EXCLUSIVE: It was funded back in 2012 and due to screen in 2014, but three years later SBS is still refusing to move on Once Upon a Time in Carlton.
The documentary sequel to Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta and Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl, looks at the social history of one of Melbourne’s inner suburbs. It spans Jewish and Italian history, including the gangland links which featured in Underbelly.
Northern Pictures confirmed it delivered the series to SBS in 2014, but the broadcaster is yet to schedule it.
A spokesperson told TV Tonight indicated there were no legal or production issues in the way.
“We have a full schedule of priority programs for 2017, and currently have no fixed date for this series,” they said.
That’s despite four channels and ample months (and years) to find a suitable timeslot.
So can a network simply decide not to screen something it has commissioned? Not in this case.
The doco carries Screen Australia funding, meaning a broadcast is part of its funding deal.
Under the former National Documentary Program the project requires a broadcaster to be attached. The broadcaster was and remains SBS for this title.
A Screen Australia spokesperson told TV Tonight, “Once Upon A Time In Carlton received both Development and Production funding from Screen Australia.
“Screen Australia funds the documentary producer. In the case of television, the producer comes to Screen Australia with their finance plan already including the licence deal they have negotiated with the broadcaster. It is up to the broadcaster to schedule an air date within that licence agreement.”
In 2014 SBS was forced to air a modified version of Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl after revelations that one of its participants embarrassingly exaggerated his story about incarceration.