SBS: summer highlights

Over summer SBS has the final instalment of Vikings, new docos from Untold Australia, and a salute to Aussie TV in 2020, The Last Year of Television.


The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year
Monday, 28 December at 7.55pm Repeat Thursday, 31 December at 9.20pm on SBS VICELAND
A British TV institution since 2004, this end-of-year celebrity panel game is hosted by Jimmy Carr of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown fame. Jimmy invites a celebrity panel of comedians to put their knowledge of the past 12 months to the test. Given the kind of year the world has had in 2020 they will certainly have plenty of material to work with! Play along at home over the Christmas & New Year break.

Untold Australia S5
Tuesday 5 January at 8.30pm
Number of Episodes: 3 x 60min
Untold Australia is a collection of three individual documentaries that go deep inside Australia’s multicultural, multilingual and diverse communities and the incredible stories they hold. The three documentaries are – Stutter School (5 Jan), Birdsville or Bust (12 Jan) and Bowled Over (19 Jan). Airing over three weeks, each documentary explores the life-changing milestones of featured everyday Australians.

A World of Calm
From Friday, 25 December at 7.30pm
Number of Episodes: 10 x 30min
A World of Calm is an HBO slow TV experience, where audiences step into a world designed to unwind and relax. The series is a compilation of breathtaking visuals combined with evocative narration by an array of A-listers including Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Mahershala Ali, Nicole Kidman, Lucy Lui and Keanu Reeves. A World of Calm is a timely antidote to modern life, the half-hour episodes providing an immersive visual journey to another world. Each episode transcends viewers, presenting outstanding imagery of the natural world.

World on Fire
Thursday, 7 January at 8.30pm
Number of Episodes: 7 x 60min
Set in 1939, World on Fire is a gripping drama series that takes viewers across the first year of World War II, The story follows Harry (Jonah Hauer-King) a translator working in the British Embassy in Warsaw, as he falls in love with Polish waitress Kasia (Zofia Wichlacz). As the Nazi threat spreads across Europe, Kasia must choose between love and fighting for her country, Harry must find his place in the world, and Lois seizes new opportunities the war throws up.

Vienna Blood
Friday, 1 January
Number of Episodes: 6 x 1hr
Set in 1900s Vienna and starring Australian actress Jessica De Gouw (The Secrets She Keeps, The Hunting) and Matthew Beard (The Imitation Game), Vienna Blood follows Max Liebermann, a brilliant young English student of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. When Max encounters Oskar Rheinhardt, a Detective Inspector struggling with a strange case, he agrees to help him investigate a series of unusual and disturbing murders. Max’s extraordinary skills of perception and forensics, and his deep understanding of human behaviour and deviance, lead them to them solving some of Vienna’s most mysterious and deadly cases.

Vikings S6B
January 2021
Number of Episodes: 10 x 1hr
The final instalment of this epic saga begins as Ubbe learns the truth about Kjetill. Meanwhile, back in Norway, the battle against the Rus has had grave consequences. Reinforcements are on the horizon, and Bjorn has an idea that may yet turn the tide.

La Unidad
Saturday, 14 January
Number of Episodes: 6 x 1 hr Languages: Spanish & French
Based on the real experiences of counterterrorism professionals, espionage thriller La Unidad follows the members of a police unit – led by commissioner Carla Torres (Nathalie Poza) – and their fight against jihadist terrorism. When the most wanted terrorist leader is captured in Spain, it turns the country into a target. For Carla and her team, they face the insurmountable task of stopping an impending attack, whilst also trying to resolve conflicts in their personal lives that their job has, in part, stolen from them.


The Last Year of Television
Wednesday, 23 December at 8.30pm
With the world a little bit broken and on fire in 2020, who’s been keeping tabs on Australian television? Mitch McTaggart has. Join him for The Last Year of Television for a delightfully cynical romp through everything that happened on Australian television in 2020 – the good, the bad and the cringe. Nothing is off limits in this sharp year-in-review. Who cut out an on-screen kiss and then fibbed about it? How many dog anuses are permitted in a 7.30 timeslot? Why is Pete Evans? Say farewell to 2020 in style. If it happened on Australian television this year, you’ll see it here.

Football, Prince William And Our Mental Health
Thursday, 7 January at 9.20pm
Why do some men struggle to talk about their emotions? Prince William wants to change the attitudes around mental health in Britain. Motivated by the high rates of suicide in young men in the United Kingdom, William wants to use football as a way to get men talking and to break the taboo that surrounds mental health. The documentary follows William as he meets players and fans from grassroots to the elite of the game and openly discusses their mental health challenges. As well as campaigning to change attitudes today, William explores aspects of British history that have helped create the culture of silence around this issue.

