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SBS unveils new slate of programs for second-half of 2018

ProgrammingMedia Release

SBS today revealed a taste of what’s to come in its distinctive line-up of programs for 2018, with a continued focus on exploring diversity and multiculturalism in Australia.

Powerful storytelling, different perspectives, ground-breaking new formats and thought-provoking discussions all feature over the coming months, demonstrating SBS’s commitment to providing Australians with unique programming encouraging greater understanding, challenging perceptions and celebrating diversity.

Marshall Heald, SBS Director of TV and Online Content said,

“SBS is renowned for producing some of the most thought-provoking, and diverse content in Australia and we’ve built a reputation over four decades as a trusted media source, growing loyal audiences who come to us for a different perspective to our commercial counterparts.

“When it comes to changing the way people think, you need to engage them with stories that emotionally connect. If you can make people laugh, or cry, you’re creating a pathway to empathy, understanding and respect. That’s why we tell stories and show people on screen that you don’t see anywhere else. If we tell these stories well, we can change people’s prejudices. And that’s important.

“The new slate of programs tackle a broad range of contemporary issues, including mental illness, the ongoing refugee crisis, cultural and gender diversity in sport and the modern migrant experience. We also have some of the best in-language dramas from across the world, entertaining documentaries and food programs, and new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content.”

SBS recently launched Dead Lucky, a gripping thriller which twists and turns at a frenetic pace through the streets of Sydney. Through a diverse cast of young actors playing students in a crowded inner city sharehouse, Dead Lucky looks at the challenges international students in Australia can often face as they struggle under the weight of exploitation as workers, as well as cultural pressures from home.

The second series of Filthy Rich & Homeless, an honest and compassionate exploration of what it’s like to be homeless in Australia today is set to premiere on Tuesday, 14 August.

After sparking a national discussion on the homelessness crisis in 2017, five high-profile Australians with the potential to effect positive change will swap their privileged lives to discover what life is like for the nation’s homeless in the country’s most expensive city – Sydney.


Key Highlights for 2018


Dr Susan Carland
Image - SBS

Presided over by quizmaster, Dr Susan Carland, this brand new six-part series to find Australia’s brightest child in a unique competition documentary format, follows the lives of some of Australia’s brightest children and their families. These gifted children all have very high IQs and showcase phenomenal cognitive abilities in maths, general knowledge, memory and language.

Presented in association with Australian Mensa, the series features participants and their families from all over Australia, and provides unique insight into the joys – and challenges – of parenting a gifted child.


Prof Tim Carey, Jan Macintire, Prof Jayashri Kulkarni
Image - SBS

New two-part SBS documentary series How ‘Mad’ Are You? will break down stigma around mental illness in a way never seen before on Australian television.

Over a week, a diverse group of ten Australians will spend the week together; five have a history of mental illness and five do not.

Under the watchful eye of three medical experts, the group will take part in a series of specially designed tests and experiments, while the experts work out who’s been diagnosed with a mental illness and who has not.

The ten participants are living proof that a history of mental illness doesn't have to define you.


Go Back To Where You Came From Live is one of the most ambitious live television events in broadcasting history. Featuring seven opinionated Aussies who will discover what life is like in the most dangerous places on earth. Over three consecutive nights, Go Back Live will present a snapshot of the global refugee crisis by following refugee stories as they unfold in real time.

This is the fourth instalment of the Go Back franchise. When it first aired in 2011, there were few more contentious issues in Australian society than the treatment of asylum seekers and particularly ‘boat people’. Sending ordinary Aussies on a reverse refugee journey across the seas to find out first-hand what it was really like was like nothing we had ever seen on Australian TV before. The show sparked discussion for media commentators, for parliament and policy makers, and importantly with families on the couch, colleagues around the watercooler or friends at the pub.


Keisha Castle-Hughes, Nicole Chamoun
Image - SBS

An internationally renowned, award-winning cast leads new four-part SBS commissioned drama On The Ropes, including Keisha Castle-Hughes (Game of Thrones, Whale Rider), local breakout talent Nicole Chamoun (Safe Harbour, Romper Stomper), Logies Hall Of Famer Jack Thompson and acclaimed Israeli actor Igal Naor (Homeland, Riviera).

On The Ropes follows aspiring Iraqi-Australian boxing trainer Amirah Al-Amir (Chamoun) who has idolised her world champion father Sami (Naor) her entire life. While working in the family gym in Sydney’s west alongside her two brothers, Amirah negotiates a professional debut match for her hardnosed fighter Jess O’Connor (Castle-Hughes) with Sami’s long-time promoter Strick (Thompson). Furious that she has done this behind his back, her father threatens to cut her off. Desperate to chase her dream of transforming women’s boxing, will Amirah choose her fighter or her family?


Ernie Dingo
Image - SBS

Going Places with Ernie Dingo is a 14-part travel series which sees Ernie visit some of Australia’s most stunning locations while paying tribute to the traditional land owners and others who make these destinations such amazing places to see.

Along the way, Ernie meets locals who have found their connection to the place they now live. Through his warmth and genuine curiosity in people and places, Ernie discovers little known facts and hidden secrets from the people who know these amazing locations best.


Butterfly follows the story of an 11-year-old boy, Max, who makes the huge decision that he wants to live life as a girl. He has always dressed as one at home, but now he doesn't want to hide who he is.

This is a powerful family drama about this life changing decision in a boy so young - how do you decide what is best for your child as you try to support and protect him?

His mum, Vicky, played by Anna Friel and father, Stephen, no longer live together, which puts additional pressure on Max who yearns for an idyllic home life.


THE DAY – SBS On Demand
Exclusive In-language contemporary Dutch drama, The Day tells the story of a day-long hostage situation in a quiet Flemish town.

While the police do their utmost to end the event without bloodshed, it soon becomes clear that something is not right.

Told across eight thrilling episodes, viewers will see the story from alternating perspectives each episode; through the eyes of the police negotiators and Special Forces who respond to the crisis, and through the eyes of the criminals and their victims.