Upfronts 2020: ABC: Docos, drama & Hamish Macdonald

  • Dramas: Stateless, Fallout, Mystery Road, Harrow, The Heights
  • Docos: Fight for Planet A: The Climate Challenge, Big Weather (and how to survive it) both with Craig Reucassel, Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce, Revelation from Sarah Ferguson
  • Insiders with David Speers. Q&A with Hamish Macdonald.
  • Comedy: Rosehaven, Black Comedy, Why Are You Like This
  • Returning: Gruen, Hard Quiz, The Weekly, Mad as Hell, Home Delivery, Anh’s Brush with Fame, Further Back in Time for Dinner.

The ABC has announced its 2020 programming highlights, dominated by a hefty slate of Documentaries and Factual.

Drama for 2020 includes immigration drama Stateless starring Yvonne Strahovski, Jai Courtney, Cate Blanchett, Asher Keddie and Dominic West, nuclear-testing miniseries Fallout (working title) with Ewen Leslie, James Cromwell and Jessica De Gouw. Both are filmed in South Australia. Mystery Road, Harrow and The Heights are all returning.

Hamish Macdonald is the new host of Q&A. David Speers joins ABC for Insiders.

Amongst many Documentaries are two fronted by Craig Reucassel: Fight for Planet A: The Climate Challenge and Big Weather (And How To Survive It). The culture of outrage is explored in Reputation Rehab with Kirsten Drysdale and Zoe Norton Lodge. Shaun Micaleff turns doco presenter again as he explores Australia’s relationship with alcohol in Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce (yes he is back for Mad as Hell too). Outback Ringer and Australia’s Ocean Highway take us into the secret world of Australia’s top end and the ocean’s depths, while Adam Goodes is again profiled in The Australian Dream.

Sarah Ferguson doco series Revelation will expose more on the shocking picture of clergy abuse in Australia, including interviews with paedophile priests. Annabel Crabb and the Ferrone family return with even Further Back in Time for Dinner.

Also returning are Gruen, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Anh’s Brush with Fame, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, Hard Quiz, Rosehaven, Black Comedy and hit series Bluey.

“In a world overrun by global media giants, Australian stories have never been more important. Equally, the ABC has never been more essential to the Australian people,” said Michael Carrington, ABC Director Entertainment & Specialist.

“In 2020, the ABC will be the engine room of Australian creativity, putting more Australian faces, voices and stories on screen than any other broadcaster.

“The stories we share will speak to and for all Australians, firing their imagination through bold content and creativity. We will engage new audiences by increasing the diversity of our programs and people, on and off screen, sparking meaningful change in how we see ourselves and each other.”

New

Drama:

Fallout (working title)
There is no more lethal cocktail than a combination of blind faith and paranoia. And it seems in 1956, everyone was drinking it. It’s the height of the Cold War. The Menzies Government has welcomed British atomic bomb testing at remote, ‘uninhabited’ Maralinga, in outback South Australia. Charged with keeping the base functioning smoothly is Major Leo Carmichael (Ewen Leslie), an Australian Army Engineer and WWII hero. But testing the most dangerous weapon in the world is no easy task for Leo with a Commanding Officer (James Cromwell) who is not fit for purpose; a new meteorologist, Dr Eva Lloyd-George (Jessica De Gouw) who starts asking questions; and the Government and press watching his every move. And as it turns out, the land of Maralinga may not be so uninhabited after all, when Leo’s faced with the arrival of a family of Indigenous Australians seeking their own answers about the giant clouds that explode occasionally… A riveting blend of historical fiction and espionage thriller, this is filmmaker Peter Duncan at his satirical best. Fallout is a story of our infinite capacity for betrayal, and no one is immune, not even the betrayers themselves.
Production Credits
A Porchlight Films Production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC and Screen NSW. Financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation and Head Gear Films.
Writer and Director: Peter Duncan
Producers: Vincent Sheehan, Tanya Pheegan Executive Producers: Liz Watts, Anita Sheehan Sally Riley (ABC), Andrew Gregory (ABC).

Stateless
An airline hostess on the run from a dangerous cult, an Afghan refugee and his family fleeing persecution, a young father escaping a dead-end job and a bureaucrat running out of time to contain a national scandal: Stateless is a powerful and timely series about four strangers whose lives collide at an immigration detention centre in the middle of the Australian desert.
Production Credits
A Matchbox Pictures and Dirty Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia and the ABC. Financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation.
Writers: Elise McCredie and Belinda Chayko
Directors: Emma Freeman and Jocelyn Moorhouse Producers: Sheila Jayadev and Paul Ranford
Executive Producers: Cate Blanchett, Tony Ayres, Elise McCredie, Liz Watts and Andrew Upton, Sally Riley (ABC), Andrew Gregory (ABC).

