SBS unveils new documentaries and more on-demand exclusives

19 July, 2017 by Don Groves

SBS is aiming for a strong second half of the year with a slate of new Australian documentaries, two overseas dramas and a batch of on-demand exclusives.

The docs line-up includes a social experiment which explores what happens when two estranged people come face to face without speaking, hosted by Ray Martin; Roy & HG’s Greig Pickhaver uncovering urban secrets; and a series which follows morbidly obese people and their families as they undergo a weight loss program.


The second series of Keo Films Australia’s Struggle Street was filmed in secret in Queensland and Victoria, probably to avoid the controversy which dogged the first series shot in South-Western Sydney.

The slate includes the previously announced 4-part Australian drama Sunshine, which stars Anthony LaPaglia, Melanie Lynskey, Kim Gyngell, Tiarnie Coupland, Vince Colosimo and Leah Vandenberg.

Set in the outer-west suburb of Sunshine and its surrounds, the co-production between Essential Media and Carver Films will premiere in October.

Playing to one of the broadcaster’s strengths, SBS will launch food shows Gourmet Farmer: Fat Pig Kitchen and Food Safari Earth while Food Network will introduce Food Lab by Ben Milbourne.

Premiering on September 6, Endemol Shine Australia’s 6-part Look Me In the Eye features Australians from a wide range of backgrounds who are looking to reconnect with someone in their life. Each has an unresolved conflict or has drifted apart from a family member, friend or colleague.

The show is based on the format Look Me In The Eye developed by CPL Productions and distributed by Red Arrow International.

Also starting in September, CJZ’s The Obesity Myth will look at the weight loss program at Austin Health where doctors are treating obesity as a chronic genetic disease, not the fault of the patients. The treatment regimen, often a last resort for many patients who are at risk of early death, uses a combination of diet, medication and bariatric surgery to transform bodies and lives.

From Joined Up Films, Secrets of Our Cities will see Roy and HG uncover buried stories of hope, new beginnings, success and tales of hardship, tragedy and despair lurking in the suburbs.

Triptych Films’ The Ghan will take audiences on an immersive journey on Australia’s famous train through the heart of Australia from Adelaide to Darwin. The film will also chronicle how the construction of the ‘Ghan line’, the subsequent development of central Australia and the growth of Darwin, Alice Springs and Port Augusta can be attributed to local Indigenous communities and early immigrants.

Co-commissioned by SBS and NITV, presented by Miranda Tapsell and launching at 8.30 pm on July 23, You Are Here is a series of documentaries exploring the place of Indigenous people in Australia today, including Warwick Thornton’s We Don’t Need a Map, Erica Glynn’s In My Own Words, Tyson Mowarin’s Connection to Country and Trisha Morton-Thomas’ Occupation Native.

New US drama The Good Fight (starting at  8.30pm on August 2) picks up one year after the events of the final episode of The Good Wife as  an enormous financial scam has destroyed the reputation of young lawyer Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie), while simultaneously wiping out her mentor and godmother Diane Lockhart’s (Christine Baranski) savings

The 10-part UK drama Riviera stars Julia Stiles as a recently married woman whose blissful life of Mediterranean luxury is torn apart when her billionaire husband (Anthony LaPaglia) is killed in a yacht explosion.

Essential Media and Entertainment’s Gourmet Farmer: Fat Pig Kitchen (premiering at 7.30pm on August 3) will see Matthew Evans switch from reviewing restaurants to building his own, serving only what he grows and rears on his own farm and neighbouring communities.

Maeve O’Meara returns with Food Safari Earth for Kismet Productions, filmed across the four seasons and at commercial and home gardens, feasting on vegetables, fruits and grains.

Food Lab by Ben Milbourne will combine food, fun and great locations as it empowers viewers to become better cooks, set between his  newly remodeled kitchen, on the road in Tasmania and in his lab with his  food science nerd mate Joel Gilmore.

Among the SBS On Demand offerings are Canadian crime drama Cardinal, seasons one and two of  UK sci-fi thriller Fortitude, France’s Ouro: Amazon Gold,  US spy drama Berlin Station and Israeli psychological drama Mama’s Angel.

Marshall Heald, SBS director of TV and online content, said: “Today, nearly half of all Australians are either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas, and 21 per cent of us speak a language other than English at home. We’re an increasingly diverse and culturally complex nation and SBS’s role in helping Australians understand and appreciate difference has never been more important.

“This year SBS is continuing to tell stories of contemporary multicultural Australia and tackle issues in ways that inspire, challenge and bring the nation together. Our objective is to make a positive contribution towards a healthier and more united Australian society through incredible storytelling, and over the coming months local commissions that go to the heart of our charter, including compelling documentary series Look Me In The Eye, new Australian drama  Sunshine and powerful Indigenous storytelling with NITV’s You Are Here collection will be testament to that.”








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