Whiplash (TV series)


Series title Whiplash superimposed over a stagecoach in the Australian bush
Created byMichael Noonan
Michael Plant
Written byGene Roddenberry
Harry Julian Fink
StarringPeter Graves
Anthony Wickert
Theme music composerEdwin Astley
Opening theme"Whiplash" sung by Frank Ifield
ComposersEdwin Astley
Albert Elms
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes34 (list of episodes)
Executive producersRalph Smart Resigned
Leslie Harris
ProducersMaurice Geraghty
Ben Fox
Production locationAustralia: Artransa Park Studios
Running time25 min.
Production companiesSeven Network
Incorporated Television Company
DistributorIndependent Television Corporation
Original networkSeven Network (Australia)
Picture format35 mm film 4:3 B/W
Audio formatMono
Original release10 September 1960 (1960-09-10) –
10 June 1961 (1961-06-10)

Whiplash was a British/Australian television series in the Australian Western genre produced by the Seven Network, ATV, and ITC Entertainment, starring Peter Graves. Filmed in 1959-60, the series was first broadcast in September 1960 in the United Kingdom and in Australia in February 1961.[1]


Set during the Australian gold rushes of the 1850s, the series was inspired by the life of Freeman Cobb, founder of the iconic Australian stagecoach line, Cobb and Co. However the characters and events in the series bore no resemblance to the real Freeman Cobb or his company. Freeman Cobb did not carry a pistol or use a stockwhip to settle disputes.

The series was created by Michael Noonan and Michael Plant, and produced by Maurice Geraghty and Ben Fox at the Artransas Studios (owned by ATV), Sydney Australia. Post-production was completed in the United Kingdom.

Cast and characters

  • Peter Graves as Christopher Cobb
  • Anthony Wickert as Dan Ledward

Leading player Peter Graves was best known at the time for the TV Western Fury.[2]

Australian actors who guest starred included Leonard Teale, Terry McDermott, Chips Rafferty, Peter Aanesen and Indigenous actors Robert Tudawali and Henry Murdoch.[3][4]

Other actors with memorable appearances and not included in episode list (below) included comedian George Wallace Jnr and Chuck Faulkner.[5]

In his autobiography, Associate Producer and Director of many episodes John Meredyth Lucas commented on the difficulty faced in casting the series. He wrote that actors with radio experience were generally used, because of concerns with the broad Australian accents of some performers.[6] On his return to the US in October 1960, Graves also commented on the difficulty in finding actors. "Those we got were very good, but there just wasn't enough of them," he said.[7]

Episode list

Airdate[8] is for ATV London. ITV[9] regions varied date and order.

Production number here refers to the order in the Network DVD booklet.

