ABC (General Discussion)

The ABC’s Chief Operating Officer, David Pendleton, has notified the ABC that after 20 rewarding years he will bring his career at the national broadcaster to a close.

Mr Pendleton has indicated that he will leave at the end of the current financial year, allowing him to assist the Manager Director, Michelle Guthrie, and the ABC Executive in preparations for the next budget and in the transition to new financial and operational leadership at the Corporation.

Mr Pendleton joined the ABC in 1996 and has been on the Executive since 2002, first as Director of Business Services and then as the ABC’s Chief Operating Officer.

The ABC acknowledges the pivotal role Mr Pendleton has played in shaping the ABC’s operational base and in its digital expansion.

He has provided outstanding service to a succession of ABC Boards and Managing Directors and his operational knowledge and financial expertise will be sorely missed. His input, guidance and leadership have been invaluable in managing one of the most complex media organisations in the country.

Mr Pendleton said it was an appropriate time to flag his intention to leave the Corporation to focus on new challenges.

“It has been a privilege and an honour to contribute to Australia’s most respected media organisation. I am proud of my team’s achievements during my time here as we have evolved from an analogue to a digital broadcaster.

“Despite the many challenges, we have continued to innovate and provide outstanding service to the Australian public.

“I would like to acknowledge the many MDs, Chairs, Board Directors, colleagues and teams I have worked with in my time at the ABC. I am confident that I leave the ABC in great shape with its best years ahead.”

As the class of 2017 prepare to start their final year of school, ABC will premiere the innovative ‘vlogumentary’ series My Year 12 Life on Monday February 20 at 7.30pm on ABC ME and ABC iview and Sunday February 26 at 6.30pm on ABC.

Students are told Year 12 is meant to be the best year of their life, but is it really? With thoughts of exams, assignments, homework, schoolies and what they’ll do for the rest of their life occupying their every thought, emotions are running high.

ABC viewers will get a first-hand look at this rollercoaster year as My Year 12 Life follows the journey of 14 Australian students who document every step of their final year of school.

Filmed entirely by the students themselves, each one has a different outlook on this dramatic year –ranging from excitement and enthusiasm to trepidation and stressed out.

“I am dreading going to school. I should be excited to go back cause I’m going to learn all these incredible things, but no, I’m nervous, I’m worried and I’m scared of failure,” vents Zoe on the eve of starting Year 12.

My Year 12 Life will screen across multiple ABC broadcast and digital platforms, allowing viewers to watch on the platform that best suits them.

ABC ME – Monday to Wednesday at 7.30pm from Monday, February 20

ABC – Sundays at 6.30pm from Sunday, February 26

ABC iview and ABC ME app – will house each episode as catch-up from February 20 as well as hosting over 400 pieces of additional content which rolls out from February 10

ABC ME YouTube – will also be used to distribute My Year 12 Life to the widest possible Australian audience

By providing an in-depth look at what Australian Year 12 students and their families go through, this series aims to create a national conversation between students, teachers and parents/guardians about the issues they face and how they can be best supported.

My Year 12 Life is created by Laura Waters. Series Producer: Karla Burt. Executive Producers: Laura Waters, Emma Fitzsimons and ABC’s Libbie Doherty. Produced in association with Screen Australia and Film Victoria, My Year 12 Life is a Princess Pictures production for ABC Television.

ABC is excited to announce that four of our most popular preschool programs will be available in Mandarin as part of a 12-month trial on ABC iview and ABC KIDS iview to celebrate the Year of the Rooster.

Starting Saturday January 28, Mandarin speaking families and families with an interest in developing Mandarin as a second language, will be able to enjoy watching Mandarin language versions of the Australian/Chinese co-production hoopla doopla! plus ABC KIDS favourites Peppa Pig, The Octonauts and Peter Rabbit.

Almost a quarter of Australian’s speak a language other than English at home, with Mandarin the most popular. Mandarin is also now firmly established as an important part of the language curriculum in Australian schools.

