Shane Warne’s close friends lash out at Nine’s ‘despicable’ unauthorised biopic about late spin king


Shane Warne’s close friends lash out at Channel Nine’s ‘despicable’ unauthorised show about the spin king’s life and threaten legal action to have it axed

  • Shane Warne died suddenly while on holiday in Thailand on March 4 
  • Pre-production on Nine’s miniseries began just weeks after his passing  
  • Warne’s agent James Erskine has threatened legal action against the network 
  • In 2017, Seven dropped plans for a miniseries on the late spin king
  • Warne was thought to be fiercely opposed to dramatisation of his own life
  • The late Australia legend worked as commentator for Nine for 23 years 

Shane Warne’s manager and friends have described an upcoming unauthorised biopic on the life of the late cricket legend as ‘disheartening’ and ‘despicable’, with the former threatening legal action against Channel Nine.

News of Warne’s death while on holiday in Thailand on March 4 shocked Australia and the cricket world as a whole, but pre-production on a miniseries focusing on the spin king’s extraordinary life began within just three weeks of his passing.

The producers are yet to cast the actor who will be tasked with playing Warne but, according to the Herald Sun, they could soon have far more pressing concerns. 

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Shane Warne died unexpectedly while on holiday in Thailand on March 4

The champion bowler’s long-time manager, James Erskine, did not rule out exploring legal avenues to halt production and said Nine’s conduct had been shameful. 

‘He’s only been dead for a couple of months and for them to turn this around and think about doing some sensational thing, well they should be ashamed of themselves,’ he told the Herald Sun.

‘I will be writing to Peter Costello because he is their chairman and saying, please explain. […] Why would Nine even go there. It’s a disgrace and I will certainly be making my voice heard.’

Those closest to the late Australian legend told the Herald Sun plans for a miniseries were ‘despicable’ and ‘distasteful’.

Those closest to the late spin king have slammed an authorised Nine's biopic on his life

Those closest to the late spin king have slammed an authorised Nine’s biopic on his life

Warne (middle) worked for the network as cricket analyst for over 20 years

Warne (middle) worked for the network as cricket analyst for over 20 years 

Speaking shortly after Warne’s death, Nine’s head of content Andy Ryan said the miniseries will be ‘larger than life, entertaining, confronting thought-provoking’ just ‘like the man himself.’

Ryan added the biopic, which is scheduled to air next year, will explore Warne’s impact on people and what made him such a special character loved by so many. 

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‘He was an icon in all cricketing playing countries, but also all around the world. We will be making a premium quality drama with international appeal,’ he said.

Nine isn’t the first network considering a dramatisation of Warne’s life, with Seven dropping plans for a mini-series on the spin king’s life back in 2017 after its Paul Hogan biopic fell flat with critics and viewers. 

In 2017, Seven shelved plans for a miniseries on Warne's life after some of its other biopics flopped both with viewers and critics

In 2017, Seven shelved plans for a miniseries on Warne’s life after some of its other biopics flopped both with viewers and critics 

‘Seven has released this project,’ a Seven spokesperson told News Corp at the time.

‘We have a number of projects in development and felt that, at this time, the Warne miniseries was not the right fit for our production and programming schedule.’

Significantly, News Corp reported at the time that Warne was fiercely against a dramatisation of his life, preferring instead to dedicate himself to the much-acclaimed Shane documentary which was released just months before his death.

Warne worked as analyst for Nine for 23 years and was reportedly close to former network boss Kerry Packer and former chief executive David Gyngell. 

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