Comedy:

Why Are You Like This
Why Are You Like This follows best friends Mia and Penny as they navigate their 20s in Melbourne, along with Penny’s dramatic and aloof housemate, Austin. Guided by their own modern day moral code, they confront complex social issues in an outrage driven world, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Why Are You Like This explores the grey areas a lot of us are afraid to traverse, in a world determined to see things as black and white.
Production Credits
A CKOL production for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Film Victoria.
Creators and Writers: Naomi Higgins, Humyara Mahbub and Mark Samual Bonanno
Directors: Jessie Oldfield and Adam Murfet Producer: Sarah Freeman
Executive Producers: Jessie Oldfield, Adam Murfet, Amanda Higgs,
ABC Executive Producers: Nick Hayden, Rick Kalowski.

Documentary / Factual / Arts:

Adelaide Festival (working title)
What does it take to stage Australia’s premiere arts festival with all its history, pedigree and ambition during its 60th year? Follow co-artistic directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy in this high-stakes relationship drama as they traverse the globe to curate the Adelaide Festival 2020. Set between the pressure cooker of the production office, the international arts circuit, and backstage at the festival itself, this observational documentary reveals the bickering and respect, accessibility and poise, intellectual brilliance and pure gut reaction that together creates an intangible magic.
Production Credits
An SLA Films production for the ABC.
Financed with the assistance of the South Australian Film Corporation. Developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Director: Richard Jasek Producer: Bonnie McBride
Executive Producers: Anna Vincent and Kalita Corrigan (ABC).

Australia’s Ocean Highway
We live on an oceanic planet whose waters have sustained life for almost four billion years. The ocean is the birthplace of life on our planet, from the most basic organic compounds that become bacteria, bacterial to plants, plants to animals. 500 million years ago life left this blue womb and colonised the land, but we are still intricately linked to the ocean. Our climates, coastlines, ecosystems and economies are tied to the perpetual movement of water between continents. The great ocean currents are the arteries and veins of planet Earth. This is the story of one fascinating flow – the East Australian Current, a massive oceanic river that stretches the length of Australia’s East Coast. 3000 kilometres long, 100 kilometres wide and hundreds of metres deep.
Production Credits
An ABC and Wild Pacific Media Production. Funding from ARTE and Wild Pacific Media.
Executive Producers: Nick Robinson (Wild Pacific Media Production).
ABC Executive Producer: Stephen Oliver.

Australia Remastered
Australia Remastered is a breathtaking series of 23 new natural history films that draw on the proud ABC legacy of wildlife filmmaking. Host Aaron Pedersen travels from coast to coast highlighting wildlife wonders that will take your breath away, Australia Remastered showcases an incredible array of life, land, and seascape like nowhere else in the world. From Kakadu to the Great Barrier Reef, no one has captured the depths of our iconic natural wonders in more detail than the ABC. In Australia Remastered, we bring the best moments of wildlife filmmaking back to life, by drawing on digitally re-mastered footage from the ABC archive, a treasure trove of rarely seen animal behaviour.
Production Credits
A Wildbear production in association with the ABC and ABC Commercial.
Host: Aaron Pedersen
Series Producers: Kylie Stott, Jeremy Hogarth, Belinda Gibbons
Executive Producers: Alan Erson, Michael Tear, Bettina Dalton
Writers: Alice Orszulok, Rebekka Schafferius
ABC Executive Producer: Leo Faber.

Backburning Midnight Oil
They were five against the world. Midnight Oil pledged to each other and to their audience that they would never compromise their beliefs, to be the most outspoken, dangerous rock band in the country. From 1974 – 2004 they took the hardest line – putting themselves in difficult situations to remain true to their beliefs, redefining what popular music could be in Australia, and culminating in some of the most incredible spectacles in Australian music. Following a long hiatus the band are reunited and playing to sold out crowds proving their politically charged songs are as relevant in Australia today as they were 40 years ago.
Production Credits
A Beyond Entertainment and Blink TV production.
Principal production funding from Screen Australia. Financed with assistance from Screen NSW. Produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Director and Writer: Paul Clarke
Producers: Martin Fabinyi and Carolina Sorensen
Executive Producers: Miranda Culley
Commissioning Editor: Jo Chichester (ABC).

