Mike Munro returns to TV to hosts the documentary series Lawless: The Real Bushrangers.
Mike Munro returns to TV to hosts the documentary series Lawless: The Real Bushrangers. Tarsha Hosking

Mike Munro's about to drop a Ned Kelly bombshell

MIKE Munro is a patient man.  

The renowned journalist and TV presenter, who has fronted 60 Minutes, A Current Affair, Nine News and Sunday Night over his 47-year career, is finally able to tell a story he's been working on for 25 years.  

The 64-year-old has been off our screens for more than two years since leaving Channel 10 in protest at newsroom staff cuts.    

He's finally back as the host of the new documentary series Lawless: The Real Bushrangers for The History Channel.  

"This is among some of the best stuff I've ever been involved in in 40 years of journalism," he tells The Guide.  

In the four-part local production, Munro takes a fresh look at the cases of notorious bushrangers Ned Kelly, Captain Moonlite, Ben Hall and brothers Patrick and James Kenniff, using the latest technology and forensic pathology procedures.   

Mike Munro, second from right, hosts the TV series Lawless: The Real Bushrangers. pictured with Adam Ford, Dr Kiera Lindsey and Professor Roger Byard.
Mike Munro, second from right, hosts the TV series Lawless: The Real Bushrangers. pictured with Adam Ford, Dr Kiera Lindsey and Professor Roger Byard. Alex Parry

The Kenniff story is a personal one for Munro; in his early 30s he discovered his family's real name was Kenniff, making the infamous Kenniffs his great uncles.   

"It was a shameful secret for 80 years in my family," he says.

"My grandfather illegally changed his name overnight to Munro; why he chose a Scottish name I'll never know.  

"For 25 years basically I have always wanted to do the Kenniff story. I've never wanted to try to defend them at all - definitely one or two of the Kenniffs were guilty - but I wanted to tell their story."  

After pitching his idea to all three of the commercial TV networks, Munro found a partner in Foxtel and Emmy Award-winning Genepool Productions.  

"I'd become disillusioned with the way budgets are going in TV newsrooms and the pressure of getting it out yesterday," he says.  

"The documentary world is a whole new world for me. It's very exciting, like being a newspaper cadet all over again.

Mike Munro in a scene from the TV series Lawless: The Real Bushrangers.
Mike Munro in a scene from the TV series Lawless: The Real Bushrangers. Supplied

"I'm still doing what I love - interviewing, researching, writing and producing quality, informative stories - but now with these historical programs. These bushranger docos are not only going to be part of history, but in three out of four we're going to be presenting artefacts to museums."   

In the premiere episode, explosive new evidence is uncovered about Australia's most iconic folk hero, Ned Kelly.  

"He's certainly not going to come out being the iconic hero we've all read about from historians who I think have painted a fairly glossy picture of Ned Kelly," Munro says.  

"This episode is certainly going to upset a lot of the Ned Kelly lovers.  

"As long as it's accurate, fair and ethical I'm all for it. I've spent my career upsetting people."  

Lawless: The Real Bushrangers premieres on The History Channel on Tuesday at at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW.



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