STVDIO: April highlights

New Arts channel STVDIO takes the place of Ovation on Foxtel and Austar from April 1st.

Updated: Yesterday Ovation announced it will become an add-on channel on Foxtel from June 1st at $9.95 per month.

Operated by SBS-owned PAN TV, STVDIO will showcase performing arts, cinema, books, opera, ballet, music, art and design.

Amongst its titles in April are the World Premiere of David Campbell On Broadway plus Australian premieres of HMS Pinafore and Trial By Jury, Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe, documentaries on Derek Jarman and Harold Pinter, plus The Real Brassed Off.

Here is what else is on offer for next month:

Burning Daylight
5:00pm Subscription Television Premiere
Thursday April 1st, 30 mins
Directed by Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah), Burning Daylight steps behind the scenes as a contemporary indigenous dance performance is developed. Culminating in dance, film and karaoke in a live outdoor evening performance in Broome, it features historic characters – such as the pearl diver, geisha and Aboriginal stockman.

Who Was Jacqueline Du Pré?
Australian Television Premiere
Thursday April 1st, 7:30pm
1 Hour
Christopher Nupen has been making classical music films for decades, creating intimate and affectionately remembered portraits of some of the world’s finest musicians. His films feature biography, humour, preparation, rehearsal and performance. STVDIO will present 22 of his films commercial-free.

Who Was Jacqueline Du Pré?
When Jacqueline du Pré played the cello, it was magical. Christopher Nupen’s film is a tribute to the young musician, who was one of his close personal friends. Nupen combines touching personal reminiscences and extraordinary performances to create a captivating insight into a rare talent.

HMS Pinafore and Trial By Jury
Australian Television Premiere
Thursday April 1st, 9:30pm
130 mins
For most of the 20th century, the D’Oyly Carte Opera company performed HMS Pinafore with Trial by Jury as a companion piece. While HMS Pinafore was Gilbert and Sullivan’s first full-length satirical work and initial major international success, Trial by Jury was their first collaboration. In these Opera Australia productions, Anthony Warlow is at the helm as both the “right good captain” and the “good judge”. He is joined by a stellar cast featuring David Hobson, John Bolton Wood and – as “dear little Buttercup” – Colette Mann.

David Campbell On Broadway
World Television Premiere
Saturday April 3rd, 8:30pm
1 hour
One of Broadway’s most acclaimed cabaret stars, Australia’s own David Campbell, brings his unique experience to STVDIO in a world premiere documentary special. David Campbell explains the history of the Broadway musical through performances and interviews, documenting the recording of his own new Broadway album in the process. The result is an access-all-areas television special with a 40-piece orchestra.
“I hope that if just a little bit of my own passion for Broadway rubs off on the viewers, they’ll be hooked,” Campbell said. Songs performed by Campbell in the show include Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ (Oklahoma!), Luck Be A Lady (Guys & Dolls), Bring Him Home (Les Miserables), You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel), and All I Care About Is Love (Chicago). Viewers will also see Campbell recording the world premiere of a song from the forthcoming musical version of Catch Me If You Can, by Hairspray writers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Guests interviewed by David in the program include Stephen Schwartz (Oscar and Grammy winning composer of Godspell and Wicked), Alan Cumming (Tony winning star of Cabaret on Broadway, as well as the upcoming musical version of Spiderman), Alain Boublil (writer of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon), and John Kander (composer of musicals such as Cabaret and Chicago, and the song New York, New York). There are also interviews with David Campbell himself, and the Grammy winning producers of his new Broadway album, Rob Fisher and Bill Elliott. David Campbell On Broadway is made by Campbell’s own production company, Luckiest Productions.

Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe
Australian Television Premiere
Sunday April 4th, 4:00pm
180 mins
Starring Adetomiwa Edun and Ellie Kendrick in the title roles, this production of Romeo & Juliet was recorded at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London. With its wonderful combination of lyricism, suspense and dramatic changes of mood, Shakespeare’s heartbreaking tale is one of the greatest of all love stories.

Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake
Subscription Television Premiere
Sunday April 4th, 8:30pm
2 hours 15 mins
In master storyteller Graeme Murphy’s hands, the world’s favourite ballet becomes a witty, dramatic and ultimately devastating story of love and betrayal. Filmed live at the Sydney Opera House with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the principal artists are Madeleine Eastoe, Robert Curran and Danielle Rowe.
Tchaikovsky’s score and the extraordinary sets and costumes of Kristian Fredrikson, finish off a production that according to Le Figaro ‘puts fire into the Lake.’

Dickens in America
Subscription Television Premiere
Monday April 5th, 7:00pm
30 mins
Actress Miriam Margolyes tours America in the steps of Charles Dickens in this illuminating and touching series.

The Christopher Nupen Films – Carmen: The Dream and the Destiny
Subscription Television Premiere
Tuesday April 6th, 8:30pm
90 mins
Carmen: The Dream and the Destiny tackles two themes: the substance and narrative of Bizet’s perennially popular opera and also the story of its disastrous premiere, which had a dramatic effect on Bizet and hastened his death exactly three months later. A great artist, Bizet died young without ever knowing his work would become one of the most popular operas of all time.

Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme
Subscription Television Premiere
Tuesday April 6th, 10:00pm
120 mins
Introduced by David Hobson. Filmed in 1993 with tenor David Hobson as Rodolfo and soprano Cheryl Barker as Mimi, Puccini’s heart-rending love story tells of high-spirited young bohemians who are strapped for cash, but draw strength from each other. Baz Luhrmann’s production was described by the Sun-Herald at the time as “surely one of the most engagingly inventive, thoughtfully witty and vital productions ever to enliven the
Australian operatic stage.”

Mr Patterns
Subscription Television Premiere
Wednesday April 7th, 4:30pm
1 hour
In the 1970s in Australia’s Western Desert, schoolteacher Geoff Bardon helped start one of the most significant art movements of the 20th century.

Unstoppable Force with Betty Churcher
Subscription Television Premiere
Wednesday April 7th, 7:30pm
30 mins
Widely regarded as Australia’s greatest living artist, the exuberant 80-year-old John Olsen talks with acclaimed art commentator Betty Churcher about his life’s work.

Australian Television Premiere
Thursday April 8th, 8:30pm
Derek is a glorious remembrance of one of independent film’s greatest treasures, Derek Jarman. It is a lovingly crafted moving collage of home movies, film clips and interviews, as well as being a cinematic love letter from Derek’s friend, actress Tilda Swinton. Her input serves as the poetic overlay, telling the whole truth about the life Derek Jarman led and reflecting on the cultural abyss left by his absence

André Rieu: Live in Sydney
Saturday April 10th, 8:30pm
3 hours
Filmed in October 2009 during his triumphant Australian return, André Rieu: Live in Sydney features Andre Rieu’s trademarks: glorious music, beautiful costumes, enthralled audiences and plenty of surprise guests including radio’s Alan Jones and an hilarious finale featuring Australia’s “first lady”, Dame Edna Everage.

Pinter’s Progress
Australian Television Premiere
Monday April 12th, 8:30pm
1 hour
A personal take on working with Harold Pinter from intimate conversations with actors, directors and writers on their experiences of the man and his work. One of the truly greatmodern playwrights, Harold Pinter passed away on Christmas Eve 2008 leaving a legacy of work in theatre and film. Featuring interviews with Sir Michael Caine, Steven Berkoff, Sheila Hancock, Susannah York, James Fox and Jonathan Pryce.

The Christopher Nupen Films: The Trout
Subscription Television Premiere
Tuesday April 13th, 8:30pm
1 hour
Starting at first rehearsal, this is the film of the 1969 London performance of Schubert’s “Trout quintet”. Performing were musicians Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Jacqueline du Pre and Zubin Mehta. The film explains how and why five of the most talented young musicians in the world at the time came together for the concert. The opening 25 minutes are full of fun, laughter and passionate music making. The film ends with a complete performance of the quintet filmed live on stage in the then-new Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

Jerry Springer: The Opera
Tuesday April 13th, 9:30pm
120 mins
This is the multi-award-winning, hit musical filmed live in London’s West End, starring David Soul, the original star of the cult TV show Starsky & Hutch. Jerry Springer: The Opera made history by receiving an unprecedented four awards for Best Musical at The Olivier Awards, The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, The Evening Standard Theatre Awards and The What’s On Stage Awards.

Peter Ackroyd’s Venice
Australian Television Premiere
Wednesday April 14th, 8:30pm
1 hour
Acclaimed as the most beautiful city in the world, Venice is known to the Italians as La Serenissima. It is unlike any other part of Italy and was a republic until the second half of the 19th century. A major celebration of one of the most important architectural wonders of the world – and a city under threat.

My Biggest Fan
Subscription Television Premiere
Thursday April 15th, 9:30pm
1 hour
When Strictly Ballroom’s Tara Morice meets her biggest fan – an 85-year-old from Florida – an unlikely friendship is forged in front of the documentary-maker’s camera. Mildred Levine is a lip-synching great grandmother in a retirement village who demonstrates the power of a movie to bring people together.

Good Rockin’ Tonight – The Legacy of Sun Records
Australian Television Premiere
Friday April 16th, 8:30pm
105 mins
Sam Phillips began a rock ‘n’ roll revolution when he created Sun Records, where Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others began their careers.

The Real Brassed Off
Australian Television Premiere
Saturday April 17th, 8:30pm
1 hour
Come behind the scenes of a real brass band, based in a former mining community in the north of England. Founded in 1898, The Desford Colliery Band is one of the world’s finest. Unfortunately – despite the band’s status – keeping the show on the road is a logistical nightmare that keeps manager Peter Smith working around the clock.

In Love With Barbara
Australian Television Premiere
Monday April 19th, 8:30pm
2 hours
Barbara wrote more than 700 books and sold her tales of yearning romance to practically every country in the world. She was a life force and a paradox. Astonishingly energetic, demanding and famously bossy, she nevertheless celebrated the idea of feminine subservience to men.

