ABC Upfronts 2016: Cleverman, Barracuda & 50 Years of Play School.

Cleverman_NEW AT MIPCOM2015 - Red Arrow International LQ

ABC’s 2016 highlights leads with two new Australian dramas and returning favourites, as part of year the celebrates 50 Years of Play School, 20 Years of Australian Story, 15 Years of Insiders, and 10 Years for both Offsiders and The Book Club.

ABC personalities, execs and producers joined the ABC 2016 Slate launch last night in Pyrmont.

Amongst key highlights:

  • New local Dramas Cleverman and Barracuda
  • 5 Returning Dramas: Jack Irish, Janet King, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Rake and The Code.
  • New Comedy Showroom pilot season
  • Keeping Australia Alive turns cameras on our health system
  • The Great Education Experiment
  • Silvia’s Italian Kitchen with Silvia Colloca
  • Returning: Black Comedy, Upper Middle Bogan, Soul Mates, Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery and Nowhere Boys
  • The Katering Show for iview
  • 50 Years of Play School
  • Live streaming (ABC) in December, HD in June

“As the national broadcaster, we will continue our commitment to Australian content in all its forms, delivering a varied slate, all of outstanding quality with audiences at the centre of all we do. Broadcast still dominates viewing and to bring our shows to life even more, we’ll launch ABC in stunning HD. But we also know audiences are watching more video than ever before: online viewing for 18- 24 year olds is now over 26 hrs per month. The ABC is meeting the trend by making sure it’s always easy to find your favourite shows, regardless of device. In 2016 we will live stream all our channels and add more original content and features that audiences will love,” said Richard Finlayson, ABC Director of Television.

“2016 is set to be a wonderful year of TV at the ABC. I invite you to Catch the Wonderful…”

Howard on Menzies is a not-to-be-missed profile of our longest-serving PM – all through the eyes of our second longest serving PM John Howard.

Ice Wars pulls no punches as it provides unprecedented access to frontline police and health services to reveal the true cost of the ice epidemic; while 100 cameras filmed for 24 hours to provide a truly national snapshot of the Australian health system in Keeping Australia Alive.

Our education system will be put under the microscope as The Great Education Experiment tries to understand if there is a better way; and Hatch, Match & Dispatch is a behind-the-scenes look at the men and women of the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages and The Public Trustee.

We’ll also celebrate our successes on Australia Day. The ABC is pleased to announce that the ABC will be the official TV, radio and online media partner of the Australian of the Year Awards for the next three years. In 2016, the Awards will screen in prime time on January 25, to ensure as many Australians as possible can join in the celebration.

And when we head to the polls in 2016, Australians will again turn to the ABC’s federal election coverage when ABC News provides audiences with the most trusted news and analysis on television, radio, online and mobile.

Food writer Silvia Colloca joins ABC TV and invites Australia’s most interesting personalities into her kitchen to show them how to cook, while sharing stories the Italian way in Silvia’s Italian Kitchen.

Comedian Luke McGregor takes us on an embarrassingly honest and humorous look at sex in Luke Warm Sex; he’ll also pair up with Celia Pacquola to star in Rosehaven, a new comedy series filmed in rural Tasmania.

The ABC Comedy Showroom brings together some of Australia’s best comedic talent – including Eddie Perfect, Ronnie Chieng, Lawrence Mooney, Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan – for six new pilots, each the first episodes of a brand new sitcom. Audiences will get to vote on the episodes they’d like to see as a full series.

Our most revered film critic David Stratton returns to our screens in his own three-part series David Stratton’s Story of Australian Cinema; comedian Tim Ross takes us on a tour to discover why our suburbs look the way they do in Streets of Your Town; and the hit series Stop Laughing… This Is Series returns to more deeply explore how humour, laughter and comedy have been integral to our national identity.

For the younger viewers, we’re pleased to announce there will be a third series of the popular teen drama Nowhere Boys; an exciting new Australian animated sci-fi series Prisoner Zero; and the premiere of dramatic adventure series Tomorrow, When the War Began – based on the era-defining novels by John Marsden.