Big Weather (and how to survive it)
Big Weather (and how to survive it) is a three-part documentary series and engagement project presented by Craig Reucassel, exploring the devastating effects of extreme weather on Australia, and the practical, life-saving ways its communities can empower themselves to prepare, survive and recover.
The series tackles three big questions:
• How have extreme weather events shaped our nation’s story?
• Why are these events becoming less predictable and more intense?
• What can ordinary Australians do to adapt, survive and thrive into the future?
Production Credits
Big Weather (and how to survive it) is a DMA Creative production in association with Northern Pictures for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen Queensland.
Executive Producers: Michael Angus, Daniel Marsden
and Karina Holden.
ABC Executive Producer: Stephen Oliver.

Dark Emu
Multi award-winning book Dark Emu comes to the screen, with celebrated author Bruce Pascoe presenting his fresh perspective on Indigenous history. In this series, author Bruce Pascoe will take audiences on a revelatory and inspiring journey across Australia to present a very different history of our nation and the First Australians. It will tell the story of Indigenous achievement pre-colonisation in the form of agriculture and farming, infrastructure and design, astronomy, trade and governance.
Production Credits
Dark Emu is a Blackfella Films production for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW and Film Victoria.
Director: Erica Glynn Producers: Darren Dale and Belinda Mravicic
Writers: Bruce Pascoe and Jacob Hickey Presenter and Narrator: Bruce Pascoe
ABC Executive Producer: Kelrick Martin.

Fight for Planet A: The Climate Challenge
Hosted by Craig Reucassel Fight for Planet A: The Climate Challenge takes a positive approach to how to reduce our carbon footprint, both as individuals and as society. We follow five diverse households as they understand their own carbon footprint and discover surprising ways in which they can reduce it. Featuring shocking stats, revealing stunts and packed with pro-active advice, tips and strategies for our audience, Fight for Planet A: The Climate Challenge promises to leverage many of the ABC platforms to continue the audience journey in how we can all be part of reducing our carbon emissions and helping protect our planet for future generations.
Production Credits
Fight for Planet A: The Climate Challenge is a Lune Media production for the ABC. Major production investment from the ABC in association with Screen Australia. Financed with support from Screen NSW.
Executive Producers: Jodi Boylan (Lune Media Production)
ABC Executive Producer: Stephen Oliver.

Firestarter: The Story Of Bangarra
Firestarter will mark the 30th anniversary of Australia’s most iconic performing arts company: Bangarra Dance Theatre. Told through the personal family story of its celebrated and longstanding artistic director, Stephen Page.
Production Credits
An In Films production for the ABC.
Principal Production and development funding from Screen Australia. Developed and financed with assistance from Screen NSW. Financed with philanthropic funding via the Documentary Australia Foundation. Developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Directors: Wayne Blair & Nel Minchin Writers: Wayne Blair, Ivan O’Mahoney & Nel Minchin
Producer: Ivan O’Mahoney Executive Producers: Nial Fulton and Kalita Corrigan (ABC).

How Food Works: A Catalyst Special
A Catalyst special, How Food Works is a unique blend of science and culture. In this series chef Paul West, Dr Nobby Leong and Professor Clare Collins uncover the latest research that will help you cook better and eat healthier – and may also save you money.
Production Credits
An ABC production. Executive Producer: Penny Palmer.

Maralinga (working title)
September 27th, 1956. 1700 hours. In a remote corner of South Australia a 15 kilotonne plutonium warhead is about to be launched into the clear blue desert sky. This is the home of the Maralinga Tjarutja people. For sixty thousand years. And this is their story in their words. A story of colonisation and culture, of spirit and survival. The story of how the Maralinga Tjarutja people have overcome one of the most destructive nuclear weapon tests the world has ever seen. When the dust settles, culture remains strong.
Production Credits
A Blackfella Films production in association with ABC. Financed with support from South Australian Film Corporation.
Director: Larissa Behrendt Producers: Darren Dale Writers: Larissa Behrendt and Jacob Hickey.
ABC Executive Producer: Kelrick Martin.

Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian
Celebrated actor, presenter and all-round funny lady, Miriam Margolyes is on a quest to uncover what it means to be Australian in the 21st century. Five years ago, when Miriam became an Australian citizen, she realised that despite having worked and lived in Australia for nearly 50 years, she still had much to learn about her new homeland. So at 78 years of age, she’s embarking on the grey nomad adventure of a lifetime. Across three, eye-opening episodes, Miriam travels on a road trip across the continent that takes her far out of her comfort zone, digging deep under the skin of Australian life to reveal modern Australia as we’ve never seen it before. With disarming candour and perception, she tackles the questions we’re too afraid to ask and lays bare the complex truths of Australia’s changing identity in the 21st century. If anyone is going to get to the heart of the nation, it’s this incredibly smart, inquisitive, naughty and honest new Australian.
Production Credits
A Southern Pictures Production for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW and Screen Territory.
Director: Liz Allen Series Producer: Ross Wilson Story Producer: Alan Clarke
Executive Producers: Aline Jacques, Laurie Critchley
ABC Executive Producer: Frances O’Riordan.

