Two English children are uprooted from their beloved Liverpool dockside to the alien environment of Australia in the years following World War Two.
The Leaving of Liverpool is a 1992 television mini-series, an Australian–British co-production between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The series was about the Home Children, the migration scheme which saw over 100,000 British children sent to Commonwealth realms such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. The series follows two children—Lily (played by Christine Tremarco) and Bert (Kevin Jones)—who meet at the Star of the Sea Orphanage in Liverpool, England in the 1950s. They are transported to Australia, where they are placed in a labour camp, and later forced to work at a sheep station.
The screenplay was written by writing partners John Alsop and Sue Smith who were working together on the miniseries Brides of Christ. Alsop read a review of a book about the child migration scheme, Lost Children of the Empire. Although the scheme had continued until 1967 and had affected thousands of children, little was known about it. Alsop approached Penny Chapman, head of drama at the ABC, with the idea for the story and she approved the funding. Michael Wearing, head of drama at the BBC, also agreed to fund and produce the miniseries.
The Leaving of Liverpool first went to air over two nights, 8 and 9 July 1992, in Australia on ABC TV.
The series was not shown in the UK until over a year later, when it was shown on BBC1 on 15 and 16 July 1993. The Child Migrants Trust, a charity representing child migrants, criticised the BBC for refusing to display a helpline number for the Trust, as the ABC had. The BBC responded that the series was a drama, not a documentary, and the corporation did not publicise helplines after drama programmes.
In the Logie Awards of 1993, The Leaving of Liverpool was nominated for Most Popular Telemovie or Mini Series, and won the award for Most Outstanding Telemovie or Mini Series.