In 2016, Play School, one of Australian television’s most iconic programs, will celebrate 50 years, and we’re excited to announce that actress Miranda Tapsell will join the cast. And Hoot Hoot Go! will explore friendship, laughter and problem solving with best of friends Hoot, Hootabelle and Hootly.

ABC iview will continue to lead the way with a range of digital-first exclusives, including the second series of the highly inappropriate and hilarious YouTube hit, The Katering Show. You Can’t Ask That will pose the awkward questions you’ve always wanted to ask but never could; and from WA’s up-and-coming online stars Mad Kids, a comedy about a group of reporters at DAFUQ?, the hottest thing in non-mainstream, cross platform news.

And from December 2015, ABC’s flagship channel will be available as a live stream on ABC iview, along with ABC News 24, and from June 2016 we’re planning to broadcast all content in high definition.

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Barracuda
For his whole life, Melbourne teenager, Danny Kelly (Elias Anton), has yearned for only one thing: to win Olympic swimming gold.  Every stroke, every waking thought and every dream is leading Danny to his destiny – the centre podium at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. A scholarship to a prestigious grammar school finds Danny struggling to find his place amongst society’s privileged. But under the wing of highly regarded coach, Frank Torma (Matt Nable) and a friendship/rivalry with teammate Martin Taylor (Ben Kindon), Danny is on track to become Australia’s youngest swimming champion, the adored  Barracuda. Based on the provocative novel by acclaimed writer Christos Tsiolkas, and reuniting key creatives who brought us The Slap, Barracuda is an unflinching look at Australia’s national obsession with sporting heroes.  It’s a brutal clash of cultures, dreams and expectations and the relentless demands we place on our young athletes, their families, friends, schools and coaches.   Also starring Rachel Griffiths, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Andrew Creer,   Victoria Haralabidou, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Joel Lok and Rhys Mitchell.   Written by Blake Ayshford and Belinda Chayko. Directed by Robert Connolly. Produced by Tony Ayres and Amanda Higgs. Associate Producer Christos Tsiolkas. A Matchbox Pictures production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.

Cleverman
Set in the near future, a species from ancient mythology must live amongst humans and battle for survival in a world that wants to silence, exploit and destroy them.  At the heart of the story are two estranged brothers, Koen and Waruu West, who are forced together to fight against terrifying enemies, both human and not of this world. But can Koen, a man bestowed with a powerful gift and destined to become the Cleverman, learn to harness his power before everything around him crumbles? By turns smart, sexy, bloody, thought-provoking and startlingly original, Cleverman combines compelling character-driven storytelling with powerful themes and thrilling action, to appeal to all audiences.   Directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires, Septembers of Shiraz) and Leah Purcell, an acclaimed ensemble cast includes Scottish actor Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Golden Globe nominee Frances O’Connor (The Missing), Logie Award winner Deborah Mailman (The Sapphires), Hunter Page-Lochard (The Sapphires), Rob Collins (The Lion King) and Stef Dawson (The Hunger Games). Creatures and effects are by Jacob Nash (Bangarra Dance Theatre) and the world-renowned Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, King Kong, Avatar). Based on an original concept by Ryan Griffen; Written by Michael Miller, Jon Bell, Jane Allen; Produced by Goalpost Pictures and Pukeko Pictures for ABC TV in co-production with SundanceTV and Red Arrow International, with the assistance of Screen Australia, Screen NSW and the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.

