SBS (main channel) - Programs and Schedules

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Story of Europe

Double Episode Premieres Saturday 1 December at 8.35pm

Presented by Australian historian Sir Christopher Clark, this ground-breaking series tells the story of Europe in six glossy episodes exploring different chapters of its eventful history.

It’s a journey through time and across space, from physical beginnings to the first human settlers, the evolution of European culture and religion, historical achievements in exploration, technology and politics, and a daring look at the continent’s present and future. Europe has been at the heart of world events for thousands of years and laid the foundations for much of modern society worldwide, while its perpetually fluctuating landscapes, climate, fauna and flora has shaped its own story. This series explores different aspects of the continent’s incredible history, always set against the bigger picture. Stunning photography, pertinent questions and surprising insights paint a mesmerising portrait of Europe.



Elizabeth I and her Enemies

From Monday 2 December at 7:35pm

Actress and supermodel Lily Cole plays Elizabeth I throughout her reign, from young princess to mature queen. Dr Suzannah Lipscomb and Dan Jones, both young, dynamic historians, tell a heady tale of jealousy, treachery, ambition and tragedy alongside the lavish dramatisations that transport audiences back to the key clashes that shaped Elizabeth and England.

Starting from the day she was born, until the day she died, Elizabeth was surrounded by enemies who threatened her crown and her life. From her sister Mary Tudor to her thwarted lover, King Philip of Spain, Elizabeths struggles, animosities and assassination attempts are analysed in detail.



George Clarke’s Shed Of The Year

From Friday 30 November at 7.35pm

George Clarke discovers what is really happening in the Great British shed and uncovers a world of glorious eccentricity when he presides over this year’s Shed of the Year competition. Prepare to experience never previously seen designer sheds that are used as truly amazing spaces to live, work and play in.

The sheds range from an intricate shell grotto built inside a World War II bunker, to a disco shed that plays the biggest festivals in the country. There’s also a Dad’s Army enthusiast who’s built an entire museum full of memorabilia at the bottom of his garden and a man who’s converted his shed into a 1970s amusement arcade.

George travels the length and breadth of the British Isles, along with his Amazing Spaces designer team of master craftsman Will Hardie, designer Max McMurdo, and architect Laura Jane Clarke, visiting the extraordinary designs of sheds entered in the competition.

The competition is split into categories - Unique, Normal, Eco, Cabin & Summerhouse, Workshop & Studio, Garden Office, Pub and Tardis.




From Saturday 1 December at 7.30pm

The title is a reference to Civilisation, the series written and presented by Kenneth Clark almost fifty years ago. That landmark offered one man’s personal view of western European civilisation, from the end of the Dark Ages onwards. It was partly conceived by David Attenborough to demonstrate the potential of colour television.

The new series ranges more widely, featuring African, Asian, American, as well as European cultures to explore how human creativity began and developed, how civilisations around the world influenced one another and how artists have depicted the human form and the natural world.

For each presenter, the series provides powerful and moving firsthand encounters with art. David Olusoga travels to Nigeria to see the technique behind the Benin Bronzes which he was taken to see in the British Museum as a child. Mary Beard climbs one of the Colossi of Memnon in Egypt which she says she has waited half her life to see up close. In Japan, Simon Schama apologises for his shaking hands as he examines an image he describes as almost perfect.

For the viewer too the series is a rare treat, offering what feels like private access to countless remarkable prints, paintings, sculptures and photographs as well as astonishing architecture.


SBS Television 2019

Surgery Ship - Season 2

From Tuesday 27 November at 9.40pm

A unique hospital ship offering lifesaving surgery sets sail for the poorest of the poor in Africa. They have just one year to do the impossible - to provide the care these people cannot get any other way.

On board are volunteer doctors and nurses - now headed straight for the biggest medical and ethical challenges of their lives. Ahead lies unbelievable illnesses, many they have never seen outside of textbooks. A dramatic journey is underway as they deal with life and death cases and balance the fates of patients in their hands.




From SBS upfronts thread

Slow TV

SBS has always been committed to innovation in storytelling and its ground-breaking foray into slow TV with The Ghan was a ratings smash in 2018. Next year, the network presents Slow Summer – featuring one nail-biting slow TV event each week in January, including two new Australian productions – an east/west train journey on The Indian Pacific and a boat ride through The Kimberley.

SBS today revealed the broadcast dates of the four events of Slow Summer.



Five documentaries on famous toys to be screened across two days next week.



Coming soon for its 30th annual screening on SBS:

Dinner For One

In keeping with SBS tradition, our annual screening of this perennial favourite. Dinner for One revolves around the aged Miss Sophy who celebrates her 90th birthday with her best friends, all of whom are actually dead. The result is that her increasingly inebriated butler is obliged to act out each role in turn. Stars Mary Warden and Freddy Frinton.

