Essential Media Group (EMG) is to produce a six-part factual TV series shooting in Australia starring British comedian and travel enthusiast Griff Rhys Jones.
Griff Off the Rails: Down Under (6 x 60’), will feature the host exploring the Australian landscape through its iconic railways. The series has been acquired by ABC TV in Australia. Kew Media Distribution is handling international distribution for the series.
Produced and directed by Julia Peters (Miracle Hospital, Nolan, Becoming Superhuman), the program will also follow Griff Rhys Jones as he discovers the origins of the railroads, the stories of the people who operate them and the communities that rely on them.
The series should find an audience given Australians’ appetite for programs like Great British Railway Journeys, which is never off air at SBS. Michael Portillo is also hosting Great Australian Railway Journeys on SBS this year.
Griff Rhys Jones is known for his love of trains, rivers and waterways through programs such as Slow Train Through Africa and Three Men in a Boat. He also writes a travel column for the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.
The series is executive produced by Brendan Dahill, Essential Media’s general manager.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Griff to create a very distinctive series that will offer viewers an entertaining outsider’s perspective on the foundation of a modern country and the origins of what it means to be an Australian today,” said Dahill.
“It’s great to be back in Australia. It presents an opportunity I’ve never had before to explore every corner of this wonderful place and to get out into the wild areas that trains will take me to,” said Griff Rhys Jones.
“This fascinating story will be told about the way Australia built a huge infrastructure to unite the country and its people. It is history, commentary, and adventure all wound into one.”
Griff Off the Rails: Down Under is filming across Australia over eight weeks from March.