Seven Mandarin episodes of each title will be available at launch, with new episodes added daily throughout February. In addition, three Mandarin episodes of hoopla doopla! will be available on broadcast as part of our TV Education service for schools, with supporting education resources online.

The English versions of each episode will be offered simultaneously with the Mandarin program on ABC iview and ABC KIDS iview. The Mandarin episodes will have a 中文 (‘Chinese language’) icon on each episode image for easy recognition.

Rebecca Heap, ABC Head of Programming and Digital said: “We are thrilled to be able to extend our trusted ABC KIDS service to new audiences and to offer our existing families a whole new way to engage with their favourite programs. ABC KIDS aims to provide Australian families with trusted programming that reflects the world around them. Mandarin is one of the most popular and fastest growing languages and we can’t wait to see how Australian preschoolers engage with our trial on ABC iview and ABC KIDS iview.”*

Based on audience feedback, and subject to program availability, ABC KIDS hopes to trial preschool titles in additional languages throughout 2017.

* Census 2011,, and Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012/2013

ABC is pleased to announce that filming is underway in Melbourne on the highly anticipated second season of the award-winning paranormal drama Glitch.

First screened in 2015, Glitch unraveled the mystery of seven people who had inexplicably returned from the dead.

The series garnered outstanding drama awards at the Logies and AACTAs and attracted a legion of fans who binged it on ABC iview.

Returning cast Patrick Brammall, Emma Booth, Genevieve O’Reilly, Rodger Corser, Sean Keenan, Hannah Monson, Ned Dennehy, Emily Barclay and Aaron McGrath, will be joined by Rob Collins (Cleverman, The Wrong Girl), Luke Arnold (Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS, Black Sails), and Swedish legend Pernilla August (Star Wars, Fanny & Alexander), adding to the rich world of this exceptional Australian drama.

With continuing twists and surprises, Glitch creators, Louise Fox and Tony Ayres aren’t giving too much away.

“We can’t wait for our audience to see where the story goes. We want to deliver on the promise of answers and keep the thrills and spills coming,” said series creator and show runner Louise Fox.

“We left our audience with so many questions at the end of the first series. Season 2 is our chance to answer some of these questions, whilst further exploring the confusing, messy and joyous miracle of being given a second chance at life,” said Tony Ayres, series creator, Matchbox Pictures.

ABC Head of Scripted Production Sally Riley said: “Glitch really broke the mould for ABC drama when audiences flocked to binge watch this fantastic paranormal mystery on iview. In 2017 we are going to shock, surprise and thrill fans, both returning and new, with what we have in store for Season 2.”

Glitch will film on location in Melbourne and regional Victoria until the end of March and will premiere on ABC and ABC iview later in the year.

ABC presents Grad Season 2017, an exclusive showcase of the best original short film projects created by recently graduated Australian film school students, curated by ABC Arts on iview. It is the first initiative of its kind on any Australian online TV service.

Featuring 28 films from 9 film schools, the season gives up-and-coming Australian filmmakers access to Australia’s popular iview service as a platform to share their work with a national audience. Selected works from the collection also have the opportunity for a broadcast premiere on ABC2.

Mandy Chang, Head of ABC Arts said, “Many of these young filmmakers are the future lifeblood of our industry and we are keen to encourage an ongoing connection between emerging filmmakers and the ABC. There is a lot of talent out there and universities and colleges around the country are doing a great job in fostering and developing it. It’s our job at the ABC to nurture emerging filmmakers to the next stages of their careers. We are delighted do just that with Grad Season and to celebrate and share their achievements with a national audience.”

The season includes a variety of documentary, drama, comedy and animation films.

Participating schools include AFTRS (A Boy Called Su, Foal, The Kangaroo Guy), Griffith University (Alienation, Gokanosho, Pond Scum), Swinburne University (The Man Who Caught a Mermaid, The Promise, The Summer of ABC Burns), La Trobe University (Samara – Lady Trample, Naz), QUT (Oddbots, Same as it Ever Was), Bond University (Ultramarine, Off Track, Anchor), VCA (Boxer, Good Grief, Play Dead, Young Love), Macquarie University (Being Jasper, The 5 to 9) and UTS (Pirlo, Nineteen, Stan Franklin, Dream Reel, Wildwood, Tay Man).

