Deadline Gallipoli's Joel Jackson inspired by Anzac connection

WA actor Joel Jackson plays journalist Charles Bean in Deadline Gallipoli. Photo: Supplied
WA actor Joel Jackson plays journalist Charles Bean in Deadline Gallipoli. Photo: Supplied
Joel Jackson with his grandfather John Rowe at the Perth screening. Photo: Candice Barnes

Joel Jackson with his grandfather John Rowe at the Perth screening. Photo: Candice Barnes

Jackson's great-grandfather served in Gallipoli, where Charles Bean was stationed as a war correspondent. Photo: Supplied

Jackson's great-grandfather served in Gallipoli, where Charles Bean was stationed as a war correspondent. Photo: Supplied

The onslaught of Anzac-themed content in this centenary year is in full swing, with Foxtel set to debut its miniseries Deadline Gallipoli later this month.

West Australian actor and 2013 NIDA graduate Joel Jackson stars as war correspondent Charles Bean, the journalist stationed with the Australian Imperial Force troops at Gallipoli.

Among those troops was Jackson's great-grandfather Albert James Joseph Rowe, who served in the 28th Battalion.

"It was always going to be a special occasion being Anzac, it's a big thing for Australians and it is for me personally," Jackson said.

"My grandfather is so in tune with the story, we had relatives who fought there, and I knew we had to get it right and that I had to pour my heart and soul into it."

The actor's 86-year-old grandfather, "amateur war historian" John Rowe, was at the preview screening in Perth on Tuesday night.

"I've been picking his brains since I was about eight years old and he's been sending me stories since then too. We've shared research over the phone and when I was studying, I'd call him up and ask him to share thoughts on things," the actor said.

"Even when we were filming in Adelaide, if something happened that day, or if we were preparing for a battle scene, I'd ask him what factually had happened."

Military records show Albert Rowe was a 19-year-old farmhand living in Western Australia when he enlisted and was shipped out to join the Gallipoli front line in October 1915.

He served in France, spent time in hospital, and returned to Australia in 1919.

"He went to Gallipoli with his brother, they were together there," John Rowe said.

"When he got out of Gallipoli they were on the east bank of the Suez Canal for about three months because the Turks tried to break through and take the Suez.

"Then Dad went through the hell of the war in France and Belgium. If he hadn't have come home, I wouldn't be here.

Mr Rowe said his father would have been "rapt" with the production and with his great-grandson's performance.

"We used to take [Joel] to Anzac marches in Albany and show him books and here he is playing the part of Bean!" he said.

This Anzac Day, Mr Rowe will march alongside the sons and daughters of Gallipoli veterans in a special parade in Albany.

"I thought at the start that if I could get 10 people, I'd do it. I think I'll finish up with a minimum of 30 people from all around Perth and the country areas," he said.

Mr Rowe said the group had the local branch of the Returned and Services League "jumped at the chance" to assist, but acknowledges it had been "a lot of work".

"I've got a Catholic priest, I've got a Catholic nun coming down. There will be a husband and wife pair whose fathers served in Gallipoli," he said.

"To the best of my knowledge, it's never been done before anywhere in Australia."

Deadline Gallipoli will premiere on Foxtel's Showcase channel on April 19.

This story Deadline Gallipoli's Joel Jackson inspired by Anzac connection first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.