September 6, 2006
After four decades of mystery and speculation, one of Australia’s most sensational murders is solved in dramatic style.
It is New Year’s Eve, 1963. A handsome physicist leaves a colleague’s party with his lover in the early hours of the morning, and never returns. The next day, their partially-undressed bodies are found near Lane Cove River in north Sydney.
The deaths of Dr Gilbert Bogle (Rhys Muldoon) and Mrs Margaret Chandler (Octavia Barron-Martin) aroused the nation’s interest and started a frenzy of media speculation that lasted for 40 years. And as forensic scientists were unable to find out what killed the two at the time, every new piece of information that was uncovered only added to the mystery.
The personal scandals of Bogle and Chandler also sparked outrage in conservative Australia. Both Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler were married – Dr Bogle was described as a womaniser, while Mrs Chandler’s husband Geoffrey (Nicholas Hope) appeared to be a swinger who consented to his wife’s affair with the physicist. Even Dr Bogle’s work at the CSIRO was under scrutiny, as he was allegedly involved in sensitive Cold War research, and rumours were rife that he had been assassinated.
But it’s the promise of new scientific evidence – unveiled to the public for the first time ever – that makes this documentary significant. And unlike some investigative documentaries that exaggerate their revelations about a murder, this program is a cracker that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Skilful dramatisations build up the tension brilliantly, and by the time the explosive clues are revealed, you will find yourself as keenly interested in the outcome of the case as the public was more than 40 years ago.
In fact, the whole program feels like a classic whodunit detective story from the middle of the 20th century, except in this case, the victims were real.
Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler? airs on ABC TV: Thursday, 7 September, 8.30pm.