Australian Epic on ABC – The so-sad-it’s-funny story of the world’s most unfortunate Ferris wheel.

When private developers invited a Japanese team to build a giant Ferris wheel to help put Melbourne’s new Docklands precinct on the map, they could never have envisaged the chaos that unfolded.

The first wheel was full of cracks and had to be scrapped. The second wheel was even more prone to mishaps and delays.

But eventually in 2013 – nearly eight years after the intended grand opening – Melbourne finally got the giant Ferris wheel of its dreams… until 2021, when Covid brutally put an end to the wheel again.

In this documentary-meets-musical interpretation of the events, the wheel becomes a symbol of corporate folly and misguided private sector development.

But at its heart, it’s also a story of quiet perseverance: a modern example of Australia’s never-say-die spirit in the face of mounting scepticism, ridicule and one very cursed wheel.

Production Credit: A Princess Pictures production

Australian Epic on ABC and ABC iview – Wednesday 29 November at 9pm

About the Show

The ABC is thrilled to announce the ingenious new six-part musical comedy documentary series Australian Epic, where six of Australia’s most defining stories are retold as musicals, will premiere on Wednesday, 8 November at 9pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.​

Written by The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen, with 36 original songs  performed by an ensemble cast of dazzling triple-threats, including Phoenix Jackson Mendoza (Six The Musical), Michelle Brasier (Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café), Fiona Choi (The Family Law), Sami Afuni (Hamilton), Nicholas Kong (Miss Saigon) and Amy Lehpamer (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), this 6-part extravaganza breathes new life into some of the country’s most colourful stories, by giving them the full musical treatment they’ve always deserved.

Australian Epic swings between interviews with the real-life players and musical numbers that give Taylor and Hansen full rein to put their trademark satirical spin on the material.

The stories receiving the complete razzle-dazzle makeover include the unlikely triumph of ice-skater Steven Bradbury, the fairy-tale of the young Tasmanian woman Mary Donaldson, the international meltdown caused by Johnny Depp’s pet dogs, Pistol and Boo, the comedy of errors that befell Melbourne’s cursed Ferris wheel, the saga of Schapelle Corby and the political showdown of the Tampa affair.

Writer and executive producer Chris Taylor says: “Writing comedy songs with Andrew Hansen has always been one of my favourite things in the world to do. So it was really great to reunite with him on this bonkers project, which features some of the best songs we’ve ever written, I think.”

​Writer, composer, executive producer and ensemble cast member Andrew Hansen says: “At the same time, it’s also the only show we’ve done that has a heart. We actually wanted some of the songs to be quite moving, especially in the Tampa episode. So, there’s some emotional stuff in there that we finally allowed ourselves to have in our middle age.”

Media Release – ABC

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