SBS has signed off on a second series of its controversial ‘Struggle Street’, the documentary series that aired in 2015, sparking a protest in Sydney.
The new series will be filmed in Queensland and Victoria, with a focus on Australians from a diverse mix of backgrounds who are, as SBS reports, “battling against the odds”.
The second series is slated to air in late 2017, with the funding for series two coming from Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
The first episode of series one drew an audience of 935,000, making it the highest ever rating for a locally produced program.
Despite reports from The Australian that rival stations were making offers for a follow-up series, and Labor MP Ed Husic labelling it “rubbish” and saying he would not support SBS’s pleas for extra advertising space, the show will go on.
SBS television and online content director, Marshall Heald, said the second series hopes to continue the very important conversation that kicked off with series one.
“Struggle Street will seek to raise awareness and deepen our understanding of those of us in the community facing social and economic hardship through an honest reflection of what it’s like to be doing it tough in Australia today,” he said.
Speaking to B&T earlier this month, Heald had stressed that local storytelling is the crux of good TV in Australia.
“TV is a great platform to start really big conversations around what it means to be Australian today and TV is the best platform for igniting big national debate around important issues,” he said.
“There’s a thirst from Australians to understand what this country is all about and I think TV is the medium that helps Australians understand who we are as a nation. So Australian storytelling is critical to our sense of self.”
SBS chief content officer, Helen Kellie, said the personal stories explored throughout the episodes depict issues faced by a large chunk of Aussies.
“There are 2.5 million people in Australia living below the poverty line. Some research points to the situation getting worse not better and this is a barrier to social cohesion,” she said.
“But the statistics don’t allow us to connect with the real stories, in a way that Struggle Street does, to raise awareness about hardship.”