ABC 2009: a closer look

TV Tonight looks beyond the Chaser and John Safran to see what else is in store for 2009. There's lots more goodies.

Now that the fanfare about The Chaser, Andrew Denton, John Safran and new dramas are out of the way, it’s time to look a little closer at the ABC goodies for 2009. There are more documentaries, arts and natural history programmes that didn’t make the headlines yesterday.

Amongst some of the other treats are the comedy series Laurence Leung’s Choose Your Own Adventure and The Urban Monkey starring Sam Simmons “out to draw conclusions on the similarities between the animal and human world.”

There are documentaries on Skippy, Nigerian missionaries, surfing, kayaking, Charles Darwin and the Kokoda campaign.

Nature lovers will be treated to specials on penguins, cassowaries, whale rescue and rainforests.

The New Black features seven indigenous dramas with directors including Deborah Mailman and Leah Purcell.

It also has a number of new children’s programmes.

ABC says its vision is to produce more quality content for all Australians to enjoy where, when and how they choose. Whether on television, iView, websites, mobile or through other initiatives, the broadcaster strives to deliver its content in diverse platforms so as to reach the widest possible audience.

ABC will also double the content on iView in 2009, extending the programmes in its Catch-Up channel. New channels will be added throughout the year for specific interest groups: children, 16-24 year olds, local sports fans, the disabled and English language students.

Here is a list of other programmes due in 2009.

DOCO 2 x 55’
Global surfing culture is a combination of mongrel, grace and cool that is utterly Australian. But how did a bunch of white people who, in 1900, mostly couldn’t swim, turn a strange Polynesian pastime into
a national obsession and international cultural force? The bodies, the boards, the music, the drugs, the fi ghts…Bombora charts the history of surf culture. An ABC TV, Screen Australia co-production.

The Making of Modern Australia
DOCO 4 x 55’
A landmark, cross-platform, social history series that tells the big stories of post-war Australia through the family histories and personal archives of those who lived it. Australians will be asked to become part of the series by uploading their stories and pictures to the website and these will be drawn upon for the TV series. When the series screens, the website will further enhance the on-air experience. A coproduction between Essential Viewing and Hoodlum Entertainment.

Darwin’s Brave New World
DOCO 3 x 55’
In 1831, a directionless 22 year-old Charles Darwin boarded a ship in England bound for the Southern Hemisphere. His experiences during the five-year voyage resulted in an idea which revolutionised science, de-throned God and changed the way we view our world and ourselves – evolution by natural selection. A co-production between ABC TV and Screen Australia.

The New Black
DRAMA 7 x 10’
Brings to the screen seven compelling dramas from a new generation of Indigenous film makers. Directors include Leah Purcell and Deborah Mailman. These shorts are a joint initiative between ABC TV and Screen Australia to develop extraordinary Indigenous film-making talent.

DOCO 2 x 55’
Based on Paul Ham’s book, this emotive documentary re-evaluates the Kokoda campaign, from both the Australian and Japanese perspective. A Screen Australia and Pericles Films production.

DOCO 1 x 55’
For two generations, Skippy the Kangaroo was an Australian icon, offering the world’s children a glimpse of life in an idealised Aussie outback of endless sunshine, caring families, friendly policemen and
happy endings. This is the inside story of the much-loved series. An Electric Pictures/Brook Lapping production.

Laurence Leung’s Choose Your Own Adventure
COMEDY 6 x 27’
Internationally successful Australian comedian and all-round nice guy, Lawrence Leung, sets out on the
adventures of a lifetime as he tries – in real-life – to achieve the dreams he had for himself as a child. A coproduction between ABC TV and Leung Shot Productions.

The Mission
DOCO 4 x 26’
Three Catholic missionaries, driven by an intense desire to revitalise the Catholic faith, travel from their homes in Nigeria to Tasmania. Can they reinvigorate Tasmanians struggling in a secular and materialistic world, or will the gulf between them prove too hard to cross? A Roar Film production.

Penguin Island
For 40 years, scientists have been scrutinising Phillip Island’s penguin colony, uncovering their complex, inner world by using everything from ‘Big Brother’ video surveillance and underwater satellite tracking, to DNA analysis. Penguin Island follows the daily lives of three penguin couples that prove to be as full of relationship woes, risk and intrigue as any TV drama. The series incorporates an extensive interactive website. A 360 Degree Films production.

DOCO 1 x 55’
Andrew McAuley was not crazy or reckless, he was an adventurer; brave, careful and driven. But crossing the Tasman Sea in a kayak was a calculated gamble that did not come off. In charting his journey, Solo examines what drives a man to such extremes and the impact on those he leaves behind. An Essential Media production.

Bush Slam
ARTS 6 x 26’
A group of poets is taken to quintessential Australian towns to discover the true heart of the country, and write a poem intended to capture the heart of the town. The poets then entertain the locals with a live performance, at which the best poem will be judged. A co-production between ABC TV and Freehand Productions.

Rainforest: The Secret of Life
The Secret of Life captures rare and fascinating wildlife sequences and explores the intricate web of life that evolved there. It also uncovers the recent scientific discovery of the greatest secret of all – how rainforests form part of a vast global system that regulates the world’s climate. A David Warth Production.

Whale Rescue
Never before has a camera crew been granted unrestricted access to the frontline battlefield of whale entanglement rescue teams, to record the dramatic events that unfold as they risk their lives to save these amazing animals. A Sea Dog Films production.

Reveals the dramatic stories of the wild cassowaries whose territories border on coastal townships, like Mission Beach. Already under huge pressure from development and habitat loss, things for the cassowaries just got a whole lot worse…A BK Films production.

ARTS 3 x 26’30
The multi-award winning arts series that looks at how sexuality and the body work as driving forces in the creative process. Produced by Big and Little Films in association with ABC TV.

12 Canoes
ARTS 12 x 5’
Following on from Rolf de Heer’s stunning film Ten Canoes, this series of short films paints a compelling portrait of the people, history and culture of the Yolngu people of the Arafura Swamp in Arnhem Land. Produced by Indigemedia in association with the Christensen Fund, AFC, SAFC and NFSA.

The Urban Monkey
COMEDY 10 x 5’
Comedian Sam Simmons plays Murray Foote, an animal-loving adventurer, ladies man, part Alby Mangels and part 1980s cricket star. He is a radical in his scientific field, out to draw conclusions on the similarities between the animal and human world. With his team of volunteers, the Urban Monkeys, what unfolds is shocking and hilarious. A co-production between ABC TV and Jungle Boys.

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