Upfronts 2022: ABC

ABC is turning 90 next year with a slew of local dramas, Mardi Gras, Old People's Home for Teenagers -and a Pistol & Boo musical!

  • ABC turns 90
  • New Dramas: Barons, Mystery Road: Origin, Savage River, Significant Others, Troppo.
  • New Comedy: Summer Love, Stories from Oz.
  • New Factual: Muster Dogs, Brett Whiteley, Julian Assange, Israel Folau, Southern Ocean Live.
  • Returning: Home Delivery, Old People’s Home, Back in Time, Miriam Margolyes.
  • Plus Mardi Gras 2022.


In 2022 ABC marks its 90th birthday and today it unveiled a huge showcase of local titles to tantalise audiences.

ABC leads the way in local drama with 5 new series including Mystery Road: Origin with Mark Coles-Smith, surf drama Barons starring Sean Keenan, Jillian Nguyen & Ben O’Toole, murder mystery Savage River with Katherine Langford, a new psychological drama Significant Others, Troppo with US star Thomas Jane -plus feature film Here Out West.

Michael CarringtonABC Director Entertainment & Specialist, told TV Tonight, “It’s incredible that we’re able to produce anything for next year, given COVID shutdown, and border closures. So I’m really proud of not only ABC people but also the independent sector in being able to deliver this fantastic slate for next year.

“Drama is ever-important to us. Our audiences love it. It’s helping us absolutely transition audiences from ABC TV to ABC iview. We’ve been the number one BVOD service consistently over the last two or three months. So our strategy of high-end, great Australian stories and bringing narrative drama to audiences is really paying off.”

He says of Mark Coles-Smith in Mystery Road: Origin, “His take on Jay Swan, pre-detective era, is really fantastic. You can absolutely see Aaron (Pedersen) kind of emitting from his performance,” and notes that Barons will “get hippies back on screen!”

There are two new comedy titles, anthology Summer Love by Robyn Butler & Wayne Hope, and the cheeky musical / factual hybrid Stories from Oz which puts true stories to song including Schapelle Corby, Tampa affair, Princess Mary and Barnaby Joyce vs Pistol & Boo.

“You should have been in the room when they pitched that one to me. It’s just completely bonkers. It’s an all-singing, all-dancing fresh take on how to tell a factual story. I was completely flummoxed by it. But as they took me through the plans, I just fell in love with it.”

Julia Zemiro returns for her final season of Home Delivery, while the Ferrone family take on Back in Time for the Corner Shop. ABC also looks to Old People’s Home for Teenagers and more Miriam Margolyes in 2022. Tony Armstrong gets his own series, A Dog’s World and Jimmy Rees fronts Tiny Oz.

“I’m so thrilled that Julia has agreed to do one more series. She’s so fantastic as a presenter and facilitator of stories. She gets the best out of the people that she’s interviewing,” says Carrington, who is also looking forward to a return from Miriam Margolyes. 

“I love her frankness. She obviously loves Australia -she lives here as much as she can but has been locked out because of COVID. She’s really looking forward to coming back and looking at the ‘fair go.'”

There are documentaries around Brett Whitely, Julian Assange, figure skater Harley Windsor but also, controversially, Israel Folau. That’s despite ABC returning to a live Mardi Gras broadcast.

ABC confirms Q+A for Thursdays with hosts Stan Grant, David Speers & Virginia Trioli, and the return of Mad as Hell, Aftertaste, Fisk, Hard Quiz, The Weekly and more.

Amongst titles not mentioned is Gruen, but Carrington assures, “Gruen will be back. We’ve just got to find a way of doing it.”

For those awaiting more news on scripted titles The Newsreader, Harrow, Total Control, Frayed, Superwog, ABC advises it’s too early to advise.

But not returning in ’22 is Anh’s Brush with Fame.

Anh’s Brush With Fame is a much loved show for our audiences and Anh is a highly valued ABC host. His other commitments mean he wont be on screen next year but we hope to have Anh back with us in 2023,” an ABC spokesperson confirms.



Mystery Road: Origin
It’s 1999, and Constable Jay Swan, a charismatic young officer arrives at his new station. Fresh from the city and tipped for big things, Jay might be the new copper, but he’s not new to this town. His estranged father Jack lives here, as does the woman who will change his life forever, Mary. Mystery Road: Origin will explore how a tragic death, an epic love, and the brutal reality of life as a police officer straddling two worlds, form the indelible mould out of which will emerge, Detective Jay Swan. Proud Nyikina man Mark Coles Smith plays Young Jay leading a stellar cast including Toby Leonard Moore, Daniel Henshall, Lisa Flanagan, Clarence Ryan, Steve Bisley, Caroline Brazier, Hayley McElhinney, Dubs Yunupingu, Kelton Pell, Leonie Whyman, Salme Geransar, Nina Young and rising stars Jayden Popik, Grace Chow and Tuuli Narkle as Jay’s first love Mary.
Mystery Road: Origin is written by Blake Ayshford, Steven McGregor, Kodie Bedford, Timothy Lee. Directed by Dylan River. Produced by Greer Simpkin, David Jowsey and Penny Smallacombe. Executive Producers Ivan Sen and Blake Ayshford. ABC Executive Producers Sally Riley and Andrew Gregory. Produced by Bunya Productions for the ABC, with major production investment from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department in association with Screen West and the Western Australian Screen Fund supported through the State Government of WA’s Royalties for Regions program. Financed in association with Screen NSW. All3Media International are handling international sales.

