From Puberty Blues to Howzat and Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo – Australian audiences sure love their nostalgia with shows set in previous decades regularly performing well for the networks. Undergound: The Julian Assange Story definitely delivers on this point. Set in the late 80′s and early 90′s, this telemovie tells the story of Julian Assange and features retro props like computers from the time, “Telecom” telephone booths, rotary dial phones, cassette players and mobile phones the size of a house brick.
Those into computers at the time will love the old tech featured. The Commodore 64 home computer. Original 1980′s Macintosh computers. 9600 baud* modem. The dial-up modem noise. Monochrome computer monitors. Dot Matrix Printers. Bulletin boards and more.
The story starts with a young Julian Assange hearing about an overseas crime in which a “computer connected to the phone line” was used to access a banks’ computer to steal money. Immediately interested, Assange sets about to find a way to replicate the crime using his own Commodore 64 computer, a modem and a phone line.
He succeeds in connecting to a bank himself immediately raising the attention of the Australian Federal Police – who then set up a computer crime task force to look into the crime. At the same time he meets Electra who becomes his partner. Julian soon talks of his grand plan – hacking the US Military computer system.
After helping in his mothers’ protest about the fact that plutonium was to be used as a fuel source on the up and coming Galileo Jupiter probe, Assange manages to hack into NASA, delaying the launch of the probe for days. Meanwhile, the police are trying everything they can including tracing calls – which back in 1989 took a while – to find out the identity of the hacker or hackers.
Always one step ahead of the police, and even hacking into their own system, Julian accesses high level information from the US Military’s computer system and from which he deduces “something big is about to happen”. Months later, the first Gulf War erupts. His obsession with hacking, however, affects his personal relationships yet he has the full support of his mother.
Starring Alex Williams, Anthony LaPagia and Rachel Griffiths, Underground: The Julian Assange Story is must see TV which tells the story of Julian Assange’s early years long before forming Wiki-Leaks in 2006.
Underground: The Julian Assange Story will air on Ten, Sunday October 7, 8.30pm and is set to be that network’s most watched show of the year.
DO – NOT – MISS!
* To put that into perspective, most people now have internet connections at least 5,000 times faster.