ABC TV Upfronts 2021

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Connecting Australians: ABC in 2021

  • Premiering five high-end Australian dramas, including the return of Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths in new Total Control .
  • New and returning factual content to stir the heart and mind, welcoming back Old People’s Home For 4-Year-Olds and Love On The Spectrum plus Women in Parliament with Annabel Crabb and Back to Nature with Aaron Pedersen and Holly Ringland.
  • Homegrown comedy and entertainment, with new series of Spicks and Specks and new shows with Kitty Flanagan, Nakkiah Lui, Sarah Kendall and Erik Thomson.
  • Focus on ABC iview including launch of new drama Wakefield to stream at Easter, premiering irreverent comedy Superwog and documentary series Strong Women .
  • Launch of ABC TV Plus, showcasing diverse documentaries, arts, entertainment and comedy in primetime every night of the week.
  • New weekly arts program, plus series Finding the Archibald with Rachel Griffiths, Going Country with Justine Clarke and a book show with Claudia Karvan.
  • Landmark discussion show Q+A moves to prime time on Thursday nights.
  • ABC’s homegrown children’s content leads the way for Australian kids with new series The Wonder Gang and Kangaroo Beach.

Audiences will be right at home on the ABC in 2021, with diverse Australian dramas, comedies, documentaries, news, arts, entertainment and children’s programs. ABC stars Rachel Griffiths, Wil Anderson, Erik Thomson, Kitty Flanagan, Leigh Sales, Nakkiah Lui, Craig Reucassel and Superwog helped announce the ABC’s 2021 content slate, showcasing the best of Australian content and creativity in the way that only the ABC can.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson said no other media organisation has the breadth and depth of trusted content for all Australians. “Support for Australian creativity has been at the heart of the ABC for the past 88 years and will continue into 2021. After a challenging year of disconnection, the ABC will bring more Australians together from more places across this wonderfully diverse country. The ABC is the creative voice of Australia and in 2021 we will bring more homegrown content to audiences than ever, across TV, online and ABC iview.”

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 and creativity, 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.”

Highlights for 2021

DRAMA

The ABC’s role as the nation’s champion of Australian drama will be on show on ABC TV and iview throughout 2021. Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths return for the highly-anticipated second series of Total Control , Anna Torv and Sam Reid headline the cast of The Newsreader , Ioan Gruffudd is back for more Harrow while audience favourite Guy Pearce will reprise his iconic role as Jack Irish . Set in the scenic Blue Mountains, the ground-breaking new series Wakefield, starring Rudi Dharmalingham, Mandy McElhinney and Geraldine Hakewill tackles the taboo subject of mental illness head on – with all episodes premiering on ABC iview. A year on from last summer’s catastrophic natural disasters, the six-part series Fires is inspired by the extraordinary people who lived to tell the tale.

FACTUAL

The ABC will bring more diverse and inclusive content to audiences in 2021, with an impressive line-up of new and returning factual content. Annabel Crabb examines the struggles of Australia’s female politicians in Women in Parliament, while Aaron Pedersen and bestselling author Holly Ringland will guide viewers through the Australian landscape in the stunning new natural history series Back to Nature. Bondi Hipster Christiaan Van Vuuren investigates the state of Australia in The As Yet Unnamed Democracy Project (working title) and audience favourites Love on the Spectrum and Old People’s Home for 4- Year-Olds make a welcome return. Four-part series Beyond the Towers revisits the terrorist attacks that changed the world, 20 years on, while Quoll Farm takes an intimate look at the life of an unassuming Australian marsupial.

Staying with the animal world, families will fall in love with four-part series Muster Dogs , which follows five graziers from across rural Australia who have been tasked with turning a gorgeous Kelpie puppy into a working dog. The challenges we face in old age will be examined in the thought-provoking documentary, Laura’s Choice , which documents a 90-year-old Australian’s decision to end her life on her terms.

COMEDY AND ENTERTAINMENT

The ABC will bring together all Australians for a laugh with new episodes of Spicks and Specks , while Charlie Pickering and Annabel Crabb will think the unthinkable in a new series of Tomorrow Tonight . Sarah Kendall puts on her big hair for more Frayed , while Erik Thomson joins ABC’s comedy alumni, starring as a disgraced chef in the delightful new series Aftertaste . Nakkiah Lui leads a fresh line-up of talent in Preppers, while Kitty Flanagan brings her singular and hilarious voice to the fast-paced comedy Fisk , about a high-end lawyer who is forced to work in a shabby suburban law firm.