Featuring a fantastic ensemble cast, dominated by Australia’s hottest young talent, including; Sean Keenan, Jillian Nguyen, Ben O’Toole, Hunter Page-Lochard, Sophia Forrest, George Pullar, Lincoln Younes and Vivenne Awosoga. Barons tells the story of a surf-crazed group of hippy friends who turn their backs on the world in search of their ideal patch of surfing paradise. Little do they know that their desire for ultimate freedom and the perfect wave will take them from the beach to the boardroom, creating billion-dollar empires. But in selling their surfing dream to the world, these best friends will become fierce rivals and the question for this found family is – once you sell paradise can you ever get it back again? Set in the 1970s hedonistic world of surfing and the cutthroat culture of entrepreneurship, Barons sense of adventure, fun and infinite possibilities, will appeal to both young and young at heart audiences.
2 Jons, Micanical Media and Fremantle production for ABC with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Created by Michael Lawrence, John Molloy, Liz Doran. Written by Liz Doran, Matt Cameron, Marieke Hardy. Produced by John Molloy, Michael Lawrence. Producer Justin Davies. Executive Producers: Chris Oliver-Taylor, Nick Cook, Taylor Steele, Liz Doran, Jon Adgemis, Michael Gudinski. ABC Executive Producers: Brett Sleigh and Rebecca Anderson. International distribution by Fremantle.

Savage River
Set in regional Victoria and starring Katherine Langford, the compelling six-part series Savage River is an intriguing murder mystery. When Miki Anderson returns to her hometown in rural Victoria after 8 years in prison, she’s determined to finally move on with her life. But the close-knit community of Savage River is not about to let her forget the past that easily. When a murder rocks the town, Miki immediately becomes the focus of everyone’s suspicion. With the police closing in, she sets out to prove her innocence, uncovering long- buried secrets that will cast doubt on everything she thought she knew.
An Aquarius Films Production. Major principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Film Victoria. Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse. Producers Angie Fielder & Polly Staniford. Executive Producer Miranda Culley. ABC Executive Producer Rebecca Anderson. Written by Giula Sandler, Belinda Bradley and Franz Docherty. International Distribution by Dynamic Television.

Significant Others
Catastrophe strikes on a morning swim. Sarah, the single mother of two teenagers, vanishes beneath the waves. The mystery of her disappearance is the catalyst that hurls her fractured family back together. At first her siblings, Ursula, Den and Claire, fear their shambolic sister’s vanishing could be her latest stunt. They arrive to discover she has bulldozed half the house. Problem is: it’s their house too. A house full of childhood laughter and haunted memories that start to unravel as they embark on life in the rubble, attempting to parent two kids who are desperately hoping their mum will return. The family rages against the purgatory of not knowing their loved-one’s fate. Was Sarah drawing up plans for a bright future – or trying to erase a troubled past? There are doors this family never opens but now they must. A story as funny as it is tragic, Significant Others is a searing account of how five disparate souls put the pieces back together after shock loss. This electrifying six-part psychological drama is created by Tommy Murphy for the ABC.
A Fremantle Production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC and financed with support from Screen NSW. Created by Tommy Murphy. Produced by Matt Reeder. Executive Producers: Chris Oliver-Taylor and Justin Davies. ABC Executive Producers: Louise Smith and Sally Riley. Distribution by Fremantle International.

Set in the wilds of Far North Queensland, Troppo is the story of disgraced ex-cop Ted Conkaffey (Thomas Jane) who is begrudgingly recruited by Amanda Pharrell (Nicole Chamoun) – an eccentric private investigator with a disturbing criminal past – to investigate what emerges to be the murder of a brilliant tech pioneer. As they battle to uncover the truth amid the tightly held secrets of Crimson Lake, their own traumatic pasts are dragged painfully into the present – tearing them apart, as each of them faces their own fight for sanity and indeed survival.
Inspired by Candice Fox’s bestselling novel Crimson Lake, Troppo is an EQ Media Group, Beyond Entertainment and AGC Television production in association with Aperture Media Partners and Renegade Entertainment, with major production financing from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Screen Australia in association with Screen Queensland and with support from the City of Gold Coast. Creator Yolanda Ramke. Producer Lisa Duff. Series Producer Karl Zwicky. Executive Producers: Greg Quail, Lisa Duff, Simonne Overend (EQ Media Group); Mikael Borglund and David Ogilvy (Beyond Entertainment); Stuart Ford and Lourdes Diaz and co-EP Matt Bankston (AGC Studios); Thomas Jane and Courtney Lauren Penn (Renegade Entertainment) and Yolanda Ramke. ABC Executive Producers: Sally Riley and Andrew Gregory. ABC Deputy Head of Scripted Production Alex Baldwin. International distribution by AGC Television. In the U.S.A, Troppo will exclusively air on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.

Here Out West
Feature film (90 minutes)
A baby is kidnapped from a western Sydney hospital by a desperate grandmother. Her flight sets off a chain of events that brings together complete strangers over the course of one dramatic day. Here Out West is set in the buzzing and ever-changing melting pot of Western Sydney. It is an anthology feature film consisting of eight distinct yet interconnected stories, written by eight of Australia’s brightest new writers – Nisrine Amine, Bina Bhattacharya, Matias Bolla, Claire Cao, Arka Das, Dee Dogan, Vonne Patiag, Tien Tran. Here Out West is directed By Fadia Abboud, Lucy Gaffy, Julie Kalceff, Ana Kokkinos and Leah Purcell and stars Geneviéve Lemon, De Lovan Zandy, Arka Das, Rahel Romahn, Leah Vandenberg, Christine Milo, Khoi Trinh, Christian Ravello and Jing-Xuan Chan.
A Co-Curious & Emerald Productions. Film. Major production investment from Screen Australia with Screen NSW and finance support from the ABC and Spectrum Films. Produced by Annabel Davis, Sheila Jayadev, Bree-Anne Sykes. Executive Producers: Blake Ayshford, Lyn Norfor and S. Shakthidharan.



