A landmark cross-platform programming event on SBS will investigate the gay hate crime epidemic that blighted Sydney’s coastline during the 1980s and 1990s.

Blackfella Films’ Deep Water is among the highlights of the multicultural broadcaster’s 2016 Upfronts unveiled in Sydney today.

The schedule is heavy on local and international documentaries (400 hours on the main channel and 100-plus on SBS 2), food programming (100-plus hours on SBS plus the Food Network which launched today) and imported dramas (more than 100 hours on SBS and 70-plus on SBS2).

The line-up includes 24 documentary commissions including 10 Indigenous productions but just one local comedy, the previously announced The Family Law from Matchbox Pictures.

Funded by Screen Australia in June, Deep Water will screen as a 4-part series, a feature documentary and an online prequel series, produced by Darren Dale and written by Jacob Hickey.  The gay crime wave resulted in as many as 80 murders and 30 unsolved cases.

Produced in-house, The Logan Project series will chart the efforts of the Queensland town’s aspiring singers and musicians as they create a new musical in a place that has a reputation for doing it tough.

The second series of Blackfella Films' First Contact, again hosted by Ray Martin, will take six well- known Australians with strong opinions on a journey into Aboriginal Australia, in a cross-network event with NITV.

Twenty years after Pauline Hanson gave her maiden speech, CJZ's Hanson: The Years that Shook Australia will explore how the extreme views of one of Australia’s most divisive politicians have influenced race and racism in politics today.

Blackfella Films' DNA Nation will follow Olympian Ian Thorpe, Ernie Dingo and Julia Zemiro as they travel across 12 countries to discover the DNA of their ancestors.

Produced by Joined Up, Vietnam: The War That Made Australia will chronicle the story of an elite fighting force, the AATTV, who were the first Australians soldiers sent into Vietnam – and the last team to leave.

The four-part Untold Australia which will explore hidden worlds of multiculturalism across the country. Next year will also feature season eight of Who Do You Think You Are? from Artemis International and Serendipity Productions, and the second season of Shaun Micallef’s Stairway to Heaven (also Artemis) as he continues his mission to unravel extreme belief systems.

The 10-part observational documentary Inside Heston’s World will follow the colourful chef Heston Blumenthal as he transports his entire Fat Duck restaurant from the UK to Melbourne.

Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang will return as hosts of the 61st annual Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Stockholm. Following Guy Sebastian's groundbreaking entry in 2015, another Aussie will get the chance to compete in the semi-finals, fighting it out with 41 other nations.  SBS will name the artist in the New Year.

The drama offerings will include The Missing, Tutankhamun starring Sam Neill and The Last Panthers, plus returning franchises Bosch, The Bridge, The Returned, Fargo, Masters of Sex and Vikings.

SBS MD Michael Ebeid said the broadcaster's reach has grown to 12.7 million viewers per month and the average viewing is up 10 per cent year-on-year. SBS On Demand is getting more than 15 million video views per month.

Director of television and online content Marshall Heald said: “Across all of our channels – SBS, SBS 2, Food Network, NITV and SBS On Demand – 2016 is set to be a bumper year of content that gives Australians a richer, deeper understanding of the world.

“SBS will inspire Australians to seek different perspectives, to feel a sense of connection, belonging and empowerment, and explore how our differences make us great.”


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