Picnic at Hanging Rock, Episode 4

2019 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

‘Polish’ unfolds in an oppressive 1900 Victorian girls’ college in the weeks following the mysterious disappearance of three girls and a governess in the bush. As Headmistress Appleyard fends off the police, orphan Sara battles Appleyard’s sadistic treatment and dreams of the missing girls. But love is also blooming: servants Minnie and Tom decide to marry, and Sara’s estranged brother, Albert, pledges his heart to a wealthy neighbour — unaware his sister is languishing just next door. 

The fourth episode in a six-part dramatisation of Joan Lindsay’s iconic novel, Polish is immaculately researched, finely drawn and skilfully constructed. Intercutting Sara’s bleakly punitive present with evocative re-enactments of her past, Addison constructs a world fissured by rumour, powerplay and unravelling facades — using taut dialogue and accelerating tension to intensify the conflicting desires of her multiple cast, and to successfully propel the series towards its tragic, haunting conclusion.