Comedy & Entertainment

Summer Love
Summer Love is an anthology series which sees eight very different sets of people rent the same beachside holiday house. Eight different writing teams bring eight different stories to life, each connected through the house and through the theme of love. Summer Love captures the collision between the dreamy enchantment of the beach and the clumsy reality of humans on holiday. It explores the anonymity, the possibility, and the escape that we all feel, alongside the ever-present threat of sand in the sheets.
A Gristmill Production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia and Kinetic Content in association with the ABC and financed with support from Film Victoria. Created and Produced by Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope. Written by: Kodie Bedford & Bjorn Stewart; Alison Bell; Patrick Brammall & Harriet Dyer; Robyn Butler & Wayne Hope; Nazeem Hussain; Kate Mulvany; Miranda Tapsell & James Colley; Nath Valvo & Jayden Masciulli. Associate Producer Louisa Kors. Executive Producers: Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope and Greg Sitch. Kinetic Content Executive Producers: Chris Coelen and Melissa Myers. ABC Executive Producer Todd Abbott.

Stories from Oz
Stories From Oz is an irreverent comedy documentary series where six of Australia’s most defining stories are retold as musicals. Written by The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen, and performed by an ensemble cast of dazzling triple-threats, this 6-part extravaganza breathes new life into some of the country’s most colourful stories, by giving them the full musical treatment they’ve always deserved. Produced by acclaimed comedy production house Princess Pictures, the series ingeniously swings between interviews with the real-life players and musical numbers that give Taylor and Hansen full rein to put their trademark satirical spin on the material. The stories receiving the full razzle-dazzle makeover are: the saga of Schapelle Corby, the unlikely triumph of Steven Bradbury, the political showdown of the Tampa affair, Melbourne’s cursed Ferris wheel, the fairy- tale of the young Tasmanian woman Mary Donaldson, and the international meltdown caused by Barnaby Joyce when he threatened to euthanise Johnny Depp’s pet dogs, Pistol and Boo. Billed as the world’s first documentary you can dance to, Stories From Oz is proof positive that some stories are so extraordinary that it’s not enough to simply tell them. You have to sing them as well.
A Princess Pictures production for the ABC in association with Film Victoria. Executive Producers Laura Waters and Emma Fitzsimons, Executive Producers and Writers Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen, Producer Julie Eckersley, Director Max Miller, ABC Executive Producers Rachel Millar and Nicholas Hayden.

Factual & Arts

A Dog’s World
Dogs were the first animal ever domesticated and this long-shared history has intertwined their biology with our own in ways we are only just beginning to understand. Join ABC’s Tony Armstrong, as he presents A Dog’s World, a three-part series that seeks to understand our ever-evolving relationship with dogs. Through genetics, neuroscience, behavioural and physiological research we uncover the mounting evidence on what makes dogs unique among animals and an unparalleled companion for humans. The series uncovers fresh insights into the human-dog relationship, that will have us looking at our pooches in new ways.
A Wildbear Entertainment Production. Series Writer Roslyn Lawrence. Series Director Emma Watts. Executive Producers: Kate Pappas, Alan Erson. ABC Executive Producer Leo Faber.

A League of their Own
A League of Her Own follows the Queensland Maroons women’s team as they strive to achieve the extraordinary in one of the most physically demanding professional sports in Australia – rugby league. But there is more to it than just the game – these elite athletes are also juggling family and careers as well as fighting for equal pay. And they have one chance to show they have something worth backing. Featuring actuality, behind the scenes footage, intimate interviews and a rich array of archive, this documentary chronicles the team’s journey to the 2021 Women’s State of Origin. Stars Tahnee Norris, Karina Brown, Ali Brigginshaw.
A WildBear Entertainment production for the ABC, with Principal Development and Investment from Screen Queensland and financed with support from the ABC. Directed by Tani Crotty. Producer Veronica Fury. ABC Commissioning Editor Rachel Robinson.

Back in Time for the Corner Shop
Hosted by Annabel Crabb this much-loved living-history series returns. This time with a twist, rewinding the beloved Ferrone family back in time to live through over 100 years of running a family-owned corner shop. An institution for millions of Australians the humble corner shop was more than just a place to buy essential daily needs and tasty treats it was once at the heart of our community. From meat pies to milkshakes, from salami to dim sims, from fads to frozen foods, this series will go beyond the family home into our neighbourhoods to tell the story of a changing Australia.
Produced by Warner Bros. International Television Production for the ABC. Warner Bros. Head of Entertainment Caroline Swift. ABC Factual Manager Julie Hanna. ABC Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Carbon: The Unauthorised Biography
This is the ultimate story of Carbon, the most talked about but least understood element on earth. Carbon in nature, industry, culture, war and love. Carbon’s story is an epic journey from the death of a star to the birth of the modern world, towards an understanding of today’s most vital issues: energy, climate and survival. Told through intimate testimonials from those who know Carbon deeply, we also hear Carbon’s story in her own words. As if unearthed from an ancient archive. Carbon finally has a voice. Narrated in first person by Sarah Snook, Carbon tells of her birth in the violent core of an exploding star billions of years ago and of turbulent sagas through the fabric of our evolving Earth. With breathless exhilaration she uncovers that she is key to unlocking the evolution of all life forms, including us. Carbon’s story reminds us that we are deeply connected with our planet. She reminds us of the profound beauty of the natural world and of our fleeting and humble participation in the most extraordinary story in the universe.
A Genepool Productions and Handful of Films Production with principal Australian production investment from the ABC and Screen Australia in association with Film Victoria, CBC, Arte France, Umbrella Entertainment and TVF. Executive Producers Sonya Pemberton, Niobe Thompson, Ari Harrison. Producers Sonya Pemberton, Lucy Maclaren, Niobe Thompson. Directors Daniella Ortega and Niobe Thompson. Writer Daniella Ortega. ABC Manager Documentaries Stephen Oliver. ABC Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Harley & Katya
Indigenous Australian figure skater Harley Windsor was the poster boy for the Australian Winter Olympic Team. Paired with Russian skater Katya Alexandrovskaya, this unlikely duo achieved unprecedented success on the ice before meeting with great tragedy. Now Harley is alone in Moscow, contemplating his future. We retrace his steps to uncover the dark side of elite sport. How far are we willing to go in the pursuit of Olympic glory?
A feature documentary from Blayke Hoffman and Stranger Than Fiction for the ABC, with principal production investment and development funding from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW. Written and Directed by Selina Miles. Producers: Blayke Hoffman, Jo-anne McGowan, Aaliyah-Jade Bradbury. Executive Producer Jennifer Peedom. ABC Commissioning Editor: Rachael Robinson.

