Summer heats up on ABC

By David Knox on November 3, 2009 / Filed Under Programming 33

rdwarfGet ready for summer on ABC1 and ABC2.

There’s plenty to tempt you. Including Doctor Who, Torchwood, Red Dwarf, John Safran’s unaired pilot in which he confronts Ray Martin, a new series from Jonathan Welch, Andrew Denton’s Elders series, Scarlett Johansson and Helen Hunt in A Good Woman, a two part Oliver Twist tale -and much, much more.

It all begins as early as November 15.

doctor_who_watersThe Red Dwarf: Back to Earth reunion will screen in the week beginning November 29th on ABC2, Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars will screen on ABC1 in the week beginning December 6th and Torchwood: Children of Earth will begin the week of January 3rd 2010 on ABC2.

2009 (*denotes ABC2):

In local series there is Jailbirds, the new series from choirmaster Jonathan Welch, Andrew Denton in Elders, plus dramas including the film Samson and Delilah and indigenous short films The New Black.

oltwIn international drama there is the 8 part drama on 1920’s Liverpool Lilies, Scarlett Johansson and Helen Hunt in A Good Woman, a third series of Wild at Heart*, a 2 part Oliver Twist tale and Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars.

lumleyFactual and interview series include Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights, Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Pamela Stephenson and Billy Connolly in a second series of Shrink Rap*plus profiles on Doris Day* and Audrey Hepburn*.

In Documentaries there is Prince Charles’ Other Mistress, Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory*, Snowdon & Margaret: Inside the Royal Marriage, No Way San Jose*, Backstairs Billy: The Queen Mum’s Butler, Hitler’s Favourite Royal and Jack Osborne: Celebrity Adreneline Junkie*.

The Schools Spectacular has a 90min version on ABC1 and an extended version on ABC2.

cluneComedies include John Safran: The Lost Pilot, Martin Clunes in The Man Who Lost His Head, Robson Green in Clash of the Santas, and the Red Dwarf: Back To Earth reunion*,

At Christmas ABC1 will feature the annual Queen’s Christmas Message and Christmas specials of favourite comedy series, while ABC2 has a Father Ted Christmas Special, A Very Specky Christmas, Doctor Who: The Next Doctor, Ideal Christmas and The Peter Serafinowicz Show Christmas Special. On Boxing Day the Australian film Bush Christmas premieres on ABC2.

sealNew Year’s Eve on ABC2 premieres the concerts U2 Live in Concert and Seal Soul Live. Graham Norton will welcome in 2010 with The Graham Norton Show ‐ NYE Special.

hgn2010 will begin with poetry series Bush Slam with HG Nelson, Seven Ages of Rock, series 3 of Eataholics*, Secrets of the Forbidden City, Hindenburg, The Great Wall of China, Torchwood: Children of Earth*, Gavin & Stacey series two*, and the comedy series Taking the Flak*.

There will also be summer films including Richard E. Grant’s Wah Wah, The Proposition, Oyster Farmer, Lucky Miles and Romulus My Father.

Natural History programmes include Operation Jumbo, Penguin Adventure with Nigel Marven, Badgers: Secrets of the Sett, Hyena Queen, Killer Whale Island with Nigel Marven and Whale Shark.

In this new four‐part Australian documentary series, choirmaster Jonathon Welch of The Choir of Hard Knocks fame tries to build a choir out of a varied group of female prisoners who are inmates at a low security Victorian prison. Can Jonathon’s help prepare them for a new life ‘going straight’ on the outside?

This new six‐part series of the interview program Elders features Andrew Denton speaking intimately with American actor Alan Alda; Australian TV personality and writer Clive James; British human rights campaigner Helen Bamber OBE; Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus; Indigenous actress Rosalie Kunoth‐Monks and British evolutionary biologist, author and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins.

Lilies is a new eight‐part drama series from the UK premiering on ABC1. The drama centres around the Moss family – Dadda, Billy, Iris, Ruby and May – as they try to make their way in the working class world of 1920’s Liverpool. CAST: Brian McCardie (Rob Roy), Leanne Rowe (Jane Eyre), Scot Williams (Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrells)

One of Oscar Wilde’s most popular plays is given a new screen interpretation in this period comedy film starring Scarlett Johansson and Helen Hunt. Set in New York and Italy in the early 1930s, Mrs. Erlynne is a widow who lives comfortably through the largesse of several married men, and when she runs out of wealthy suitors in Manhattan, she decides to find greener pastures among the wealthy elite of Italy’s Amalfi coast.

