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.
Get your jazz hands ready as ABC delivers new musical comedy doco Australian Epic in November.
The ABC is thrilled to announce the ingenious new six-part musical comedy documentary series Australian Epic, where six of Australia’s most defining stories are retold as musicals, will premiere on Wednesday, 8 November at 9pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.
Written by The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen, with 36 original songs performed by an ensemble cast of dazzling triple-threats, including Phoenix Jackson Mendoza (Six The Musical), Michelle Brasier (Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café), Fiona Choi (The Family Law), Sami Afuni (Hamilton), Nicholas Kong (Miss Saigon) and Amy Lehpamer (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical ), 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.
Australian Epic 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 complete razzle-dazzle makeover include the unlikely triumph of ice-skater Steven Bradbury, the fairy-tale of the young Tasmanian woman Mary Donaldson, the international meltdown caused by Johnny Depp’s pet dogs, Pistol and Boo, the comedy of errors that befell Melbourne’s cursed Ferris wheel, the saga of Schapelle Corby and the political showdown of the Tampa affair.
Writer and executive producer Chris Taylor says: “Writing comedy songs with Andrew Hansen has always been one of my favourite things in the world to do. So it was really great to reunite with him on this bonkers project, which features some of the best songs we’ve ever written, I think."
Writer, composer, executive producer and ensemble cast member Andrew Hansen says: “At the same time, it’s also the only show we’ve done that has a heart. We actually wanted some of the songs to be quite moving, especially in the Tampa episode. So, there’s some emotional stuff in there that we finally allowed ourselves to have in our middle age.”
Production Credit: A Princess Pictures production for the ABC in association with VicScreen. 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.
It was just a local adaptation from Stories From Norway, which was where the concept is taken from. Although it doesn’t really matter, i guess, I’m just glad they’re finally showing it. It was originally slated for 2022.
At the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, speed skater Steven Bradbury won Australia’s first ever Winter gold medal after everyone else in his race fell over, proving to the world that you don’t need to be the best at what you do in order to come out on top.
Featuring interviews with Bradbury himself, as well as with his parents, his coach and expert sports commentators, this episode tells the little-known story of what Bradbury went through in the years before the famous (and highly unusual) victory that made him a household name. Through song, dance and some very dodgy skating re-enactments, the episode celebrates a classic Australian underdog who never took no for an answer and relied on just a little bit of luck along the way.
Tasmanian-born Mary Donaldson was living an ordinary life when on a last-minute whim she accepted a friend’s invitation to go out drinking during the Sydney Olympics.
Arriving at a pub called the Slip Inn, she caught the eye of a dashing young man called Fred, who just happened to be the Crown Prince of Denmark.
The pair embarked on a secret long-distance relationship, and – after the Danish tabloids outed their romance – Frederik had the difficult task of convincing his mother, the Queen of Denmark, that Mary was the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
In this documentary-meets-musical, The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen use the Mary fairy-tale to ask broader questions about Australia’s relationship with royalty; and to also question the limits of Australian patriotism and egalitarianism: deep down, how many of us secretly cling on to dreams of improving our lifestyle or our social standing, even if it means saying goodbye to the country we love?
Featuring interviews with Angela Bishop, Peter FitzSimons, Sarrah Le Marquand and Mary’s personal transformation coach Teresa Page.
Wednesday 22 November 9.00pm
A musical comedy about the international meltdown caused by Johnny Depp when he brought his two Yorkshire terriers into Australia, where he was filming a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Depp and his partner Amber Heard had arrived in Australia by private plane but failed to declare their dogs to Australian customs.
Keen to make an example of them, the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to have the dogs put down unless they “buggered off” back to the US.
In this documentary-meets-musical interpretation of the events, The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen use the tale to satirise Australia’s paradoxical relationship to celebrities: demonstrating how, on the one hand, we’re far too easily impressed by them; while, on the other hand, we hate it if they get special treatment just because of who they are.
The episode features interviews with Barnaby Joyce, Lanai Scarr and Marc Fennell, but, sadly, not with the dogs.
The so-sad-it’s-funny documentary-meets-musical story of the world’s most unfortunate Ferris wheel.
The so-sad-it’s-funny story of the world’s most unfortunate Ferris wheel.
When private developers invited a Japanese team to build a giant Ferris wheel to help put Melbourne’s new Docklands precinct on the map, they could never have envisaged the chaos that unfolded.
The first wheel was full of cracks and had to be scrapped. The second wheel was even more prone to mishaps and delays.
But eventually in 2013 – nearly eight years after the intended grand opening – Melbourne finally got the giant Ferris wheel of its dreams… until 2021, when Covid brutally put an end to the wheel again.
In this documentary-meets-musical interpretation of the events, the wheel becomes a symbol of corporate folly and misguided private sector development.
But at its heart, it’s also a story of quiet perseverance: a modern example of Australia’s never-say-die spirit in the face of mounting scepticism, ridicule and one very cursed wheel.
It’s a big production and looks impressive on screen. The songs and performances are funny. But then they mix in the real images and documentary style interviews and I’m not sure that works. Anyway, its a bit of fun.