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In this post I’ll highlight October’s Australian ABC TV + SBS TV and commercial TV show highlights and schedule changes
SBS TV Highlights
Wednesday 1 October 1005pm – NEWStopia
A third series of Shaun Micallef’s Newstopia will start on SBS TV Wednesday, 1st October at 10.05pm.
In NEWStopia, Micallef delivers the news with a mostly straight face – tempered with the odd raised eyebrow and a rolled eyeball. He crosses to journalists in Australia and overseas, as well as hosting studio debates and discussions that invariably go awry. Ad breaks in NEWStopia are peppered with cultish on-air promos for non-existent programs.
Sunday, 12 October at 730pm – Who Do You Think You Are? David Tennant
David Tennant is best known for his role on the popular British science fiction series – Doctor Who. A seasoned Shakespearean theatre performer, Tennant is currently enjoying critical acclaim for his role as Hamlet on the London Stage.
In Who do you think you are? David decides to abandon the Tardis and investigate his own history. He knows very little of his background, other than that his family was brought up in Glasgow, and that there was some Irish blood in his veins. This information came from his maternal grandmother, Nellie Blair, who had been born in Londonderry (Derry) Ireland.
On David’s father’s side, he must look into the MacDonald family history – as this is his real surname. He chose the stage name Tennant as a young actor, after he saw Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant’s name in Smash Hits and thought it sounded good!
Sunday, 12 October 830pm & Tuesday, 14 October 830pm – First Australians (Documentary Series)
6 years in the making, First Australians is a landmark 7-Part Documentary Series and the most ambitious television project to be undertaken on Indigenous Australia. Produced by Australia’s leading Aboriginal filmmakers, the series chronicles the birth of a country and the collision of two worlds. It is an epic story that comes alive through the struggles of individuals, both black and white.
Beautifully filmed, the series blends landscape, art, interviews and first-hand accounts with a vast archival collection to present the birth of contemporary Australia as never seen before, from the perspective of its first people – the first Australians.
The story begins in 1788 in Sydney, with the friendship between an Englishmen (Governor Phillip) and a warrior (Bennelong) and ends in 1993 with Koiki Mabo’s legal challenge to the foundation of Australia. First Australians chronicles the collision of two worlds and the genesis of a new nation.
Friday 17, October 735pm – End Of The Rainbow (Documentary)
End of the Rainbow is an award winning documentary that explores the impact of large-scale industrial gold mining on a local community in a remote region of Guinea, West Africa.
Guinea is a desperately poor community that ironically, has had a long association with gold. As a result, the remote village has had to make way for a large industrial gold mine run by an international enterprise looking to strike it lucky in the region.
An Australian/French co-production the documentary received the First Appearance Award at the 2007 International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) – a first for an Australian film.
Tuesday, 21 October 730pm – Insight: Greed
To what extent did greed kill America and will it kill us?
As Australians feel the chill of the economic slow-down, Insight asks is greed to blame.
The recent crash on Wall Street has sent the American economy into a spin and left many criticising American capitalism. Some say Australia will weather the storm, but others are not so optimistic.
Insight host Jenny Brockie asks experts and people feeling the pinch what is happening. Can greed be good? And is the free market – as we know it – over?
Tuesday, 21 October 1005pm – Run Granny Run (Documentary)
In 1999, an 89 year-old woman named Doris ‘Granny D’ Haddock, laced up her sneakers and walked across America to rally against the influence of big money in elections. Making friends, enemies and news headlines, Granny D’s protest walk lasted 3200 miles and caught the attention of both political players and regular citizens.
Five years later, when state Senator Burt Cohen dropped out of the election race, the Democratic Party had just 24 hours to fill Cohen’s place on the ballot. Who stepped forward to take the opening? 94 year-old Granny D.
Run Granny Run chronicles the events that turned Granny D into a Senate candidate, providing behind-the-scenes access into the campaigning which took place in the lead up to the November 2004 election.
Find out more at www.grannyd.com
Many of the Movies and TV series mentioned in this article can be bought from Chaos DVDs
ABC1 TV Highlights
Sunday, 5 October 730pm – The Lost World Of Tibet (Documentary)
Amazing amateur colour footage of Tibet from four rare film collections brings to life the forbidden land the Dalai Lama grew up in before the Communist invasion.
The British Film Institute granted this film’s producers exclusive access to revealing footage taken by intelligence officers of the Raj, a Chinese official and a Communist cameraman. Their forensic examination zooms in and around the frames to reveal some amazing aspects of the Dalai Lama’s childhood.
This stunning documentary also includes eyewitness accounts from old Tibetans, British and Chinese officers and the Dalai Lama himself, interwoven with film of the Tibetan exiles in north India today.