Grad Season is an exclusive showcase of the best original short film projects created by recently graduated Australian film school students. Watch all the films on ABC Arts on iview from 20 February.

ABC TV appoints Josie Mason-Campbell as the new Head of Non-Scripted Production

ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie and ABC Director of Television, Richard Finlayson, today announced the appointment of Josie Mason-Campbell to the role of Head of Non-Scripted Production.

Josie joins the ABC with a wealth of experience in non-scripted production across a range of genres. She joined Foxtel in 2013 and currently holds the position of Head of Production and Development.

Josie has been instrumental in the production of Foxtel’s non-scripted slate including successful programs such as Gogglebox, The Great Australian Bake off and Coast Australia along with the upcoming original productions Unchartered with Sam Neill, Local Justice, The Archibald and Gene-Pool Productions, Lawless.

Ms Guthrie said:

“Josie is a natural creative leader, who has thrived in the industry. We are looking forward to her helping the ABC create more great Australian shows that resonate with a broad audience.”

Mr Finlayson said:

“Josie’s experience in managing a network portfolio as well as deep, hands-on production skills will equip her well for helping shape the ABC slate for the future.”

Josie Mason-Campbell said:

“For me the ABC is, and has always been, an essential part of Australian life, providing a brave, bold yet strangely comforting stage on which to tell our stories. I am honoured Michelle and Richard have given me the opportunity to join them and play a pivotal role in shaping its creative output.

“I look forward to collaborating with our innovative independent production sector as well as the ABCs talented internal team to make quality, diverse and engaging television for all Australians.”

The Head of Non-Scripted Production reports directly to the Director of Television and is responsible for ABC TV’s Factual, Entertainment, Arts and Events slates. It was previously held by Brendan Dahill.

Just announced: #Bullied with @IanThorpe premieres Tuesday 14 March 8.30pm on #ourABC & @abciview

— ABC TV Australia (@ABCTV) February 10, 2017

Just announced: Brand new medical drama 'Pulse' is coming to #ourABC later this year.

— ABC TV Australia (@ABCTV) February 10, 2017

ABC Director of Television, Richard Finlayson, and Head of Programming and Digital, Rebecca Heap, today announced additional titles to be added to ABC’s impressive 2017 slate and has affirmed ABC’s commitment to ambitious, accessible and Australian programming.

Richard Finlayson said: “It’s with great pleasure we reveal another raft of world-class content today; programming that unequivocally confirms ABC as the home of Australian stories, conversations and the best creative talent. Our programs continue to not only entertain but tackle the things that matter, at home, in the community and to the nation.”

Major highlights unveiled today include outstanding drama (Pulse, The Easybeats), must-see comedy and entertainment (Get Krack!n’, Hannah Gadsby’s Nude, The Ex-PM, The Chinaboy Show), change-making factual event television (Brian Cox’s Stargazing Live in Australia, Craig Reucassel’s War on Waste, Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line, the Ian Thorpe hosted Bullied), and groundbreaking children’s programs (Mustangs FC, My Year 12 Life, Get Grubby TV and Joey’s Big Adventure).

Building on a year of innovation, ABC will continue to meet changing audience needs and evolve the way it delivers its content.

Rebecca Heap said: “Last year we launched live streaming of all ABC channels on ABC iview and created the ABC ME platform for school-aged children. Since the launch of the ABC ME app we’ve seen a 68% uplift in plays and recently hit a record 516,000 plays in one single day.

“After the enormous success of our digital-first content slate last year, in 2017 we’re committed to produce more hours of digital programs targeting younger audiences across iview and ABC2.”