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
1"Episode in Bathurst"Peter MaxwellGene Roddenberry10 September 1960 (1960-09-10)102
Three brothers set up roadblocks in the town of Bathurst demanding payment from passing traffic. With a big contract at stake Cobb must act quickly.
2"Convict Town"Peter MaxwellDwight Newton17 September 1960 (1960-09-17)101
Big Tom Ledward rules his settlement with a rod of iron much to his son, Dan Ledward, distaste and is determined to stop Cobb opening a new stage route.
3"Rider on the Hill"John Meredyth LucasHarry Julian Fink24 September 1960 (1960-09-24)104
A Cobb & Co. coach is wrecked by two bushrangers. A passenger is killed in the crash, and Cobb kills the bushrangers in self-defence. He later receives an Aboriginal death-stick, marking him to die at the next full moon. Defying the warning, Cobb takes a coach into Aboriginal territory, knowing that one of his passengers is his would-be killer.
4"Barbed Wire"Peter MaxwellHarry Julian Fink30 September 1960 (1960-09-30)108
A vicious landowner has a young farmer flogged for attempting to fence in his land with barbed wire. Cobb and Ledward find the injured man, and Cobb goes after the landowner. Stars Robert Tudawali
5"Sarong"John Meredyth LucasGene Roddenberry8 October 1960 (1960-10-08)103
Cobb heads north towards Brisbane to investigate the disappearance of several female indentured servants who have vanished while travelling on Cobb & Co. coaches. He finds that the women were kidnapped and taken to a secluded inlet, where they are forced to dive for pearls.
6"Dutchman's Reef"Peter MaxwellGene Roddenberry15 October 1960 (1960-10-15)106
A wealthy matriarch asks Cobb to search for her missing son rumoured to be living with an Aboriginal tribe, and stumbles across a legendary rich gold deposit, known as ‘Dutchman’s Reef’. Stars Leonard Teale
7"The Other Side of Swan"Peter MaxwellMichael Plant22 October 1960 (1960-10-22)107
While in Melbourne to open a branch office, Cobb is asked to do a personal favour for Sir John Eddington, the Governor of New South Wales - to locate his brother, who fled England after being charged with murder.
8"The Actress"Peter MaxwellGene Roddenberry29 October 1960 (1960-10-29)111
Miners will no longer send their gold with Cobb & Co. - unless Cobb can prevent bushranger Mike Upton's raids on the coaches. During the trip, Upton waylays Cobb's coach and kidnaps a female passenger. Cobb trails Upton to his lair and rescues the girl. When their trail crosses that of the irate miners, who are intent on lynching Upton, the aspiring actress must give the performance of her career to save his life. Stars Jennifer Jayne
9"Love Story in Gold"John Meredyth LucasJames Clavell5 November 1960 (1960-11-05)105
Cobb is paid handsomely to undertakes the transport of brandy, a trousseau and two coffins, into the heart of New South Wales. At the agreed meeting place, Cobb is overpowered and taken to meet the female leader of a group of escaped convicts. She tells Cobb that he is to marry her daughter and he will be given more gold than he can imagine. If he refuses, he will fill one of the coffins. Stars Neva Carr Glyn
10"The Bone that Whispered"John Meredyth LucasMichael Plant3 December 1960 (1960-12-03)109
Dan has vanished and when a small girl is left motherless, Cobb sets out to track down her father, a man charged with murder who has fled the law swearing his innocence and now lives with an Aboriginal tribe. Stars Nigel Lovell, Robert Tudawali
11"The Secret of Screaming Hills"Peter MaxwellMichael Plant10 December 1960 (1960-12-10)110
Cobb finds a dying man in the bush, and undertakes to deliver a map to the man's wife. With the help of an Aboriginal, Cobb solves the mystery of the 'frog fella' and a missing treasure.
12"Act of Courage"Ben FoxGerry Day17 December 1960 (1960-12-17)115
On his way to testify at the trial of a bushranger charged with killing one of his stagecoach drivers, Cobb arrives at drought-stricken Cross Creek Way Station with two passengers, a married couple. He is met by a gang who plan to keep him prisoner until after the bushranger's trial. Stars Terry McDermott, Guy Doleman, Margo Lee
13"The Twisted Road"Peter MaxwellMichael Plant7 January 1961 (1961-01-07)118
Returning to Brisbane from an outback run, Cobb's coach is commandeered to transport a prisoner, Ted Cammidge, who is to stand trial for murder, and is accompanied by his employer, Dr. Table, who plans to vouch for his innocence at the trial. Stars Rachael Lloyd, Ben Gabriel, Tom Farley.
14"Divide and Conquer"Peter MaxwellDavid Evans14 January 1961 (1961-01-14)120
A murderous gang abduct Cobb and a Government minister looking for a mountain pass to open up the fertile land beyond. Stars Colin Croft, Owen Weingott
15"The Remittance Man"John Meredyth LucasWells Root and Ron Bishop21 January 1961 (1961-01-21)121
Jimmy Quicksilver, a 'gentleman' bushranger who has been robbing coaches, asks Cobb to conceal knowledge of his activities from two members of his aristocratic family, who have come to Australia to take Quicksilver's son to England to be educated. Stars Stuart Wagstaff
16"Day of the Hunter"Peter MaxwellMichael Plant28 January 1961 (1961-01-28)117
A squatter's farm where Cobb wants to build a way station is burned down by a land-hungry neighbour who trades on people's fears by terrorising their families. Cobb undertakes a hazardous crossing of an Aboriginal burial ground to assist. Stars Chips Rafferty
17"The Solid Gold Brigade"Maury GeraghtyMichael Plant4 February 1961 (1961-02-04)119