This is an endearing account of the life of American actress and singer Doris Day. As cute and wholesome as Doris herself, this 52 minute documentary offers a fascinating insight into the actress’s Germanic roots, her Hollywood days and her twilight years.

A decade since the cast of this hugely popular comedy last appeared together, the Red Dwarf’s crew is reunited and finally returning to Earth in this new four‐part series premiering on ABC2. But Earth in 2009 is not what the boys expected. Discovering they are destined to die, the Dwarfers – in true Blade Runner style – track down those responsible for their creation to plead for their lives…

Margaret Pomeranz presents The New Black – a series of ten short, seven minute films featuring Indigenous stories, authored and crafted by Indigenous film‐makers, and told in innovative and compelling ways. The series features some well‐known names, including Leah Purcell and Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah), and Deborah Mailman in her first turn as a director. The films are Aunty Maggie & the Womba Wakgun; Bourke Boy; Jacob; The Farm; Nia’s Melancholy; The Party Shoes and Ralph.

The ABC will at last show one of the controversial John Safran pilots – his short one‐off documentary investigating TV presenter Ray Martin ‐ as a TV half‐hour special. It will feature as part of Safran’s return to the ABC, following on from his new ABC TV series John Safran’s Race Relations.

In this Australian premiere of this brand new 75 minute Dr Who sci‐fi special,  the inhabitants of a Mars base are being infected by a mysterious water creature which takes over its victims. Dr Who (David Tennant) is thrust into the middle of this catastrophe knowing a larger one is waiting around the corner, and his skills as a Time Lord are tested once again.

Born the illegitimate son of an unwed mother, Oliver Twist is condemned to an early life in the work house and then as a pickpocket on the streets of 1830s London. This new two‐part drama starring Timothy Spall breathes new life into Dickens’ much loved classic, Oliver Twist, faithfully portraying the original text in two 90 minute Sunday night episodes – without the classic musical numbers.

Six episodes, three days, two poets, one town…sharpen your pencils for a television series like no other. Hosted by HG Nelson, Bush Slam visits six quintessential Australian towns over six half‐hour programs, finding the heartbeat of the nation in verse and discovering the true spirit of the country. Our host is at the helm of the Bush Slam bus, each week taking two very different artists to explore a rural community and meet its people. Each is given just three days to capture the heart of the town in verse – and then perform their work before the locals in a live head‐to-head poetry slam! Together, their writing covers a vast spectrum of styles, from bush poetry to country to hip hop. The series features some of Australia’s leading poets and songwriters, including John Kinsella, Geoff Goodfellow, Sam Wagan Watson, Emily Ballou, Joel Ma, Melinda Schneider and James Blundell.

In this latest Captain Jack five‐part special, Torchwood: Children of Earth, our hero is faced with his fiercest threat to date ‐ one that sends the future of Torchwood and the entire human race spiralling into danger. Over five one‐hour episodes the Torchwood team battle against the odds, but do they stand a chance of saving mankind?


  1. Bazza December 12, 2009 at 9:03 am -

    Well the 1st 2 episodes of National Parks – America’s Best Idea have been broadcast on ABC1 … fantastic doco. It’s amazing that the early National Parks, such as, Yellowstone are in such good condition.

    However, the running time when broadcast on the PBS network was 1h 51m, while the total running time on ABC1 was 1h 39m (includes the credits).

    Someone was rather handy with the “knife” … thanks very much … not.

    Wonder if the Aussie DVD of the series will be equally butchered compared to the US version?

  2. Julie November 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm -

    Lots of good things coming up. It’s nice to see another Ken Burns’ documentary there – it will be just as good as his previous ones including “The West” and “The Civil War”.