Israel Folau
This documentary is about Australia’s most gifted and controversial athlete, and how a social media post landed him at the heart of our culture wars, derailing campaigns and careers in the process. A homophobic bigot to some, a persecuted freedom warrior to others, this is the first time Israel Folau’s story is examined in all its multilayered complexity.
An In Films production for the ABC. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Developed with support from the Screen NSW Slate Development Fund. Director Nel Minchin. Producer Ivan O’Mahoney. ABC Commissioning Editor Jo Chichester.

Ithaka: A Fight to Free Julian Assange
Filmed over two years across the UK, Europe and the US, this documentary follows 76-year-old retired builder, John Shipton’s tireless campaign to save his son, Julian Assange. The world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over freedom of journalism, government corruption and unpunished war crimes. Now facing a 175-year sentence if extradited to the US, the family are confronting the prospect of losing Julian forever to the US justice system. This David-and-Goliath struggle is personal. With Julian’s health declining in a British maximum-security prison and American government prosecutors attempting to extradite him to face trial in the US, the clock is ticking. Weaving historic archive and intimate behind-the-scenes footage, this story tracks John’s journey alongside Julian’s fiancée, Stella Moris as they join forces to advocate for Assange. We witness John embark on a European odyssey to rally a global network of supporters, advocate to politicians and cautiously step into the media’s glare – where he is forced to confront events that made Julian Assange a global flashpoint.
A Shipton House Production. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with Film Victoria. Written and Directed by Ben Lawrence. Produced by Gabriel Shipton and Adrian Devant. Executive Producer Roger Savage. Original Music by Brian Eno. ABC Manager of Documentary Stephen Oliver. Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Meet the Penguins
In this one-hour natural history film, Dr Ann Jones takes us to meet the world’s smallest penguins, living on the southern coastline of Australia. From the world’s most famous penguin parade on Phillip Island to the penguins lives in the city suburb of St Kilda, we meet key characters who over the next six months will attempt to complete their mission: to stake their territory, partner up and raise their chicks. Warm, surprising, revelatory and uplifting, Meet the Penguins shows us that whilst the Little Penguins may be the world’s smallest penguin, they might just be the toughest too!
A Northern Pictures production in association with the ABC. Financed with the assistance of Screen NSW, Film Victoria and Screen Australia. Executive Producer Karina Holden. Line Producer Anna Mantzoros. Senior Production Supervisor Kate Bailey. ABC Manager of Documentary Stephen Oliver. Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Miriam Margolyes: Australia Unmasked
The very funny, very naughty Miriam Margolyes is finally out of lockdown and heading back home to Australia. She’s once again packing up the campervan and striking out on the road in search of answers. Over three episodes, Miriam seeks to understand what the “fair go” means in Australia today, and how it is playing out in the diverse lives of her fellow citizens. Covid has exposed fault-lines – including in Miriam’s own understanding of her place in the world. She was about to come home, when first bushfires and then the pandemic, turned everything on its head. Like thousands of fellow Australians stuck overseas, she’s been yearning to return. But what is she returning to? From the outlaws to the Establishment, millennials to boomers, Miriam immerses herself in lives rarely seen on our screen. Now eighty, more fragile but more fearless, Miriam takes a deep dive into Australia behind the mask.
A Southern Pictures Production with principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Series Director Ash Davies. Series Producer Bethan Arwyn. Executive Producer Laurie Critchley. ABC Executive Producer Leo Faber.

Muster Dogs
Spanning the red earth of the Top End to the green pastures of regional Victoria, Muster Dogs is a 4×1 hour character-driven series featuring five graziers from across Australia, each of whom has been given a Kelpie puppy from the same litter to train up to be a muster dog. Checking in with the puppies at key milestones, our training gurus and mustering experts will set challenges and assess the pups’ progress. Our journey to train these uniquely Australian dogs is an emotional ride into the farmers’ lives and a deeper understanding of the unique bond between human and dog.
An Ambience Entertainment production for the ABC with production investment from Screen Queensland and financed with support from the ABC. Original Concept by Michael Boughen. Series Director Monica O’Brien. Directors: Michael Boughen, Sally Browning and David Wallace. Producers: Monica O’Brien and Michael Boughen. Co-producer John Unwin. ABC Executive Producer Rachel Robinson. ABC Manager, Screen Jo Chichester. International Distributor ABC Commercial.

