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ABC TV Plus channel: guide

ABC rebrands a multichannel from January 1, with repeats of comedy, doco + arts.

On Friday ABC Comedy relaunches as ABC TV Plus, a channel dedicated to comedy, religion, science and documentaries, along with the best of the arts (three nights a week).

ABC TV Plus will air from 7.30pm to 2am daily sharing the channel with ABC Kids airs during the daytime. It is available on channel 22 on your digital TV, channel 134 on Foxtel or channel 126 on Optus. Viewers can also livestream on ABC iview from 8pm to 2am AEDT daily.

Like most multichannels there is a smattering of premiere titles and a slew of repeat content.

Premieres in January include:

  • Doctor Who Revolution of The Daleks – Saturday 2nd January (also on ABC).
  • Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge – Sunday 3rd January
  • George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces S3 – Monday 4th January
  • Mock the Week S19 – Thursday January 7
  • Enslaved –Sunday 31 Jan

There are also movies on Friday nights (alas none are premieres):

  • Strictly Ballroom – 8.45pm, Friday 1st January
  • Proof – 8.45pm, Friday 8th January
  • The Turning – 8.45pm, Friday 15th January
  • The Delinquents – 8.45pm, Friday 22nd January
  • Samson & Delilah– 8.45pm, Friday 29th January

Later this year it will premiere new local comedy series Why are You Like This?, which follows three 20-something friends as they navigate life’s complexities.

ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist Michael Carrington said: “The ABC in 2021 is rich, diverse and inclusive, showcasing Australia’s best and emerging talent on and off screen. ABC iview will be home to more original Australian content than ever before. Our rebranded secondary channel ABC TV Plus will celebrate Australian culture every night of the week, including live performances, premiere documentaries, stand-up comedy, and a new weekly arts show. In 2021, the ABC will deliver more Australian voices, faces and stories than any other network – that’s our point of difference. Amid so much content from overseas, Australians are right at home on ABC.”

Here is the first 7 days of programming. I’ve included titles to midnight plus the first full evening, with first run content in bold.

Friday January 1

7:30pm Spicks And Specks: 200th Episode Spectacular rpt
8:00pm Doctor Who: Rose rpt
8:45pm Movie: Strictly Ballroom rpt
10:25pm Anh’s Brush With Fame: Terri Irwin rpt
10:55pm The Catherine Tate Show rpt
11:25pm Detectorists rpt
11:55pm Alan Partridge’s Mid-Morning Matters: Focus On Cycling rpt
12:10am Alan Partridge’s Mid-Morning Matters: Who Does Alan Think He Is? rpt
12:25am The Thick Of It rpt
12:55am Dead Boss rpt
1:25am Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central: With Joe Lycett, Rhys James rpt
1:45am The IT Crowd: Jen The Fredo rpt
2:15am ABC News Update rpt
2:20am ABC TV Plus programs resume at 7.30pm ABC TV Plus programs resume at 7.30pm, offering an unrivalled mix of scripted and non- scripted comedy and entertainment shows every night. (Soundtrack provided by ABC Jazz. Playlist details at abc.net.au/jazz).

Saturday January 2

7:30pm Doctor Who: Revolution Of The Daleks The Doctor is locked away in a high-security alien prison. In the festive special, Yaz, Ryan and Graham are far away on Earth and discover a disturbing plan involving the Daleks. How can you fight a Dalek without the Doctor?
8:30pm Melbourne Comedy Festival: The Gala rpt
10:35pm Would I Lie To You? rpt
11:05pm Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Adam Rippon rpt
11:30pm Mock The Week rpt
12:00am Demetri Martin: Stand Up Comedian rpt

Sunday January 3

7:30pm Spicks And Specks: ’80s Special rpt
8:00pm Compass: Future Now rpt
8:30pm Louis Theroux: Life On The Edge Louis Theroux reflects on 25 years in documentary-making with this candid and fascinating retrospective. Utilising his own home movie footage and news archives, Louis also tracks down some of his most memorable contributors.
9:30pm The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan rpt
10:30pm Catalyst: Skin Clinic rpt
11:30pm Would I Lie To You? rpt
12:00am Movie: The Trip To Spain rpt

Monday January 4

7:30pm Spicks And Specks: Britannia Special rpt
8:00pm Doctor Who: The End Of The World
8:45pm David Attenborough’s Galapagos rpt
9:40pm George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces George visits a couple building a Hobbitesque warren in Bolton. In Kent, Barry wants to recreate a teardrop trailer in the fashion of a tropical boxfish. In Texas, a man who created his 4000 sq foot home under a mountain.
10:30pm Escape From The City: Bellingen NSW: The Phipps rpt
11:30pm Would I Lie To You? rpt
12:00am The Catherine Tate Show rpt