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Returning Australian Shows

7.30 (ABC)
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)
ANZAC DAY 2016
AUSTRALIA WIDE (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)
AUSTRALIAN STORY (ABC)
CAPITAL HILL (ABC NEWS 24)
CATALYST (ABC)
COMEDY UP LATE (ABC)
COMPASS (ABC)
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (ABC)
FOUR CORNERS (ABC)
GARDENING AUSTRALIA – SERIES 27 (ABC)
GOOD GAME (ABC2)
INSIDERS (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)
LANDLINE (ABC)
LATELINE (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)
MEDIA WATCH (ABC)
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB (ABC)
OFFSIDERS (ABC)
ONE PLUS ONE (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)
OPENING SHOT (ABC2)
PLANET AMERICA (ABC NEWS 24)
Q&A (ABC)
RAGE (ABC)
THE WORLD (ABC NEWS 24)
THE BOOK CLUB (ABC)
THE BUSINESS (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)
THE DRUM (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)
THE MIX (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)
WEEKEND BREAKFAST (ABC & ABC NEWS 24)

International Drama

BROADCHURCH – SERIES 3 (8 X 60’) (ABC)
CALL THE MIDWIFE – SERIES 4 (ABC)
DCI BANKS – SERIES 4 (ABC)
DEATH IN PARADISE – SERIES 4 (ABC)
DOC MARTIN – SERIES 7 (ABC)
FATHER BROWN – SERIES 4 (ABC)
GRANTCHESTER – SERIES 2 (ABC)
HUMANS – SERIES 2 (ABC2)
INSPECTOR GEORGE GENTLY – SERIES 8 (ABC)
MIDSOMER MURDERS – SERIES 18
OUR ZOO (ABC)
POLDARK – SERIES 2 (10 X 60’) (ABC)
SILENT WITNESS – SERIES 18 (ABC)
VERA – SERIES 5 (ABC)
WOLF HALL (ABC)
WALLANDER – SERIES 4 (ABC)

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International Factual

BODYSHOCKERS – SERIES 3 (ABC2)
COUNTDOWN TO LIFE: THE EXTRAORDINARY MAKING OF YOU (ABC)
FAKE OR FORTUNE – SERIES 4 (ABC)
FORCES OF NATURE WITH BRIAN COX (ABC)
GRAND DESIGNS – SERIES 13 (ABC)
GRAND DESIGNS NZ (ABC)
LOUIS THEROUX: BY REASON OF INSANITY (ABC)
LOUIS THEROUX: TRANSGENDER CHILDREN (ABC)

International Entertainment

ADAM HILLS: THE LAST LEG – SERIES 6 (ABC)
QI (16 X 30’) (ABC)
WOULD I LIE TO YOU? – SERIES 9 (ABC)

Other titles such as Gruen, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Utopia, The Ex-PM and Dirty Laundry Live are yet to be advised.

31 Comments:

  1. Oh wow, Australian TV is being revived again. Cleverman is ground breaking and I can’t wait to see it. The Principal from SBS was a great show, Barracuda should reinvigorate interest in swimming. Live streaming! That’s 7, 9 and now ABC. Finally. Don’t mean to sound bitter but I’ve been waiting many years for this to happen. Going HD is great too. Hope Upper Middle Bogan keeps going for a few more seasons, I just love that show. Yeah, after many years of disappointment, I’m finally getting excited about Aussie TV again.

  2. It is rather sad to see the ABC reversioning British docusoaps when there are lots of good filmmakers with original ideas. Perhaps it is because the programmer is a Pom from the UK with a keen eye on the ratings. ABC Lite continues. Independent documentary has been destroyed by the ABC. And having John Howard make a suck up documentary about his hero Robert Menzies is all about ABC politics. Howard was the guy who tried to dismantle the ABC, slashed its funding and appointed an incompetent CEO in Jonathan Shier who last five minutes. There is not nearly enough here that is new, challenging or exciting and the adult drama renewals have a very old demographic, comfort television like an Iced VoVo. I hope the ABC gets a CEO who can bring freshness and originality to it but the publicised candidates are very average. Can we lure David Hill out of TV retirement? Or perhaps appoint Michael…

    • barrington bumbaclaart

      Totally agree about the re-versions. ABCs head of content and head of factual are both very much Australian and are lazily looking to a strong market for lazily. Unfortunately some of the formats don’t and won’t translate to Australian culture (look at SBS’s horrid attempt at re-versioning C4’s “The Fried Chicken Shop”).

