Craig Reucassel and Shaun Micallef host provocative ABC documentaries

‘Fight for Planet A: The Climate Challenge.’

Two climate change documentaries fronted by Craig Reucassel, a factual entertainment series which looks at public shaming and teetotaller Shaun Micallef’s expose on the effects of alcohol will premiere on the ABC next year.

Among the other highlights of the 2020 schedule unveiled today, Blackfella Films will chronicle how the Maralinga Tjarutja people overcame the 1950s nuclear weapon tests and WildBear Entertainment will deliver documentaries detailing threats to humanity and ground-breaking scientific advances.

Flying Kite Pictures and Sticky Pictures are co-producing the 10-part series Are You Tougher Than Your Ancestors?, which sees children leave their modern comforts and spend 24 hours re-creating the lives of kids from another era.

Created and produced by Vanna Morisini, the series will celebrate the diversity of Australia’s shared history. At the end of each episode viewers will find out if the kids were up to the task.

SLA Films’ Adelaide Festival (working title) will follow Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, co-directors of the Adelaide Festival, as they traverse the globe to curate the 2020 festival.

In Big Weather (and how to survive it), Reucassel will explore the devastating effects of extreme weather on Australia and suggest practical, life-saving ways in which communities can empower themselves to prepare, survive and recover. DMA Creative is producing the three-part series with Northern Pictures.

Also hosted by The Chaser and War on Waste star, Lune Media’s Fight for Planet A: The Climate Challenge will follow five diverse households as they figure out how to reduce their carbon footprint.

The show promises to reveal “shocking stats, stunts and pro-active advice, tips and strategies” to help protect the planet for future generations.

ABC head of factual and entertainment Josie Mason-Campbell said: “We’re thrilled to have Craig at the helm of these two ground-breaking series. Entertaining, informative and challenging, both shows will kick-start discussions, change attitudes and encourage Australians to take action.”

Created and produced by Sophie Braham (Gruen) and Melina Wicks (The Checkout) for CJZ, Reputation Rehab will follow co-hosts Kirsten Drysdale and Zoe Norton Lodge as they investigate scandals surrounding victims of public shaming in Tweets, opinion pieces and media punditry, and tackle them head-on to see if they can change people’s hearts and minds.

‘Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce.’

Also from CJZ, Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce will see Micallef examine how alcohol has shaped who we are. He plans to get drunk for the first time since his university days with the aim of encouraging viewers to contemplate their own opinions and behaviour.

“Personally, I’ve never quite understood alcohol. It tastes funny and I’m not very good at it. Two glasses of beer and I’m under the table,” Shaun says.

“So about 30 years ago, I decided I’d be better off without it. But I have children now of drinking age, and I’m wondering what advice I can give them about drinking if I don’t understand it?”

Larissa Behrendt will direct and write Maralinga (w.t.), which looks at the lasting impact of the launching of a 15 kilotonne plutonium warhead by the UK government in outback South Australia on September 27, 1956, an area that has been home to the Maralinga Tjarutja people for 60,000 years.

“This is their story in their words, a story of colonisation and culture, of spirit and survival,” the synopsis reads. “When the dust settles, culture remains strong.”

Blackfella Films’ Darren Dale, who is producing with financial support from the South Australian Film Corporation, tells IF the one-hour doc will screen on the ABC as a companion piece for Porchlight Films’ Fallout (w.t.), a dramatised account of the nuclear tests from writer-director Peter Duncan.

‘Searching for Superhuman.’

WildBear’s commissions include Road to Now, a six-hour examination of events over the past 30 years in which the world’s population has grown by 2 billion people, marked by wars, rising tensions and changing planetary systems on which humans and other species rely for survival.

Hosted by Chris Bath, the series will feature perspectives and key insights from the likes of CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Niall Ferguson, Helen Clark and John Howard.

Searching for Superhuman comprises six documentaries drawing on the ABC archives which chart scientific advances over the past 30 years, featuring commentary by the world’s leading researchers in genetics, microbiology, stem cell science, surgery, exercise medicine, nutrition, bionics, fertility, mental health, longevity and neuroscience.

Hosted by Shalin Naik, the 6-part The Great Acceleration will examine developments in science in the 21st Century. Each episode will have a different focus – The machine age, space exploration, future energy, the ever-changing earth, agriculture and human evolution.

In WildBear’s Australia Remastered, Aaron Pedersen travels from coast to coast highlighting wildlife wonders, showcasing life, land, and seascape like nowhere else in the world, from Kakadu to the Great Barrier Reef.

Written by Alice Orszulok and Rebekka Schafferius, the natural history films draw on digitally re-mastered footage from the ABC archive.

‘Wanita: Heart of the Queen.’

Produced by Wild Pacific Media, Australia’s Ocean Highway tells the story of the East Australian Current, an oceanic river that stretches the length of Australia’s East Coast, 3000 km long, 100 km wide and hundreds of metres deep.

The factual slate includes a raft of shows that were previously announced including Blackfella Films’ Dark Emu, in which Bruce Pascoe provides a fresh perspective on Indigenous history, directed by Erica Glynn; In Films’ Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra, directed by Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin; and Southern Pictures’ Liz Allen-directed Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian.

Also: In Films’ Revelation, which chronicles the trials of two of the Catholic Church’s most notorious child-abusers; Beyond Entertainment and Blink TV’s Backburning Midnight Oil from writer-director Paul Clarke; Mitra Films’ Richard Leplastrier (w.t), which profiles the Sydney architect, written and directed by Anna Cater; Ronde’s Outback Ringer; and Daniel Gordon’s The Australian Dream.

Written and directed by Matthew Walker for People Productions, Wanita: Heart of the Queen chronicles the odyssey of the Australian country music artist as she aims to to prove her worth by singing and recording in Nashville after three decades of recklessness.

Among the returning series are Gruen, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Anh’s Brush with Fame, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, Hard Quiz, Gardening Australia, Restoration Australia, Escape from the City and Spicks and Specks specials.