Tuesday, 7 October 830pm – Risking Our Kids (Documentary)
Risking Our Kids marks the beginning of ABC’s new Future Makers series of documentaries.
Increasing childhood rates of diabetes, respiratory disease, behavioural disorders, obesity – and one in four children with mental health problems – lead former Australian of the Year, Fiona Stanley to warn that the next generation of Australians could have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Thursday, 9 October 605pm – The Elephant, The Emperor And The Butterfly Tree (Documentary)
A startling look at the two most destructive animals in South Africa and how their habits are a story of life, death and cooperation.
The elephant, the Emperor Moth and the Mopane tree form the backbone of life on the African plains. This delicate ecological triangle determines the livelihood of all the other creatures in its system.
The Mopane tree is under attack from rampaging elephants, but even more damaging is the Mopane worm, the caterpillar of the beautiful Emperor Moth. They gather in hoards and strip the trees of their leaves in minutes. But the worms are food for a host of animals – even humans – and the trees are home to a number of unpleasant creatures. What holds the delicate balance in check?
Sunday, 12 October 730pm – Galapagos: Born Of Fire (3 Part Documentary Series)
The Galápagos Islands are a living laboratory – a geological conveyer belt that has given birth to, and seen the death of, many species of plants and animals. They are also the inspiration behind Darwin’s theory of evolution and, as such, have had a powerful impact on the way we see our world.
This high-definition, three-part series has the Galápagos Islands at its heart. It follows them from their volcanic birth to their death beneath the waves, reveals the bigger picture of the many forces at work which are continually reshaping this fragile archipelago, and explores how our perspective of these islands, and those that roam them, has changed over the last 500 years from early pirates and buccaneers to Darwin’s arrival.
Tuesday, 14 October 830pm – The Burning Season (Documentary)
As part of the Future Makers series, ABC1 presents this revolutionary documentary touted as the follow-up film to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Already making waves in environmental circles, The Burning Season is a story of contribution and hope; one that offers a solution to the frightening issue of global warming.
Every year, there is a burning season in Indonesia. Rainforests are cut down and burnt every hour to clear land for crops such as palm oil, making Indonesia the third largest producer of carbon emissions in the world. Indonesian palm oil farmer Achmadi confronts the impact of his deliberately lit fires on climate change: what is he to do when this is the only income he knows?
Wednesday, 15 October 9pm – Stupid Stupid Man
Welcome back to the manic offices of Coq! – the men’s magazine for today’s man.
This second, eight-part series of Stupid Stupid Man – set in the office of a fictional men’s magazine called Coq! (French for rooster) – examines the lives of the editorial team comprising four blokes struggling for the right to express their ‘blokedom’ in an increasingly sensitive society, juxtaposed with strong female characters in senior management, and a P.A. with attitude.
Their contrasting personalities and the conflict between high journalistic ideals and the grubby reality of men’s magazines, twists these characters increasingly out of shape.
Office life revolves around Carl Van Dyke (Wayne Hope), a middle-aged editor who would rather work for Time magazine; Carl is trying to maintain journalistic integrity in the fleshy nether world of lingerie shoots.
His team comprises the charming features writer Nick (Matthew Newton); self-doubting advice columnist Dave (Bob Franklin); and the shy but committed copy boy Ross (Chris Leaney). While trying to put out a monthly magazine, the blokes have to contend with their wily and demanding boss Anne (Leah Vandenberg), and Carl’s feisty P.A. Tina (Sophie Katinis).
Thursday, 16 October 605pm – Shark Coasts (Documentary)
The watery savannah of Southern Africa’s coastline is prowled not by lions, leopards and hyenas, but by even more impressive predators: sharks – from makos and great whites, to tiger sharks and the giant whale sharks. But why are there so many sharks along this stretch of water? And is there any chance of surviving for the other residents with so many fearsome killers around?
Sunday, 19 October 1010pm – Andrew Olle Media Lecture: Mr Ray Martin
Ray Martin, one of the most recognised and respected faces in Australian journalism, will deliver this year’s annual 702 ABC Sydney Andrew Olle Media Lecture on 17 October 2008.
The Andrew Olle Media Lecture is held in honour of the respected and much-loved ABC broadcaster Andrew Olle who died of a brain tumour in 1995.
The Andrew Olle Media Lecture has continued to grow in stature since its inception in 1996. Ray Martin follows a long line of distinguished speakers, including John Hartigan, Senator Helen Coonan, John Doyle, Chris Anderson, Harold Mitchell, Lachlan Murdoch, Kerry Stokes AO, Eric Beecher, Steve Vizard, John Alexander, Jana Wendt and David Williamson.
The lecture’s focus is on addressing the role and future of the media, as well as profiling the work of the Andrew Olle Memorial Trust, which raises money for neuroscience research, with an emphasis on brain tumours.