  3. snickers November 4, 2009 at 11:29 pm -

    Red Dwarf: Back to Earth… *shudder*

  4. Andrew F November 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm -

    I love how one second CK is complaining about his taxes being used to show something with a watermark and the next talking about ripping off the British license fee payers by downloading it. Looks like ABC have some great stuff over the holidays. Good to see them picking up the Christmas specials.

  5. Harvey35 November 4, 2009 at 8:22 am -

    Good news for us Dr Who and Torchwood fans..
    Unfortunately the Red Dwarf reunion is smegging awful.

  6. David Knox November 4, 2009 at 7:03 am -

    ABC already spoke about how they have to follow BBC’s timeframe on rights some time ago. And of course you wouldn’t wanna break the law just to help them, taxes or no taxes….

  7. CK November 4, 2009 at 3:35 am -

    I could probably download the clean, logo-free HD version of this year’s Christmas Episode for them, and give it to them by the 28th, but they’d just go and put their logo on it anyway.

    The putrid thing about it is that we’re paying with our taxes for this.

  8. Timmuh November 3, 2009 at 9:50 pm -

    We’re getting “Then Next Doctor” again over Christmas. Any idea when we get this year’s Christmas episode?
    Can’t wait for some new Dwarf – just hope its not as bad as people are saying.

  9. No_Netfilter November 3, 2009 at 5:25 pm -

    A good effort by ABC to get the Dr Who special on air faster than previous times.

    Although there’s not a lot of cross references, for those wishing to follow the plotline in the correct sequence of events, it should be:
    First watch ‘The Next Doctor’ 2008 Christmas special,
    (then ‘The Planet of the Dead’ special),
    then watch ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth’,
    then watch episodes 5 and 6 of ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ (guest starring David Tennant),
    then ‘The Waters of Mars’,
    then wait for the yet to be announced 2009 Christmas/New Year specials signalling Tennant’s departure.

    Unfortunately the lack of any consistent scheduling or network has resulted in Australia broadcasting these all out of order!

  10. Pimpernel Red November 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm -

    “Red Dwarf: Back to Earth” – Repetitive of previous storylines, and then when it goes off on a Bladerunner tangent it just becomes annoying. After waiting so long, and after so much hype, some of a letdown.

    “Doctor Who: Waters Of Mars” – Fast-tracked more because of torrent sharing then as a service to the viewer. I can’t watch the ABC much anymore, the watermarks are the worst I’ve seen outside of the old soviet block and just wreck any viewing pleasure. As much as I enjoy DW I can wait for the blu-ray.

    “Torchwood: Children Of Earth” – It’s out on blu-ray for anyone who wants to see it in HD without an annoying “watermark”. I saw it ages ago. The storyline rips off “The Quatermass Conclusion” in so many ways, I’m surprised Kneales estate hasn’t sued.

  11. Daniel November 3, 2009 at 4:01 pm -

    I wouldn’t consider Red Dwarf: Back to Earth to be a reunion. It is just another episode split into three parts. I’ve seen it. It’s good, not great. I wish they would make more.

  12. Marco November 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm -

    Children of Earth whilst filmed in HD won’t be aired in HD if it’s airing on ABC2! :-(

  13. Peter November 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm -

    So will Waters of Mars and Children of Earth be in HD?

  14. David Knox November 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm -

    I’ve used Who a few times, including as recently as Sunday. If they had more pics avail I might have considered it. Nothing wrong with sharing the love!

  15. Matthew See November 3, 2009 at 1:55 pm -

    I don’t like the Red Dwarf picture being used as the main picture for this article it should be Doctor Who.

  16. Mike Retter November 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm -

    Cool to see Safran oldschool pilot. What about the one he made for MTV? They should screen that.

  17. Belinda November 3, 2009 at 1:05 pm -

    Is A Very Specky Christmas a repeat of previous years, and is there no S&S Christmas special this year?

    Good to see ABC2 has Gavin and Stacey. My obsession with Doctor Who has faded, so I can wait three weeks for it. Hopefully it will be in HD.

  18. Bre Saxs November 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm -

    Sounds like a great line-up. The highlights for me are John Safran’s Unaired Pilot, Elders with Andrew Denton, A Very Specky Christmas and Bush Slam with HG Nelson. I just hope that none of them is on in January as I will be away then.

