ABC TV announces its 2014 schedule

Louise Duffy | 28-11-2013

ABC TV has announced its 2014 programming schedule, featuring a line-up of Australian content, event television and programmes that set the agenda for the national conversation.

It will kick off the year with New Year's Eve Fireworks, live from Sydney Harbour – a four-hour show presented by Stephanie Brantz and Lawrence Mooney, and featuring ABC stars and characters including The Chaser team, Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh), The Moodys and Doctor Blake (Craig McLachlan).

Programming highlights include new dramas such as Anzac Girls, which tells the story of extraordinary young women who witness the brutality of war; The Code, a tale stretching from Australia’s outback to the corridors of power in Canberra; and Old School, starring Bryan Brown and Sam Neill.

Comedy and entertainment shows will include the return of quiz show Spicks and Specks, introducing comedian Josh Earl as the new host, accompanied by singer-songwriter Ella Hooper and comedian Adam Richard as team captains.

Chris Lilley will bring back Jonah Takalua in a new series that sees him in the midst of island life but still experiencing the familiar frustrations of a bored teenage delinquent.

The Working Dog team returns to ABC TV with Utopia, a satirical comedy about the absurdity of government-sponsored schemes; Lawrence Leung stars in kung fu comedy Maximum Choppage, and the Bondi Hipsters make their TV debut with Soul Mates.

Documentary, factual and arts programmes will include Afghanistan: The Australian War; Brilliant Creatures, which profiles four Aussies who shook the world; The Flying Miners, the story of a unique Australian work lifestyle; and, filmed in front of a live studio audience, Save Your Life Tonight, which puts Australia’s health under the spotlight.

Children’s programming highlights include Blue Zoo, a drama that sees eight teenagers take over an Australian marine park; MY24 in which young Australians chronicle the impact of a life-changing experience; and Hoopla Doopla, the tale of six extraordinary characters with amazing physical skills.

ABC iview continues to be the most popular catch-up service in Australia, and in 2014 ABC TV will premiere the entire run of a major new Australian series on iview coinciding with the launch of the first episode on television.

For the first time, iview will premiere two programs created especially for the online service: Fresh Blood, a sketch comedy initiative that will uncover Australia’s brightest young talent, and Wastelander Panda, a story of loyalty and betrayal in an environment where no-one can survive alone.

In late 2014, iview will offer a new pay-to-view on-demand service, showing ABC programmes from the archives.

“2013 has been another fantastic year for ABC TV. We’ve experienced the greatest increase in share across all networks, with growth in all five city markets,” said Richard Finlayson, director of television.

“ABC TV continues to be highly valued and trusted by the Australian public. We tell stories other broadcasters can’t; we innovate, take risks and nurture new talent. We serve broad and niche audiences by providing high quality content across a range of genres.

“Our vision for 2014 is clear. We want to set a path to enable us to lay claim to being Australia’s most impactful, contemporary and relevant media organisation.”