Viewed solely as fictional drama, the ABC’s Bastard Boys, a two-part series televised in May 2007, is a high-quality production. But its claim to fictional licence is qualified by a parallel claim to documentary truth, in that it purports to present the story of the 1998 maritime dispute and its major participants with a reasonable degree of historical accuracy. In classic fictional style, Bastard Boys has a clear hero, “Greg Combet”, and a secondary hero, “John Coombs”. Both are union leaders. The hero confronts three principal villains: “Chris Corrigan”, a businessman, “Peter Reith”, a politician, and “Bill Kelty”, a union…
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