Channel 9's Shane Warne biopic trashed by viewers: 'Predictably terrible'

Shrouded in controversy from the moment it was announced, Channel 9's 'Warnie' biopic has been labelled a dud - and much worse.

Alex Williams, who played Shane Warne in the 'Warnie' bipic is pictured in character on the left, with Warne himself seen on the right.
Channel 9's Shane Warne biopic has been thoroughly ripped apart by viewers, after the production itself was labelled 'disrespectful' when it was announced just six months after his death. Pictures: Channel 9/Getty Images

The reviews are in for Channel 9's two-part drama series about Shane Warne - creatively titled 'Warnie' - and it's safe to say they are generally not particularly favourable. Despite attracting substantial criticism from friends and family of the late Warne after announcing the two-part series was going into production just six months after Warne's MCG memorial, Channel 9 pushed ahead regardless, with the results not going down particularly well.

The first episode of the two-part series aired on Sunday night, with the second to air on Monday, but if viewers of the first are anything to go by, those ratings may be well diminished for the broadcaster. Social media lit up with users absolutely panning the series.

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Descriptions like 'cringeworthy', 'disgrace', and 'horrific' emerged as a common theme, with many wishing Channel 9 had simply let the memory of the famous spin bowler live on in peace. Instead, viewers were treated to what one described as 'the worst piece of television I have ever seen'.

Beginning with Warne being dropped from the Australian team in 1999 before flashing back to the early days of his life and sporting career, including being de-listed by the St Kilda Football Club as a youngster and the early days of his cricketing career with Australia - including his famous 'ball of the century' against Mike Gatting.

As The Guardian's Luke Buckmaster notes in his review, an early voice-over from Alex Williams, playing the titular Warne, asks the audience 'No matter what, I always pulled a crowd...what does that say about you guys?” This through-line was never examined with any careful thought, instead insinuating that many of the controversies of Warne's career and life, though frequently of his own doing, had instead been beaten up by a hungry media and willing public (not concerned with the swift production of the series itself so soon after Warne's death.)

Tellingly, the first episode of the Warnie series was out-rated by rival offerings from other networks, such as Channel 7's Dancing with the Stars. Those who did tune in however, did not have much in the way of positive feedback.

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The production got off to a rocky start late last year, when the announcement that it would be going into production was met with blunt criticism from Warne's family. His daughter, Brooke Warne, took to social media slamming the decision, before later agreeing to collaborate on the production.

“Do any of you have any respect for Dad? Or his family? Who did so much for Channel 9, and now you want to dramatise his life and our family’s life six months after he has passed away? You are beyond disrespectful,” she wrote.

Shane Warne is pictured appealing for a wicket.
The Shane Warne biopic produced by Channel 9 has been slammed by viewers and labelled 'disrespectful' by family members of the late Australian cricketing great. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Last week, before the first episode aired, similar criticisms emerged. Warne's ex-wife, Simone Callaghan, who did not have any collaboration with the Screentime production, also said it was disrespectful to rush into it.

“I haven’t wanted to read into too much about it, but I think it’s a bit unkind and mean spirited to be honest," she told the Herald Sun. “It’s my opinion. He’s just passed, let him rest in peace.

"And for the kids, I just believe that they’re not showing any compassion at all by putting this out there in such a short amount of time after this has happened. To be honest but that’s how I feel about it.”

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