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Red dirt revolution as outback Queensland gets its moment in the spotlight


The big skies and red dirt of Queensland’s regions are having a moment in the spotlight with the new season of Australian Survivor to be set in Charters Towers and the north Queensland outback starring in a new mystery series called Darby and Joan.

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After series 6 of the Australian Survivor series was filmed in Cloncurry, east of Mt Isa, the franchise confirmed today it was heading back to the Queensland outback to begin filming the next series in Charters Towers, south-west of Townsville.

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said the region’s landscapes, history and natural assets would be broadcast to an audience of millions of Australians.

“In a departure from Survivor’s previous tropical island locations of Fiji and Samoa, producers were inspired by the red dirt and wide blue skies of Queensland’s outback, which, alongside our state’s competitive screen incentives, sealed the deal on seasons 6 and now 7,” Munnich said.

Production company Endemol Shine Australia Chief Executive Officer, Peter Newman, said the success of filming in Cloncurry, which generated around $14.6 million and 150 local jobs, paved the way for the next series in Queensland.

“We were thrilled with the results, the beauty of the location added so much to the game of Survivor,” Newman said. “We are delighted to remain in Queensland for this next series and travel the show to the equally stunning Charters Towers location.”

The Charters Towers series of Survivor is expected to deliver $12.6 million for the state’s economy and employ 170 Queenslanders.

It comes as filming is getting underway on a new TV series called Darby and Joan, starring Bryan Brown and Greta Scacchi.

Brown and Scacchi will star as anything but a usual Darby and Joan elderly couple, but the backdrop will be archetypal Queensland.

Billed as a rollicking road trip with a mystery twist, the new series will feature scenes shot in historical country towns, billabongs, gorges and grassy plains in the state’s west.

The regional filming will bring a focus to the breadth of Queensland scenery and locations outside the movie production hubs of the south-east.

Darby and Joan was commissioned by Acorn TV, produced by Australian production company CJZ, and supported by the Queensland Government via Screen Queensland’s Screen Finance fund.

Acorn TV is a major streaming service in Australia, America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Latin America, Spain, and Portugal.

The production is expected to inject around $6.6 million into the local economies and generate 95 jobs.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the production would take Queensland’s regions to a global audience.

“In addition to the direct economic and jobs benefits, Darby and Joan will showcase regional and rural Queensland,” she said.

“We are a vast and varied state, with a huge geographic footprint and often unseen regional townships, and I’m proud that Queensland will star as a character in its own right in a series with such a strong global reach.”

Other productions underway in Queensland currently include Joe Exotic at Screen Queensland Studios in Brisbane, the third season of Bluey, the ABC crime series Troppo and Matchbox Pictures’ Irreverent.

Upcoming productions include Universal Pictures’ Ticket to Paradise, starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, that will film in The Whitsundays.
Disney+ blockbuster series Nautilus will begin filming on the Gold Coast next year.


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