If you've been on an interstellar mission the past couple of weeks you may have missed the news that Seven's two-part biopic of Ian Meldrum goes to air from Sunday night. If you've been earthbound, however, you've probably caught something Molly-related.
Maybe you heard that the real Meldrum had a fall in Thailand, that his health was worse than initially thought, that he had vetoed a scene in Molly that showed him kissing a man, that he approved of the show or, alternatively, that he didn't.
The one thing missing from all this coverage was the show itself. Seven has kept Molly under wraps, which is often not a good sign. On Saturday, though, the network finally made the first episode available for preview – and what it reveals is strangely enlightening.
Here, then, is what we have learnt about Molly from Molly. But please note that we make no claims whatsoever for the veracity of any of it.
He was a lousy driver
The show opens with Molly (Samuel Johnson) hooning around the streets of Melbourne in a yellow early-1970s Celica. He's speeding, fumbling around in the dash as he tries to find an eight-track cartridge (look it up, kids) of Stevie Wright's Evie. Singing along to the song, he rounds a corner on the wrong side of the road and almost kills a pedestrian, before pulling up outside a pub. He gets out – wearing Stubbies, thongs and a floral shirt – enters the bar and asks for his usual. It's a bottle of something brown, probably bourbon. A little later, we see the car again. This time it's wrapped around a telegraph pole outside his house. "Oh yeah, I never liked that car," he says blithely.
He 'likes it both ways'
It's the early 1970s, and that means two things: waterbeds and lots of sex. Molly – who produced Supernaut's 1976 hit I Like It Both Ways – shares his house with a transgender person called Caroline (Ben Gerrard), but he shares his wobbly bed with an attractive young woman he introduces as "my beautiful fiancée Camille" (Rebecca Breeds). Later, he's seen showing out the "best boy" the morning after; later still, he hooks up with a young blonde named Jason (no surnames, sorry). But then, it seems everyone was at it like randy rabbits: we see a couple of the Countdown team sneak back into the office after hours to have sex. "Rock'n'roll, gentleman," Molly tells his shocked producers as the lovebirds finally emerge from beneath a desk the next morning. "That's rock'n'roll."
He'd been drinking before falling off that ladder
We're barely two minutes in before we see Molly pottering around his backyard in Richmond just before Christmas 2011. He has a drink in hand. He's shuffling. The drink is clear, with ice. It could be water, but it could be something stronger; you'll need to ask Seven's lawyers about that. Either way, it doesn't appear to help his decision-making. He positions a ladder poorly while trying to plug in his Christmas lights, the ladder slips, he falls and hits his head on the brickwork below. Cue four weeks in an induced coma, and cue the show's "my life flashed before my eyes" structure.
Countdown was almost called Pop Machine
Until Molly vetoed it with a forceful (if rather vain) "over my perfect dead body", that is. Among the other names tossed around by Molly and his producers are The Rock Show, Galactic Rock, Rock World, Low Down, Get Down and Go Down. That last prompts young designer Graham (Rory Kelly) to say "I like that one". A rather loaded look passes between him and Molly. Whatever can it mean?
He composed the music for The Real Thing when he was a kid
There's a scene in which the young Meldrum – maybe nine or 10 years old – is tinkering at the piano. His mother tells him she likes what he's been playing, then says "keep practising". Instead, he starts to play the ascending piano line that underpins the hit song he produced for Russell Morris in 1969. That's about 16 years after this scene is set, which suggests Australia's most famous psychedelic rock song is an acid flashback after all.
We knew it all along.
Molly is on Seven on Sunday at 8.30pm.