Outback Ringer
Outback Ringers are the men and women who do one of the most dangerous jobs on earth – catching feral bulls and buffalo in Australia’s harsh and iconic outback. Cutting deals with the local land owners in exchange for access to their properties and a share in the profits – the Ringers need to catch and sell as many animals in the shortest time possible. Get it right and the Ringer can enjoy a six figure pay day, get it wrong and the losses can be crippling. In an increasingly crowded planet, this is not just a story about a unique group of Australians (40% of whom are Indigenous) but an exploration of the history, ecology, mythology and the micro and macroeconomics of these breathtaking landscapes. Across Queensland, NT and WA this series dramatically captures several teams on various musters, broadening our understanding of the Australian Outback and the various communities that call these wild environments home. It asks fundamental questions about our relationship with the land – what are the tensions that exist between humans and the land? How is the use of the land changing for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians? And what global economic forces are playing out in the Outback?
Production Credits
A Ronde Production for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW with Screen Territory. Executive Producers: Ben Davies (Ronde Production).
ABC Executive Producer: Stephen Oliver.

Reputation Rehab
Factual entertainment series Reputation Rehab will see co-hosts Kirsten Drysdale and Zoe Norton Lodge find reputations in distress and provide a unique opportunity for transformation. Barely a week goes by without someone being publicly shamed in a torrent of angry tweets, opinion pieces and TV punditry, for real or imagined mistakes. In Reputation Rehab, Kirsten and Zoe will investigate scandals and tackle them head-on to see if they can change people’s hearts and minds.
Production Credits
An ABC and CJZ production. Creators, producers and writers: Sophie Braham and Melina Wicks
Presenters and writers: Kirsten Drysdale and Zoe Norton Lodge.
Executive Producer: Nick Murray (CJZ)
ABC Executive Producer: Nick Hayden.

 

Revelation
Revelation brings you a series of worldwide television firsts. For the first time cameras are inside the courtroom as two of the Catholic Church’s most notorious child abusers go on trial for sexually assaulting children in their care. In another first, Revelation brings you interviews with paedophile priests, one from behind bars in a maximum security prison. These uniquely gripping interviews give us an unprecedented look into the minds of men of God who committed unimaginable crimes against children. Over three riveting episodes, crimes and cover up are shown on a new scale – with a powerful conclusion that will reverberate around the world.
Production Credits
Revelation is an In Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Screen NSW.
Executive Producer: Nial Fulton (In Films)
ABC Executive Producer: Stephen Oliver.

Richard Leplastrier (working title)
Revered by architects around the world, Richard Leplastrier’s search for beauty in his career is interwoven with his own life in a bush camp on the edge of Sydney.
Production Credits
A Mitra Films production for the ABC with production funding from Screen Australia. Financed with philanthropic funding via the Documentary Australia Foundation. Produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Director and Writer: Anna Cater Producers: Susan MacKinnon and Anna Cater Executive Producer: Miranda Culley (ABC).

Road To Now
The first decades of the 21st century have been a time of dramatic change and difficult challenges. And yet, it all started with such promise. The end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall seemed to usher in new optimism, where the democratic values of the West were universally accepted. How quickly it all changed. Now, a new threat looms, as great as any humanity has ever encountered. In the past 30 years we have added two billion people to the planet and our impact is so great that we are changing the planetary systems which we, and all other species rely on for survival. Wars rage and millions are on the move as tensions are rising. These are global challenges requiring global solutions, yet driven by fear and uncertainty, nations are retreating behind their borders. What started with a wall coming down, has led to a time of new barriers, both physical and philosophical. How did it come to this? How did the celebrations of freedom of that remarkable night in Berlin become the crisis we face today? In Road To Now, across 6 hours, we step back to observe the connections that link the rapidly changing events of the past 30 years, we see the patterns that led us inexorably to this moment. The series includes all new interviews, perspectives and key insights from the likes of CNN’s Christianne Amanpour, Niall Ferguson, Helen Clark and John Howard.
Production Credits
A Wildbear production in association with ABC TV and ABC Commercial.
Host: Chris Bath
Wildbear Executive Producers: Alan Erson & Bettina Dalton Wildbear
Series Producers: Alice Taylor
Wildbear Series Director: Nik Wansborough
ABC Executive Producer: Leo Faber.

