Narrow Road to small screen
Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North will be turned into a limited TV series, to be directed by the in-demand Justin Kurzel, written by his long-time collaborator Shuan Grant and produced by Fremantle Australia. Flanagan’s novel is inspired by his father’s experiences as a POW in World War II and is set to the backdrop of the building of the Thai-Burma railway. Kurzel most recently directed Stan’s forthcoming The True Story of The Kelly Gang, and is in production on Shantaram for Apple TV+, both of which, like The Narrow Road to the Deep North, are based on acclaimed novels by Australian authors Peter Carey and Gregory David Roberts, respectively. It’s not Flanagan’s first foray into the film and TV world. In 1998 he directed a feature film based on his novel The Sound of One Hand Clapping.
Food for thought
SBS held its annual Upfront presentation last week to several hundred of its media clients in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Among the dozen or so new and local shows that will air later this year and in 2020 were food shows by Luke Nguyen and news MasterChef 2017 winner Diana Chan and Silvia Colloca are bound for what SBS claims will be the only free, 24/7 food channel on free TV next year, SBS Food. SBS’ claim fuels speculation that 7Food will move to a streaming platform in the near future. Seven launched its food channel, a partnership with US-based Food Network, in December 2018, but the channel hasn’t attracted a dedicated following to its library of US food programs, many if not most of which have already done the rounds of local TV and seem pale compared to blue-chip offerings local audiences have ready access to. A Seven spokesman says “it’s business as usual” for 7Food, but speculation is rife in the industry that the network will free up the bandwidth for another channel in 2020.