There was controversy as the result of the fact that James Laurenson, a white man, was hired to play Inspector Bonaparte. However, the producers had mounted a search for a mixed-race Aborigine and had not been able to find one despite many weeks of searching.
The original spelling in the books was "Bony". Following the success of the television show the spelling on the covers of subsequent printings of the books was changed to "Boney" although the spelling in the text of each book was maintained as "Bony." A note found in the opening cover pages of each book read: "*Boney is the spelling preferred by Norfolk International Production in their television dramatisation of this series; Bony which is used throughout the text of this book, is the spelling preferred by Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte's creator, Arthur Upfield."
Michael Powell was introduced to the " Boney " stories while filming " They're a Weird Mob" in 1965, and was very keen to film them. Himself and Paramount nearly went ahead with a movie in the early 70's.