ABC has demonstrated its ability to galvanise audiences around major national events such as Crowded House Live at Sydney Opera House (1.5 million reach on broadcast, 10,000 live-streams on ABC iview and 316,000 unique Australian viewers on ABC TV and Double J Facebook pages), the Australian Election (TV coverage across the day reached 5.9 million viewers and a record 7.1% prime-time share for ABC News 24) and the New Year’s Eve Fireworks (3.6 million reach on ABC, 66,000 on ABC iview, 10 million+ on social platforms). In 2017 ABC is focused on giving Australians even more magical family moments and change-making television events throughout this year.

Knowfirst will add shows and their summaries in the Television Programs category, later today.

The Coalition has handpicked Western Australian mining lobbyist Vanessa Guthrie to sit on the ABC board, bypassing the independent nomination panel.

Guthrie is the chair of the Minerals Council of Australia and until December was managing director of uranium developer Toro Energy.

To mark International Women’s Day 2017 the ABC is putting its line-up of female leaders to the fore.

On 8 March, programs and content across radio, television and digital will reflect the day’s theme of #BeBoldForChange and focus on the need for change and gender equality in all communities.

Commencing at 6am with ABC News Breakfast an all-female line-up will lead the major radio and TV news bulletins and current affairs programs and present across the day on NewsRadio and News 24.

ABC Radio will also showcase the extraordinary breadth of female broadcasting and creative talent with all-women presenters on all networks, while special content through the day explores the need for change and gender equality. Jane Caro will take on hosting duties on Conversations at 11am on Local Radio; her guest will be award-winning journalist Joanne McCarthy.

At noon Sarah Moran, CEO of Girl Geek Academy will talk about the importance of encouraging girls into tech in the first School Hacks for Parents Facebook live series on the ABC Splash Facebook page:

In a special IWD broadcast at 1pm, RN will present Coming Out, Again to reunite some of the Coming Out cast from the 70s to the 90s, such as Julie Rigg, Nicola Joseph, Fiona Martin and Kath Duncan.

Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery (8pm on ABC TV and ABC iview) features Dr Susan Carland, an academic, author and social commentator whose expertise in gender, sociology and the modern Muslim experience have made her an important voice in the Australian cultural landscape.

In the evening ABC Radio presents an All Star Entertainment Debate: That Motherhood Is Overrated. Starring a galaxy of Australia’s finest female talent in a heady collision of heart and humour including Wendy Harmer, Elaine Crombie, Showko Showfukutei, Patricia Karvelas, Effie The Virgin Bride (aka Mary Coustas), Julia Zemiro and hosted by Libbi Gorr, the debate will be broadcast on RN at 8:05pm, on Local Radio at 9:05pm.

ABC iview fans will be treated to a collection of programs highlighting the work and contributions of some of Australia’s most well-known women including artist Margaret Olley, journalist Ita Buttrose and comedian Judith Lucy’s brilliant Judith Lucy Is All Woman.

The largest ever study of Australian women on the land, The Invisible Farmer, will be launched on ABC Open ( A creative partnership between the ABC, rural communities, academics, government and cultural organisations, The Invisible Farmer aims to reveal the hidden stories of women on the land and stimulate public discussion about contemporary issues facing rural Australia and its future.

In support of the day, a campaign will run across radio, online, digital and social channels, spearheaded by a 30 second television promo where deeply respected broadcasters including Kumi Taguchi, Joe O’Brien, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Myf Warhurst, Chris Bath, Beverly O’Connor, Linda Marigliano and Fran Kelly share the advice they would give to their younger selves.

For international audiences, Radio Australia’s news and current affairs programs in Tok Pisin and English will be presented by women and feature stories about inspirational women across the Pacific. Online, will showcase stories about women in English, Chinese and Indonesian and Australia Plus Learn English will conduct a Facebook live lesson about using gendered language.

Follow #IWDABC throughout the day for information or #BeBoldForChange to support International Women’s Day 2017.

