ABC Upfront: More Paradise, Grand Designs, Bluey, Kitty, Micallef, Maggie, Miriam & Myf


Commissions for Bunya Entertainment, Northern Pictures, BBC Studios, Fremantle Australia

The ABC has revealed its programming highlights for 2024. The schedule is studded with spin-offs and continuing runs of well-known series.

Highlights include:

• Return to Paradise – an Australian spin-off of the Death in Paradise series

Shaun Micallef will be back with a new show that’s promising entertainment

• Returning seasons of Total Control, The Newsreader, Fisk, Bluey including a half-hour special, Spicks and Specks, Miriam Margolyes, and more Muster Dogs

Debi Mazar, Miranda Otto and Jessica De Gouw in 60s department store drama Ladies in Black from Bunya Entertainment

• Grand Designs Australia plus spin-off called Transformations hosted by Anthony Burke and Yasmine Ghoniem from Fremantle Australia

• Tony Armstrong to present another solo shot with Extra-Ordinary Things

Maggie Beer to change the lives of our older Australians in Big Mission

Key ABC commissions

Ladies in Black from Bunya

A six-part drama series Ladies in Black will be led by American actress Debi Mazar (Younger, Entourage), Miranda Otto (The Clearing, Talk To Me) and Jessica De Gouw (The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, The Secret She Keeps).

Following the 2018 film of the same name and drawing inspiration from the 1993 novel, Ladies in Black, the television adaptation sees the women from Goodes Department Store (aka David Jones) fling open their shop doors to the 60s.

Also joining the cast are Kate Box (Deadloch, Wentworth), 2022 NIDA graduate Clare Hughes, Azizi Donnelly (Secret Society of Lies), Julian Maroun (Aftertaste), Carlos Sanson Jr (Bump), Tom Wilson (Heartbreak High), Sacha Horler (The Letdown), Huw Higginson (Total Control), Russell Dykstra (Rake), Thom Green (Of an Age), Hamish Michael (The Twelve), Krew Boylan (Simply Red), Ngali Shaw (The Twelve), Hazem Shammas (The Clearing), Peter O’Brien (Tidelands), Gemma Ward (While The Men Are Away) and Todd McKenney (Significant Others).

The series is written by Greg Waters (The Twelve) who also serves as script producer, Sarah Bassiuoni (House of Gods), Joan Sauers (Wakefield) and Randa Sayed (Halal Girls).

Production credits: A Bunya Entertainment production. Major production investment from the ABC, South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Australia. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Producers: Sophia Zachariou, Angela Littlejohn, Greer Simpkin, David Jowsey. Executive Producers: Greg Waters, Sue Milliken, Allanah Zitserman. ABC Executive Producers: Rachel Okine & Louise Smith. Distributed by ABC Commercial.

Pictured above: Debi Mazar, Miranda Otto & Jessica De Gouw


AUSTIN – Ben Miller, Michael Theo, Sally Phillips

Austin from Northern Pictures

Filming has begun in Canberra on Austin, an eight-part narrative comedy series for the ABC.

Produced by the multi-award-winning team at Northern Pictures, Austin stars well-known UK actors Ben Miller (Bridgerton, Death in Paradise) and Sally Phillips (Veep, Bridget Jones’s Diary). They are joined by Gia Carides (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Big Little Lies) and Roy Billing (Jack Irish, Underbelly). Making his acting debut is Michael Theo, a breakout star of the ABC’s Love on the Spectrum.

When much-loved children’s author Julian Hartswood (Ben Miller) inadvertently causes a social media storm, his career and that of his illustrator wife Ingrid (Sally Phillips) appears to be over. That is until Austin (Michael Theo), the neurodivergent son that Julian never knew existed, turns up out of the blue.

Production Credits: A Northern Pictures production for the ABC. Writers/creators: Darren Ashton, Ben Miller, Lloyd Woolf, Joe Tucker, Adam Zwar and Kala Ellis. Producer: Joe Weatherstone. Executive Producers: Catherine Nebauer, Darren Ashton, Ben Miller, Sally Phillips, Lloyd Woolf, Joe Tucker, and Peter Anderson. ABC Executive Producers: Todd Abbott and Rebecca Anderson. ABC Head of Scripted: Rachel Okine.

Death in Paradise down under from BBC Studios

The Death in Paradise is coming to Australia with an original, homegrown spinoff series, Return to Paradise. The series is being produced by BBC Studios Productions Australia with Red Planet Pictures for the ABC in association with the BBC, who will screen the series on BBC One and iPlayer in the UK.

Set in the fictional beachside hamlet of Dolphin Cove, Return to Paradise will feature six murder mysteries – all set against the backdrop of the Australian coastal landscape.

Australian ex-pat Mackenzie Clarke is the golden girl of the London Metropolitan police force – with an intuitive approach to detective work, she has built a reputation for being able to crack the most impossible of cases. However, she’s suddenly forced to up sticks and move back to her childhood home of Dolphin Cove, a beautiful, coastal paradise… and Mackenzie’s worst nightmare.

Created and executive produced by Peter Mattessi, James Hall and Robert Thorogood, Return to Paradise features an Australian writing team led by Mattessi alongside Elizabeth Coleman, Alexandra Collier and Kodie Bedford.

Return to Paradise will air on ABC and ABC iview next year and will be shown on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK. It will be distributed globally by BBC Studios.

Production Credits: BBC Studios Productions Australia, Red Planet Pictures. Produced for the ABC in association with the BBC. Executive Producers for BBC Studios Productions Australia are Kylie Washington and Warren Clarke, for Red Planet Pictures are Belinda Campbell and Tim Key and for ABC are Rachel Okine and Brett Sleigh.

Other ABC programs for 2024

House of Gods (Matchbox Pictures)

Shaun Micallef’s Unnamed Project (ITV Studios Australia & Giant Baby)

Miriam Margolyes Impossibly Australian (Southern Pictures)

Maggie Beer’s Big Mission (Artemis Media)

Tony Armstrong’s Extra-Ordinary Things (Fremantle Australia)

To Top