Cobb is transporting miner's gold from Fury Creek to Sydney, but en route a bushranger shoots him and leaves him for dead. The bushranger takes Cobb's coach and clothes to impersonate him and get away with the gold. Stars John Gray
18"Stage for Two"Peter MaxwellTerry Maples11 February 1961 (1961-02-11)112
Cobb becomes the reluctant ally of an escaping bank robber who is sought not only by the police, but also by the outlaw gang he has cheated. Stars Leonard Teale
19"Canoomba Incident"Peter MaxwellRichard Grey and Ralph Peterson18 February 1961 (1961-02-18)122
Upon arrival in Canoomba, Cobb and Dan Ledward find the men are away digging gold and the women are running the town. Dan Ledward finds romance in the town before being assigned the perilous task of carrying a fortune in gold from the diggings to Canoomba. Stars Janette Craig, Brenda Senders
20"The Rushing Sands"Peter MaxwellMichael Plant25 February 1961 (1961-02-25)123
In his Duranga office, Cobb finds Peter Hibberd, a one time star driver for the Cobb & Co stage line and now a mere husk of a man expecting death. Hibberd dedicates his last days to tracking down a bushranger who is believed to have murdered his son. Stars Gordon Glenwright
21"The Adelaide Arabs"Peter MaxwellRalph Peterson4 March 1961 (1961-03-04)127
Cobb is in competition to buy three magnificent Arabian horses, and the contest soon becomes a fight to the death after he is robbed by three masked men who intend to buy the horses. Stars Chips Rafferty, Stuart Wagstaff
22"The Hunters"John Meredyth LucasMorris L West11 March 1961 (1961-03-11)113
A white cattleman, Dillon, inadvertently interrupts the ritual killing of a bull by a tribe of Aboriginals, and must himself be killed to complete the cycle of events. Seriously wounded Dillon manages to escape. When Dillon's riderless horse returns to the homestead Cobb sets out on a desperate race against time. Stars Robert Tudawali
23"The Legacy"John Meredyth LucasBill Templeton18 March 1961 (1961-03-18)124
Anxious to obtain good grazing land for his horses, Cobb approaches the heir to a dilapidated estate to enquire about a grazing lease on the property. Cobb's request falls on unresponsive ears and a chain of events behind an Aboriginal boys stolen legacy.
24"Fire Rock"John Meredyth LucasMichael Plant25 March 1961 (1961-03-25)126
A trusted Cobb & Co agent disappears in the ‘Taroomba’ (burning land),a sacred Aboriginal burial ground which is rich in opal. His alluring wife, persuades Cobb to lead a search party. Stars Robert Tudawali, Delia Williams
25"Stage Freight"Peter MaxwellRalph Peterson8 April 1961 (1961-04-08)125
Cobb has a full load of passengers on the return journey from Mowamba, and it seems certain that among them are a man and a woman who have committed a brutal murder.
26"The Wreckers"John Meredyth LucasDaphne Field15 April 1961 (1961-04-15)114
A group of bushrangers capture a Cobb & Co. coach, and use it in a series of raids and robberies implicating Cobb. To protect his company's reputation, Cobb tracks down the bushrangers. Stars Guy Doleman, Robert Tudawali
27"Portrait in Gunpowder"John Meredyth LucasMichael Plant22 April 1961 (1961-04-22)134
Cobb accepts a commission to transport a renowned artist newly arrived from France to an undisclosed destination. He again crosses the path of Jimmy Quicksilver, a 'gentleman bushranger' whose dishonesty is equalled only by his good manners and sense of humour. Stars Stuart Wagstaff
28"Ribbons and Wheels"Peter MaxwellRalph Peterson29 April 1961 (1961-04-29)131
The sleepy calm of outback Ginini is shattered when Cobb accepts a challenge to race a Western Co. stagecoach over the usual route to Brindabella to win the exclusive franchise for the route.
29"Flood Tide"Ben FoxMichael Plant6 May 1961 (1961-05-06)129
Their route cut off by a flood Cobb and his sole passenger, Sarah Bartley, spend the night in a deserted house. During the night a violent storm strikes, and all is not as it seems when a mysterious stranger arrives to seek shelter.
30"Storm River"John Meredyth LucasMichael Plant13 May 1961 (1961-05-13)130
During a violent storm with a lame horse, Cobb is felled by an unseen foe. He recovers consciousness in an outback cabin, minus his money-belt. The cabin's other occupant is a girl who wants to travel to Sydney. She asks Cobb to take her with him, but when they set off they meet with deadly opposition. Stars Annette Andre
31"Dilemma in Wool"Peter MaxwellRalph Peterson20 May 1961 (1961-05-20)133
Cobb becomes involved in the strange story of a beautiful Spanish woman, and a disapproving family. The beginning of Australia's wool growing industry. Stars Lionel Long, Nigel Lovell
32"Magic Wire"Peter MaxwellRalph Peterson27 May 1961 (1961-05-27)132
Aboriginal attacks imperil the laying of an overhead telegraph line. Cobb, contracted to freight supplies from the coast to a telegraph construction camp, discovers that the attacks are being instigated by a white man. Stars Terry McDermott, Robert Tudawali
33"The Haunted Valley"John Meredyth LucasGerry Day3 June 1961 (1961-06-03)116
Cattlemen at Wallaby Junction lose stock in mysterious thefts which convince Cobb that there must be a secret pass through the surrounding mountains. He sets out to find the trail and catch the thief.
34"Dark Runs the Sea"John Meredyth LucasOscar Maillard and Michael Plant10 June 1961 (1961-06-10)128
Attractive, adventurous, niece of the local magistrate, is kidnapped in the outback. Cobb is mystified when he discovers that she is apparently a willing victim, and her uncle is reluctant to press on with the search for her. Stars Annette Andre, Guy Doleman, Reg Lye

