Top 10 local drama series in 2020

Mystery Road was the highest rating local drama in 2020.

Mystery Road was the highest rating local drama in 2020 according to Screen Australia.

It was followed by Informer 3838, Home & Away and Halifax: Retribution.

Position Title Episodes Broadcaster Ratings^
1 Mystery Road S2* 6 ABC 1,200,000


2 Informer 3838 2 Nine 1,089,000


3 Home and Away 206 Seven 1,012,000 **


4 Halifax: Retribution * 8 Nine 999,000


5 Doctor Doctor series 4 10 Nine 956,000


6 Operation Buffalo * 6 ABC 895,000


7 Rosehaven series 4 8 ABC 893,000


8 Stateless * 6 ABC 791,000


9 The Secrets She Keeps * 6 Ten 711,000


10 How to Stay Married series 2 * 8 Ten 596,000


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

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “The quality of Australian television drama in 2020 was world class and should be celebrated. It’s no accident that Stateless and the second series of Mystery Road were selected to make their world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. Our television content continues to punch above its weight and resonate with audiences here and around the world.”

The Secrets She Keeps secured a prime time premiere on flagship channel BBC1 and was the sixth most watched series on BBCiplayer. Stateless reached a worldwide audience on Netflix following its successful premiere on ABC in Australia, and The New York Times included the second series of Mystery Road, which screened on Acorn in the US, in their top 20 Best International Shows of the year. The Chinese adaptation of ABC series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries created by Every Cloud Productions screened across Southeast Asia.”

Four of the top 10 Australian dramas in 2020 were broadcast on the ABC, with all the commercial free to air broadcasters also represented amongst the most popular shows.

Catch up remains an increasingly popular option for audiences and needs to be factored in when considering the reach of local content. Episodes of Stateless recorded between 125,000 and 181,000 views on iview while Mystery Road series 2 had 159,000 to 209,000 views. SBS documentary Addicted Australia attracted a significant online audience also, capturing 81,000 to 137,000 views across four episodes via SBS On Demand.

“It would be remiss of me to speak to the success of our local television content without talking about our favourite Blue Heeler Bluey, whose popularity continues to grow here in Australia and all over the world with the series reaching more than 110 territories including the US, UK and China. It remains the most watched show on ABC iview.”

The second series of Bluey had 177 million program plays and achieved a Video Player Measurement (VPM) average audience of 2.8 million in 2020. It is currently the highest rated series ever on ABC iview, with the first series only just behind with 2.75 million. The first release episodes of the second series achieved a broadcast average audience of 505,000 at 8am and 1.6 million at 6.20pm on ABC Kids. The first series of Bluey won an International Emmy Award for best preschool program in March 2020.

Created by Ludo Studios in Brisbane, Bluey is one of many success stories for children’s content in 2020. Another is the Northern Pictures-produced ABC children’s series Hardball, which won an International Emmy Kids Awards in the category Kids: Live-Action Emmy in October. Hardball’s lively story of Mikey and his dream to become the best handball champ in Western Sydney also won the Prix Jeunesse International Award for best fiction program for 7 to 10-year-olds and the Rockie Award for the Best Children & Youth Fiction Series at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada in June 2020.

Ground-breaking ABC Me children’s series First Day won the prestigious Rose d’Or Award, which celebrates screen excellence and achievement from around the world. Produced by Epic Films, the series won the Children and Youth Award for its powerful story about a transgender girl starting high school and finding the courage to live as her most authentic self. Written and directed by Julie Kalceff, the series sold to BBC and will screen on CBBC in the UK.

7 Responses

  1. I enjoyed the book and series, The Secret She Keeps. But I recall from your posts it did not rate well on Channel 10. I think it unlikely Channel 10 will commission new dramas as a result.

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