Filming has begun on the country's most expensive television series, appropriately titled Filthy Rich, set to screen on TV2 next year.

The multi-night drama will star Miriama Smith opposite a cast of up-and-comers, including Josh McKenzie, Alex Tarrant, Taylor Hall and Emma Fenton.

They'll be joined by familiar faces, including Elizabeth Hawthorne and Jodie Rimmer.

The series, produced by Shortland Street's Steven Zanoski, received $8.25 million of funding from New Zealand on Air, the most money ever handed out to a single drama series.

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But that money will go further than most productions, with TVNZ commissioning 20 episodes of the drama, to run twice-weekly over 10 weeks.

The average drama series in New Zealand only runs for 13 episodes, making Filthy Money cheaper per episode than several other productions.

Created by the same team behind Go Girls and Nothing Trivial, the series is described as "a sexy drama centred on three illegitimate children who discover they each have a claim to the fortune of one of New Zealand's wealthiest men".

TVNZ's head of content Jeff Latch promises the show will be "an addictive, top quality, bold new series" - and with that much taxpayer funding behind it, we can only hope he's right.

- TimeOut