entertainment

Sydney gay killings of '80s and '90s inspired new Australian crime drama 'Deep Water'

2017-01-30
A new Australian crime series inspired by the chilling Sydney gay killings of the 1980s and '90s has been shedding light on a chilling chapter in the country's gay history. First broadcast in Oz last autumn and on BBC Four last November, four-part drama Deep Water follows Detectives Tori Lustigman (Orange Is the New Black's Yael Stone) and Nick Manning (Noah Taylor, Game of Thrones) as they pursue a serial killer luring gay men to their deaths through gay hook-up app THRUSTR. As the pair investigate the case, they uncover a spate of unexplained deaths, ‘suicides’ and disappearances linked to widespread historic anti-gay attacks by youth gangs that went largely unpunished by the Australian police. While Deep Water's plot is fictional, its violent and unnerving story is grounded in reality: For three decades between the 1970s and '90s, the picturesque parks and coastline surrounding Sydney were the scenes of a huge number of brutal deaths involving gay men, many of whom were found at the foot of cliffs. Many of the men had their cause of death listed as the result of suicides or accidents, but reports emerged years later that homophobic gangs roamed the city's known gay meeting areas looking for men to attack. Last May, Australian police reopened investigations into as many as 88 deaths - 30 of them unexplained - involving men in Sydney between 1976 and 2000 as part of  'Operation Parrabell', to ascertain whether the deceased were in fact the victims of brutal anti-gay hate crimes. Australian broadcaster SBS screened a documentary, Deep Water: The Real Story, alongside the miniseries, which is out on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from today (January 30). Deep Water is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and video on-demand. More stories: Chris Mears is looking 'Ruf' in this scorching new shoot - PICS Gay Iraqi soldiers who fell in love before fleeing to the US share their inspiring story