ABC TV Plus (previously ABC Comedy)

Launching January 1st and airing from 7.30pm to 2am daily on channel 22 on your digital TV, channel 134 on Foxtel or channel 126 on Optus, our newly-rebranded secondary channel ABC TV Plus will celebrate Australian culture and content. Complemented by an exciting suite of international shows, ABC TV Plus will cater for all Australians with diverse new programs, from Saturday stand-up comedians to primetime premieres of religion, science and natural history documentaries, along with the best of the arts. ABC TV Plus will warm the heart, challenge the mind and tickle the funny bone, with the premiere of new comedy series Why are You Like This? , which follows three 20-something friends as they hilariously navigate life’s complexities.

ARTS

The ABC’s unrivalled support for Australian arts and artists will be showcased in 2021, with the launch of a new weekly arts program on ABC TV Plus, alongside feature-length documentaries and live performances of music, ballet, theatre, film and opera. Over on our main TV channel, Claudia Karvan delves into the world of Australian literature, from the classics to the page-turners in the three-part Australian Book Series with Claudia Karvan (w/t) . Justine Clarke embarks on a memorable road trip to uncover Australian country music in Going Country , while Rachel Griffiths shares her passion for portraiture in Finding the Archibald . The fascinating story behind Australia’s pre-eminent Indigenous dance company Bangarra is explored in the feature-length documentary Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra while Step into Paradise celebrates the enduring success of designers Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson.

ABC IVIEW

In 2021, supporting the ABC Five Year Plan, ABC iview will offer even more to viewers through improved user features, greater personalisation and a bigger and better catalogue of original Australian content. Headlining the ABC’s streaming service will be our high-end dramas including Wakefield, comedy with Aftertaste and Fisk as well as the return of the not-so-average teenagers – Superwog and Johnny – in a new series of the #1 trending show Superwog . Joining the boys on ABC iview will be the powerful documentary Strong Women , which follows four resilient competitors as they strive to become Australia’s strongest woman, and Chopsticks or Fork? , which explores regional Australia’s love affair with Chinese restaurants. ABC iview will also launch Indigenous comedy series All My Friends are Racist , while ABC Australia’s That Pacific Sports Show will celebrate the sporting achievements of Pacific Island athletes and nations for our viewers in the region.

ABC ME and ABC Kids

Australia’s No 1 kids show Bluey will be back in 2021, headlining the ABC’s unrivalled commitment to homegrown children’s content. Aussie kids can have all their curly questions answered with the help of new ABC Kids’ show The Wonder Gang – which features some adorable quokkas. In its 55th year on air, enduring favourite Play School will be back with five new specials, including an episode in honor of Emergency Service workers. Little kids around the country will get to meet wannabe hero joey Pounce in the animated series Kangaroo Beach and along with the return of favourites such as the Emmy Award-winning Hardball, Itch and Good Game Spawn Point , ABC has trusted kids content well and truly covered.

NEWS

In times of crisis and uncertainty, Australians turn to the ABC for trusted news and in-depth analysis of the important issues, here and overseas. Thursday nights will become a destination for compelling original journalism and discussion of the big topics, with Q+A in the new primetime slot of 8.30pm, alongside stories and characters from around Australia and the world in Backroads and Foreign Correspondent at 8pm. Monday nights remain the home of Australian stories and investigations, with the return of Australian Story and Four Corners – which will mark its 60th year in 2021. Also returning next year are Australia’s best and most respected TV news and current affairs brands, such as News Breakfast, Insiders, The Drum , the 7pm News and 7.30.

RETURNING FAVOURITES

ABC shows that audiences know, trust and love will be back in the new year, including: Gardening Australia, Gruen, Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Anh’s Brush with Fame, Hard Quiz , The Set, Dream Gardens, Catalyst, You Can’t Ask That and Landline in its 30th year – plus many more beloved programs.

Add to this the ABC’s coverage of major events throughout the year, including New Year’s Eve, Anzac Day and the Australian of the Year ceremony. These programs and events are just some of the ways the ABC will connect all Australians, keeping them entertained, informed and engaged in 2021 and beyond.