Tuesday, 21 October 830pm- Seed Hunter (Documentary)
Seed Hunter is a one-hour documentary, as part of the ABC’s Future Makers series, about the hunt for seeds that may help save the world from its greatest ever crisis – a global food shortage brought about by human-induced climate change.
As Australia and much of the world wrestles with hotter weather and a dwindling water supply, mass starvation on a global scale is on the cards if we can’t find ways to improve crop resilience. Scientists are exploring many solutions to adapt our food supply, including going back to Mother Nature herself to locate the genes that can withstand our changing climate; genes that, thanks to a high-yielding monoculture, have almost disappeared.
Wednesday, 22 October 605pm – Art Museums Of The World (13 part Series)
The world’s most famous museums reveal their major collections and the fascinating stories of how they came to house them.
Told over 13 weeks, this beautiful high-definition series shows what the royalty, nobility and fabulously wealthy inhabitants of France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the UK and the USA, the original owners of the collections, found beautiful enough to acquire. The stories behind the works and their artists are an intriguing insight into the world and times from which they came.
Thursday, 23 October 605pm- Swamp Cats (Documentary)
Africa’s big cats don’t like water…but what is a cat to do when dinner is on the other side of a swamp?
Swamp Cats is a breathtaking documentary which takes a closer look at these swamp cats who spend half the year living in the swamps of Botswana’s Okavango. As the annual flood inundates the delta, the cats are forced to cope with expanses of water that fragment their homes into a series of small islands and their hunting ground into dangerous, watery mires.
Thursday, 23 October 830pm – The Prime Minister Is Missing
With Australia at war in Vietnam in 1967, suddenly Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared without a trace – an event unparalleled in the history of western democracy. The nation was in shock and disbelief at the shattering news, hoping for a miracle for the man who famously declared it was “all the way with LBJ”.
Police led a ‘softly softly’ investigation and concluded accidental drowning. But at the height of the Cold War paranoia, persistent doubts about his disappearance fuelled rumours and wild speculation.
Why did Holt go into such violent surf that day? Had he chosen a bizarre way out of a difficult situation? Why were police withholding crucial facts? What had they overlooked?
Thursday, 23 October 935pm – Chasing Birds (Documentary)
I watched and reviewed Chasing Birds at the 2008 Sydney Film Festival
ABC2 TV Highlights
Monday, 6 October 830pm – The Hack Half Hour
In this episode of The Hack Half Hour: House, we ask the question, “is the great Australian dream a crock?”
We’re obsessed with home ownership in this country. Around 70 per cent of us oor are paying off our own place, yet we have one of the least affordable housing markets in the world. And for gen Y’s things are getting harder. So is it time to give up on the dream?
We have a room full of home owners, renters, students, squatters and share traders, all with strong opinions on this, and we’ll also find out which member of the Chaser team bought a house at the age of 13. We explore this issue through Jeanette, a 23-year-old who is desperate to buy her own place.
Jeanette is making a lot of sacrifices to make her dream come true. She lives at home with her parents, grandma and sisters and she works 13 day fortnights. She is always too tired to hang out with her friends, and so her best friend is her cat.
Saturday, 11 October 830pm – Vertigo (Movie)
David Stratton presents Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.
Scottie Ferguson (Stewart), a lawyer turned detective, resigns from the San Francisco police department after discovering he has ‘acrophobia’ – a fear of heights.
Shortly after, he is asked by an old college buddy Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) to shadow his wife Madeleine (Novak), whom he describes as a suicidal neurotic …
Monday, 20 October 635pm – The People Watchers
Hosted by Professor Richard Wiseman, The People Watchers is a series which shows us why we do what we do. Three psychologists perform hidden-camera stunts on unsuspecting members of the public to demonstrate why we behave the way we do in everyday situations, and show us psychological tricks to help us improve our daily lives.
Over this 20 episode series, they’ll show us how to stop people jumping queues, how to get a seat on a train, how to get the haircut you really want, how to improve your memory, how to raise more money for your charity amongst many others. The People Watchers screens weekdays on ABC2 at 6:35pm.
Commercial TV Highlights
10 HD (channel 1)
If you have a High Definition (HD) digital set top box or PVR make sure you keep an eye on 10 HD (channel 1) which broadcasts over fifty hours of exclusive content per week, different from the shows on the normal Channel 10.
These included additional programming from popular Network Ten franchises such as Australian Idol, The Biggest Loser & So You Think You Can Dance as well as sport (Live F1 Grand Prix races, NFL, Nascar highlights), high-definition documentaries from the National Geographic Channel and Granada Television weekdays from 3pm to 5pm and themed programs on some nights eg: Science-Fiction programs.
Many of the Movies and TV series mentioned in this article can be bought from Chaos DVDs