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19 06 2017 - Media release

Ground-breaking series filmed in 48 hours documents Australia’s national security


Keeping Australia Safe

Screen Australia has announced production investment funding for Keeping Australia Safe - a ground-breaking documentary series produced by ITV Studios Australia for ABC TV, and filmed in one continuous 48-hour period.

Keeping Australia Safe will provide immersive and wide-ranging insight into our complex security landscape, revealing what is being done to keep all Australians safe from harm at any one point in time. With unprecedented access to Federal, State and community based services, the series will be intercut with stories from those responsible for keeping Australians safe on a daily basis. They range from specialist police units in Australia’s cities to community based domestic crisis centres, from defence force operations in Afghanistan to Magistrates Courts and remote policing in The Outback.

The series will challenge perceptions versus reality about where threats exist, the competing priorities of national and personal security, and the cost both financially and to our civil liberties.

According to ITV Studios’ Head of Content Ben Ulm, a documentary series of this scale and intensity has never been attempted. “We deployed 200 cameras around Australia and overseas over a single two-day period,” he said. “To gain the trust of 30 institutions that are traditionally very guarded about public exposure was like taking a year to crawl up 30 mountains, then tumbling down the other side in 48 hours. Fortunately, we landed on our feet.”

“With numerous polls revealing that Australians seem to be living in fear, and the government telling us that acts of terrorism in this country are now inevitable, this series will look at the costs of keeping Australia safe,” Ulm continued. “And we’ll hopefully begin a conversation about what sort of Australia we want our children to live in. At ITV, we are enormously proud to be producing such an important and timely series.”

“In 2016 Keeping Australia Alive demonstrated audiences’ appetite for observational documentaries that provide an in-depth view of how our country functions,” said Liz Stevens, Senior Manager of Documentary at Screen Australia. “We’re pleased to be involved with this next series from the same team, who will now give audiences insight into the intricacies of keeping Australians safe.”

ABC’s Head of Factual Steve Bibb said: “Keeping Australia Safe highlights how ABC Factual is reshaping its output – turning documentary storytelling on its head for surprising results. This incredibly ambitious project will get the nation talking and ask big questions about what it takes to keep us safe day to day. This commission extends a valuable ABC brand which started with the highly-acclaimed, and Logie nominated, Keeping Australia Alive.”

Keeping Australia Safe is produced by Elle Gibbons (Keeping Australia Alive, Paddock to Plate) with executive producers Ben Ulm (Keeping Australia Alive, The First ANZACs) and Robert Wallace (Bondi Vet, MasterChef) for ITV Studios Australia.

This six-part series from the producers of Keeping Australia Alive will broadcast on ABC TV later this year.

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