Ningaloo with Tim Winton
Celebrated author Tim Winton takes us on a lyrical and passionate exploration of Ningaloo, on Australia’s North West Cape – a haven for unique and endangered species and one of the last pristine suite of ecosystems on the planet. A remote and ‘living ark’ of biodiversity where the forces of nature are still the most powerful shaping influence. Ningaloo has been a long-time inspiration for Tim’s life and his work, and on this very personal journey he seeks to learn more about how this unique place came to be, how its local and global connections combine to create such a rare island of biodiversity as well as what such a place might tell us. For Tim, it’s a place that enriches humanity – and his exploration of it will astonish, inspire, and delight.
An Artemis Media Production in association with Matter of Factual with major production funding from Screenwest, Lotterywest and the Western Australia Screen Fund in association with Screen Australia. Financed with support from the ABC and Love Nature. Writer Tim Winton. Director/Co-producer/Co-writer Peter Rees. Line Producer Karen Williams. Executive Producer Celia Tait. ABC Manager, Documentaries Stephen Oliver. ABC Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Old People’s Home for Teenagers
The success of Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds has paved the way for a bunch of bigger kids to join a bold ground-breaking experiment as Old People’s Home For Teenagers debuts. Presumed polar-opposites, older people and teens in fact have much in common. Both can experience loneliness and isolation impacting their health and wellbeing. Having seen how intergenerational care can impact the health and happiness of older Australians, we will witness a new perspective, and test if casting aside pre-conceived notions and spending quality time together can help both teenagers and older Australians live more fulfilling lives. Can sharing seemingly everyday tasks from cooking to technology build the connection needed to improve the overall wellbeing, confidence and mood of both age groups? There will be frustrations and short fuses. Will the teens gain tools for resilience? Will self-esteem rise as feelings of loneliness fall? This incredible social experiment is not to be missed.
An Endemol Shine Australia production made in association with the ABC. Series Producer Brooke Hulsman. Executive Producer Debbie Cuell. ABC Manager of Factual Julie Hanna. Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Rebuilding Mallacoota (working title)
After a bushfire almost wiped them off the face of the earth, can a ragtag band of citizens from a deeply divided community overcome their differences and seize control of their own destiny to come back from the brink? Rebuilding Mallacoota (w/t) is an intimate character-led observational documentary series that chronicles a real-life experiment in self- determination taking place in the bushfire-ravaged Victorian coastal community of Mallacoota. Inspired by the fleeting unity its residents felt while fighting the fires side by side, Mallacoota’s citizens aren’t waiting around for bureaucrats and outsiders to save their community – they’re putting aside their differences and coming together to rebuild themselves before it’s too late. But in a small town that’s long been riven by feuds and deep divisions, will this turn out to be a shining example of grassroots democracy in action or a one-way ticket to a world of pain and anguish?
Produced by Renegade Films with principal production investment from ABC and Screen Australia in association with Film Victoria. Produced by Joe Connor, Lucy Maclaren and Ken Connor. Series Director Tony Jackson. ABC Manager of Documentaries Stephen Oliver. ABC Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Southern Ocean Live
1×90 (Live Broadcast)
Australia’s Southern Ocean is a wild and dramatic place – full of charismatic creatures and the perfect place for the ABC’s next live adventure. Southern Ocean Live will be a blockbuster night of natural history, broadcast live, from the icy depths of our winter seas. Our hosts Hamish Macdonald and Dr Ann Jones, will be located at Penguin Parade, on Phillip Island in Victoria. During this extraordinary night of broadcast, we will witness stories about whales, great white sharks, cuttlefish, albatross along our great southern coastline. We will learn how the southern coastline of Australia is warming and changing four times faster than anywhere in the world, and what this means for scientists trying to protect fragile ecosystems. Southern Ocean Live promises big creatures, big science and big thrills, as we take the audience on a live adventure that’s as wild as it gets.
A Northern Pictures production in association with the ABC. Financed with the assistance of Screen NSW, Film Victoria and Screen Australia. Series Director and Executive Producer Karina Holden. Live Producer Kirsty Bradmore. Senior Production Supervisor Kate Bailey. ABC Manager of Documentary Stephen Oliver. ABC Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Space 22
Does creativity have the power to help reach into spaces that are beyond words? Recording artist Natalie Bassingthwaighte believes so. Natalie will bring together seven strangers, each with their own mental health struggles, in an ambitious experiment to test if the simple act of participating in art can help heal invisible wounds. Joining them in a unique workspace, Space 22, across three different art disciplines will be well known Australian artists Abdul Abdulla, Wendy Sharpe and Eddie Perfect. Every year 1 in 5 Australians experience symptoms of mental illness, with roughly 60% of us not seeking help. Working with the Black Dog Institute, Professor Kathryn Boydell will be measuring the results. Supported by psychotherapist Noula Diamantopoulos, many in the group will be experiencing visual and performing arts for the first time. The hope is that by being creative, together, it will have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
An original BBC Studios ANZ production for the ABC. Series Producer Bev Shroot. Executive Producers: Kylie Washington, Anita Jorgensen and Ariel White. ABC Factual Manager Julie Hanna. ABC Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins. Distributed by BBC Studios.

The Exhibitionists
A night accidentally locked into the National Gallery of Australia, sends four female actors, (Bessie Holland, Mandy McElhinney, Bridie Carter, and Veronica Milsom), on a caper as they uncover a new perspective on Australian Art. Searching for a way out of the hallowed halls, they sneak behind the scenes and are confronted by the fact that only 25% of art works in the Australian collection are by female artists. As the night progresses, they uncover scandalous tales of sexism and forgotten works of art. Outraged, they are inspired to bring work by female artists out of the shadows, and into the light. The Exhibitionists is both a playful and profound docu-comedy, celebrating women in the arts. The film is inspired by the NGA’s Know My Name initiative and will broadcast on International Women’s Day in 2022.
A Northern Pictures production. Financed with the assistance of the National Gallery of Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with the assistance of Screen NSW. Writer and Executive Producer Karina Holden. Drama Director Helena Brooks. Script Editor Eloise Healey. ABC Executive Producer Kalita Corrigan. ABC Manager Factual Julie Hanna. ABC Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

The Family Court Murders
Helmed by Walkley award-winning investigative journalist Debi Marshall, The Family Court Murders takes a deep dive into the shocking events surrounding the 1980s NSW Family Court bombings and murders. Crimes that rocked the nation.
A Media Stockade and Said and Done Production. Series Director Chris Thorburn. Producers: Madeleine Hetherton-Miau, Rebecca Barry and Debi Marshall. Executive Producer Mark Morrissey. ABC Commissioning Editor Stephen Oliver. International Distribution Flame Distribution.