$50 million audience investment in ABC transformation

The ABC will invest $50 million in new content and create 80 new jobs in rural and regional Australia under a new strategy and transformation program announced today by the ABC’s Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie.

“Investing in Audiences” involves a number of interlocking initiatives designed to strengthen the Corporation and enhance its ability to deliver on its Act and Charter and serve the community.

The key initiatives are:

· Creating a $50 million fund open to all employees to source new ideas for content

· Investing $15 million per year in regional jobs and extra digital and video output as a key part of the Fund

· Implementing a new streamlined leadership team and structure

· Reducing management by 20% and addressing duplication in support roles

· Signalling a transition to a more audience-focussed content structure over the next 12 months

· Delivering additional production and support efficiencies across ABC TV and ABC News.

Addressing ABC employees across the country, Ms Guthrie said both the Content Fund and the Regional Investment involved unprecedented financial commitments by the Corporation from within its own budget.

“The Fund enables us to respond with flexibility and speed to shifting audience trends and to extend our reach and engagement, especially with audiences who are infrequent ABC users,” Ms Guthrie said.

“Regional investment will be a priority. We’re committing to an injection of funds, ultimately building to $15 million a year, to provide more reporters and content makers, better tools and increased video and digital output. The ABC will recruit up to 80 new content roles in regional areas within 18 months.”

The ABC aims to reduce management by an average 20 per cent across the Corporation, with support areas to absorb a higher percentage of that cut. There will also be a process to address duplications across support roles. The savings will go directly towards the Content Fund. ABC TV and ABC News will also reduce production and support roles as part of internal efficiency targets.

It is expected that across these three exercises, 150 to 200 staff will leave the ABC by 30 June 2017.

Ms Guthrie said the ABC was not alone in the media sector in having to make painful decisions to reduce employee numbers. “These changes are essential to the long-term health of the Corporation, but I acknowledge that this is little comfort to those whose roles are impacted. We will work with unions and with affected staff. We will be open and move as quickly as possible to end the uncertainty in affected areas.”

Ms Guthrie said the ABC had to adapt to the changes that were sweeping through the media sector. The ABC was dealing with the challenges of new and powerful media competitors, fast-changing audience trends and fixed funding. Responding to those challenges required swift and strong action.

“These initiatives recognise that incremental reform isn’t the answer and that transformational change over the next year is essential if the ABC is to realise its full potential. Change that strengthens the organisation, empowers our people and delivers long-term results for audiences.”

The restructure reduces the number of main ABC divisions from 14 to eight, with the four existing content divisions balanced by new streamlined support functions. Sitting alongside the four content divisions (Television, Radio, News and Regional) will be new divisions for Finance, Technology, Engagement and Audiences. Editorial Policies and Government Relations will be specialist functions reporting direct to the MD.

The ABC has proposed integrating staff in ABC International into the ABC, enabling the Corporation to utilise all its knowledge, skills and platforms to better serve audiences in the Asia-Pacific region and deliver on its International Charter remit.

There are a number of new Leadership Team appointments. David Anderson, previously the Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning and Director of Digital Network with 25 years’ experience at the ABC, is the new Director of ABC Television.

There will be a new Audiences Team, led by Leisa Bacon, who was previously the Director of Audience and Marketing. The new Audiences Division has an expanded remit to oversee the use of the Content Fund and to provide an across-the-ABC approach to research and audience strategy.

Louise Higgins, who has a strong background in financial media management, including working at the BBC and at Nova Entertainment, joins the ABC as Chief Financial Officer. Sam Liston, formerly the Director of ABC People, becomes Chief Engagement Officer. The former COO, David Pendleton, will act as Interim Chief Technology Officer while the ABC recruits for that position.

Alan Sunderland will remain as Director of Editorial Policies and Michael Millett will be Director of Government Relations.

The ABC Board endorses the initiatives and changes that have been announced today by the Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie.

The ABC has been continuously evolving and responding to the needs of Australian audiences. Today’s announcement represents an integrated and constructive response to the new challenges that confront the national broadcaster, ensuring the ABC is best-positioned to meet its Charter and audience objectives.