Searching For Superhuman
What makes us human? What hidden powers lie in the bodies of those who live longer, healthier lives? How can we grow faster, stronger, smarter? Is there a way to delay ageing? For millennia, humans have searched the heavens and Earth for answers, but in the last thirty years science has begun to unravel those most elusive secrets. The pace of discovery has been breathtaking. In six documentaries, drawing from the rich archives of the ABC, Searching for Superhuman chronicles the incredible scientific advances that have changed the way we understand ourselves and our biological destiny. Featuring expert commentary by the world’s leading researchers in genetics, microbiology, stem cell science, surgery, exercise medicine, nutrition, bionics, fertility, mental health, longevity and neuroscience, the series tells the science journey of our recent past and extraordinary future. This is our journey. This is our search for superhuman.
Production Credits
A Wildbear production in association with ABC TV and ABC Commercial.
Host: Shalin Naik Wildbear Executive Producers: Alan Erson & Bettina Dalton
Wildbear Series Producer: Alice Taylor
Wildbear Series Director: Nik Wansborough
ABC Executive Producer: Leo Faber.

 

Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce
Shaun Micallef brings his own distinctive style to this factual series about our relationship with alcohol. This series is a very personal journey for Shaun, he doesn’t drink and he doesn’t get it. Alcohol has touched Shaun’s family. A sharp observational eye, an astute inquisitor, balanced with a quick comic wit and a penchant for the absurd. As an audience, we will lurch from shocked to surprise as Shaun looks at how alcohol has shaped who we are. Shaun doesn’t judge he watches, he experiences, he questions, he processes and gives us his idiosyncratic take on what he’s gone through. Shaun will encounter situations that will give him serious pause to reflect and possibly change his position on aspects of Australia’s alcohol experience. During the series Shaun will ‘get drunk’ for the first time since his university days. In turn, the audience will also be forced to contemplate their own opinions and behaviour.
Production Credits
A CJZ production for the ABC. Principal production investment from the ABC in association with Screen Australia.
Executive Producers: Andrew Farrell (CJZ) and Paula Bycroft (CJZ)
ABC Executive Producer: Julie Hanna.

The Australian Dream
Written by award-winning journalist Stan Grant, The Australian Dream is the story of champion AFL player and Indigenous rights activist Adam Goodes; more broadly, it is a story about race, identity and belonging. A searing document of the nation’s uneasy relationship with First Nation people, it is also a powerful celebration of a true Australian champion. For years Adam Goodes was a beloved AFL hero. Then the two-time Brownlow Medallist and former Australian of the Year began to call out racism, and his Australian dream turned into a nightmare. Australia loves its Australian Rules Football, and for an elite player it should have been unimaginable: his career ending in a controversy that cost him his love of the game. But Australia has an uneasy relationship with its Indigenous peoples and Adam Goodes is a proud Adnyamathanha and Narungga man. Featuring incredible archival footage alongside illuminating interviews, The Australian Dream questions what sort of country we want to be.
Production Credits
The Australian Dream is an Australian-UK co-production between GoodThing Productions and Passion Pictures. Production investment from Screen Australia, Lorton Entertainment, ABC and Film Victoria.
Director: Daniel Gordon Writer: Stan Grant Featuring: Adam Goodes, Stan Grant
Producers: Sarah Thomson, Nick Batzias, Virginia Whitwell, John Battsek
Executive Producers: Ben Simmons, Paul Wiegard, Andrew Ruhemann, Julian Bird, Joel Kennedy, Tommy Gordon, Jo Chichester (ABC Commissioning Editor). Kath Earle (ABC Head of Regional Sports & Events).

The Great Acceleration
As the human race speeds to unlock the scientific potential of our future, in this 6 part series we examine the journey of science in the 21st Century….a journey known as The Great Acceleration. Each episode features a different focus point – The Machine Age, Space Exploration, Future Energy, Ever Changing Earth, Agriculture and Human evolution. The next generation machine age has arrived with integrated technologies and big data laying the foundation for artificial intelligence. Breakthroughs in energy technology and efficiency are providing hope for a sustainable, powerful future. We are entering a new age of space exploration as technology, once monopolised by superpowers, transitions to the hands of private companies. Closer than ever to understanding the origins of the universe, nations have collaborated to create the biggest machine on earth, whilst peering into the possibilities of time travel.
Production Credits
A Wildbear production in association with ABC TV and ABC Commercial.
Host: Shalin Naik Wildbear Executive Producers: Alan Erson & Bettina Dalton
Wildbear Series Producer: Alice Taylor
Wildbear Series Director: Nik Wansborough ABC Executive Producer: Leo Faber.

