type of song into notes. It seems impossible for him to communicate. Totally withdrawn into himself. Is never fully still except when drawing.

'JACK BIRSETT Small farmer - a few cows, continually broke, has always supplemented his income with petty larceny. His farm is near Sands' yard. DRIVES.

'TRANSPORT DRIVER Any age, any type, capable of this fairly tough occupation. DRIVES.

'PASSING MOTORIST Any age - a few lines. DRIVES.


'A NURSE One scene - no lines.'


  • This entry has been compiled from archival research in the Crawford Collection (AFI Research Collection), undertaken by Dr Catriona Mills under the auspices of the 2012 AFI Research Collection (AFIRC) Research Fellowship: see The Writer in Australian Television History.
  • Warning: Please be aware that this work may contain words, terms or descriptions which may be culturally sensitive and are considered inappropriate today, but which reflect the period in which it was written.

Affiliation Notes

  • Writing Disability in Australia

    Type of disability Cerebral palsy; autism.
    Type of character Secondary.
    Point of view Third person.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Crawford Productions ; Network Ten , 1971 .
      Extent: 42 min. 53 secs (as at 22.4.71, according to the script)p.
      Series: form y separately published work icon Matlock Police Terry Stapleton , Ian Jones , Everett de Roche , Ian Jones , Terry Stapleton , Keith Hetherington , Patrick Edgeworth , Tom Hegarty , Douglas Tainsh , Graeme Koetsveld , Peter A. Kinloch , Sonia Borg , Don Battye , Robert Caswell , George T. Miller , Gwenda Marsh , Cliff Green , Vince Moran , Luis Bayonas , David William Boutland , Phil Freedman , Keith Thompson , Denise Morgan , C.F. Barnes , Robert Bruce , Alan Cram , Vern Perry , Martin Robbins , John Dingwall , George Mallaby , Jim Stapleton , Simon Wincer , Melbourne Australia : Crawford Productions Network Ten , 1971-1976 Z1638563 1971 series - publisher film/TV detective crime

      The Matlock Police series (originally simply titled Matlock) was commissioned from Crawford Productions by ATV-0, in response to the popularity of rival-network police dramas such as Homicide and Division 4. Crawford's was initially reluctant to create another police series, but ATV-0 pressured the company for some time. Eventually, Ian Jones and Terry Stapleton devised the concept of a regional (Victorian) police series to provide viewers with something different. The more relaxed atmosphere of the country-town setting also allowed the writers to delve into the private lives of the main characters, rather than focusing heavily on big-city organised crime. In this respect, the series was situated somewhere between Homicide/Division 4 and Bellbird. The series did, however, cover typical rural policing, including such issues as break and enters, domestic issues, itinerant workers, brawls, petty crime and robberies, road accidents, the occasional homicide, and cattle rustling. On other occasions, the Matlock police also assisted Melbourne police in locating criminals on the run (among other problems). The idea behind the show was to reflect the causes of crime in a small community and show the effects on both the community and the officers themselves.

      The fictional town of Matlock (loosely based on Shepparton in Victoria) is situated inland on the Central Highway, approximately 160 kilometres north of Melbourne. Although the town's population is only seventeen thousand, this increases to around seventy-five thousand when the district is included. The Matlock Police Station is typical of a Victorian country town, with a Uniform Branch and a Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). The CIB is headed by Detective Sergeant Vic Maddern, who grew up in the Matlock district and is an accomplished bushman. Second in command is Detective Allan Curtis, aged in his mid-twenties. Previously from Melbourne, Curtis has just been sent to his first country posting (against his will) when the series begins. Head of the Uniform Branch is Sergeant Bert Kennedy, an Englishman who migrated to Australia in 1950. A thorough but also easy-going man with a good sense of humour, Kennedy is married to Nell and enjoys the country life in Matlock, so much so that he has knocked back promotion to avoid moving to Melbourne. Several constables are attached to the Uniform Branch, but the most prominent is a motorcycle cop, Constable Gary Hogan, who performs a wide variety of duties. Hogan is about thirty, a friendly, easy-going person who grew up in the country and is always willing to help in whatever work is going.

      Number in series: 18
      1971 .
      person or book cover
      Script cover page (Crawford Collection at the AFI Research Collection)
      Extent: 64p.
      (Manuscript) assertion
      • The Crawford Collection holds two copies of this script, both copied on pink paper and labelled 'Episode 2Y' on the cover page. Neither copy shows any indication on their cover pages of to whom these copies are designated.
      • Both copies are identical and neither shows any signs of annotation.
      • The final page of both copies includes a list of crew credits:
        Written by Doug Tainsh.
        Edited by Graham Foreman.
        Typed by Phyllis Bayne, Jenny Barty, Brenda Eterovic, Elizabeth Cotterill, Sandie Siebel, Christine Paterson, Nola Stone.
        Checked by Phyllis Bayne, Brenda Eterovic, Elizabeth Cotterill, Christine Patterson, Nola Stone.
        Duplicated by Dennis Ingham.
        The section below these for 'Producer's Remarks' has been left blank.
      • The file contains the following ancillary material, access to which is restricted:
        1. Casting call sheets.


      Held at: AFI Research Collection
      Local Id: SC MAT : 18
Last amended 13 Mar 2019 10:59:15