How Australian Story completed episodes under curfew

Producers of the recent Australian Story had to get very creative to film a recent two-part episode during (both) Melbourne lockdowns.

An article at ABC Online details how a profile of stalking victim Di McDonald was challenged by rules around social distancing, curfews, work permits and COVID-19.

Classified as essential workers, we had permits that gave us an exemption from the stay-at-home orders but no guests were allowed to visit the ABC’s studios and we were banned from going into anyone’s home.

We could travel more than 5 kilometres but we had to all drive to filming locations separately.

On one occasion, that involved three of us driving in different cars from Melbourne to Benalla, a five-hour round trip.

Of course, we all had to wear masks except when actually speaking on camera.

“This story threw us many curve balls,” recalls Belinda Hawkins.

“There was always a question mark about whether we were acting within the rules.”

At one stage neighbours even called police.

Producer Belinda Hawkins recalled, it “scared the living daylights out of me” when a police car pulled up behind her.

Everyone scrambled to find their work permits.

You can read more about how they completed the task here.


    • It’s called audio description (AD) – it’s a narration that describes what’s happening onscreen so that people who are blind or have low vision know what’s going on. Like captions make TV/film accessible to deaf people. The ABC and SBS are both providing AD on certain shows. Shows with AD have a message before they start. You can turn it off. On my remote, there’s an ‘Audio’ button that turns it on and off. But it depends on your TV.

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