SBS’s outgoing CEO Michael Ebeid and Dr Susan Carland.
SBS has commissioned a factual series which will look for Australia’s brightest child and a two-part documentary which will strive to break down the stigma around mental health.
The upcoming line-up unveiled on Thursday includes a travel series hosted by Ernie Dingo for NITV and Butterfly, a British miniseries about a transgender girl.
Dr Susan Carland will host Child Genius, a six-part series from Warner Bros. International Television Production Australia. Based on a UK show which airs on Channel 4, the series aims to find Australia’s brightest child in a competition documentary format, following some of Australia’s brightest children and their families.
Adapted from a BBC Horizon special, Blackfella Films’ How ‘Mad’ Are You? will follow a diverse group of 10 Australians who spend a week together; five have a history of mental illness and five do not. The group will take part in a series of specially designed tests and experiments while three medical experts work out who’s been diagnosed with a mental illness and who has not.
Produced by NITV, Going Places with Ernie Dingo will see Dingo visit some of Australia’s most spectacular locations while paying tribute to the traditional land owners and others who make these destinations such great places to see. Along the way he discovers little known facts and hidden secrets.
Commissioned by the UK’s ITV, Butterfly follows 11-year-old Max (Callum Booth-Ford), who decides he wants to live as a girl. He has always dressed as one at home but now doesn’t want to hide who he is. His parents played by Anna Friel and Emmett J Scanlan are separated, which puts added pressure on Max/Maxine. SBS bought the 3-part drama from FremantleMedia International.
The line-up also includes CJZ’s previously announced Go Back To Where You Came From Live, which will screen over three consecutive nights, providing a snapshot of the global refugee crisis by chronicling refugee stories as they unfold in real time.
Lingo Pictures’ previously announced 4-part drama On the Ropes stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, Nicole Chamoun, Jack Thompson and Israeli actor Igal Naor. Directed by Shannon Murphy and scripted by Tamara Asmar, Adam Todd and Ian Meadows, the plot follows aspiring Iraqi-Australian boxing trainer Amirah Al-Amir (Chamoun) who defies her father Sami (Naor) by negotiating a professional debut match for her hard-nosed fighter Jess O’Connor (Castle-Hughes) with Sami’s promoter Strick (Thompson).
Marshall Heald, SBS director of TV and online content said: “The new slate of programs tackle a broad range of contemporary issues including mental illness, the ongoing refugee crisis, cultural and gender diversity in sport and the modern migrant experience. We also have some of the best in-language dramas from across the world, entertaining documentaries and food programs and new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content.
“When it comes to changing the way people think, you need to engage them with stories that emotionally connect. If you can make people laugh, or cry, you’re creating a pathway to empathy, understanding and respect. That’s why we tell stories and show people on screen that you don’t see anywhere else. If we tell these stories well, we can change people’s prejudices. And that’s important.