Cliff Curtis and Tanzyn Crawford will star in 'Swift Street'.
A new romance from Easy Tiger spanning Australia and India, along with some star power for previously announced crime drama Swift Street, led the scripted announcements for SBS as the broadcaster unveiled its “biggest ever content line-up” for 2024 today.
Described as being in the vein of Sally Rooney adaptation Normal People, Four Years follows a married couple who have been separated for four years and try to find their way back to each other. The eight-part drama is created by Mithila Gupta, who leads a writing team that includes Nicole Reddy and S. Shakthidharan, with Mohini Herse and Fadia Abboud to direct. It’s the first time Easy Tiger, known for Colin From Accounts and The Twelve, has worked with SBS since the 2017 miniseries Sunshine.
The broadcaster also used its upfront event this afternoon to reveal further details of Magpie Pictures’ Swift Street, which will feature Hollywood star Cliff Curtis as jaded old-school hustler Robert and Tiny Beautiful Things actress Tanzyn Crawford as his 21-year-old daughter Elsie, who must team up with her dad to get him out of debt and save him from a merciless crime boss who wants her money urgently.
Headlining SBS’s unscripted slate for next year is a second season of Alone Australia, with ten new participants set to test their survival skills in the South Island of New Zealand (Te Waipounamu, Aotearoa) for the chance to win $250,000.
Winner of the first series, Gina Chick, will join comedian Susie Youssef as new companions to host Julia Zemiro for Great Australian Walks, which is returning alongside Sleep Revolution with Dr. Michael Mosley, the documentary strand Australia Uncovered.
There will also be a new series of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Pat Rafter, Wayne Blair, and Miranda Otto.
Melissa Leong is the newest Masterchef alumnus to join SBS, set to appear alongside Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis and Gold Logie winner Samuel Johnson in The Hospital: In the Deep End, a three-part series that explores the challenges facing the Australian public health system.
Of the other new docuseries to premiere on SBS in 2024, Shaun Micallef and Ray Martin are set to explore the entries and endings to life, respectively, with the former travelling abroad with some of Australia’s leading comedians to explore their cultural roots in Shaun Micallef’s Origin Odyssey, while the former Current Affair host will plan his own funeral to understand how the country is choosing to farewell its dead in BBC Studios Productions Australia’s Ray Martin: The Last Goodbye.
Speaking about the SBS slate, managing director James Taylor said the goal was to be a “contemporary national broadcaster” that not only reflected contemporary Australia, but had “digital, diversity, and sustainability at its heart.”
“2023 has seen us take great leaps in our digital transformation across television and audio, be it with the success of Alone Australia or the transformation of SBS Radio to SBS Audio,” he said.
“Next year will be no different as we continue to adapt to the consumer expectation of personalisation and improved advertising experience.”
In 2024, the Indigenous-focused channel will premiere Netflix co-commission Eddie’s Lil’ Homies, an animated series inspired by the book series of the same name from former AFL star Eddie Betts, who produces alongside Sophie Byrne and wife and co-author Anna Scullie.
It will be joined by the new Brindle Films feature documentary Journey Home: David Gulpilil, which will follow the ceremonial path of Yolngu man and renowned actor, David Gulpilil, on his journey back to Country after his passing back in 2021, offering an insight into a ceremony of renewal and regeneration, told completely from the Yolngu perspective.
NITV commissioning editor Marissa McDowell said the channel was honoured to share the story of Gulpilil’s journey home in the “beautiful” documentary.
“A stalwart in Australian cinema, Gulpilil is a staunch reminder of the importance of Indigenous representation onscreen,” she said.
“Journey Home shares an important and intimate part of Yolŋu culture with all Australians as part of Gulpilil’s continuing legacy.”
Programs returning to NITV include Logie Award-winning children’s series Little J and Big Cuz and Going Places with Ernie Dingo, which return for fourth and sixth seasons, respectively, as well as the second season of all-access observational documentary series, Our Law, which will expand nationwide, following First Nations police officers as they tackle the justice system from within. NITV will also premiere the US miniseries The Green Veil, which explores oppression in America.
SBS is banking on plenty of international flavour for its food programming in 2024, which includes the second season of Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, as well as Guillaume’s French Atlantic, a new series from Sydney-based chef Guillaume Brahimi, who also returns for Tour de France culinary accompaniment Plat du Tour. Elsewhere, Dan Hong will continue to street-food secrets in The Streets Hong Kong, while locally, Silvia Colloca is back in Silvia’s Tastes Like Home, as is Adam Liaw for The Cook Up.
In terms of overseas drama, there will be the final season of The Handmaid’s Tale and a second season Rogue Heroes, along with new acquisitions Paris Has Fallen, based on the Has Fallen action franchise, mystery thriller Sherlock & Daughter, and the historical thrillerThe Doll Factory, an adaptation of Elizabeth Macneal’s novel of the same name.
SBS director of television Kathryn Fink said the broadcaster was keen to tell stories “no one else will, in a way that no one else can” going into 2024.
“We‘re a purpose-led organisation, and home to some of the biggest shows in the country,” she said.
“We’re reaching more Australians than ever across linear and SBS On Demand. Our success is underpinned by our truly distinctive offering.