Waiting game on ABC titles

Four profile ABC titles for 2016 -but are they still coming this year?


A number of high-profile ABC titles promised for 2016 may not be screening this year, with the broadcaster unable to confirm if they would still screen in coming months.

They are: David Stratton’s Story of Australian Cinema, series 2 of Stop Laughing… This Is Serious, documentary Ice Wars and sketch comedy series Fancy Boy.

New drama Seven Types of Ambiguity was recently confirmed as pushed to 2017.

None were listed in ABC’s recent Spring highlights, with a spokesperson advising they were all still to be confirmed.

ABC has already backtracked on several announcements this year: local drama every week of the ratings year, and switching its primary channel to HD by mid year.

David Stratton’s Story of Australian Cinema is a three-part series that charts the story of our cinema and its creators through the eyes of our most revered film critic, David Stratton. Weaving through the cinematic visions of our filmmakers and intimate behind-the-scenes stories from our international stars, the series will draw parallels with David’s own journey, from his first glimpse of Australia, aged ten to his transformation into a household name in his adoptive country and into a worldrenowned
authority on an art form that has defined the twentieth century. David is a man who literally sees the world through cinema. It’s through Australian films that he comes to understand his new home, as the country is forging its own identity on the world stage and on the silver screen. The series will explore themes that wind their way through out cinematic legacy, from Australia’s frontier character, to the new wave of Australian cinema that gave us both stars and international recognition and further forward to the films that reflect a changing national narrative to accommodate multiple Australian experiences. Via David’s personal reflections and interviews with our cinema greats, we’ll be given a privileged insider’s glimpse into the movies that reflect and celebrate this nation. An ABC TV / Stranger Than Fiction Films coproduction. Director: Sally Aitken.

Stop Laughing…. This is Serious Season 2 travels through stand up, radio, television, theatre and film, revealing how humour, laughter and comedy have been integral to our national identity.  Following the huge success of Series 1, we delve deeper into the defining moments of Australian comedy, broadening out our scope of enquiry and adding to the mix of comedians.  From the creation of
iconic character based acts and programs, to the evolution of variety and panel shows, to the role a dynamic army of female comedians have played, this series navigates through our ever shifting social and political context. It explores how the changing composition of Australian society has lead to richness, depth and diversity in our comedy. Weaving contemporary comedy with the best of our past, we drill down into the craft itself to reveal the inner workings of the creative process; the influences and the inspiration, the risks and the rewards. An ABC TV / Screentime co-production. Executive Producer: Jennifer Collins.

Ice Wars will dispel any notion that crystal methamphetamine  or ‘ice’ is just a recreational drug. In truth, it is ferociously addictive, and its toxic side effects are gruesome and costly.  Very quickly, it can destroy lives and communities – yet, its use is on the rise. More than 1.3 million Australians over 14 have tried ice, and 400,000 are now regular users. With unprecedented access, ICE WARS is on the frontline with police and health services, following the men and women whose often dangerous job it is to combat the drug’s production, distribution and resulting fallout. The series lays bare the facts and ramifications of ice in Australia, and in the process, showcases all that is happening to combat this national problem. You may be living next door to an ice lab and not even know it. They are highly toxic, and they are explosive. Every kilogram of crystal meth produced, results in 10 kilograms of dumped toxic waste.  And the residue they leave behind is contaminating everything from suburban homes and motel rooms to our water table. ICE WARS is an important documentary series that has the capacity to generate a national conversation about a drug that is exacting a high toll on our nation. A Northern Pictures production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen NSW.Executive Producers: Sue Clothier, Alex Hodgkinson, Karina Holden.

Fancy Boy finds comedy in the stranger corners of suburbia: in the couple whose communication breakdown leads to a kidnap; in the artist who loses everything over his obsession with fart sounds; in the mum who struggles to accept her missing teen back into the family, mainly because he returns with a full beard and a foreign accent. Produced by December Media in association with Checkpoint Media and Fancy Boy TV.

6 Responses

  1. David Stratton and Stop Laughing – this pretty much sums up the problem, doesn’t it. What this says to me is that there is so little money available for anything that the solution is to find some old clips from the archives, edit them together and do a voice-over. Hey presto – instant TV show. Well, at least it beats cobbled-together Youtube videos of cute cats. Maybe they could play some repeats of Fawlty Towers…

    1. Stop Laughing was no 20 to 1, which I think is what you’re alluding to. It was a chance to look back at our history of comedy with some great insights from the people who made it. These kinds of retrospectives are snapshots of who we are culturally. It was so comprehensive with its interviews I struggled to come up with names they omitted (eventually I suggested a few more). To suggest its just an edit with a voice-over when there were 60 interviews is really harsh Jimbo. I’d expect Mr. Stratton to be comprehensive and look forward to both.

  2. A ‘work in progress’ screen David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema is due to screen at Adelaide Film Festival Goes Rogue at the end of October. So probably unlikely to be seen this year.

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