Last Sunday, (25 June AEST), a first of the two – part telemovie, Warne premiered. As the name suggest, the mini – series was about the late Australian cricket great, Shane Warne.
This is just over a year after Warne died suddenly, aged fifty – two in Thailand.
His ex – wife, Simone Callahan has been a vocal critic of the show. She told the Herald Sun:
I haven’t wanted to read too much about it, but I think it’s a bit unkind and mean-spirited to be honest.Simone Callahan slams Warnie telemovie as ‘unkind’ and mean- spirited’news.com.au, 20 June 2023
Callahan isn”t the only one to criticise the show.
Warne’s daughter, Brooke slammed the telemovie when it was announced. She expressed concerns with Nine’s Jo Hall and radio personality, Dee Dee Dunleavy.
She shared similar criticisms to Callahan:
With the extra media scrutiny created by dad’s passing I need to stay mindful to deal with the attention.
Especially with the negative aspect, such as the total disrespect shown by Channel 9 in creating a biopic about dad so soon after he passed.
On her Instagram story, Ms Warne condemned Nine again, bringing up his time working with the network:
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 passed away? You are beyond disrespectful.
Alex Williams’ response
Alex Williams, who played Warne tried to ignore the controversy and focused on emulating Warne.
He insisted that the mini – series was made with love. It was made to celebrate his life and career.
While he sympathised with those still mourning Warne, Williams put the onus back on the critics:
For those people who don’t feel like it’s time for them for them to watch it, then don’t watch it.Alex Williams’ response to ‘Warne’ telemovie controversy “Alex Williams on portraying Shane Warne and dealing with the backlash”, James McKern, news.com.au, 25 June 2023
Williams claimed that Warne’s fanily members who saw the telemovie gave positive feedback.
My take: Was ‘Warne’ a good tribute? Or exploitation?
I have to say, I only saw the first five minutes or so of the first episode. The trailer that was used to promote the show left a bad taste in my mouth. Frankly, I thought it was tacky.
Why was Warne’s death mentioned so early on in the first episode? Why not solely focus on his career before and after cricket?
Also, let’s talk about timing. How dare Channel Nine plan to capitalise on Shane Warne only months after his death?
I’m not blaming Alex Williams. He’s heart is probably in the right place. He wanted to celebrate Shane Warne’s life. But Channel Nine should have had a bit more sensitivity and common sense. Especially since he worked for them, both as a cricketer and commentator.
Did you see Warne? Do you think it was too soon? Or was it a good tribute?