The Board has been involved actively in the development of the ABC proposals, working closely with management and Ms Guthrie since her appointment 10 months ago.

The change program over the next 12 months will transform the Corporation. Importantly, it provides content makers with the flexibility and resources they need to address audience and technological changes that are sweeping through the media sector.

The new structure also strengthens the Corporation, with its emphasis on operational efficiency, reduced management layers and the creation of a new Audiences division to align ABC programming and content strategy with audience tastes and trends.

The Board acknowledges that within a fixed funding envelope, choices need to be made on allocating resources. In transforming the ABC, the priority must be on delivering to audiences.

The Board has established regular reporting on the progress of implementation and will provide governance oversight to ensure that the intended benefits are delivered from this change program.

We believe the steps outlined today maintain the ABC’s fundamental commitment to the provision of programming that contributes to a sense of national identity; that informs, educates and entertains; and which reflects the cultural diversity of the Australian community.

In its contribution to the process, the Board has had particular regard to its statutory responsibility under the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 “to ensure the functions of the Corporation are performed efficiently and with the maximum benefit to the people of Australia”.

As many as 85 ABC staff on television programs including 7.30 and Foreign Correspondent have been tapped for redundancy just hours after the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, unveiled her plan for streamlining management.

Sources told Guardian Australia some of the staff who were informed they were going to be made redundant included a vision mixer, a lighting director and a technical producer.

Screen NSW & ABC TV call for applications for the 2018 Documentary Feature Fund

Screen NSW and ABC TV Arts are calling for applications for the 2018 Documentary Feature Fund.

Now in its second year the Documentary Feature Fund commissions feature length arts documentaries for world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival, followed by broadcast on ABC.

The first film to be commissioned in last year’s call out, Right Here: The Go-Betweens, explores the melodramatic saga behind the rise and fall of one of the most critically acclaimed Australian bands of the last 40 years. Written and directed by Kriv Stenders (Red Dog), who also directed many of the band’s music videos, Right Here: The Go-Betweens is currently in post-production and will premiere at the 64th Sydney Film Festival June 7-18th 2017 followed by a national broadcast on ABC.

The Screen NSW ABC Arts Documentary Feature Fund will consider eligible proposals for feature length documentaries that address the Arts in the broadest sense. Applications are sought for projects appealing to a wide audience.

Screen NSW will contribute $100,000 and the ABC will allocate a $150,000 license fee. Producers are encouraged to raise any additional finance via distributors, international broadcasters, other state or federal agencies, and any applicable offsets. The successful film will be delivered at the end of May 2018.

Sophia Zachariou, Director of Sector Investment at Screen NSW, said: “This fund is the perfect intersection between two worlds, bringing together creative forces and ideas from across the arts and screen communities. Kriv’s film is a great showcase for the ambition of the productions we are looking for.”

Head of ABC Arts Mandy Chang said: “We’re really excited to open submissions for the second year of this initiative and look forward to seeing many strong ideas from New South Wales’ best film making talent.”

Screen NSW and ABC Arts are calling for applications from today. Applications for this year close on April 30 at 11.59pm.

NBN board member and former Telstra executive Justin Milne is expected to be appointed the new chair of the ABC by the Turnbull government later this week.

Justin Milne, the next chairman of the ABC, will be an avuncular pragmatist who will focus on the big-picture challenges facing the public broadcaster, according to colleagues and competitors, report The Australian.

“The biggest impact that the NBN and the ABC can make is connecting regional Australians with the rest of the nation,” said iiNet founder Michael Malone, who sits on the board of the NBN Co with Milne.

“There’s a ­social compact there that Justin is very attuned to. He understands that people in the country need to feel like they are specifically loved and not generally loved.”

Sky News chief executive ­Angelos Frangopoulos described Milne as an “outstanding media executive”.

“I wish him well, but not too well,” Frangopoulos said.

