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SBS Upfronts: The Cook Up with Adam Liaw, New Gold Mountain and other programming highlights

SBS has unveiled an ambitious slate for 2021, anchored by Australian dramas, food programs including a weeknight Adam Liaw series, documentaries, digital originals and prestigious international TV shows.The centrepiece of SBS’s 2021 upfront presentation was five locally commissioned drama series, including three hour-longs and two short-form digital shows.New Gold Mountain, which has already started production…

SBS has unveiled an ambitious slate for 2021, anchored by Australian dramas, food programs including a weeknight Adam Liaw series, documentaries, digital originals and prestigious international TV shows.

The centrepiece of SBS’s 2021 upfront presentation was five locally commissioned drama series, including three hour-longs and two short-form digital shows.

New Gold Mountain, which has already started production in Victoria, will tell the story of Australia’s gold rush from the perspective of Chinese miners, an important but often overlooked part of our history. The series will centre on a murder mystery but will interweave the stories of various characters.

Starring Yoson An, Alyssa Sutherland, Christopher James Baker, Mabel Li and Dan Spiegelman, the four-part New Gold Mountain is directed by Corrie Chen and produced through Goalpost Television.

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SBS also revealed new series Copping It Black, a four-part series centred on a police detective who is assigned the case of a suspicious car accident in the Indigenous community she lived in as a child. The series is produced by Bunya and CAAMA.

The third drama is the previously announced The Unusual Suspects, a female-led heist story set in Sydney’s glitzy Eastern suburbs. Starring Miranda Otto, Michelle Vergara Moore and Aina Dumlao, it’s said to be the first local series featuring Filipino-Australian lead characters.

The two digital short-form series – six 10-minute episodes each – are Iggy & Ace, about two inseparable young, gay alcoholics and written by AB Morrison, and The Tailings, which is the story of an unofficial investigation into a man’s death in a remote mining town.

Foodies should get used to seeing a lot of Adam Liaw, who is set to front two SBS Food series, including The Cook Up with Adam Liaw, a 200-episode series in which the MasterChef winner will be joined by a special guest each weeknight as they ponder cooking essentials such as food fermentation and deglazing a pan.

Liaw also has a food travel series called Roadtrip for Good in which he travels through regional places trying to rebuild after last summer’s devastating bushfires.

There are also series featuring food identities Palisa Anderson, Diana Chan, Robert Oliver, Stefano de Pieri, Silvia Colloca and Analiese Gregory.

For fans of factual programming, SBS has a series called Lost for Words, presented by Jay Laga’aia which will follow 10 Australians’ inspiring journey to literacy and See What You Made Me Do, adapted from journalist Jess Hill’s book examining the complexity of domestic abuse.

One-off documentaries include Australia vs Anxiety, The Bowraville Murders, The Children in the Pictures, Can Science Prevent Suicide, The Department, Our African Roots and Strong Female Lead — the latter looks at gender and politics in the Julia Gillard era.

NITV will explore Australia’s justice system and the cost to Australia’s Indigenous peoples in Incarceration Nation.

A new series of Who Do You Think You Are will feature the family histories of Uncle Jack Charles and Celia Pacquola while Australia in Colour and Every Family Has a Secret are both returning.

International acquisitions include A World of Calm, a slow TV series that features the voiceover narrations of actors including Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Oscar Isaac, Keanu Reeves and Zoe Kravitz with each episode looking at soothing subjects such as noodles, chocolate and snow.

Romulus is a new drama series that tells the story of the founding of Rome but rather than actors speaking with posh English accents, the dialogue is in archaic Latin.

Returning seasons include Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Handsmaid’s Tale, Wellington Paranormal, Vikings, Why Women Kill, War of the Worlds and Shrill.

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