Local docos still draw a crowd

ABC dominated some of the top documentaries airing in 2020.

Screen Australia has released some numbers for the top documentaries it funded in 2020.

Local documentaries remain popular, with the bulk of content commissioned by the public broadcasters.

“Australians continue to be drawn to documentaries that challenge us, provoke debate and educate on issues such as race, climate change and the environment,” said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason.

“Heart-warming series Love on the Spectrum from Northern Pictures reached new audiences with a worldwide Netflix release following its successful debut on ABC in 2019 and has already been commissioned for a new series.”

Series remain the most popular documentary format, however feature documentaries The Australian Dream and Wayne also delivered strong results on broadcast, even after their successful theatrical releases in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

Due to complexities in the definition of documentary, only the top 10 Screen Australia-funded television documentaries are included below.

Position Title Episodes Broadcaster Ratings^
1 Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian 3 ABC 1,026,000


2 Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce 3 ABC 985,000


3 Fight For Planet A 3 ABC 846,000


4 Maralinga Tjarutja 1 ABC 785,000


5 Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story 2 Ten 754,000


6 Big Weather (And How to Survive It) 3 ABC 725,000


7 Revelation 3 ABC 723,000


8 Outback Ringer 10 ABC 646,000 **


9 The Australian Dream 1 ABC 622,000


10 Wayne 1 ABC 572,000


^average audience, metro + regional 28 day.
** As 1 Jan 2021.

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