Aunty Donna branch into narrative comedy for the ABC

Mark Samual Bonanno, Zachary Ruane, and Broden Kelly.

Sketch troupe Aunty Donna will make their first foray into narrative comedy in a new half-hour series for the ABC.

Set to begin filming in Melbourne next week, Aunty Donna’s Untitled Project stars Mark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane as three best mates running a trendy café down one of the city’s less-than-iconic laneways.

The trio serves as writers and executive producers on The Haven’t You Done Well Productions project, alongside Sam Lingham and Thomas Armstrong. Also involved are Aunty Donna’s director/producer Max Miller, producer Nicole Minchin, executive producer Georgia Mappinm and ABC executive producers Rachel Millar and Todd Abbott.

Principal production funding will come from the ABC and Screen Australia, in association with VicScreen.

In a statement, Aunty Donna was succinct in their outlining what audiences could expect from the series.

“We make show, you will love,” they said.

Abbott, who is head of comedy at the ABC, was pleased to have the group return to the broadcaster after a lengthy hiatus.

“ABC audiences first got a taste of Aunty Donna in 2014 in Fresh Blood, so we couldn’t be more excited to have them back where they belong and to be the home of their first narrative comedy series,” he said.

“Strap yourselves in… this is going to be a wild ride.”

Screen Australia’s head of online Lee Naimo said the agency was also happy to have another opportunity to support Aunty Donna.

“We’ve been proud to support Aunty Donna throughout their career as they’ve gone from strength to strength creating original content and building a cult audience online, from their Fresh Blood series to 1999 through Skip Ahead and Glennridge Secondary College on YouTube,” he said.

“So naturally we’re delighted to support their first foray into a sitcom format bringing along their trademark absurdity. We’re confident this series will be a hit with devoted fans and newcomer audiences alike.” 

VicScreen’s CEO Caroline Pitcher said the sitcom would bring together “two Melbourne greats” in laneway cafes and the comedy of Aunty Donna, with audiences set to be “thoroughly entertained” when it hits screens.”

Aunty Donna’s Untitled Project will air on ABC TV and ABC iview in 2023.