Picnic at Hanging Rock, Episode 4 by Alice Addison

3 women dressed in period clothing from picnic at hanging rock tv show

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.