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New for 2021

Laura Henkel is eccentric, outspoken, and feisty. She is also 90 years old and has decided she wants to end her life on her own terms. She does not have a terminal illness; she just wants to be in control of the process, and be allowed to go with dignity. She asks her daughter Cathy and granddaughter Sam, both filmmakers, to make a film about it. Laura’s Choice explores complex questions as three generations of women travel into uncharted territory and navigate a radical, dignified and highly controversial approach to dying. 2 x 60

P R O D U C T I O N C R E D I T S

A Virgo Productions film, funded by ABC TV and Screenwest. Written, directed and produced by Cathy Henkel and Sam Lara. Executive Producers: Stephen Oliver, Ryan Hodgson and Melissa Kelly.

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Inspiring storytellers Aaron Pedersen (Mystery Road) and bestselling author Holly Ringland (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart) will guide viewers through the Australian landscape, in the new ABC factual lifestyle series Back To Nature , exploring the unexpected stories that reconnect the audience with the land.

At a time when humans are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, Back To Nature ’s gorgeous flowing cinematography, immersive soundscapes, and compelling emotional stories will help the audience connect and reconnect with nature in a way they never have before. The series was filmed in a variety of stunning locations throughout Australia, from the ancient rainforests of Gondwana in the South East of Queensland, the high Country of the Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, to the mysterious volcanic landscape of the Macedon Ranges, Victoria and Larapuna, the magical Bay of Fires, on Tasmania’s North East Coast. 8x30

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Back To Nature is a Media Stockade and Threshold Pictures production. The series was commissioned by ABC TV and funded in association with Screen NSW and The People and Parks Foundation. Producers: Rebecca Barry, Madeleine Hetherton, Jane Manning and Executive Producer, Aaron Pedersen (Media Stockade). ABC Executive Producer: Frances O’Riordan.

Every country town in Australia has a Chinese restaurant. It has formed an intrinsic part of the Australian identity: a place for celebration, relationships, and community. But who are the people who run these restaurants? Where are they from? Why do they choose to do it and most important of all, what’s their favourite dish on the menu?

Part-travel, part-human-interest story and part-food show, Chopsticks or Fork? is an ABC iview-first series that delves into an aspect of Australiana that everyone has experienced and has fond memories of. Hosted by comedian Jennifer Wong, each of the six episodes will look at one unique Chinese restaurant in regional Australia. Jen will have a chat to the owners, their family, and members of the community, exploring the inner workings of the restaurant and its role in the town. Each episode will explore a staple dish of Australian-Chinese cuisine like dim sims, sweet and sour pork and the magical thermodynamic- defying…fried ice cream.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

An internal ABC production, financed with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Director: Lin Jie Kong. Producers: Lin Jie Kong & Jennifer Wong. ABC Executive Producer: Rachel Robinson. ABC Manager, Screen: Jo Chichester. ABC Head of Screen, Sport and Events Kath Earle.

In a distant corner of Tasmania lives a remarkable animal, the Eastern Quoll, a rare and wonderful marsupial. Already extinct on the Australian mainland, their numbers are declining in Tasmania, their last refuge. Invasive predators, a changing climate and human encroachment threaten their numbers.

Soon these animals could be lost for ever. But could humans also help them survive? Simon Plowright, a naturalist, and filmmaker spends a year on an abandoned farm in a hidden valley looking into their world and uncovering their secrets. This is a story about endangered animals and one man’s extraordinary devotion to save them….and sometimes, against all the odds, magic happens. 1 x 52 min

PRODUCTION CREDITS

A Wild Creature Films and Smith&Nasht Production for the ABC, Smithsonian Channel, ZDF/Arte and NHK. Principal production investment and development funding from Screen Australia. Developed and produced with assistance

from Screen Tasmania. . Filmed with the assistance of the TSO. Producers: Simon Nasht, Nick Hayward. Writer/Director: Simon Plowright. ABC Executive Producer: Leo Faber.

9/11 changed the world. Never had we witnessed mass murder “live” on television. The US quest for vengeance had a global impact with a “the war on terror” directed in the first instance, against al Qaeda which planned and carried out the attacks on New York and Washington and on Afghanistan’s Taliban government which protected them. While considered a “just” war in the West, many Muslims regarded “the war on terror” as a vehicle for attacking Islam and fought back accordingly.

This four-part series assess the manner in which the US-led wars were fought, firstly in Afghanistan and then in Iraq and how air power and high tech weaponry were ineffective in wiping out fanatical jihadists deploying roadside and suicide bombs. The world’s strongest military power and its allies won battles but couldn’t hold territories or capture the “hearts and minds” of the people in whose name it claimed to be fighting.