Published on SBS’s online guide:

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My Second Restaurant In India

From Saturday, 5 January at 7.35pm


After the success of her first restaurant in Goa, India, former Masterchef contestant Sarah Todd steps up to the challenge of opening a second restaurant, The Wine Rack, in the heart of the urban metropolis, Mumbai.

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Rome Unpacked

Wednesday 9 and 16 January at 8.35pm


To really understand Rome you must understand its people - or the ‘mob’ as they were known in ancient times. As Giorgio Locatelli and Andrew Graham-Dixon explore Italy’s iconic capital, they are in search of the generations of ordinary Romans who have left their mark on the city’s culture and gastronomy.

Giorgio insists that they travel in true Roman style - by moped. They start their journey at the Trevi fountain, immortalised in Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’ - which itself featured countless locals as extras to capture the real faces of Rome. Giorgio leads Andrew to some of his personal favourite districts including Garbatella, Italy’s first ’garden suburb’ with its vibrant market stalls and village architecture and introduces him to the simplest Roman food. He also insists on showing him how Spaghetti Carbonara should really be made. In turn, Andrew introduces Giorgio to some of the most moving pictures by Caravaggio. They set out together to enjoy one of the great erotic masterpieces of Baroque painting. La Dolce Vita still exists, you just have to know where to find it.



I notice SBS has dropped the Vienna New Year’s Day concert from the schedule. The classical concert has been part of the network’s line-up for at least a decade.



SBS do not have the broadcasting rights for the concert this year.



I don’t think Foxtel had the broadcast rights to this year’s concert either.



Building The Tube

Tuesday 8 and 15 January at 9.50pm

Rob Bell has been granted special access to London’s Tube network, where he’ll uncover the story of how this engineering feat was achieved and the extraordinary characters that made it happen.

We explore how the Tube’s engineering innovations have shaped London; from its origins, to the building of the first true deep Tubes a hundred years ago, its pioneering maps, escalators, and its life-saving role during the Blitz.

Rob reveals ghost stations, secret tunnels, hidden walkways, control rooms, depots, and repair pits. Rob walks through the tunnels at night time and travels through the maintenance conduits and serviceways by day. This series tells us about the Tube’s history as well as how it’s run today and the army of workers who keep five million commuters moving through the network every day…



This documentary was shown on Channel 5 in April 2017 under its original title Inside the Tube: Going Underground. The original series had four episodes, one each on London Underground’s four busiest lines: Northern, Central, Metropolitan and Piccadilly. I believe SBS will show all four episodes even though the press release only mentions two.
I was in London in late 2017 and early 2018 and travelled on four lines, especially Central Line as I stayed in Stratford which has a big interchange station connecting the line with Jubilee Line, Docklands Light Railway and several regional lines. Looking forward to this, I may even have to tape it on my Fetch PVR given its late starting time.
Here is the original promo:



This documentary was commissioned by SBS as a six-part series, however it is shown here in double episodes across three weeks. The series premiered first in UK and Ireland on W in October 2018 (not sure why), then NZ channel Choice this Thursday, two days before the SBS broadcast.



Movie: Sweet Country

SBS and NITV to run Sweet Country simultaneously on 26 January at 9:30pm

Based on a true story, Sweet Country follows an Indigenous farm hand Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) and his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey Furber) who become embroiled in a white pastoralist’s (Ewen Leslie) quest to punish an Indigenous boy (played by twins Tremayne and Trevon Doolan) for an alleged crime.

Despite the efforts of Sam’s employer Fred Smith ( Sam Neill ), the local head of police Fletcher ( Bryan Brown ) cannot be dissuaded from his dogged pursuit of justice, which sees the film unfold against the beauty and brutality of Australia’s outback.

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Alex Polizzi: The Fixer

From Thursday 17 January at 7.30pm 5 episodes

Alex Polizzi is The Fixer - waging a one woman campaign to save Britain’s family businesses. There are 3 million family run businesses in the UK.

Accounting for 25 per cent of UK’s output and 9.2 million jobs. Many small and medium family-run firms are going to the wall in the current climate. And as well as the human tragedy, it’s a sector that’s vital to the British economy.



Songlines - Season 2

Week in the lead-up to 26 Jan from Monday 21 January at 7pm

Songlines season two is a collection of six documentaries from some of Australia’s greatest and oldest story tellers. Each documentary presents a Songline story.

These stories come from six remote parts of Australia, inviting audience into rare worlds of ancient knowledge and practice. Community and elders share their rich accounts of dreaming which serve as a reminder of the ancient roots of this country and the enduring power of its original people. Songlines presents a chance to understand and celebrate our rare and precious heritage.