ABC and Screen Australia Invest in Local Stories For Children

The ABC and Screen Australia have announced a slate of new children’s programs that showcase local content, creativity and talent, across drama, comedy and animation.

The additional investment delivers on the ABC’s strategy of telling engaging and entertaining Australian stories for children. The ABC’s funding of Australian children’s content grew 39 percent in 2017-18, supporting emerging and established Australian talent for broadcast and digital audiences.

Leading the way is The InBESTigators, a new children’s comedy by the creators of the award-winning Little Lunch. The Gristmill production takes place in an Australian detective agency run by four eleven year olds, who manage to solve one thorny school or neighbourhood mystery after another. While every episode offers a compelling puzzle to crack, at its core the show is a character comedy with heart.

Live-action comedy is at the bouncing heart of Hardball, which showcases the diversity and vibrancy of life in suburban Australia. From creators Matt Zeremes and Guy Edmonds working on their first major series production, alongside Head of Kids, Catherine Nebauer at Northern Pictures, this series features fish-out-of-water Mikey and his misfit mates Salwa and Jerry. Their goal? To make Mikey the sweetest-bestest-acest handball champ that Western Sydney’s ever seen.

Lovers of surreal, laugh-out-loud animation will give full marks to 100 percent Wolf, a comedy series about Freddy Lupin, an 11-year-old boy set to turn into a werewolf, just like everyone else in his family. Things don’t go as planned when Freddy turns into an adorable poodle instead! Adapted from the popular Australian children’s novel, 100 percent Wolf is produced by Australian animation studio Flying Bark, along with Michael Bourchier and Barbara Stephen.

The Logie-nominated Mustangs FC will hit the field again for a second series about an all-girls soccer team. Produced by Amanda Higgs and Rachel Davis for Matchbox Pictures, the stellar Australian cast returns after finally beating their biggest rivals – but the new soccer season brings new challenges.

ABC Director of Entertainment and Specialist content David Anderson said: “The ABC is committed to telling funny, engaging and innovative Australian stories for children, created by some of our finest local creatives. These new programs deliver on the ABC’s strategy of focusing on high-quality and distinctive Australian content to inform, entertain and inspire children of all ages.

“Only the ABC offers so much extraordinary and relevant content across television and digital platforms, showcasing Australia’s amazing stories, settings and talent.”

Screen Australia Head of Production Sally Caplan said: “It’s vital that young Australians are able to see their country, their stories and hear their accent reflected on the screen, so we are incredibly proud to be working with the ABC on this significant slate of children’s programs.

“The characters in The InBESTigators, Mustangs FC, 100 percent Wolf and Hardball are distinctive and inclusive, and tell stories that are innovative and culturally significant. We have high hopes young viewers will connect with these tales and keep enjoying Australian content as they grow up.”

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