New treats on ABC in 08

The ABC has unveiled 8 new shows for 2008, including 4 Australian productions.

There are three local dramas, all of which have been previously announced: East of Everything a six part series starring Richard Roxburgh, Susie Porter, Tom Long and Gia Carides, the telemovie Valentine’s Day featuring Rhys Muldoon, and 26 new episodes of Blue Water High.

Queensland’s Dr Niki Ellis fronts the 4 part factual series Stressbusters.

From the UK there is James Nesbitt in Jekyll, a modern take on the classic horror tale. Billie Piper appears in Jane Austen FourPlay featuring 4 Austen dramas, Robert Carlyle in the thriller The Last Enemy and Family Brat Camp.

Press Release:

ABC TV has announced a selection of new programming which will premiere on the network in 2008.

EAST OF EVERYTHING
Six-part series.
Having spent most of his professional life wandering the globe in search of paradise, travel writer and prodigal son, Art Watkins (Richard Roxburgh), rushes home, but is too late to be by his dying mother’s bedside. Hoping to pay his last respects and then escape the run-down tropical resort – the scene of his misspent youth – a twist in the tale traps him at the Far Out East. There he has to face his bitter brother, his childhood sweetheart, and a teenage son he hardly knows. Thanks to his mother’s posthumous attempt to reunite her scattered family, Art discovers that his best chance of happiness is the ‘paradise lost’ he left behind. From award-winning writers Deb Cox (SeaChange) and Roger Monk (Walking on Water), comes this year’s most rewarding new drama series featuring a stunning Australian cast including Susie Porter, Tom Long and Gia Carides. A co-production between ABC TV, Twenty20 Pty. Ltd. in association with the FFC and NSW Film and Television Office.

VALENTINE’S DAY
90-minute telemovie
A charming comedy of redemption, Valentine’s Day is the story of Ben Valentine (Rhys Muldoon), who’s totally lost his way in the world. He finds himself in a strange country town where suddenly and unexpectedly he’s forced to engage with its inhabitants, having been sentenced to 200 hours of community service coaching the town’s “no-hoper” football team. Embraced heart and soul by the townsfolk, this one-time drifter learns how to live and love again. An ABC TV / December Films co-production, starring Rhys Muldoon, Freya Stafford, Anita Hegh and Michael Tuahine. Directed by Peter Duncan and written by acclaimed novelist Peter Temple. Producer Tony Wright, Executive Producer ABC TV Head of Drama, Miranda Dear.

BLUE WATER HIGH
26-part series
Beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, long sunny days… the award-winning, teen drama Blue Water High is back. The new series follows six lucky 16-year-olds, selected for an intensive, 12 month residential surfing and schooling program at Solar Blue Surf Academy. The aspiring pupils are all competing for a wild card spot on the world pro-surfing circuit. But things aren’t quite the same at Solar Blue. The Academy has been taken over by new management, and they’ve instigated major changes. The waves still roll in as big as ever though, and for a teenager, life at Blue Water beach is about as good as it gets. A Southern Star Entertainment production in association with ABC TV, Nickelodeon Australia and produced with the assistance of the New South Wales Film and Television Office and the Film Finance Corporation Australia.

JEKYLL
Three-part series
Dark, dangerous, spine-tingling and sexy. This classic horror tale has been given a modern make-over that will leave you on the edge of your seat and begging for more. James Nesbitt (Cold Feet, Murphy’s Law) is outstanding as the new Dr Jekyll with a very old problem….Mr Hyde. They may share a body, but Jekyll is determined to keep his dark side in line, using all the resources of modern technology and surveillance hardware to somehow live an impossible life. But what neither Jekyll nor Hyde knows is that an ancient organisation, with limitless wealth and power, is monitoring their every move…and a plan over a century in the making is coming to fruition. The return of Dr Jekyll is no accident. Jekyll is written by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) and produced by Hartswood Films Production in association with Stagescreen Productions.

JANE AUSTEN FOURPLAY
Four-part special
It’s a bodice-ripping frenzy of costume drama delight, as four of Jane Austen’s great works come to the screen. Love, misfortune, comedy and costumes combine to create four great dramas in which the path to true love never runs smooth.

The Emmy-Award winning Emma features Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator, Pearl Harbour) as the beautiful, rich, clever and infuriating heroine who likes nothing better than arranging the love lives of other people, with comic and disastrous results.

Billie Piper (Doctor Who) stars as Fanny Price in a lavish adaptation of Mansfield Park. Taken from her life of poverty to the sumptuous home of her aunt and uncle, Fanny is brought up alongside her four cousins. As she struggles to adapt to her new lifestyle, she attracts the attention of a number of suitors.

In Northanger Abbey, young, naïve Catherine, (Felicity Jones – The Worst Witch) has received a much desired invitation to stay at Northanger Abbey. But as her overzealous imagination and passion for gothic romance sets to work, Catherine’s behaviour begins to jeopardise her already fragile social position.

Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins – Vera Drake), forced to call off her engagement to the poor but ambitious naval officer Wentworth, (Rupert Penny Jones – Spooks, Casanova) due to her family’s disapproval. Eight years later, the now wealthy Wentworth returns from sea, and she can only watch as every eligible young lady falls at his feet. Has he forgotten the girl he left behind?

THE LAST ENEMY
Five-part series
In this dramatic thriller, an innocent man finds himself at the centre of a mystery with far reaching consequences. Stephen Ezard (Benedict Cumberbatch – Atonement), returns to England to attend the funeral of his brother Michael – a charismatic aid worker killed in Afghanistan. He finds a world that has changed subtly but significantly from the one he left behind several years earlier, with tighter national security and biometric compulsory ID cards. As Stephen tries to discover the truth behind his brother’s death, he becomes caught up with Michael’s wife and a world of illegal refugees, a deadly virus, and various intelligence agencies. Also stars Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting), Anamaria Marnica (Sex Traffic) and Max Beesley (Hustle). A Box TV production for BBC.

FAMILY BRAT CAMP
Four-part series
Welcome to hell, family style… Four horrible, screaming, abusive, rebellious children have gone to war with their parents. Life at home has turned into a battlefield from which there is no escape. But for four British families, there is a chance of redemption. They will head off to the wilderness for three weeks to try and rebuild their shattered relationship with their wayward child. It’s a bit like watching a car crash in slow motion as, faced with physical and mental challenges that test them to their limits, these families struggle to come together in the middle of the Idaho desert. Will any of them survive being in such close company with each other, let alone three weeks in the bush? A Channel 4 production.

STRESSBUSTERS
Four-part series
Dr Niki Ellis is a world expert on wellbeing at work. The Queensland-based doctor is a leading trouble-shooter in helping companies with stress-related problems. Dr Ellis enters four workplaces, each with a specific issue, and uses her experience in medicine and organisational health to work out what’s gone wrong, why it’s happened and how the staff can fix it. An Artemis International production.

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6 Comments:

  1. Jekyll is indeed excellent – takes a while to build up steam but it’s well worth it.

    The ABC showing it as three double episodes (it was a six-parter in the UK) is probably a good idea for that reason – though one thing is a shame. Viewers here won’t get to see the special opening titles on the final episode 😉

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