Bob Hawke’s widow has accused acclaimed Australian actor Richard Roxburgh of failing to stand up to ‘snobbish’ English producers peddling ‘untruths’ about the former prime minister in the hit Netflix drama The Crown.
During a rare public appearance on what would have been Mr Hawke’s 91st birthday, Blanche d’Alpuget took aim at the ‘cringeworthy’ portrayal of her late husband on the show.
Blanche d’Alpuget, the widow of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, has made a rare public appearance on what would have been her husband’s 91st birthday. She doubled down on her criticism of The Crown’s misleading portrayal of the much-loved PM and slammed acclaimed Australian actor Richard Roxburgh for not standing up to ‘snobbish’ English producers.
Hawke has been back in the headlines recently following his portrayal in top Netflix series The Crown. Australian actor Richard Roxburgh (left) played the legendary Australian leader (right)
The then-popular Labor PM, played by Roxburgh, is portrayed as an ardent republican who despises the monarchy and hopes the royal visit will inspire Australians to dump it for an Australian head of state.
In the episode, ‘Terra Nullius’, the Hawke character gives an interview on the ABC’s Four Corners ahead of the Royal Tour in which he says Australia wouldn’t have a ‘Pom’ as a head of state for much longer.
‘You wouldn’t put a pig in charge of a herd of prime beef cattle — even if it did look good in a twin set and pearls,’ he says to the laughter of the studio audience.
However, while the interview about a republic did happen, Mr Hawke never used those words to describe the Queen, or ever spoke so dismissively about the monarchy.
And as she unveiled a plaque outside the couple’s former Sydney home on Wednesday to commemorate Mr Hawke’s life and particularly his environmental work, Ms d’Alpuget told Daily Mail Australia she believed Roxburgh ‘must have known’ that his depiction of the former PM on The Crown was ‘untrue’.
Ms d’Alpuget told Daily Mail Australia that Roxburgh would have known he was not presenting the truth during his portrayal of her late husband. She led the crowd who gathered outside the couple’s former home on Sydney’s lower north shore in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Hawke for a second time since his death last May.
‘It was just that quote from Bob which I thought showed was a kowtowing cultural cringe really, to English snobbery about Australians,’ Ms d’Alpuget said.
‘And I thought: “Haven’t we got over the cultural cringe?”
‘I was very cross with the actor for presenting something that he must have known was untrue, and presented both Bob and Australia in a very bad light.
‘Actors say they have to perform what they’re given, but I think it’s also possible to stand up for your principles… if you have some.’
Comment has been sought from Mr Roxburgh, who played a brilliant but deeply flawed barrister in the hit ABC TV series Rake and in the Blue Murder crime dramas.
Ms d’Alpuget was joined by Hawke’s daughter Sue Pieters-Hawke, the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and their Northbridge neighbours for the special occasion.
She led the small crowd in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the former prime minister for a second time since his death on May 16, 2019.
Ms d’Alpuget told Daily Mail Australia that though life had been tough since the death of her husband, it was always a ‘special’ occasion to be able to celebrate his storied life.
‘It’s special, Bob always loved his birthday, he had a lot of kid in him and he loved his parties – we always had a birthday party – and so I’m glad we’re still having them,’ Ms d’Alpuget said.
The glamorous Ms d’Alpuget told those gathered she regarded her late husband as a ‘great Australian’.
’91 years [ago] today, one of the great Australians of the 20th century was born – and that was Bob Hawke,’ she said.
‘He had an influence on not one or two, but three generations and more generations to come. I still meet people in their 20s who say: “My grandfather or my grandmother still has a picture of them with Bob Hawke on their mantelpiece”.
BOB HAWKE – FACT FROM FICTION
On The Crown, Hawke says: ‘(The royal family are) for all their good intentions, a different breed. You wouldn’t put a pig in charge of a herd of prime beef cattle.’
In real life Hawke told the ABC’s Four Corners: ‘I think in terms of being our own country, the time will come when Australians prefer a republic. I don’t think it is the number one issue on the agenda.’
The episode in which Hawke (left, with first wife Hazel) centred on Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s visit to Australia in 1983. It has been slammed by his second wife d’Alpuget as ‘cringe’
Hawke was prime minsiter of Australia from 1983 to 1991 and is considered one of the nation’s greatest and most popular leaders (He is pictured with Ms d’Alpuget in 2013)
Her criticism of the hit TV series came as a plaque was unveiled outside the former prime minister’s home to mark not just his life, but his devotion to environmental issues. Ms d’Alpuget unveiled the plaque alongside Hawke’s daughter Sue Pieters-Hawke (centre) and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (right).
Ms d’Alpuget described her late husband as ‘one of the great Australians of the 20th century’
‘It’s special, Bob always loved his birthday, he had a lot of kid in him and he loved his parties – we always had a birthday party – and so I’m glad we’re still having them,’ she said
In early 2020, less than 12 months after Hawke’s death, Ms d’Alpuget revealed she was battling breast cancer.
She is now on the road to recovery and joked that it had at least kept her busy during Covid-19 lockdown.
‘With breast cancer you’ve just got a million medical appointments, and so I’ve been kept extraordinarily busy,’ Ms d’Alpuget said.
‘Its a difficult time for everybody but I must say, if you are going to have breast or any kind of cancer that is going to cut down on your social life, this is the year to have it.’
I know Bob liked me, even though he never voted for me…
Gladys Berejiklian on Bob Hawke
Ms Berejiklian, the local member for the area where Hawke and d’Alpuget lived in the last 25 years, said she had fond memories of seeing the late prime minister enjoying his retirement in the area.
She told those gathered how the former Labor leader had been a great friend, even though he had never voted for her as a Liberal Party politician.
‘What we do is not only remember the outstanding contribution Bob Hawke made to our nation, [but also] to those most vulnerable, to those who wanted a fair go,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘We have the great fortune to know Bob and Blanche as local residents, and Blanche is wearing white today, but I often remember both Bob and Blanche dressed head-to-toe in white walking around the local area.
‘I know Bob liked me, even though he never voted for me.’
Ms Berejiklian told those gathered how the former Labor leader had been a great friend, even though he had never voted for her as a Liberal Party politician
Ms Berejiklian and Ms d’Apluget view the plaque that now sits opposite Hawke’s old home
Ms d’Alpuget has enjoyed a close relationship with Hawke’s daughter Sue, despite having little to do with his other children
ABC gardening expert Costa Giorgiadis talks with Sue Pieters-Hawke and another attendee at the unveiling
The plaque unveiled next to a staircase directly across the road from Hawke and Ms d’Alpuget praised him for his environmental work
The plaque unveiled next to a staircase directly across the road from Hawke and Ms d’Alpuget praised him for his environmental work.
‘Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, lived for 25 years at 3 Minimbah Road, until his death there in 2019,’ the plaque read.
‘Besides economic and social reforms, he founded Landcare, had Kakadu National Park and the Daintree Rainforest listed as world heritage sites, prevented damming of Tasmana’s Franklin River, and protected Antarctica from mining.
‘The Clibe Park Bushcare Group planted this grove of Australian Christmas Bush in his honour as an environmental pioneer.’