Made to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the successful 1967 referendum recognising the rights of Aboriginal people to be recognised as citizens in their own country, this doco thoroughly deserves to be repeated on May 27 each year. A painstaking record of the long, slow fight over more than a century, it features former Prime Ministers, grassroots campaigners, politicians and historians. A celebratory tone (more than 90 per cent of Australians voted yes) is deservingly scythed by the debates we’re having 42 years later about reconciliation and our nation’s acknowledgment of Aboriginal history, identity and culture.
ABC, Wednesday, 9pm
One of the breakout highlights of 2016, The Letdown was a treasure that depicted new motherhood in all its frazzling, judgy-judgy glory without alienating anyone who’s never been near the wrong end of a baby. Perenially vulnerable Audrey, played with gorgeous diffidence by series creator Alison Bell, was the Mothers’ Group anti-heroine who still managed to stumble upon the humanity in her motley crew of mums, from the high-achieving supers to the do-gooder earth mothers, mums who drink, and downtrodden feminist dads. Sadly there’s no sign of Noni Hazlehurst’s militaristic mothercraft nurse in the series return, but Audrey remains on the highly charged emotional spectrum as she arranges Stevie’s first birthday party, a fraught extravaganza that predictably turns into the social equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch painting – with a moving emotional denouement.
It’s been dubbed, not at all unfairly, “Northern Broadchurch”, and indeed the similarities stack up easily (moody seaside town where everyone harbours a secret that’s been captured on CCTV; a lead female copper with more backstory than you can poke a stick at in a deserted alleyway; a quorum of important events happening on the noir-ish, decaying waterfront that speaks of happier times). But if you’ve come this far, you’ll be wanting to stick around for the sixth and last episode to see where Family Liaison Officer Lisa Armstrong (an intense Morven Christie) lands on the spectrum of personal and professional redemption, while enjoying the deliberately twitchy performances from the actors playing the working class family seeking answers about the disappearance of their twins.