SBS puts The Family under the camera microscope

Move over Sylvania Waters and Big Brother, SBS is about to put an Australian family under 24hr surveillance.

The Family is a fly-on-the-wall series which sees a family filmed by cameras in their home for 3 months.

Based on the 2008 UK series, which was itself a remake of a 1974 documentary series, The Family is described as one of the most technically complex documentary series attempted in Australia.

The series is the second to be produced for SBS by newly-established Shine Australia.

SBS Director of Television and Online, Matt Campbell, said, “In the first series in the UK, Firefly (Shine subsidiary) kitted out the house with 21 cameras and set up a viewing gallery and editing suite next door. The series took 5,500 hours of rushes and gave us an intimate look, over eight episodes, at family life in all of its glory.

“But this is not about the technology – it’s about complete access to the daily drama of family life – with its laughter, challenges and satisfactions and that’s what appealed to SBS.”

The casting of the series is expected to take several months and the producers will be looking for a multi-generational family, with kids and lots going on in their lives.

Mark Fennessy, CEO Shine Australia said: “The Family is gripping television which pushes the boundaries for observational documentary. From a logistical and editorial perspective it’s a massive undertaking. Shine is truly delighted to be bringing this brilliant series to SBS.”

SBS plans to air The Family in the first half of 2011.


  1. rumour today: SBS appears to be getting cold feet with the high expenses and shine has started looking at selling it to another networks. but the format was pitched to 9 originally (and possibly others) which turned it down.

  2. Seems a perfect fit for SBS. Easy to tar all these shows with the reality TV banner now, but in many ways the UK series went back to classic documentary making techniques – though with a modern twist, and it worked rather well.

  3. @DAN
    I miss Big Brother too.
    Yes the casting of housemates was a bit dodgy in the last couple of seasons but that could be easily rectified by clearly opening up the pool and encouraging a larger diversity of people to actually apply.
    The biggest mistake they made was to change the host.
    Gretel (love her or not) provided an intelligent and familiar staple to a show that, by design, changed year by year. Despite who was in the house, as a viewer, you were always reassured that they were going to come out and be interviewed by a sensible and unbiased host.
    By putting shock jocks in there they simply layered what could be perceived as a cheap and tacky cake with cheaper and tackier icing.

  4. Well as long as the family don’t release a single like Noeline from Sylvania Waters did n 1993.

    For anyone interested it was a remake of the Rolling Stones song ‘No Regrets’. The video clip featured the lovely Noeline dancing in a pink tutu by the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It also featured a cameo from her charming hubby Laurie.

    While she may not have regretted doing that one, I certainly regret hearing the song!!!!

  5. Haha! “Shine Broadcasting Service.” I hope this ends up on SBS TWO after midnight. Most SBS programs are still worthy, but The Family doesn’t sound like one of them.

  6. SBS has lost the plot completely. It’s the wrong sort of commission in so many ways. Is there anyone in charge of scripted drama any more? What does SBS stand for – Shine Broadcasting Service?

  7. Is there a photo of this family?

    They should film my family, entertaining viewing! lol think a cross between Outrageous Fortune, Sylvania Waters, Underbelly & The Osbournes.

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