Tiny Oz
Celebrating history and craft in equal measure. Comedian Jimmy Rees and tiny artist JoAnne Bouzianis-Sellick reveal tiny Australia, through the extraordinary crafts people who lovingly obsess over teensy details, as they re-create remarkable moments in our nation’s history, in glorious miniature. Local artisans across Australia accept the challenge to hand build tableaus representing intriguing events that have all but vanished from living memory. Recreated in miniature include; the once bustling lawless pearling town of Broome, a hot air balloon launch that fascinated and scandalised the people of Adelaide and the hundreds of exotic animals that were escorted through Sydney streets across the harbour, en route to their brand-new home at Taronga Zoo.
A Northern Pictures production in association with the ABC. Featuring Jimmy Rees and JoAnne Bouzianis-Sellick. Series Producer and Director Tosca Looby. Executive Producer Karina Holden. ABC Executive Producer Kalita Corrigan. ABC Factual Manager Julie Hanna. Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

Whiteley on Trial
Whiteley on Trial (In Films) interrogates the biggest case of alleged art fraud in Australian history. When Melbourne dealer Peter Gant and conservator Aman Siddique find themselves accused of forging and selling three paintings as authentic works of modern art royal Brett Whiteley, the pair are convicted by a jury in what at first appears to be an open and shut case. But with the judge himself rendering the verdict ‘unsafe,’ the conviction is quickly overturned on appeal, leaving art observers in disbelief. By interviewing key players in the trial and with access to original case materials, this two-part series follows the captivating twists and turns of a monumental saga, asking what price our cultural heritage paid in the process.
An In Films production for the ABC, developed with support from the Screen NSW Slate Development Fund with production investment from Screen NSW and financed with support from the ABC. Director Yaara Bou Melhem. Producer Ivan O’Mahoney. Associate Producer Georgia Quinn. Executive Producers: Ivan O’Mahoney & Nial Fulton. ABC Executive Kalita Corrigan. ABC Manager Documentaries Stephen Oliver. ABC Head of Factual & Culture Jennifer Collins.

News & Current Affairs

ABC NEWS will launch a new program looking at India and neighbouring countries. With Australia’s ever-growing Indian diaspora expected to outnumber Chinese-born Australians in the next decade, the connection to South Asia is an increasingly powerful one with plenty to look at in this new innovative report series.


Beep & Mort
Based on Windmill Theatre Company’s award-winning theatre show, Beep, this new series tells the story of two best friends from different worlds, solving their daily dilemmas and unexpected challenges through invention, play and adventure. Beep and Mort explores the ways the organic and the technological can work together and, at its heart, is a series about empathy, community, and the enduring value of friendship.
Beep and Mort is a Windmill Pictures production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation. Created by Rosemary Myers and Kaye Weeks. Based on the Windmill Theatre Co play co-created by Sam Haren, Jonathon Oxlade and Katherine Fyffe. Writers: Charlotte Rose Hamlyn, Simon Butters, Wendy Hanna, Amy Stewart, Hunter Page- Lochard and Lorin Clarke. Produced by Kaye Weeks. Directed by Rosemary Meyers. Executive Producer Greg Sitch. ABC Executive Producer Jan Stradling. ABC Commercial holds world distribution rights.

Built to Survive
Phil Breslin, third generation Indigenous educator, biologist and adventurer is on a quest to reveal some of the strangest and most specialised animal adaptations on the planet. Focusing on Australia’s incredibly varied landscapes and environments, Phil yarns with First Nations people about habitats, traverses deserts, dives in the ocean’s depths and uses science to identify Australia’s ultimate animal survivor(s)!
Built to Survive is being produced by Butter Media and Phil Breslin for ABC TV, with support from Screen NSW through the NSW PDV, and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation who will distribute the series. Producers: Jerry Butterfield (Executive Producer), Dan Walkington (Series Producer) and Phil Breslin (Co-Producer); ABC Executive Producer Mary-Ellen Mullane and Australian Children’s Television Foundation Executive Producer Bernadette O’Mahony.

Crazy Fun Park
Crazy Fun Park is a hair-raising coming of age tale following best friends Chester and Mapplethorpe, a duo so inseparable, not even death can pull them apart. After Mapplethorpe tragically dies in the town’s abandoned Crazy Fun Park, Chester discovers that his friend is now “living” with the other undead Fun Kids who also met their end at the park. With no adults, free rides and all the junk food you can eat, it’s every kid’s dream. But this tragic turn of events means the two teens are forced to redefine their friendship, and as they navigate the already complicated teenage years, they fear their friendship may not be as eternal as originally imagined.
Crazy Fun Park is a Werner Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia, Australian Children’s Television Foundation and Film Victoria in association with the ABC. Created by Nicholas Verso. Directed by Verso and Adrian Russell Wills. Writers: Nicholas Verso, Magda Wozniak, Craig Irvin, Enoch Mailangi and Fury. Produced by Joanna Werner with ABC Executive Producer Libbie Doherty. Executive Producers: Stuart Menzies, Joanna Werner, Bernadette O’Mahony. Distribution by Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

