David is in the centre of Australia with the gorgeous Erik Thomson as he talks about the new mini-series, The Alice.
Alice Springs is halfway between Adelaide and Darwin. Tourism is its lifeblood and its promise of desert dwellings and imposing landscapes lures almost half a million visitors each year.
The spring it was half named after still exists. It is that particular waterhole which decided the location of an overland telegraph station. The wife of the Postmaster General of South Australia, Alice, gave the town the other half of its name in 1933, when just 400 people lived there. Until a railway line was built, supplies were delivered by camel trains run by Afghani drivers.
The dramatic beauty of Central Australia is the perfect setting for a film containing adventure, action, magic and romance and that is where we found a gathering of Australian talent filming The Alice telemovie.
Starring Erik Thomson, Caitlin McDougall, Jessica Napier, Brett Stiller, Simon Burke, Andrew McFarlane and Mabel, a captivating six-year-old blue heeler, the story follows a group of travellers drawn to the Red Centre by planetary forces.
Part of the film is set in a place called the "Coolabah Pub", so one had to be built on the banks of the Todd River next to a sacred coolabah tree.
One of the key scenes in the film was shot in the spectacular Rainbow Valley, which was only discovered by Europeans in the early 1970s. It is a place of sandstone bluffs and cliffs forming part of the James Range. Early morning and late afternoon light highlights the rainbow-coloured rock bands. These were created when in wetter times the red iron of the sandstone layers dissolved and was drawn to the surface. Red minerals formed a dark surface layer within the leached white layers. The dark red capping is hard and weathers slowly, but the softer white sandstone weathers quickly into loose sand.
Weathering and erosion are responsible for the valley shape, where sandstone blocks have been eroded into rock faces and squared towers. In the film this is the scene of a total eclipse of the sun.
Check out The Alice tv series here