When She Died – Death of a Princess
Subscription Television Premiere
Tuesday April 20th, 9:30pm
1 hour
When She Died is an opera written especially for television. It explores how Princess Diana and her image became such a powerful presence in the lives of ordinary people. The traumatic news of the death of the Princess hits each of the characters in different ways and draws them all to Kensington Gardens on the night before her funeral.

Michaelangelo Code: Secrets of the Sistine Chapel
Saturday April 24th, 9:30pm
120 mins
Waldemar Januszczak has been studying Michelangelo’s masterpiece – the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – for 20 years, trying to crack the pictorial code that conceals its startling meaning. Now he has embarked on a journey, taking him from Texas to Jerusalem, in the footsteps of Columbus and all around Italy, to solve the vital clues that reveal, for the first time, the crucial and worrying answers to one of the world’s most enduring art mysteries,

Vladimir Ashkenazy: The Vital Juices are Russian
Tuesday April 27th, 8:30pm
1 hour
In 2010, Vladimir Ashkenazy is the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Principal conductor and artistic advisor. But in the 1960s, when this film was made, it was a crucial point in his life, having just moved to Iceland after five years in London. With the help of Nikita Kruschev he had left Russia in 1963. The title of this lovingly
made and observed documentary comes from a statement Ashkenazy makes on camera: “The vital juices are Russian.” Christopher Nupen’s film includes sequences with Itzhak Perlman, Daniel Barenboim, Edo de Waart and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. There is music by Beethoven, Chopin, César Franck and Stravinsky.

Julian Temple’s The Eternity Man
Subscription Television Premiere
Tuesday April 27th, 9:30pm
75 mins
A petty criminal who haunted Sydney’s bars and brothels, Arthur Stace experienced a revelation one night in a soup kitchen chapel that sent him on a 40 year odyssey. Every night, in perfect copperplate script, he chalked his timeless message on the city’s streets – Eternity.

Australian Television Premiere
Wednesday April 28th, 9:30pm
120 mins
Architect Daniel Libeskind was the original winner of New York’s World Trade Center rebuild competition for Ground Zero. His work transcends conventional architecture – he is a philosopher, musician and artist, yet also a self-confessed populist. Tracing the life, influences and work of a startlingly original thinker, this programme explores the range of influences that shaped Libeskind’s early life and travels with him to some of the locations that have most inspired his thinking.

CSNY déjå vu
Friday April 30th, 8:30pm Australian Television Premiere
120 mins
Déjà Vu finds Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young heading out on their “Freedom of Speech 2006” tour of North America, featuring music from Neil Young’s controversial “Living With War” CD. With reporter Mike Cerre aboard, the film documents audience reactions to the music and the band’s ongoing connection with fans, against the backdrop of the Iraq/Afghanistan War.


  1. It is very disappointed to see a good clean family channel as Ovation gone. this channel is good for old people and disability to relax wth this channel it is a pitty that people have to put money first{ money is not every think} life is and enjoyment. go back to Ovation> 100/100.

  2. David, why not write the true story over the Foxtel / Ovation Split. Yes as it really is. It strikes me all parties are keepng “Mum” on this subject. Where have all the good investigative journalists gone. Maybe you have to go softly softly to retain links with programme listing sources. You are the only one to produce a schedule at this stage that I can find on the web. This tells it all!

    • Certainly not…. I’ve written several pieces on Ovation discontinuing on Foxtel, and I’m not yet done with it. If you have something specific you wish to divulge you can always email me.

  3. Thanks David for the update.

    Foxtel effectively has walked away from supporting Ovation and this replacement channel Stvdio should be judged after a few months. The programming seems ok but time will tell. Good to see Ovation hasn’t gone but you wonder just how successful standalone channels are i.e Setanta.

  4. For $9.95 a month, Ovation should at least drop the hours of Guthy Renker & Time Life programmes they air overnight.

    On the other hand, STVDIO’s line-up looks good!

  5. “Yesterday Ovation announced it will become an add-on channel on Foxtel from June 1st at $9.95 per month.”
    If STVDIO launches on April 1st & Ovation will become an add-on channel from June 1st – does that mean for April & May, Ovation will have a ‘free preview’ period?

    @Dylan: STVDIO is operated by SBS subsidiary PAN TV (which also owns & operates World Movies).

  6. @David Quote : Updated: Yesterday Ovation announced it will become an add-on channel on Foxtel from June 1st at $9.95 per month.

    Am I getting this correct that Ovation will cost $9.95 just to have it ???
    If it’s correct then they must be joking, Ovation is only good for quick look once or twice a month………

  7. Dylan, the money is for “rights” which are generally per channel, or platform, eg mobile and internet. You’ll often find one channel gets first-run and first-repeat rights packaged up at the same time.

    Since the whole point of STVDIO is to stop wasting money on Ovation, because it was allegedly expensive, I don’t think there will be any leftover.

    Pietro, Ovation was in the second wave of widescreen conversions. It’s been that way since 2005 or 06.

  8. When I had Austar Ovation was a 4:3 channel, but presumably STVDIO will come partly into this century and be 16:9. But I bet it won’t be HD.

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