Taskmaster S5
Monday, 11 January at 8.30pm
Number of Episodes: 12 x 1hr
Taskmaster Greg Davies and live-in PA Alex Horne return for a fifth series, dragging with them a quintet of brave yet understandably terrified comedians: Aisling Bea, Bob Mortimer, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar and Sally Phillips. Once more Greg has set them a spiky thicket of tricky tasks designed to encourage genius, but which can also result in hapless humiliation. They’ll be asked to costume coconuts, make Marmite and create cuddles as they fight each other for the world’s premier prize: Greg’s golden head, impaled on a plinth.

SBS World Movies

Weekends at 8:30pm

Saturday, 5 December – Vox Lux
Celeste (Natalie Portman) finds herself on the comeback trail when a scandal, personal struggles, and the pitfalls of fame threaten her career.

Sunday, 6 December – Apocalypto
As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, a young man is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression in this epic film nominated for three Academy Awards.

Saturday, 12 December – The Kindergarten Teacher
A kindergarten teacher (Maggie Gyllenhaal) becomes obsessed with one of her students whom she believes is a child prodigy.

Sunday, 13 December – Incendies
The story of twins who journey to the Middle East to discover their family history and fulfil their mother’s last wishes.

Saturday, 19 December – Little Miss Sunshine
When seven-year-old Olive voices her desire to win the coveted Little Miss Sunshine crown at an upcoming beauty pageant, her wildly dysfunctional family sets out on an interstate road trip. Stars Toni Collette and Abigail Breslin.

Sunday, 20 December – Wild Tales
Made up of six stories, Wild Tales is an entertaining and jaw-dropping Argentinian film about people crossing the line into madness when faced with perceived injustice.

Saturday, 26 December – Lost in Translation
Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson star in this flat-out hilarious film about two Americans who develop a surprising friendship while venturing through Tokyo.

Sunday, 27 December – Lust, Caution
An espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai, a young woman gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with a powerful political figure. Directed by Ang Lee.


Food programming 

Adam Liaw’s Road Trip for Good
Wednesday, 2 December at 8.30pm
Number of Episodes: 4 x 30min
Small towns are at the heart of regional Australian life. At the beginning of 2020 the worst bushfires Australia had seen in a century devastated many of these areas, but now they are recovering and rebuilding. Adam Liaw is on the road to visit some of the most beautiful parts of the country as they spring back to life, to the source of some of the best food Australia has to offer. Adam visits towns and regions affected by the recent Australian bushfires. He meets with locals and discovers that these resilient communities are ready to welcome visitors back with open arms. After collecting local ingredients to bring back to his kitchen, he prepares a simple Asian dish from the produce he’s collected.

Weekend Breaks with Gregg Wallace
Thursday, 17 December at 7.30pm
Number of Episodes: 5 x 60min
Wallace is taking us on a culinary tour of some of Europe’s best cities for the perfect weekend break. In this first season, Wallace travels to the celebrated cities of Rome, Barcelona, Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam to experience and share their delicacies. Being a MasterChef judge, a chef and a foodie himself, Gregg explores the fantastic food and cooks with locals, showing the amazing traditions and spectacular sights of these cities, while hunting out top tips for places to eat, hidden gems to visit and local customs to sample. Wallace’s straightforward, no nonsense approach leads him on hidden paths less travelled, discovering secret gems across the cities, engaging in fascinating conversations with locals and experiencing daring local traits.

Asia Unplated with Diana Chan S2
Thursday, 28 January at 8.00pm
Number of Episodes: 10 x 30min
Diana’s Cooking style has been described as modern, authentic, fascinating and true, which really does describe her whole persona fantastically well. In Asia Unplated Season 2, we continue to get to know Diana, what makes her tick and how to fuse different cuisines and styles. Asia Unplated is an authentic, organic series which contains all the elements you expect from a high-end food show. In Season 1, which premiere on SBS Food in December 2019, more than half a million people and counting have enjoyed Diana’s recipes and her amazing guests from around the region.


Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records
Wednesday, 9 December at 8.30pm on NITV
The legendary London record label Trojan Records played a leading role in the musical conquest of Great Britain by Jamaican music styles like Ska, Reggae, and Rocksteady. In his elaborate documentary, Nicolas Davies revives this almost forgotten story, a story about the inspiring encounter between British working-class youth and Jamaican subculture, about the breaking down of social and cultural barriers, and the economic success of Caribbean immigrants. Davies presents extensive archival material alongside re-enactments and entertaining interviews with protagonists of this subcultural revolution including Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Toots Hibbert, Ken Boothe, Neville Staple, Marcia Griffiths, Dave Barker, Dandy Livingstone, Lloyd Coxsone, Pauline Black, Derrick Morgan and many others. Reggae becomes the soundtrack of a transforming society without which the existence of Hip-Hop or today’s club culture are hard to imagine.

