Entertainment

Actors deliver words of strength about Australia's history

The group of Aussie actors who star in the History Channel special The People Speak.
The group of Aussie actors who star in the History Channel special The People Speak. Nick Wilson - Foxtel

AN ESTEEMED group of film, television and stage actors have united for The History Channel's special TV event.

Hosted by author Thomas Keneally, The People Speak features 25 actors and musicians delivering the letters, songs and speeches of rebels, visionaries and protesters from Australia's rich democratic past.

Sam Worthington, David Wenham, Ryan Kwanten, Rebecca Gibney and Jack Thompson are just some of the big names who take part in impassioned performances.

The People Speak - The History Channel - Sunday at 6.30pm Qld, 7.30pm NSW.

The two-hour special is inspired by the American format created by actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in 2009, when A-listers including Morgan Freeman, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder and Josh Brolin performed crucial moments in America's history.

Chandon Pictures and Paper Giants star Rob Carlton said he didn't have to think twice about participating in the readings, performed in front of a studio audience at Sydney's historic Carriageworks.

"I'm interested in history and the way it shapes our sense of self and obviously being story tellers, we're always leaning on the days that come before us," he said.

"Then there was the way they were going to stage it at the Carriageworks at Redfern as a one-night event. It just felt really special. When I found out the other people who had agreed to do it, then that turned the filming evening into something special."

Carlton said there was a "nervous energy" backstage among the actors.

"Everyone was anxiously pacing before their speeches," he said.

"It's a different performance style. We hadn't memorised the speeches, we were reading the speeches.

"It was like a performed reading, and so when you take actors out of their comfort zones there's a nervous energy."

In the introduction to the special, Carlton describes democracy as "self-correcting", which is something he says stems from the fundamental principle of transparency in democracy.

"Humans will always err and break the rules. People will act in self-interest and not the interests of everybody," he said.

"That's where democracy can step in and correct these things when they get out of hand.

"It reinvents itself every few years. We get to go to the ballot box and say 'we've had a bit of that, some of it was good and some of it was bad'.

"With the democratic process comes freedom of speech, and through that we can tap at the edges of the institutions that guide us."

Both of Carlton's readings are from the 1800s.

The first is colonial leader William Charles Wentworth making the case for the Emancipist Party.

"Wentworth was a libertarian. He was ahead of his time in terms of his thinking," he said.

"He was a man for all seasons; he was quite incredible."

His second reading could not be more different. It's an excerpt taken from Governor Gawler's 1838 speech about how Aboriginal people should imitate white men to assimilate into society.

"While I have every reason to believe his intentions were good, he perhaps wasn't quite as aware of the ramifications," Carlton said.

"The words are slightly villain-esque in a modern reading. No one wakes up and says 'I'm going to be a villain'.

"I believe he was trying to be as helpful as he possibly could, and I play it like that."

Topics:  actors, australia, history, history channel, tv show



WATCH: Police release CCTV footage of Goodna robbery

An armed robbery took place at the IGA in Goodna at 6am this morning (27-9-16).

Masked men armed with large hammer hold up store

FINALS CHAT: The AT80 team talk NRL and Bears vs Cutters

FINALS CHAT: Manager of rugby league Ipswich Brendon Lindsay joins co-host Anthony 'Bomber' Breeze, host Ben Wilmott and special guest Colin Scott this week on After the 80.

Grand final spotlight should be on NRL heroics

Police remember fallen colleagues

Police Remembrance Day march to Brown's Park in North Ipswich on Thursday.

Police remember falen colleagues

Local Partners

Kim Kardashian West wants restraining order against prankster

She was attacked by Vitalii Sediuk for the second time in two years

Cliff Richard to release 101st album

Sir Cliff Richard's album cover

Sir Cliff Richard is to release his 101st album

CMC Rocks faces fan backlash over date change, headliners

The 10th annual CMC Rocks festival will be headlined by The Dixie Chicks.

FANS are not happy about festival being pushed back by two weeks.

Kim Kardashian West attacked by man trying to kiss her bottom

Vitalii Sediuk targeted Gigi Hadid last week

Madonna poses naked in solidarity with Katy Perry

Madonna posted her own nude selfie on Instagram

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Housing report points to a lift in local market

AFFORDABLE HOMES: First home buyers have the opportunity to purchase modern new homes in the Ipswich region for under $400,000.

Region shaping up as the "final frontier” for affordable housing

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets

Another Ripley development

THE ENTRANCE: An overview of the last planned development for the fast growing Ripley area.

85 more home lots released