Wanita: Heart of the Queen
Wanita: Heart of the Queen is the rich and unlikely story of country music artist Wanita – the self proclaimed Australian “Queen Of HonkyTonk”. We follow Wanita’s odyssey to prove her worth by singing and recording in Nashville. Three decades of recklessness have kept her from realising this childhood dream, but against the odds, Wanita is determined to reach the City of country greats.
Production Credits
A People Productions production for the ABC. Principal production funding from Screen Australia. Financed with assistance from Screen NSW. Produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Writer and Director: Matthew Walker Producer: Carolina Sorensen, Clare Lewis and Tait Brady Executive Producer: Kalita Corrigan (ABC).

Children’s:

Are You Tougher Than Your Ancestors?
Fun and fast paced, the series asks contemporary kids to leave their modern comforts behind and spend twenty-four hours in the life of a child from another era. As our kids dive into worlds they have never experienced before, they learn as much about themselves as they do about history… and maybe even unearth new talents they never thought they had! Drawing from our rich Indigenous and multicultural heritage, the series celebrates the diversity of Australia’s shared history. At the end of each episode we find out whether they were up to the task… and what they discover might just surprise us all!
Production Credits:
A Flying Kite and Sticky Pictures production for the ABC.
Financed by the ABC, in association with the South Australian Film Corporation and philanthropic support via the Documentary Australia Foundation. Distributed by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.
Executive Producers: Donna Andrews, Stu Connolly, Bernadette O’Mahony and Amanda Isdale (ABC)
Creator & Producer: Vanna Morosini
Series Director: Brad Gustafson.

Itch
Children all over the world are concerned about climate change. What if we put the solution into their hands? Itch is a fast-paced action thriller, that does just that. In this adaptation of Simon Mayo’s novel of the same name, a smart but flawed hero, Itchingham Lofte finds a new element on the periodic table which could be the world’s solution to our energy problems. In the midst of all, the conspiracy and scientific discoveries is a very human story about the strains of growing up, regional family life, fitting in and thinking through one of the world’s biggest ethical dilemmas.
Production Credits
A Komixx Entertainment and Feisty Dame Production for the ABC.
Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen West and the Western Australian Regional Film Fund. Distributed by ABC Commercial.
Executive Producers: Amanda Morrison, Edward Glauser, Andrew Cole-Bulgin, Michael Shyjka, Robert Morrison, Jan Stradling (ABC) Libbie Doherty (ABC)
Producers: Amanda Morrison, Tania Chambers and Melanie Halsall
Writers: Melanie Halsall, Dan Berlinka, Ron Elliot, Heather Wilson, Jessica Brookman and Roger Monk
Directors: Renee Webster and Nick Verso.

Kangaroo Beach
Welcome to Kangaroo Beach, a sun-soaked paradise by the sea! Every dazzling day on Kangaroo Beach is an action-packed adventure for wannabe-hero joey Pounce, creative koala Frizzy, sports-phobic wombat Neville and mini-marine biologist and platypus Gemma. Whether training as young lifeguards, learning new water skills or exploring the wonders of the beach, the four furry friends are having the time of their lives. The series will appeal to young audiences and families all over the world by exploring the familiar world of water play – on the beach, in the sea, in swimming pools, rivers and rock pools, while empowering viewers with an imperative message about water safety in every story.
Production Credits
A Cheeky Little Media production for the ABC.
Major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with the ABC.
Financed with support from Uyoung Media and Distribution through Sonar Entertainment
Executive Producers: Patrick Egerton, David Webster and Amanda Isdale (ABC)
Producer: Patrick Egerton & Celine Goetz
Writer and Creator: Tim Bain
Series Director: David Webster.

100% Wolf
So what if he’s a pink poodle? Freddy Lupin knows he’s got what it takes to run with the elite werewolf Night Patrol. All he has to do is win a place at the prestigious Howlington Academy, keep his fluffy butt out of trouble and graduate. Easy-peasy, right? WRONG! Being the first dog at a werewolf-only finishing school is tougher than Freddy ever imagined. With the hopes of dogs everywhere resting on his curly pink shoulders, Freddy knows failure is not an option. He HAS to pass the year. Teaming up with his ragtag bunch of schoolmates and best frenemy Scarlet, a teen werewolf hunter, Freddy must harness his wolfish side and embrace his own inner-poodle. He may be fluffy and groomed, but it turns out that Freddy Lupin is 100% hero!
Production Credits
A Flying Bark Production for the ABC (Australia) and Super RTL (Germany) with international rights and distribution through Studio 100. Principal production investment from Screen Australia. Financed with support from Screenwest and Screen NSW.
Executive Producers: Emily Price, Martin Krieger, Hans Bourlon, Gert Verhulst and Amanda Isdale (ABC)
Producers: Michael Bourchier, Barbara Stephen, Alexia Gates-Foale
Writer: Fin Edquist.