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PRODUCTION CREDITS

A Wildbear Entertainment Production in association with ABC. Series Writer and Director Greg Wilesmith. Executive Producers Alan Erson and Kate Pappas. ABC Executive Producer Leo Faber

In a distant corner of Tasmania lives a remarkable animal, the Eastern Quoll, a rare and wonderful marsupial. Already extinct on the Australian mainland, their numbers are declining in Tasmania, their last refuge. Invasive predators, a changing climate and human encroachment threaten their numbers.

Soon these animals could be lost for ever. But could humans also help them survive? Simon Plowright, a naturalist, and filmmaker spends a year on an abandoned farm in a hidden valley looking into their world and uncovering their secrets. This is a story about endangered animals and one man’s extraordinary devotion to save them….and sometimes, against all the odds, magic happens.

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PRODUCTION CREDITS

A Wild Creature Films and Smith&Nasht Production for the ABC, Smithsonian Channel, ZDF/Arte and NHK. Principal production investment and development funding from Screen Australia. Developed and produced with assistance from Screen Tasmania. . Filmed with the assistance of the TSO. Producers: Simon Nasht, Nick Hayward. Writer/Director: Simon Plowright. ABC Executive Producer: Leo Faber.

Comedian and architecture enthusiast Tim Ross takes us across Australia to meet the families whose lives have been shaped by the exceptional designs of their homes. In this one- hour documentary, Tim will explore how the architecture of our homes has the ability to affect more than those that grow up in those four walls - when we build with consideration and conviction.

Travelling from Queensland to Tasmania and stopping at inventive homes both unusual and surprising, he’ll reveal their hidden stories and discover how what we design plays an important part in forging our national identity.

With stories of love, scandal, hope and care - this isn’t your typical show about buildings and architecture. It’s a love letter to the people who devote themselves to making amazing homes, and what happens when they have to move on. 1 x 60 min

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Executive Producers, Tim Ross and Andrew Garrick. Writer/Host, Tim Ross. Writer/Director, Andrew Garrick. ABC Executive Producer, Factual, Ben Commens.

Narrated by Sigrid Thornton, Brazen Hussies explores the moment the fuse was lit on the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia. Brazen Hussies reveals a revolutionary chapter

in Australian history, the Women’s Liberation Movement (1965

-1975). Interweaving freshly uncovered archival footage, gems from the ABC archives, personal photographs, memorabilia, and lively personal accounts from activists.

Made by an all-female team of key creatives, Brazen Hussies shows us how a daring and diverse group of women joined forces to defy the status quo, demand equality and create profound social change - contributing to one of the greatest social movements of the 20th Century. 1 x 60 min

PRODUCTION CREDITS

A Film Camp production, with principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Film Victoria. Financed with support from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and philanthropy via Documentary Australia Foundation. Financed with the assistance of Orange Entertainment Co, Film Art Media, Documentary Australia Foundation, and Creative Partnerships Australia through MATCH Lab and the Australian Cultural Fund. Theatrical distribution by Film Art Media. Written & Directed by Catherine Dwyer. Producers Philippa Campey & Andrea Foxworthy. Executive Producer Sue Maslin. ABC Executive Producer Julie Hanna.

It’s 100 years since the first woman was elected to an Australian parliament. But how much do you know about the story of women MPs? Did you know that women first won the right to run by accident? Or that white women won the vote nationally at the expense of Indigenous Australians? Or that nearly 80 years after giving women the right to become MPs, the Australian parliament still hadn’t installed women’s toilets? In this four- part series, Annabel Crabb gathers an unprecedented cast of powerful parliamentary women to deliver a frank account of what it’s like to be the only woman in the political room. Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop, Penny Wong, Carmen Lawrence, Bronwyn Bishop, Quentin Bryce, Natasha Stott Despoja, Nova Peris and others tell Crabb the stories they couldn’t while they were in parliament. Featuring rich archive and vivid animation, this is the story of how women changed the country. 4 x 40 min

PRODUCTION CREDITS

An ABC Internal Production . Producer/Director: Stamatia Maroupas. Series Producer: Geraldine McKenna. Series Creator and Writer: Annabel Crabb.

Executive Producer: Frances O’Riordan.