Homeland Story
Sunday, 17 January at 8.35pm on NITV
An intimate portrait of Donydi, a remote, traditional Indigenous Homeland in North-East Arnhem Land in the far North of Australia. This 90-minute film charts the community’s transition from nomadic life to the digital age, from the 1960’s to the present day. Homeland Story documents their struggle to overcome corrosive government policy and mining interests and the fight to remain on their ancestral land.

Going Places with Ernie Dingo S4
Sunday, 31 January at 8.30pm
Number of episodes: 12 x 60min
Australian television legend Ernie Dingo is back for another season of Going Places with Ernie Dingo. The new season follows Ernie as he explores the most beautiful destinations that Australia has to offer, one place at a time.

Festive programming

Wonderful World of Chocolate at Christmas
Friday, 18 December at 8.30pm on SBS
Chocolatiers Emma and Mark Baravelli take viewers on an exclusive trip inside Bailey’s Chocolate factory, revealing the process behind their Christmassy sweets, to a near life- size Santa for Cardiff Castle’s Victorian Christmas, to the latest chocolate treats in Fortnum’s new confectionary department.

Gordon’s Ultimate Christmas
Saturday, 19 December at 4.30pm on SBS Food
2 x 1 hr episodes played back-to-back
This is Gordon Ramsay’s most instructional food series yet. These two recipe-packed
shows show Gordon at home with his family, teaching viewers how to prepare his favourite festive recipes: wonderful dishes that handsomely reward the time and effort you put into them. Gordon will share a lifetime of chef’s secrets – learned from over twenty years in professional kitchens – and explain how they translate to the home so you can cook the perfect food over Christmas, without breaking the bank or getting so stressed you can’t enjoy it.

Jamie’s Easy Christmas Countdown
Sunday, 20 December at 5.30pm on SBS Food
In this festive special, the countdown to Christmas is made easy with Jamie’s foolproof masterplan. If you follow what he does – dish by dish, plate by plate, step by step – he reckons this Christmas dinner will be your best one ever. He guides us through all the dishes that can be made in advance, giving you more time to spend with the ones you love on the big day.

Inside Harrods at Christmas
Monday, 21 December at 8.40pm on SBS
Harrods is the world’s most famous department store, offering some of the most expensive – and unusual – items ever sold. No wonder it’s the place where the rich and famous go to shop at Christmas. Inside Harrods at Christmas reveals the amazing origins of this London emporium, and explains how it claimed its place at the very heart of the festive season.

Inside Aldi at Christmas
Tuesday, 22 December at 8.35pm on SBS
For many British shoppers, this Christmas won’t be complete without a trip to cut-price supermarket Aldi. The German discounter has become a favourite retail destination, serving up everything from luxury mince pies to copycat campers. Inside Aldi at Christmas reveals the secrets behind its success – how it rose from a grocery chain that once baffled its UK customers, to a brand that took almost £1bn in December 2018, enjoying its busiest week ever.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Thursday, 24 December at 8.30pm on NITV
This darkly hilarious Christmas tale follows the capture of Santa during an archaeological dig in the depths of Finland’s mountains. But this is a murderous Santa, and his psychotic elves are determined to free him.

The Joy of Painting With Bob Ross **Marathon**
Friday, 25 December from 12.00pm on SBS VICELAND
From 12pm on December 25th SBS VICELAND is throwing a TV stunt, with back-to-back running episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross to help you celebrate Christmas Day. Following the marathon will be the documentary Bob Ross: The Happy Painter

Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas
Friday, 25 December at 7.30pm on NITV
Based on a book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, and marking the first-time puppets were radio controlled, this Christmas story is about Ma and Emmet Otter – a family that has little more than each other. When a talent show is held in town, a fifty-dollar prize gives them each hope of buying the other a real present this year.

Almost Christmas
Friday, 25 December at 8.30pm on NITV
Almost Christmas is the offbeat story of two French Canadians who travel to NYC under unusual circumstances during the holiday season. Though they fail in their attempts to make money selling Christmas trees on the streets of Brooklyn, they discover much about themselves in the process.


  1. The Last Year Of Television (2019) was a Channel 31 production. Very pleased to see the idea has been picked up by SBS for 2020. Further evidence that we need community TV to bring new talent to the mainstream.

  2. I will look forward to seeing Vikings. I don’t watch many heavy dramas these days (Wentworth being the only other. I have all of season 5 waiting on the iQ). But somehow I have always been drawn to Vikings, from the start.

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