Australian Epic on ABC – In the series final, we follow the true story of one of the young Afghan refugees caught up Australia’s infamous Tampa affair.
When a Norwegian freighter ship rescued 433 asylum seekers from a distressed fishing vessel, it was then controversially advised by the Australian government that the freighter wasn’t allowed to enter Australian waters.
When the ship’s Norwegian captain defied Australian orders and sailed towards Christmas Island, Prime Minister John Howard dispatched SAS troops to board the ship and seize control.
Through a combination of interviews and satirical songs, this episode tells the story of an Australian moral failing; the story that pinpoints the moment in our recent history when we lost the right to claim that we’re a tolerant, welcoming nation.
The episode examines a national discomfort with outsiders and race that we still haven’t properly reckoned with today; and highlights how governments of all stripes can fan our anxieties and fears to improve their own political fortunes.
Featuring interviews with the Tampa refugee Abbas Nazari, former Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock, and political commentators David Marr, Peter Mares and Julian Burnside.
Production Credit: A Princess Pictures production
Australian Epic on ABC and ABC iview – Wednesday 13 December 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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