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10 June, 2021

Mission Beach’s Universal Appeal

It’s not the first time someone on the run has hidden out in Mission Beach. In the early 1970s Brisbane news reader, Mike Higgins fled underworld figures to take refuge in tranquil Mission Beach. Higgins hid away from the prying eyes of the public in a beat-up caravan and camping on the beach.

By Peter McCullagh

It almost sounds like the ideal plot for a television series.  American television giant NBCUniversal has completed scouting locations for their latest series and Mission Beach will host shortly host production crews and cast for Matchbox Pictures newest project, Irreverent.

This 10-part series has been developed and produced for the international market. Irreverent tells the story of a Chicago criminal who bungles a heist and is forced to hide out in a reef town in Far North Queensland, posing as the new church Reverend.

While it becomes clear to the town that he’s got some unusual ways, our fake Reverend barely manages to bumble though weddings, funerals and everything else that’s thrown at him as he tries to maintain his cover.

Over time, he manages to capture the heart of the town, just as the town captures his heart. Irreverent is ultimately a show about the power of community, and the hope that it can bring us all.

The production crew will arrive in late August and will be on location until mid-November. Mission Beach was also used as a shooting base for the Australian television series Sea Patrol, with many of the production crew working on that production.

Australian producer Tom Hoffie is locked in as Producer. Hoffie’s production credits include Love Child, The Wrong Girl and Nim’s Island 2.

Securing the production for Mission Beach has been a collaborative effort of Screen Queensland well and the Cassowary Coast Regional Council.

Geoff Spratling, owner of Bingil Bay Cafe remembers when Sea Patrol were last shooting in Mission Beach. “There was so much excitement in the town. Jobs were created and the place was buzzing. This will be a great thing and very timely for Mission Beach,” he said.

The Cassowary Coast has hosted many major television series and movies. Paronella Park is perhaps the most stunning natural sound stage in Australia, having featured in the Ben Hackworth directed movie Celeste, a love story set in the heart of Paronella Park. Also in the area, the SBS series Hungry Ghosts spent time filming in Innisfail, whilst the classic Australian series Sea Patrol was filmed using Dunk Island and Mission Beach as the backdrop.

Ease of access into the Cassowary Coast along with some of the most stunning natural settings makes the region a television and film production utopia.

Nancy Lowe from Mission Beach Dive is overjoyed at the news of another television series being shot in her town.

“This is the best news for the town, since Mayfair tried to buy Dunk Island.

“It will revitalise the town and lift the spirits.

“We love having a film crew here, timing is perfect, coming off what looks like a bumper tourist season we will have the production crew and cast here spending and living in the town, it’s fantastic,” Ms Lowe said.

One tourism operator well versed with the impact visiting television productions crews can have upon a business and region is Mark Evans from Paronella Park.

“It’s been a challenging time for us all with COVID so having a production company in Mission Beach for an extended period of time is very welcome news.

“The flow on effect is incredible, from increased employment through to retail and hospitality, Mission Beach will be a winner.

“The real bonus is that the television series is marked for worldwide distribution. Publicity like this you cannot buy.”

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