The Last of the Ryans
In February 1967, Ronald Ryan was hanged for the murder of Prison Warder George Hodson, shot while Ryan was attempting to escape from Pentridge Prison. The jury found Ryan guilty after a controversial trial, despite Philip Opas QC passionately arguing his clients innocence. The mandatory penalty for murder was death, but since the previous 35 death penalties had been routinely commuted, no one believed Ryan would hang.
The Premier, Henry Bolte, saw the case as a contest of wills and brushed aside all appeals and petitions, including one signed by seven of the jurors who sat on the Ryan case. Based on meticulous research, The Last Of The Ryans tells the true story of Ronald Ryan - about his wife Dorothy, and their three young daughters; his friendship with Prison Governor Ian Grindlay, the man who had to hang him; and his conversion by Father Brosnan who so convinced Ryan that redemption was real that Ryan went to the gallows in expectation.
RONALD RYAN … Richard Roxburgh
DOROTHY RYAN … Zoe Bertram
HENRY BOLTE … Ian Mune
FATHER BROSNAN … Tony Barry
GOVERNOR GRINDLAY … Paul Sonkkila
PHILIP OPAS … Douglas Hedge
PETER WALKER … Tom Long
CECILIA RYAN … Julie Herbert
Executive Producers: Bruce Gordon, David Rouse & Kris Noble
Producer: Richard Brennan
Associate Producer: Janne Dennehy
Director: George Ogilvy
Writer: Graeme Farmer
Production: 1996-3 January 1997
First televised on the Nine Network on 23 April 1997.