Background and production


Michael Noonan had created and written a British TV series shot in Australia called The Flying Doctor. Whiplash was a similar international production. The show was mostly financed by Lew Grade's ITC productions, but was aimed at the international market, leading to many Americans being in key creative roles. Post production was done in the UK.

Co-producing partners included Australia's Artransa Park Studios and Britain's ATV.


Filming started in October 1959 at Artransa Park Studios in French's Forest, Sydney, with location work at Scone, New South Wales and other locations.[10][11][6]

Graves told the Sydney Morning Herald that

Nearly all the American Westerns are shot within 30 miles of Hollywood and a lot of that scenery is becoming mighty familiar to TV viewers. Now this scenery here is refreshing — something entirely new to folks overseas. We're trying to keep right away from that word 'Western' by labelling the series a romantic adventure.[12]

In his memoirs, Lucas commented on the difficulties faced because of the sometimes inexperienced Australian crew.[6] Production was also initially difficult because of the competing expectations of production partners from three different countries. The production team was restructured from episode six onwards, after which Ben Fox was appointed producer with Leslie Harris as executive producer.[13]

Filming recommenced on 4 March 1960. The budget of the series was a reported £650,000.[14]

In May 1960 it was reported the unit of 22 actors and crew had left Sydney for Alice Springs to film sequences over ten days including scenes at Ayers Rock, the Macdonnell Ranges and the Ormiston Gorge. By this stage ten episodes had been shot and the series sold to ATN Channel 7. Fox announced that both American and British television groups were "likely to be very interested in buying the series."[15][16]


Theme Music: Words and Music by Edwin Astley, Sung by Frank Ifield.

Incidental music

Edwin Astley, Albert Elms



In 1961, it became one of the original twelve programs aired by the new CTV network in Canada (and the only one produced in Australia).

Home media

Network released a Region 2 five-DVD set on 7 December 2009.[17]

On 18 September 2012, Timeless Media Group released Whiplash - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. The 4-disc set features all 34 episodes of the series.[18]


  1. ^ "Cobb Rides in Feb". The Age. 26 January 1961. p. 3.
  2. ^ "American TV star here for Australian Western". The Australian Women's Weekly. 27 ([?]). Australia. 14 October 1959. p. 68. Retrieved 30 March 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Australians in Whiplash". The Age. 2 February 1961. p. 14.
  4. ^ Vagg, Stephen (25 May 2020). "The A to Z of Non-White Aussie Movies and TV in White Australia". Filmink.
  5. ^ Albert Moran (1993). Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0642184623.
  6. ^ a b c John Meredyth Lucas (2004). Eighty Odd Years in Hollywood. McFarland and Company. ISBN 0786418389.
  7. ^ "SAYS AUSTRALIA NEEDS ACTORS". The Canberra Times. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 24 October 1960. p. 1. Retrieved 4 May 2020 – via Trove.
  8. ^ Dates from ITC Episode guide issued with the Network DVD
  9. ^ History of ITV
  10. ^ "Start on Australian TV Western". The Age. 8 October 1959. p. 13.
  11. ^ "Made in Australia TV Western Takes Shape". The Age. 26 November 1959. p. 13.
  12. ^ "There's a Lynch Mob in French's Forest". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 November 1959. p. 95.
  13. ^ "Whiplash". Bygone Series.
  14. ^ "T.V. Series to be Filmed at Alice Springs". The Beverley Times (1880). Western Australia. 20 May 1960. p. 5. Retrieved 30 March 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ "FILM UNIT CONTINUES WHIPLASH". Sydney Morning Herald. 16 May 1960. p. 4.
  16. ^ "AUSTRALIAN DRAMA WHIPLASH". The Canberra Times. 36 (10, 245). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 7 June 1962. p. 30. Retrieved 30 March 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ http://www.networkdvd.net/product_info.php?products_id=1015
  18. ^ "Whiplash - Finalized Date, Cost, Details and Box for 'The Complete Series' with Peter Graves". Archived from the original on 17 July 2012.


  • "The Australian Film and Television Companion" — compiled by Tony Harrison — Simon & Schuster Australia, 1994
  • Atkinson, Stephen (2007). "A Rumble in the Great Australian Silence: whiplash and the Telling of the Australian Frontier". In Liz, Liz; Dolin, Tim (eds.). Australian Television History. ACH: The Journal of the History of Culture in Australia. Australian Public Intellectual Network. pp. 37–57.</ref>

External links