ABC drama The Fires to dramatise summer catastrophe

ABC has announced new six-part drama series The Fires, to be based around survivors of the catastrophic bushfires of last summer.

Each episode of the anthology series developed in conjunction with Tony Ayres Productions (TAP), is based around character studies of ordinary people caught in the unimaginable and the impossible choices they were forced to make. The Fires puts viewers at the centre of an experience which most people watched from a distance.

Characters include volunteer firefighters; families who lost homes, livelihoods and loved ones; people who had to make agonising decisions about whether to stay or flee; and others who found themselves responsible for the lives of friends and strangers.

Creators are Tony Ayres (Stateless, The Slap) along with Andrea Denholm (Wrong Kind of Black, It’s A Date) and Liz Watts (The King, True History of the Kelly Gang). The writing team is led by showrunner / writer Belinda Chayko (Safe Harbour, Stateless) and includes Jacquelin Perske (The Cry), Mirrah Foulkes (Judy and Punch), Steven McGregor (Mystery Road) and new talent, Anya Beyersdorf.

ABC Head of Drama, Entertainment and Indigenous Sally Riley said, “The ABC is delighted to be partnering with Tony Ayres and the team at TAP to bring these true stories to life. Even though the challenges and tests of endurance continue, this is an opportunity to celebrate and to remind ourselves of the strength, bravery and communal spirit that will carry us through, no matter what we face. The joy lies in our drive to give voice to the brave and fearless people whose lives and livelihoods have been irrevocably changed by this catastrophic event.”

Executive producer Tony Ayres says, “Like the rest of the world, I watched in horror last summer as I saw the devastation caused by the mega-fires. I wondered, ‘What can we do as artists?’ For me, the answer was to tell the stories of some of the people who lived through this, so that we never forget what they went through, and always remember our responsibility for change.”

The Fires is currently in development, with filming planned for next year.


  1. Confusing. Drama or documentary? Too soon, in my opinion, for a drama based on this topic, and there have already been some documentaries. I wonder if this will find an audience.

  2. It’s too soon to be using this event for entertainment and a “celebration”.
    Perhaps the ABC might spend the funds doing a drama series about the locking up of National Parks, the destruction of fire trails, the green tape slowing reconstruction and bureaucrats getting in the way.
    Though eveyone knows the chances of that would be very slim.

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