Mercado on TV: Stan’s riveting new movie Nitram, Claudia Karvan’s literary journey and a Lego Christmas

Nitram aacta awards

Stan has another winner with Nitram, a riveting study about the events leading up to the Port Arthur massacre

No streamer has commissioned more local productions than Stan, and they are onto another winner with new Aussie movie Nitram. Despite the controversy, this is a riveting study about the events leading up to the Port Arthur massacre, and the mental health warnings ignored by a family.

Nitram stars Judy Davis, Anthony La Paglia, Essie Davis and American actor Caleb Landry Jones in the title role. He has already won the Cannes Best Actor award and with 15 AACTA nominations, more are coming. Nitram is the best film yet from director Justin Kurzel.

There are a lot of shows on the ABC with women driving cars in the country. There’s Heather Ewart on Backroads, Justine Clarke in Going Country and now Claudia Karvan is crisscrossing the nation in Books That Made Us (Tuesday on ABC).


Regional Australia always makes for great TV and it’s a delight to watch Books That Made Us travel everywhere from Tasmania to Western Australia. Authors like Tim Winton, Trent Dalton and Christos Tsiolkas chat with Claudia Karvan and she is a natural while being brutally honest with all about the pros and cons of their novels. Lovely viewing.

Endless versions of the same reality franchise look like being the future of television. Lego Master Brickmas Special (Sunday on Nine) combines two spinoff ideas – the celebrity edition and a Christmas spectacular – and fill it with celebrities paired up with people who can actually make Lego.

lego masters

Nine claims all the celebrities as their own, and that’s true for Scott Cam, Brooke Boney and Sophie Monk. Nova host Michael “Wippa” Wipfli, however, is introduced as from The Apprentice which is a bit of a stretch for someone who is verging on being a radio veteran. 

Although it’s a bit early for a new Christmas special. There will be no bah humbug here. And now there is something to repeat at Christmas in the non-ratings period. 

Seven might be pushing it to do a Christmas edition of SAS Australia, but they’ve been pushing it plenty already. They have just screened two series of SAS Australia (celebrities and commoners), the original UK version is on 7plus, an Ant Middleton special is coming and a new celeb version is early next year. Exhausting.

Home and Away (Thursday on Seven) signs off for the year with an engagement, a transplant trauma and someone being buried alive. Neighbours (10Peach) did their buried alive season-ender with Susan Kennedy (Jackie Woodburne) in 2014, so they will wrap up their 36th year in December with a cliffhanger cliffhanger. Literally. 

Read more Mercado on TV columns here.

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