Tuesday January 5

7:30pm Spicks And Specks rpt
8:00pm Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead rpt
8:45pm Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Jeff Davis Aisha Tyler hosts another fun-packed episode of the legendary improv show featuring regulars Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie, along with guest performer Jeff Davis.
9:10pm Rosehaven rpt
9:40pm The IT Crowd: The Final Countdown rpt
10:05pm Frontline: The Shadow We Cast rpt
10:30pm Frontline: One Rule For One rpt
11:00pm Melbourne Comedy Festival: The Gala rpt

Wednesday January 6

7:30pm Spicks And Specks rpt
8:00pm Doctor Who: Aliens Of London rpt
8:45pm David Stratton’s Stories Of Australian Cinema: Game Changers rpt
10:45pm The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan rpt
11:45pm Louis Theroux: Life On The Edge rpt

Thursday January 7

7:30pm Spicks And Specks rpt
8:00pm Doctor Who: World War Three rpt
8:45pm Mock the Week Dara O’Briain and Hugh Dennis front a special edition of the show, featuring unseen material, outtakes and all the usual fun.
9:15pm Would I Lie to You? rpt
9:50pm Penn And Teller: Fool Us: Teller’s Gambling Problem rpt
10:30pm Hard Quiz rpt
11:00pm You Can’t Ask That: Short Statured rpt
11:20pm David Attenborough’s Galapagos rpt

NOTE: Program times may differ in some states if viewing on VAST or Foxtel. More information can be found at ABC Help.

You can download weekly guides here.

13 Responses

  1. There’s still a good focus on comedy. The night closure with splash screen and music is akin to the test pattern days of the past. In the modern era, there shouldn’t be overnight station closures. They could fill that with performing arts or other arts documentaries and programming. ABC ME has some Rage fill-in. I think they didn’t have the resources to program Rage throughout the entire night on ABC ME let alone a standalone Rage channel.

    In the new and upcoming 24 hour society, it will become more important to sustain 24 hour programming. Since COVID there is increased emphasis on the 24h society with networking with foreign time zones. More people are awake and requiring decent TV programming instead of splash screens and home shopping throughout the night.

  2. Spot on Anthony – adding “Plus” to the title makes me think of something “in addition to” e.g. an online service or something interactive (e.g. 7plus), not just another channel where they can dump a hodgepodge of other programming.

    The biggest problem with this channel, regardless of whether it’s “ABC Comedy” or “ABC TV Plus” is the fact they’re sharing it with a kids channel, with adult content not on until 7:30pm. Because of this, they’ve only got a few hours of prime viewing time. It’s basically an overnight dumping ground for anything they don’t want to show on the primary channel, where at least under the “ABC Comedy” moniker you knew exactly what to expect.

    It almost feels like this is a channel where they can broadcast things as a box ticking exercise, while then including the content on iView where people can then stream this at a more convenient time – e…

  3. More spent on the promos than the product.

    ABC Comedy: now with all the shows you tuned in for pushed back to 10pm!
    But – Doctor Who! Doco (rpt)! Friday Movie (rpt of something SBS isn’t showing this month)!
    But you still get Buzzcocks-Lite(rpt) at 7:30 – relax, there’s still no swears and it’s not the reboot (yet).

    Brand New! Innovative! Arts! (rpt)! No rude words before Midnight!

    Oh, and Compass is back in prime time.
    Because voters > viewers. (It’s not Brian Houston, but it’s a start).

    Great job Scotty, I mean Ita.
    It’s Your ABC.

  4. I’m unsure what the marketing’s strategy is here. If I’m watching ABC (which brands itself as ABC tv in commercials to differentiate itself from its radio programming) and see an ad for ABC TV Plus, I’m going to assume that’s a rebranded iview and a program I need to check out online (ala Disney+).
    To curate a broader regular audience ABC Comedy did need a rebrand. I get we’re in the age of Peaches, Bolds, Go’s and Mates, but it’s been long enough that ABC2 would have been a refreshing rebranding choice.

    1. Yeah I get where you’re coming from as 7Plus as well, then again 7Flix doesn’t make me think it’s online because of Netflix and Quickflix, so I don’t know I’ll probably just get used to it.

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