Returning:

• 7.30
• Anh’s Brush With Fame S5
• Australian Story
• Back Roads
• Black Comedy S4
• Bluey S2
• BtN
• Catalyst
• Compass
• Dream Gardens S3
• Escape From The City
• Foreign Correspondent
• Four Corners
• Further Back In Time For Dinner
• Gardening Australia
• Giggle & Hoot
• Good Game Spawn Point
• Gruen S12
• Hard Quiz S5
• Harrow S3
• Insiders – with new host David Speers
• Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery S8
• Landline
• Media Watch
• Melbourne International Comedy Festival
• Mustangs FC S3
• Mystery Road S2
• New Year’s Eve
• News Breakfast
• Offsiders
• Planet America
• Play School
• Q&A
• Rage
• Restoration Australia S3
• Rosehaven S4
• Sammy J S3
• Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S11
• Spicks and Specks Specials
• Teenage Boss S2
• The Drum
• The Heights S2
• The Weekly with Charlie Pickering S6
• You Can’t Ask That S5

Co-Commissions
• Little J and Big Cuz S2
• Space Nova
• Thalu

Acquisitions
• Agatha Raisin S3
• Doc Martin S9
• Doctor Who S12
• Endeavour S7
• Grand Designs Australia S6
• Grand Designs UK S16
• Griff’s Great Australian Rail Trip
• Killing Eve S3
• Vera S9

Events
• ANZAC Day
• Aus Music Month
• Australia Day Live 2020
• Australian Of The Year Awards
• Classic 100
• triple j’s Hottest 100
• triple j’s One Night Stand
• W & A-League

Absent:

Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, Total Control, Les Norton, Diary of an Uber Driver, Frayed, The Recording Studio, Employable Me, Squinters, Utopia, The Set, The Inbestigators, Hardball, The Unlisted, Glitch, Get Krack!n, Blue Water Empire, Love On The Spectrum, The Strange Chores, The Deep, The Letdown,

The ABC would like to thank our production partners and our state and federal funding partners for their continued support, particularly Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Screenwest, Screen Queensland, Screen Canberra, Screen Tasmania, Film Victoria, South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Territory.

This post updates.

49 Comments:

  1. Of alllll the qualified journalists they could have picked – including from within the ABC – why did they choose Hamish McDonald? From what I have observed from his work on The Project, he asks bad questions and when interviewing politicians, it clear that he’s after a “gotcha” moment but doesn’t know what to press so he makes a big deal about the wrong things. The fact that I even notice this is saying something.

  2. Fallout – an ABC drama that conflates everything nuclear with the added bonus of the poms being the “bad guys” – Pine Gap set in the 1950s.
    Stateless – a Cate Blanchett an “anti-border security” vanity project putting a pretty white flight attendant in a detention camp – will play to the RAC and Doctors Wives demographic
    Why Are You Like This – because we haven’t re-made Girls in Melbourne yet
    Adelaide Festival – Utopia with all the humour and wit removed, and cast by “luvvies” in Adelaide

    Australia’s Ocean Highway – looks like it could be interesting
    Australia Remastered – with new environmental climate change hobby horses rolled out
    Backburning – a Peter Garret vanity project/misty eyed nostaligia from the 1970s and 1980s
    Big Weather and How to Survive It – Craig Ruecastle talks about building materials – might be interesting
    Dark Emu – aka “Civilization and how we…

  3. Some shows on the ABC are just essentials, but so many of the ones highlighted here (especially the new ones) are further iterations of the ABC Hobby Horses. I’d like to see more balance, or less striving to influence public opinion.

    Old People’s Home is a must for a return, but it would be understandable if it happens a year later. I imagine it takes a lot of preparation to make.

  4. When it comes to irregular migration & the conditions of detention facilities, it is multi-faceted, contentious & varying. From the people that genuinely need to flee persecution & danger, to the people, people smugglers & organisations with political agendas that take advantage of irregular migration streams dishonestly for greed, selfishness & other dubious reasons.

    I think that programs like Stateless, Safe Harbour & Go Back To Where You Came From that glorify irregular migration are one-sided, biased & do not accurately reflect irregular migration.

    • Go Back covered a multitude of angles and opinions, from anti to pro-immigration with eye witness, on the ground experience.. on boats, in detention, in camps in Middle East, Africa, Asia. I can’t see how it is one-sided in any shape or form. Stateless has not aired, so pretty unfair to judge without a viewing, not conventional procedure.