    Also worth mentioning is rage during January as it’s Retro Month where they dig up gems from their archives, such as episodes of Countdown.

  19. Marco November 3, 2009 at 11:04 am -

    Children of Earth deserves an ABC1 airing – it was too bloody brilliant to be airing on ABC2.

  20. bindi November 3, 2009 at 10:53 am -

    mydoona- it hasn’t been on free to air, only foxtel. so people like me haven’t seen it, plus it is only ABC2 not ABC1 so does it really affect you that much that you would begrudge others the chance to see it for the first time for some new mystery show that might be rubbish.

  21. vinny aka tvaddict0909 November 3, 2009 at 10:23 am -

    Sorry for another posting but I forgot to add in.

    I thought Channel 7 had the rights to Gavin and Stacey , It is mentioned in this article as being showed on the abc.

    I thought Seven was showing it , as it was on their list of programmes next year.

    Is it a case of 2 shows being on 2 networks again ? eg like the wire and south park ?

  22. vinny aka tvaddict0909 November 3, 2009 at 10:19 am -

    @Mydoona — Torchwood children of the earth has never been shown on free to air television.

    @bindi — I think go ! may have rights next year, they don’t have the rights at the moment to season 2 of terminator sarah connor to show the episodes – I think there are over 20 episodes and they may play it out next year. If they do have the rights now I think the only reason they haven’t gone into Season 2 was because of how many episodes there are ….. over 20 .

  23. vinny aka tvaddict0909 November 3, 2009 at 10:14 am -

    Wow , I am gobsmacked!

    Torchwood is going to continue all the way through summer, what the heck was going on when Channel ten acquired it and then it went on a hd channel when most people 3-4 years ago wouldn’t have had a hd set top box. It should always have been on the ABC !

    Usually summer time comes and all the shows on television are terrible..

    Thank goodness for the ABC.

    Yes… Hooray torchwood children of the earth, doctor who and red dwarf re union special.

    How exciting for sci fi fans like me.

    GO ! and 7 two should follow abc’s lead, however being commercial networks, not sure if this will happen.

  24. Johnson November 3, 2009 at 9:35 am -

    What an impressive line-up on the ABC. And well done ABC for picking up Gavin & Stacey after it was dumped by Seven due to poor ratings.

  25. mikeys November 3, 2009 at 8:57 am -

    Good news re: Safran :)

  26. Marco November 3, 2009 at 8:39 am -

    3 weeks later is not too bad for a Doctor Who premiere. Pity that most of us will not wait that long, but I’ll watch it again in HD anyway on ABCHD.

  27. Mydoona November 3, 2009 at 7:44 am -

    ‘Torchwood-Children of Earth’ has been on TV before,Let’s get some new shows on!

  28. Neon Kitten November 3, 2009 at 7:44 am -

    Much, much better, ABC. Doctor Who in a timely manner. Torchwood in a sorta-kinda-timely manner. Neither airing will trouble the die-hard fans, who’ll already have seen them, but this is looking after the majority and it’s to be applauded.

    I do hope the ABC is sourcing HD master tapes for both of those.

    Amusing to see that Safran’s “banned” pilot is now press-release material and on the schedule. The confrontation with Lego Man is pure gold.

    Oh, and Red Dwarf: Back To Earth is as embarrassingly bad as you might have expected it to be.

  29. Lazer November 3, 2009 at 7:31 am -

    Once again ABC Great stuff so much new shows love it :)

  30. K November 3, 2009 at 6:59 am -

    no mention of the IT crowd’s 3rd or 4th season, or the christmas special?

  31. Craig November 3, 2009 at 6:34 am -

    Great line up and good to see Waters of Mars to air just 3 weeks after the UK!

  32. bindi November 3, 2009 at 5:46 am -

    so if foxtel’s rights over childern of earth will have released by then, can we also assume that they won’t hold rights to terminator sarah connor chronicles season 2 either by then? because I rewatched season 1 on GO! only so I could refresh my memory before heading into season 2, but they didn’t keep going so now I’ll have to refresh again.

  33. Reubot November 3, 2009 at 5:18 am -

    You can already watch the John Safran: Media Tycoon pilot on director Craig Meville’s website.

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