Bluey gets some cute competition on ABC

 

Move over Bluey - the ABC will call on a new pack of cute puppies to pull viewers in 2021, with the public broadcaster turning its lens on bush life to transform its TV slate next year.

Muster Dogs, a family-friendly factual series which will follow five graziers across rural Australia charged with raising kelpie pups into working dogs, proved the feel good factor at this year's upfronts, which revealed Aunty will rely heavily on homegrown drama and the return of seasoned favourites, including Spicks and Specks, a new season of the acclaimed social experiment, The Old People's Home for Four Year Olds and ABC's top-rating series, Back Roads.

The much-loved documentary series touring bush towns and hosted by Heather Ewart will shift to Monday nights next year, taking the place of Q&A, which moves to 8.30pm Thursdays, in a bid to draw a bigger prime-time audience to the controversial panel program, fronted by Hamish Macdonald.

 

Role reversal … in a new season of The Old People's Home For Four Year Olds pensioners will join a daycare centre. Picture: Nigel Wright/ABC.
Role reversal … in a new season of The Old People's Home For Four Year Olds pensioners will join a daycare centre. Picture: Nigel Wright/ABC.

 

Play School's Justine Clarke, a self-confessed "city-girl" will lead viewers on a road trip into the heart of Australian country music, in the two-part series Going Country, which explores the rich and surprising contribution that country music has made to the fabric of Australian life and our national identity.

A year on from last summer's catastrophic natural disasters, a six-part drama anthology series, Fires, was inspired by the extraordinary people who lived to tell the tale.

In other commissions, Rachel Griffiths will feature in three ABC productions next year, including season two of political drama, Total Control (co-starring Deb Mailman); and a factual series taking audiences inside the Archibald portrait prize.

Packed To The Rafters favourite Erik Thomson will play an egomaniacal celebrity chef in dramedy, Aftertaste; while comic queen Kitty Flanagan leads the cast of legal dramedy, Fisk.

Lamb Of Gods star, Sam Reid teams with The Secret City's Anna Torv in another new six-part drama set in the sexist maelstrom of a 1980s TV newsroom and written by Offspring's masterful Michael Lucas.

 

Black humour … Kitty Flanagan plays a probate solicitor in new ABC dramedy, Fisk. Picture: Supplied/ABC
Black humour … Kitty Flanagan plays a probate solicitor in new ABC dramedy, Fisk. Picture: Supplied/ABC

 

Meanwhile, Fully Sick comic Christiaan van Vuuren will provoke debate in The As Yet Unnamed Democracy Project, which will take a lighthearted look about serious subjects from guns to money in politics, to a real threat to the integrity of representative democracy itself.

And marking 100 years since the first woman was elected to an Australian parliament, some of our leading ladies of politics - including Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop and Quentin Bryce - will offer Annabel Crabb their frank account of parliament life and how women have changed the country.

 

ABC - WHAT'S NEW IN 2021?

 

Step Into Paradise - a one-hour doco about the enduring friendship and creative collaboration of fashion designers, Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson.

 

Chopsticks or Fork? - comic travelogue visiting Chinese restaurants in country towns, fronted by Jennifer Wong, for iview.

 

 

Master blaster … Erik Thomson plays a crazed chef in new ABC drama series, Aftertaste. Picture: Ian Routledge/ABC
Master blaster … Erik Thomson plays a crazed chef in new ABC drama series, Aftertaste. Picture: Ian Routledge/ABC

 

 

The Wonder Gang - Willow, Whyla and Wes are The Wonder Gang, who, with the help of their quokka pals Quidget, Quinton and Quest, try to answer the questions of preschoolers.

 

My Name Is Gulpilil - as he battles lung cancer and the threat of COVID infection actor David Gulpilil faces his own mortality in this moving special.

 

Play School - celebrating 55 years on air, the kids favourite will deliver themed episodes on inclusion, resilience and diversity.

 

 

Originally published as Bluey gets some cute competition on ABC



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