      • Go Back was somewhat focused on asylum seekers from refugee camps and conflict zones. In the past, there were investigative reports on Dateline and Sunday Night that showed asylum seekers that were fleeing for economic reasons that were not being persecuted or in danger, but sold assets, such as properties, vehicles, livestock and jewellery to fund people smuggler journeys.

        I’m only going by the articles I have read about Stateless, the drama aspect, quotes and association of writers from Safe Harbour. But I haven’t seen Stateless, so I agree it is unfair to judge it yet.

        • Just as a reference, I have tried to look up the Dateline and Sunday Night episodes I refer to. The Sunday Night episode information could not be found, however, the Dateline episode was from season 3, episode 9 titled Sri Lanka’s New Wave. It still seems to be available on demand, even though it is from 2012 or 2013.

        • It’s a massive generalisation to tar all asylum seekers with the economic refugee label. Sure there are an unspecifiable number of economic refugees, but there are many, many more genuine asylum seekers. The premise of these ‘irregular migration’ docos is to show sceptics what it’s like to have to leave your home country for your safety and that of your precious children.
          Climate change, manmade or otherwise, will further add to the numbers of refugees fleeing their homes because they’ve become uninhabitable. My thinking has evolved to the point that I consider there to be only one race, the Human race, all deserving of a safe and secure home and life.

          • One of the issues with refugee determination are the benefit of the doubt clauses implemented after the refugee crisis after WW2 for asylum seekers found without documentation by boat that may be affecting the outcome of determination rates for both plane and boat arrivals in the modern era.

            A large proportion of the refugees from refugee camps and conflict zones featured on Go Back arrive to Australia through humanitarian streams by plane, when Go Back has a large focus on boat journeys.

  5. As soon as I read the name Sammy J, I started laughing…What A Tallent ! Hard Quiz, Media Watch, Insiders and my list goes on. Thank You My ABC, for my 2020 Entertaining Viewing Year is sorted.

  6. All in all, I think that’s a decent slate! Hamish on Q&A is fantastic; I love the sound of Micalef on Sauce; an adaptation of (90’s BBC Radio 1 DJ legend) Simon Mayo’s children books; Craig Reucassel getting two series to truly grow a hipster goatee and sport hemp trousers; The Checkout’s Kirsten and Zoe finding their own space with a totally new format; Retribution to further expose an issue that people should be angrier about; Stateless and Fallout both sound absolutely compelling… There’s plenty here to relish! Definitely the strongest of all the FTA lineups.

  7. I’m hanging out for Fallout. Peter Duncan is brilliant. As for Stateless…sounds very earnest, but hopefully the creatives haven’t forgotten about entertaining us.

  8. It’s a sad indictment on today’s so-called journalism that stories about the ABC tend to focus on how much money the ABC is (or isn’t) getting rather than what they’re doing with what they’ve got. Thanks for this story David for showing what the ABC can do.

    • When the Federal Govt fund the majority of FTA channels in Australia, I think we should comment on what they do with those resources.

      I believe soccer on ABC is a waste of tax money. It’s a failed sport in this country. The commercials would never touch it.

      Just as I think the X files, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Good Fight etc etc is also a waste of resources on SBS.

      I am all for Australian content but the juggernaut of ABC/SBS is unsustainable and should be questioned.

  9. I think Hamish will be a good host of Q & A, he’ll bring a fresh feel to it, and he can get quite hot under the collar when someone says something that’s just not okay.
    As brilliant as Total Control is, perhaps it was only ever meant to be a one-off drama event. I’m happy for it to end at 6 eps, and there are other Indigenous and Political dramas that can be created in the same vain.

  10. >> Hamish MacDonald is the new host of Q&A.

    I think Hamish is one of the nation’s very best journalists.

    That said, I’m not certain this is a good decision for Hamish, the ABC, or viewers. I’m struggling to find the upside.

  11. Just a small thing, but you have Giggle and Hoot in ‘Returning’ and ‘Absent’.

    Many good titles here, so much better then the commercial drivel (The Amazing Race and Survivor are pretty much all I watch on commercial).

    Hoping for more The Recording Studio and Old People’s Home , although maybe that was always intended to be a one-off experiment.

  12. The ABC didn’t learn from the miserable failure of the massively advertised Safe Harbour and waste Yvonne Strahovski, Cate Blanchett and Asher Keddie in its ideological twin😥

  13. There is a lot of BBC tiles missing from the above, eg: Line of Duty, Silent Witness, Call the Midwife, Shetland, Father Brown, Fake or Fortune?, Death in Paradise and Shakespeare & Hathaway, to name but a few.

    The ABC is at least 1 season behind on all of the above.

    Also, David, what does Absent mean? Cancelled or simply unknown at this stage?

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