Although it is set in the stark historical reality of the founding of the penal colony it is not the story of Australia and how it came to be, but a tale of love, faith, justice and morality played out on an epic scale in a confined community where the stakes are literally life and death.
David Wenham plays Governor Arthur Phillip a pragmatic idealist who hopes to turn this ramshackle settlement from penal colony to land of opportunity for all, while his nemesis Major Ross played by Joseph Millson thinks the only chance of survival is to rule with an iron fist. All that seems unshakeable are the passionate bonds of love and friendship forged between convicts: Elizabeth Quinn (Myanna Buring), Tommy Barrett (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and James Freeman (Russell Tovey). But before long this shared devotion is destined to challenge the very doctrines on which the fledging colony has been founded.
MyAnna Buring on what attracted her to the role of Elizabeth Quinn 'It was her heart really. When I first read the script I felt very strongly that not only did she have a great heart but also that she was the heartbeat for three other characters in this story: Freeman, Tommy Barrett and Private Buckley.'
Julian Rhind-Tutt discussed what Banished is about 'The characters are trapped in a tiny community; they are close to starvation; they are living under military rule and surviving as best they can; it’s classic and exciting Jimmy McGovern but in an even more compressed and tense situation with even higher stakes.'
Joseph Millson describing Major Ross 'Jimmy McGovern gave me the best advice about his character, which is that 90% of the people around him disgust him and the other 10% are his interiors. He’s able to do his job and maintain tight discipline because to him these convicts are not human beings, they’re rats.'