John Clarke

The ABC is saddened at the loss of John Clarke, whose work as a satirist and performer made him a greatly admired and loved figure on the national stage.

The writer and performer for three decades alongside his on-air partner Bryan Dawe offered insightful and cutting satirical commentary on issues of national importance. From the 1970s when he introduced Australian audiences to his character Fred Dagg from his native New Zealand, to his work on The Gillies Report and The Games, John Clarke was a central figure in Australian comedy and satire.

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie said the unexpected loss of John Clarke would be felt by everyone at the ABC and by audiences across the country who had come to love his biting sense of humour.

“Australian audiences have relied on John Clarke for always getting to the heart of how many Australians felt about the politics of the day and tearing down the hypocrisy and at times absurdity of elements of our national debate.

“We have lost a giant presence on our screens. Our hearts go to John’s family, his wife Helen and two daughters, Lorin and Lucia.”

Statement from the family of John Clarke

The much loved and respected satirist and writer, John Morrison Clarke (b 1948) has died suddenly of natural causes on Sunday 9 April. Beloved husband of Helen, father of Lorin and Lucia, grandfather of Claudia and Charles and father-in-law of Stewart Thorn.

John died doing one of the things he loved the most in the world, taking photos of birds in beautiful bushland with his wife and friends. He is forever in our hearts.

We are aware of what he has meant to so many for so many years, throughout the world but especially in Australia and New Zealand. We are very grateful for all expressions of sympathy and love which John would have greatly appreciated.

John’s family has asked that their privacy be respected at this sad time.

Statement from ABC Head of Comedy Rick Kalowski

“The passing of John Clarke - our greatest ever political satirist - is a tragic loss to his millions of fans and the entire Australian comedy community, many of whom (myself included) were inspired by his brilliance to want to work in comedy. John was shooting for ABC TV on The Ex-PM Season 2 until only this past Friday, and it’s almost impossible to believe he is suddenly gone. The chance to get to know and spend time with John was an honour, and ABC TV Comedy joins so many others in offering John’s family our sincerest sympathies.”

Statement from Charlie Pickering

“One Christmas I was given four copies of John Clarke’s book ‘The Tournament’ by four different people. It’s safe to say they knew me pretty well. John was a familiar part of my life and sense of humour since I was old enough to know what I liked.

It goes without saying that he had a huge influence on me and our show. How can he not? If you are going to have the nerve to make jokes about the news in Australia, you do so knowing that you will never clear the bar set by John Clarke. And his work with Bryan Dawe over decades has been as good as anything put to air anywhere in the world.

Last year Tom Gleeson and I recorded a tribute to Clarke & Dawe simply as a thank you for being our favourite thing on TV. I rang him to ask permission. The conversation got away from itself and we ended up talking about how writing a good comedy script was somewhere between poetry and physics. Whatever that middle ground is, John Clarke deserved the Nobel Prize.

My thoughts are with his family, Bryan and the Australian viewing public for their loss.”


The ABC will pay tribute to the much loved comedian, writer, and satirist John Clarke, screening a special, John Clarke: Thanks for Your Time on ABC at 8pm on Easter Monday, 17 April. The half hour special will be available on ABC iview following the broadcast and an encore screening will air on the ABC NEWS channel on Saturday, 22 April at 9.30pm.

Introduced by long-time friend and collaborator Bryan Dawe, John Clarke: Thanks for Your Time will feature a line-up of those closest to the legendary comedian reflecting on his career and contribution to comedy and film.

Guests include Former Prime Minister Paul Keating, Gina Riley, Sam Neill, Andrew Knight, Philip Adams, Max Gillies, Colin Lane and Frank Woodley. John’s daughters, Lorin and Lucia Clarke will also share memories of their father, who has been hailed one of the greatest political satirists of all time.

Revised schedule for ABC on Monday 17th April:

8.00pm John Clarke: Thanks For Your Time
8.30pm Melbourne Comedy Festival: The Great Debate
10.00pm Rage 30: The Story of Rage
11.00pm Lateline