      As for the ABC destroying indie documentaries?? Couldn’t disagree more. The last two years have seen the ABC output some remarkable doc’s. Changing Minds, Code of Silence, Once My Mother, Sperm Donors Anonymous, The Killing Season, Sons and Mothers, Tender, Brilliant Creatures (just to name a few) and the boldness of commissioning Hitting Home is testament to the ABC’s commitment to programming that explores issues, challenges and sparks debate.

  3. Lots of great stuff here from the ABC. Too many to highlight individually. For another year running, I am looking forward to ABC and TEN content the most and Seven the least.

  4. harrypotter1994

    2 Luke McGregor series really? The new dramas should be good and very happy about Janet King and Jack Irish but we already knew about those 2. Only really need Please Like Me to come back now because I wouldn’t be upset if Dirty Laundry got cancelled.

  5. Secret Squïrrel

    “…a behind-the-scenes look at the men and women of the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages and The Public Trustee”.
    This is a joke, right? Looks like Nathan will soon get his wish for an observational on council garbos.

    Which reminds me – what ever happened to that Seven show with the working title of “Local Rules” that the EP described as the “Border Security of council workers”? Can’t believe that didn’t make it to broadcast.

    Back on topic – really good selection on offer there, far better than the mostly tired old dross and lowest common denominator, over-stuffed, over-hyped pap that the commercials will be dishing up. Eight cents (or whatever it is now that their funding has been slashed) well spent.

    • barrington bumbaclaart

      Re: Hatch, Match & Dispatch. No joke. It’s a direct translation of a successful and brilliantly executed UK show, “Births, Deaths And Marriages” which aired early last year on ITV. These types of shows work, and work well because they are character driven – less about the setting and more about the people who populate them. Engaging characters can be used in any setting to tell a good story. UK factual telly thrives on this type of programming.

      Interestingly, both Keeping Australia Alive and The Great Education Experiment (terrible name by the way, why is it Great?) are also carbon copies of successful UK formats – BBC’s Keeping Britain Alive and Channel 4’s Educating Essex / Yorkshire (winner of both a BAFTA and Int’l Emmy).

      And don’t scoff, an ob doc about garbos sounds to me like it could be a good idea, given the right characters and treatment.

      • Not an ob-doco, but the Beeb did a 2 or 3 part Factual called “The Secret Life of Rubbish” a few years ago. It was surprisingly fascinating stuff – from the change in garbage composition with the Clean Air Act & the advent of supermarkets & fast food, to the garbage collector’s strikes of the ‘Winter of Discontent’, and the obligatory/stereotypically British ‘garbage-spotter’.

        Lacking a history of public documentaries on seemingly trivial things here, we probably don’t have the archival footage to make something similar here…

  6. Not surprising.. Same old names in there again, Luke McGreggor needs 2 shows? Didn’t Soul Mates bomb? I love how now well known professionals have to battle it out to get their shows picked up for full series, usually that stuff is for “emerging” talent.

    Barracuda just sounds like the Ian Thorpe story, But at least the line up is inherently different to network TV which is a good thing.

  7. No Chaser next year?

    At least an election special I’d imagine. Please be in the vein of War on Everything/Hamster Wheel. Media Circus is a bit too tame.

  8. barrington bumbaclaart

    Solid slate of shows for next year. All far more interesting than any of the commercial offerings. Nice to see my tax dollars being spent well.

  9. ABC, ABC2, ABC3 to join News 24 in live streaming.

    ABC in HD

    That makes all Nine, Seven and ABC channels live streaming – and 9, 7, ABC and SBS in HD by June.

    Just Ten….no HD, no streaming….

  10. Wow, what a lineup. Excited by so much of it. Barracuda, the 2 Luke McGregor series, more UMB and Soul Mates, the Nowhere Boys movie plus a new series, the Comedy Showroom pilots sound awesome too!

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