Born Again Piss Tank

Press release time!

To b(ooz)e or not to b(ooz)e? That is the question Shaun Micallef asks in July

ABC and Screen Australia are pleased to announce the eagerly awaited Shaun Micallef’s On The Sauce, a 3-part documentary series about Australia’s drinking culture, premieres Tuesday 21 July at 8:30pm on ABC and iview.

There are many facets to Shaun Micallef – comedian, actor, writer, hugely popular TV presenter. Perhaps less known, he’s also a dedicated teetotaller.  So, when his sons hit drinking age, it got him thinking. What kind of drinking scene are they about to dive into?

Revealing a rarely seen personal side, Shaun shares all sorts of intimate stories, from his self-combusting grandfather to the reason he chose to stop drinking.   He meets a variety of everyday Australians, from those who love to drink to those who’ve sworn off it. Along the way, he’s joined by experts who share some eye-opening facts about the “demon drink”.

In this thought-provoking series, Shaun attends an all-girl pub crawl, an alcohol-fuelled B&S ball and an 18th birthday celebration, to gain a better understanding of Australia’s long held love affair with booze.

Shaun also catches up with young abstainers and those recovering from addiction, which makes him question whether Aussie attitudes to alcohol are changing, and how this will impact his own three sons?

Shaun is confronted by the highs and lows of alcohol consumption and witnesses the changing shape of our national pastime.  Where are we heading as a nation? And how does Shaun feel after getting drunk for the first time in three decades?

Hungover? There, we saved you three hours.

Much as we like Micallef, this could go either way. Anyone who’s read a Fairfax paper on the weekend over the last decade or so knows there’s a fairly consistent element of hand-wringing wowserism on the subject of alcohol coming from the more “enlightened” side of the Australian media, not to mention the semi-regular appearances down your local bookstore of memoirs from women under 40 going on about how they spent their 20s drinking and It Was Bad.

On the other hand, a lot of people do seriously feel that Australia has a culture of getting on the turps – especially experts with “eye-opening facts”, those who’ve sworn off the grog, young abstainers and those recovering from addiction. It’ll be a tricky needle to thread… especially if it’s going to stay entertaining and amusing while basically saying “drinking is bad”, which it’s obviously going to have to do.

(we all know that drinking is bad – it’s just that sobriety for some is worse, and the ABC is hardly going to do a series about why we drink when the answer is partly going to be “because western liberal society is pretty shit for many people and they have to have a cheap escape somehow”)

One things for sure: the ABC will be crossing all available fingers and toes that we don’t have a second wave of coronavirus between now and July 21st, because nothing’s going to seem more irrelevant if we’re all back in lockdown than a series about pub crawls and B&S balls.

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