Spanning the red earth of the Top End to the green pastures of regional Victoria, Muster Dogs is a 4x1 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 pup’s 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. 4 x 60 min

PRODUCTION CREDITS

An Ambience Entertainment production for the ABC, with production investment from Screen Queensland and financed with support from the ABC. Directors: Monica O’Brien, Michael Boughen, David Wallace and Sally Browning. Producers: Monica O’Brien, Michael Boughen and John Unwin. Executive Producer: Matthew Street. ABC Executive Producer: Rachel Robinson. ABC Manager, Screen: Jo Chichester. International Distributor: ABC Commercial. ABC Head of Screen, Sport and Events Kath Earle.

ABC iView Exclusives

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Returning Series

Events

  • New Year’s Eve ANZAC Day

  • Australian of the Year

  • Australia Day Live Concert

  • Australia Day - WugulOra Morning Ceremony

  • 100th Anniversary of the RAAF

News and Current Affairs

Cracking COVID goes behind the headlines to meet Australian scientists racing to discover what it takes to survive and to become immune. Featuring Australia’s beloved Nobel Laureate, Professor Peter Doherty, and three remarkable patient stories, we illuminate the complexity of the disease and individual, often mysterious, immune responses. We are up close as researchers attempt to solve these mystery cases and we journey with a team of vaccine creators as they strive to fast-track immunity.

Created by the Emmy-award winning science specialists at Genepool Productions, this illuminating documentary will deliver surprising insights into what it really takes to gain immunity.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Directed and written by Sonya Pemberton in association with ABC TV. Executive Producers: Sonya Pemberton & Stephen Oliver. Produced with financial assistance from ABC TV in association with Film Victoria. Developed with assistance from Screen Australia.

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Kids

Payshcool specials in 2021

GROWING STRONG

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In this timely special episode Growing Strong , Play School highlights ways to nurture a strong sense of social and emotional wellbeing right from the start. Through the magic of imaginary play and insights from preschoolers in Through the Windows, we extend on the much-loved special from 2020, ‘Mindfully Me’.

THE VERY SILLY SPECIAL

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After a year like 2020, what we all need is drum roll The Very Silly Special – a celebration of fun, good humour and pure silliness! Aligning with Pl a y School’s 55th anniversary, this 45-minute special concert will feature hosts past and present to delight and entertain the whole family. Featuring kids from around Australia singing and dancing along, this is a time for us all to join and connect through the universal language of laughter.

LET THE MUSIC PLAY

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Humpty and Kiya are starting a choir and everyone is welcome! In this special episode, we shine a light on the many neurological and social benefits of a rich musical education.

MY WORLD, MY ABILITY

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Imagine a world designed with everyone’s unique abilities in front of mind! Play School explores ways to make the world more inclusive and accessible for all. Helping to breakdown misconceptions about people growing up with disability, supporting children to develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities and learn to interact with care, understanding and respect.

EVERYDAY HELPERS

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From the Fire and Rescue Services to paramedics and the SES, our ‘Everyday Helpers’ play a vital role in ensuring community safety and care. In this empowering new series, Play School team up with the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR). With the help of some very special guests from the emergency services, we share early childhood safety messages relevant during times of natural disaster. Through imaginary plays, stories and song, Play School explore ways children can maintain a sense of agency, even during very challenging times.

It’s a brand new pre-school show! Willow, Whyla and Wes are The Wonder Gang . With the help of their quokka pals Quidget, Quinton and Quest, they absolutely love answering questions for kids everywhere about Australian animals and nature.

The Wonder Gang introduces preschoolers to the powerful art of finding facts through inquiry, observation and experimentation. Their flexibility, persistence and teamwork always helps them find an answer to every question.

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PRODUCTION CREDITS

An ABC Production. Producers: Prasan de Silva and Mick Elliott. Director: Karin Fitzhardinge. Series Producer: Natalie Robinson-Hurst. Executive Producer: Jan Stradling. International Distributor ABC Commercial.

It’s the year 2162, and life is a blast for space adventuring siblings, Jet and Adelaide Nova and their parents, Josie and Hugo. During a routine research mission, these intrepid Aussie astronauts stumble across an abandoned alien space craft. They also discover that the craft is powered by a rainbow substance that’s so powerful, it sends the ship zipping away at speeds humanity never dreamed possible. But although the Novas were unable to capture the craft, or the ‘Star Dust’ that powered it, they now know that there is an advanced, intelligent species out there, able to travel the universe in the blink of an eye. If only they can find them…

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PRODUCTION CREDITS

An SLR Production for the ABC, SUPER RTL, the NINE Network. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Giggle Garage. Financed with support from Screen NSW and and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Producers: Suzanne Ryan, Yasmin Jones, Juhaidah Joemin. Executive Producers: Suzanne Ryan and Zeno Gabing. ABC Executive Producers: Libbie Doherty and Michael Drake. International Distributor: ZDF Enterprises. Australian Distributor: ACTF.