Ginger & the Vegesaurus
Go back through the mists of time to a rich and colourful prehistory you never knew existed. An era dominated by the juiciest and crunchiest creatures ever to rule the planet the mighty…Vegesaurs! It’s springtime in Vegesaur Valley where a herd of Tricarrotops have settled for the season to lay their seedlings. For Ginger, this time of year means only one thing…adventure! Each episode will be a stand-alone mini-adventure driven by Ginger and the baby Pea-Rexes – Split, Minty and Wasabi – a trio of infant predators who are the perfect sidekicks for Ginger!
Ginger & The Vegesaurs is produced by Cheeky Little Media for the ABC and France TV. Principal production funding from Screen Australia with Studio 100 on board as co-investor and international rights distribution by Studio 100 Media. Internationally the series will be titled The Vegesaurs. Created by Gary Eck, Nick O’Sullivan. Directed by David Webster. Written by Gary Eck, Julie Sam-Yue, Sylvie Van Dijk, Sam Carroll, Amy Stewart, Charlotte Rose Hamlyn and Bruce Griffiths. Series Producer Patrick Egerton. Produced by Celine Goetz, Patrick Egerton. Executive Producers Patrick Egerton, David Webster, Gary Eck and Nick O’Sullivan. ABC Executive Producer Jan Stradling.

With motocross in the red-hot heart of Australia, it’s all action, all the time. MaveriX follows a group of junior riders that make up the first intake of the MaveriX Academy. MaveriX is a bold experiment in next-level riding designed to push them to their limits, supercharge their talents and set them on a course to the big time. At the Academy the six gifted individual riders will spend six weeks in Alice Springs over the summer holidays in one of the hottest, dustiest, hostile, and yet beautiful environments known to humankind. Here they must learn to race as a team – or fail.
MaveriX is a Brindle Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC and Screen Territory. Financed with support from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and the South Australian Film Corporation. Created by: Rachel Clements, Sam Meikle & Isaac Elliot. Writers: Sam Meikle, Fin Edquist, Michelle Offen, Kelly Schilling and Sarinah Masukor. Directors: Ian Watson, Geoff Bennett, Isaac Elliott and Kelly Schilling. Producers Trisha Morton-Thomas and Rachel Clements. Executive Producers: Rachel Clements, Sam Meikle, Isaac Elliott, Bernadette O’Mahony. ABC Executive Producer Mary-Ellen Mullane.

The PM’s Daughter
Cat is like any other teenager, with one difference: her mother is the Prime Minister of Australia. Along with her new friends, Cat navigates life in the spotlight, while tracking down a hidden threat to her mum.
A Fremantle Australia production for the ABC, with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW and financed with support from Fremantle International and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Writers: Tristram Baumber, Magda Wozinak, Hannah Samuel, Angela McDonald, Lou Sanz, Craig Irvin and Gemma Bird Matheson. Directors: Julietta Boscolo, Erin White, Alana Hicks. Producer Alice Willison. Co-Producer Kieran Hoyle. Creators: Tristram Baumber, Matthew Allred. Executive Producers: Chris Oliver-Taylor, Tristram Baumber. ABC Executive Producer Mary-Ellen Mullane.


Mardi Gras 2022
The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will be broadcast on ABC Radio and ABC Television from 2022 in a three-year deal. The ABC has also been given broadcast rights to WorldPride, to be held in Sydney in February and March 2023. The ABC has been given both the television and radio rights to the event until 2024, with triple j named as the host radio broadcaster. The Mardi Gras Parade will be broadcast on the ABC’s Main Channel, ABC iview and on ABC Australia on Saturday 5 March 2022 starting at 7.30pm live from the Sydney Cricket Ground. The ABC will also feature LGBTQI+ content on triple j, ABC iview, ABC Radio Sydney and local radio around the country and on ABCQueer.
An ABC Production. ABC Manager of Events Janet Gaeta. Producer Bec Annetts. Executive Producer Nikita Agzarian


The lady in brown returns. Helen Tudor-Fisk (Kitty Flanagan) is back, along with solicitor siblings Roz & Ray Gruber (Julia Zemiro and Marty Sheargold) and, of course, everyone’s favourite probate clerk/webmaster, George (Aaron Chen). With Roz stepping aside to start her own mediation business (within the Gruber offices) Helen is determined to take on a more senior role at Gruber & Associates. However, Helen’s grand vision to become partner soon comes unstuck when she’s featured in a current affairs show hit piece, and her main focus becomes trying to repair her damaged reputation.
An Origma 45 production for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with support from Film Victoria. Written by Kitty Flanagan and Penny Flanagan. Co-directed by Kitty Flanagan and Tom Peterson. Produced by Vincent Sheehan. Executive Producer Greg Sitch. ABC Executive Producers: Todd Abbott and Brett Sleigh.

After throwing away his last chance at fame, Easton West (Erik Thomson) has settled into obscurity rather well. Telling himself he’s far happier away from the kitchen and a ‘PC’ world gone mad, he’s living a quiet life with his sister Denise (Susan Prior) and her far too forgiving partner Brett (Wayne Blair) on the old family property. When Brett and Denise decide to make things official and tie the knot, however, it coaxes back the prodigal pastry chef Diana (Natalie Abbott) from her new life in London. Still furious with her family’s secrets and lies, Diana’s desperate to prove to them how much better off she is without them. But old tensions rear their ugly heads, and soon Easton and Diana are bickering, wrestling, and wielding a shotgun. As this family tries to negotiate its awkward reunion, the past will once again throw the West family into more chaos.
A Closer production in association with the South Australian Film Corporation and financed with support from the ABC. Producers: Rebecca Summerton and Erik Thomson. Co-producer Matthew Bate. Executive Producers: Julie De Fina and Rachel Griffiths. ABC Executive Producer Rebecca Anderson. International Distributor ABC Commercial.

Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery
It’s the last spin around the block for Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, albeit in some classic marques. In this the ninth series, Julia will join her favourite people on a personal road trip that in turns are revealing, emotional, intimate, and joyous. They’ll visit the places that shaped them, meet people that inspired them and discuss the major events in their lives. For over 70 episodes Julia has travelled the country, and the world, interviewing actors, comedians, politicians, CEO’s, music stars, sporting legends, public intellectuals, and authors. This final round of guests will intrigue, delight and surprise to the end.
A CJZ production in association with ABC. Executive Producer/Director Damian Davis. Co-Producer Julia Zemiro. Series Producer Asha Anderson. Executive Producer Nick Murray. ABC Executive Producer Frances O’Riordan.

Question Everything
Jan Fran and Wil Anderson return for another series of Question Everything (or will they?). This comedy panel show unpacks all the misinformation, disinformation, half-truths, and rumours in what we see, hear and read. Jan and Wil are joined each week by a revolving panel made up of up-and- coming and well-known comedians, who Question Everything by dissecting the news and media to separate fact from fiction.
Question Everything is an original format created by Wil Anderson. Produced by CJZ. Series Producer Jess Cohen Cornelius. Executive Producers: Polly Connolly, Wil Anderson and Nick Murray. ABC Executive Producer Rachel Millar. ABC Head of Entertainment Nick Hayden.

Tomorrow Tonight
Tomorrow Tonight is a truly unique panel show. Notable Australians tackle hypothetical moral dilemmas to discover more about themselves, each other, and a future that is rapidly heading our way. Hosted by Annabel Crabb, with Charlie Pickering and Adam Liaw by her side, the show will rediscover the true art of conversation and have fun doing it!
A Thinkative Television production in association with ABC TV. Executive Producers: Chris Walker and Kevin Whyte. Series Producer Michiko Smith. ABC Executive Producer Tarni James.

First Day
A new season of international Emmy award-winning series First Day follows Hannah in her second year of high school where she battles her insecurities around dating, particularly whilst being in the public spotlight. But when she realises she has the opportunity to help a trans friend on his own journey she quickly takes it, even though it will make her more of a target.
First Day is an Epic Films production in association with KOJO Studios for Hulu and the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the South Australian Film Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Producers: Kirsty Stark and Kate Butler. Written, directed and co-produced by Julie Kalceff. ABC Executive Producer Libbie Doherty.

Art Works,
Australia Remastered,
Back Roads,
Gardening Australia,
Hard Quiz,
Melbourne International Comedy Festival,
Movin’ to the Country ,
Outback Ringers,
Sammy J,
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell,
The Weekly with Charlie Pickering,
You Can’t Ask That,

Australian Story,
Foreign Correspondent,
Four Corners,
Media Watch,
News Breakfast,
Planet America,
The Drum,

Good Game: Spawn Point,
Little J & Big Cuz,
Mikki vs The World,
Play School,
The Deep ,
The Strange Chores,
The Wonder Gang,

Australian of the Year,
Australia Day Live Concert,
New Year’s Eve,


It’s a long list given the size of ABC slate (and some were never returning series) but they include:

One Plus One,
The Newsreader,
Total Control,
Why Are You Like This?,
All My Friends Are Racist,
Finding the Archibald,
Spicks & Specks,
The Set,
The Sound,

Love on the Spectrum,
Anh’s Brush with Fame,
Back to Nature,
Australia Remastered,
Going Country,
Big Deal,
Ms. Represented,
Dream Gardens,
Restoration Australia,
Australia Talks,

Jack Irish & Rosehaven concluded in 2021.

18 Responses

  1. A very long list of new and returning titles. Thank you ABC for telling a range of stories both fictional and factual. I am looking forward to many on offer.

    Thank you David for a very detailed list 😊

  2. That has to be the most dreary line up of tv shows on any network in the world. Could it get anymore grey? Where is the entertainment? Where is something to laugh at in these trying times? Bland wallpaper and that’s being generous.

  3. Thanks again for the newsy ABC Unfronts update. Another great slew of shows on offer to suit a range of tastes.
    I wonder why “ABC advises it’s too early to advise. For those awaiting more news on scripted titles The Newsreader, Harrow, Total Control”
    In my opinion these are brilliant dramas is the delay getting funds or locking in contracts?

    1. Harrow would need ABC USA on board. Total Control hasn’t even finished so you need to take stock of the audience before writing. And yes funding is a huge part of drama. I’d be optimistic for Newsreader but probably for 2023.

  4. Not the most interesting lineup.

    A lot of it seems tailored to upper-city hipsters and arty-fartsy types and doesn’t seem to offer a lot of interesting drama… Stories from Oz is just a rip-off of Drunk History. Surprised to see Question Everything return as well. No Anh’s Brush With Fame is a bit of a disappointment.

    The Israel Falou documentary and the 3 hosts for Q&A (which was kind of expected) are interesting choices though,

  5. Agree that a Falou doco is a bizarre decision. I wonder if they’ll mention that time he graced the cover of The Star Observer haha.

    Other than that very nice showcase – especially excited to see more Miriam, Old Peoples Home and Back in Time.

  6. Are the ABC serious?? So much for being the home of diversity and inclusion. I will be contacting my local MP about this. Absolutely disgusting that they are associating themselves with that person.

    1. Not really. If there was a doco on Holocaust survivors and a doco on the rise of Adolf Hitler you’d think nothing of it. It’s all history, good or bad.

        1. … doesn’t really have anything much to do with an “ABC editorial approach” … like most programs other than news these days, the program is being produced by an independent company, In Films …

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