Still Number Four

Press release time!

Yours in 2019: ABC’s unrivalled commitment to diverse Australian stories

The ABC will celebrate remarkable Australian stories in 2019 with distinctive new dramas, documentaries and comedies that showcase the country’s creative talent. Highlights include the return of firm fan favourites Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery and Anh’s Brush with Fame.

David Anderson, ABC Acting Managing Director, said: “The ABC tells the story of Australia and in 2019 we have many great stories to tell. We are Australia’s leading broadcaster in backing home-grown creative talent and content.

“In the year to come, as in years past, Australian audiences will come home to the ABC to share in the stories, conversations and events that shape our nation.”

Major highlights revealed today include new drama series Black B*tch (working title,Blackfella Films), starring Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths and directed by Rachel Perkins.

Just in time for the federal election is the documentary Will Australia Ever Have a Black Prime Minister? (Joined Up Films), examining the barriers to having an Indigenous national leader. The ABC’s commitment to distinctive Indigenous voices will also see the return of drama Mystery Road (Bunya Productions), currently in development, building on the record-breaking success of season one.

The ABC is the home of Australian comedy in 2019, with a bumper six series slated for broadcast. Firm favourite Utopia (Working Dog Productions) was today confirmed for a fourth season and joins a stellar line up, with new series Frayed (Merman Television), starring Sarah Kendall, and returning seasons of Squinters (Jungle Entertainment),Rosehaven (What Horse? and Guesswork Television), Get Krack!n (Katering and Guesswork Television) and The Letdown(Giant Dwarf).

ABC Factual programs will include Australian premieres Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds (Endemol Shine Australia) and Love on the Spectrum (Northern Pictures), as well as the return of the award-winning series You Can’t Ask That and Employable Me (Northern Pictures). Together, these warm and insightful series affirm the ABC’s invaluable role in telling diverse Australian stories.

Beautifully voiced by Barry Humphries, Magical Land of Oz (Northern Pictures) sees the ABC getting back into the natural history genre. In a sweeping journey across Australia, this high-quality documentary plays out across the land, with a cast of unique creatures and landscapes.

Upcoming Arts programs include documentaries China Love (Media Stockade), a look at the phenomenon of Chinese wedding photography, Mystify (Ghost Pictures), the story of INXS’ Michael Hutchence; and Backburning: Midnight Oil(Beyond Entertainment & Blink TV), the story of the iconic Australian band Midnight Oil.

Following on from children’s programming announcements this year, the ABC also announced new series The Unlisted (Aquarius Films) and new episodes of smash hit animation Bluey (Ludo)!

Thrilling news there, true believers! Utopia is back and wasn’t at all played out two seasons ago! Squinters is back and was utterly shithouse! Was The Letdown even a comedy? Our expressions say no!

Seriously, and we know these “upfronts” from the ABC often hold back a lot of upcoming shows, but this is a pretty dispiriting line-up for “the home of Australian comedy” to be taking into 2019. Not only is there practically nothing new here, much of what is coming back was clearly arse the first time around. Oh look, The Weekly is back despite having lost two of the four main hosts. Huzzah.

(and in exciting suspense-building delays, wasn’t Rosehaven initially due this year?)

C’mon, we know the ABC is broke but The Letdown is barely a comedy and barely counts as an ABC series considering it goes directly to Netflix the second it finishes airing. The freshest thing on this list is the second series of the 2017 hit Get Krack!n and bringing Squinters back makes a mockery of the idea that ratings, quality, or not being shit has any effect at all on what gets shown on the ABC. It’s like they’re waiting for the clock to tick down to just giving up on new comedy entirely.

At least Mad as Hell is coming back. Because there would have been riots if it didn’t.

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