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Mikki is a newly qualified psychologist that has recently set up her own practice – there is only one problem… where are all the clients?

With her trusty PA sidekick, and in her own unique way, Mikki also known as Dr M explores a variety of mental health issues experienced by ABC ME’s teenage audience. Ever the optimist, she is keen to investigate, observe, and get to the bottom of lots of tricky situations, all with her sense of humour and a ‘no shame’ mantra. As she’s new to the business, with not much experience, Mikki throws herself into every situation to help her become the best psychologist ever. Mikki explores the fluctuating mental health and emotional wellbeing of young

people within the context of their developing identities, agency over their own choices and the respectful relationship they form with themselves, their families and their peer groups.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

An ABC Production. Supervising Producer: Sandra Welkerling. Lead Producer: Harry Lloyd. Senior Producer: Matt Gibb. ABC Executive Producer: Mary-Ellen Mullane. International Distributor: ABC Commercial.

KANGAROO BEACH

Every dazzling day on Kangaroo Beach is an action-packed adventure for wannabe-hero joey Pounce, creative koala frizzy, sports-phobic wombat Neville and mini-marine biologist and platypus Gemma. Whether training as young lifeguards, learning new water skills or exploring the wonders of the beach, the four furry friends are having the time of their lives. With enthralling environments to discover, fascinating sea creatures to meet and epic waves to surf, they’re never far from fun – or danger! But under the guidance of grown-up lifeguards Bondi, Sandy and Big Trev, our young cadets are on their way to becoming pint-sized heroes of sun, sea and sand.

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PRODUCTION CREDITS

A Cheeky Little production for the ABC, with major production investment from Screen Australia, UYoung and the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW and Fulcrum Media Finance. Executive Producers: Patrick Egerton, David Webster, Tim Bain, Andrea Gorfolova, Ashley Rite and Lisa Zong. ABC Executive Producers: Amanda Isdale and Libbie Doherty. International Distributors:

Sonar Entertainment, UYoung and Infinite Frameworks.

Arts

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Self-confessed “city-girl” Justine Clarke takes a road trip into the heart of Australian country music, in the two-part series Going Country. Justine’s about to learn that country was the punk of its time, how it cut through with its striking clothes, wild singing style and its own unique culture. She connects with some of
our greatest musicians performing some of Australia’s iconic songs. She will discover how important country music was to Australians – and still is, and how these songs capture who we are as a people and a nation.

This joyous and heartfelt series is helmed by award-winning director Kriv Stenders (Slim and I, The Go-Betweens: Right Here) with writer-producer Paul Clarke (Bombora, Brilliant Creatures). Going Country will view the rich and surprising contribution that country music has made to the fabric of Australian life and our national identity.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

An EQ Media Group production. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Series Producer Bernice Toni. Executive Producers Sam Griffin and Brendan Dahill. Commissioned by Miranda Culley. ABC Executive Producer Kalita Corrigan. Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

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For the best part of 50 years, Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson have shared a passionate love affair with Australia. An affair that bound them in the most extraordinary and enduring friendship and a creative collaboration that defined a generation. No other creative pairing has had such a lasting impact on Australian fashion, our design identity and our sense of self.

Jenny and Linda embraced the vibrancy of a unique landscape and elevated icons of Australiana tourist kitsch, to the height of fashion and art. They observed this vast country with wit, irreverence, and astonishing imagination to create a fashion story like no other. And then they gifted it to the world. This is an evocative ride of fame, triumph, tragedy, riches, losses, determination, racism, rebellion, sexuality and heartbreak. It is a story of remarkable highs and deep lows, of women and love. A story of Australia, who we were and who we are today.

A gloriously rich visual collage of emotion, art and kaleidoscopic colour. A walk into the dreams of Jenny and Linda. A step into paradise.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

A Blackfella Films production for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia and the ABC , in association with the National Gallery of Australia. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Director: Amanda Blue. Producers: Darren Dale and Fran Moore. Executive Producer Jacob Hickey. Distributor: Blackfella Films. Commissioned by Miranda Culley. ABC Executive Producer Kalita Corrigan

Aging patriarch, Franco Cozzo, holds court over an iconic furniture empire. A pioneer of Australian TV advertising, Franco’s tri-lingual catchphrase sparked a cult-of-personality as kitsch as his baroque bedheads. But his character is more than caricature. Franco’s journey from rural Sicily to the high streets of Melbourne is a story of one migrant’s tenacity and aspiration to become a household name. Discreetly, his furniture tells its own story, gracing the homes of an evolving migrant class. Charting Franco’s trajectory alongside the history of modern migration, Palazzo di Cozzo explores the modest and majestic dreams of a man striving to secure his legacy within contemporary Australia. 1 x 60

PRODUCTION CREDITS

A Film Camp production, for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Film Victoria. Theatrical Distribution by Sharmill Films. Written and directed by Madeleine Martiniello. Produced by Philippa Campey and Samantha Dinning. ABC Executive Producer Kalita Corrigan.

I’m Wanita is the story of a renegade country music singer from Tamworth, hell-bent on realising her childhood dreams of stardom. Self-crowned as ‘Australia’s Queen Of Honky Tonk’, Wanita is still waiting for the recognition she knows she deserves. Wanita embarks on a quest to record an album in the country music Mecca of Nashville, but her inability to toe the line threatens to derail her plans – can she keep her date with destiny? 1 x 90

PRODUCTION CREDITS

People Productions in association with The Acme Film Company for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW. Theatrical Distribution by Label. Directed by Matthew Walker and Produced by Carolina Sorensen, Clare Lewis and Tait Brady. ABC Executive Producer: Kalita Corrigan

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As Natalie Wilson from the Art Gallery of NSW attempts to curate an ambitious exhibition that celebrates 100 years of the Archibald portraiture prize, art lover and acclaimed actor Rachel Griffiths also embarks on a personal mission – a cultural and reflective romp through our most coveted and controversial arts prize to find ONE portrait that encapsulates the changing face of Australia over the last century.

As Rachel travels across Australia on her elaborate treasure hunt she immerses herself in a face-fest and cultural reflection of our nation throughout the past century. How have we, as a society changed over the years? Who were our ‘heroes’ then and who are they now? Who is worthy of being painted and why? What changes has our art made and what changes does it reflect? Can Rachel find ONE portrait that not only encapsulates this changing face of our nation but that will stand the test of time for another 100 years?

PRODUCTION CREDITS

A Mint Pictures production in association with Magdalene Media. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW, with Film Victoria. Director Ariel White. Producer Dan Goldberg. Executive Producers Adam Kay and Rachel Griffiths. ABC Commissioning Editor Julie Hanna. Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

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Firestarter marks Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary. Taking us through Bangarra’s birth and spectacular growth, the film recognises Bangarra’s founders and tells the story of how three young Aboriginal brothers — Stephen, David and Russell Page — turned the newly born dance group into a First Nations cultural powerhouse. Through the eyes of the brothers and company alumni, Firestarter explores the loss and reclaiming of culture, the burden of intergenerational trauma, and – crucially – the power of art as a messenger for social change and healing.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

An In Films production for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW and philanthropy via Documentary Australia Foundation. Theatrical distribution by Icon Films. Producer Ivan O’Mahoney

AUSTRALIAN BOOK SERIES WITH CLAUDIA KARVAN

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Beloved actress, Claudia Karvan, shares her passion for the written word and her love of Australian books in this inspiring new series. Over three episodes, Claudia sets out to meet our award-winning writers, discover our great stories and celebrate our literature; from the ‘classics’ to the page turning best sellers. Thought provoking, entertaining and surprising, this series sheds light on Australia’s unique identity and uncovers the truth about this extraordinary place we call home. After all, Australia is forged by its story telling.

MY NAME IF GULPILIL

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The great Australian actor David Gulpilil faces his own mortality: he is dying of lung cancer. Holding the camera in his gaze, David performs directly to his final audience, telling us what it is to stare down death.

But life interferes with David’s march towards his personal end… when treatment options are exhausted, the cancer suddenly refuses to keep growing. As if that isn’t enough, David’s specialist tells him that if he catches COVID-19, he will die.

In what is likely his last major film, the extraordinary Gulpilil shows us why he is the living legend we know him to be.

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