Sky has teamed with Australian broadcaster Foxtel for Upright, an eight episode comedy drama set on a 4,000km road trip across Australia from Sydney to Perth, with a piano in tow. Tim Minchin (Californication) is attached to star, alongside newcomer Milly Alcock.
Upright follows two misfits, thrown together by chance in the middle of the Australian desert, who forge the unlikeliest of bonds in their quest to get a precious piano from one side of the country to the other. Lucky Flynn (Minchin) hasn’t spoken to his family in years. He’s broke, distant and damaged. He’s also a gifted pianist, whose talent for music is matched only by his talent for self-destruction.
When he learns that his mother has only days left to live, Lucky sets off in a hire car to drive the 4,000km from Sydney to Perth to say goodbye, taking with him his only cherished possession in the world: a battered and scarred upright piano. But what should have been a straightforward drive across the outback soon becomes a test of Lucky’s emotional fitness, when he quite literally runs into Meg (Alcock), a hilarious, tough-as-nails teenager, who we soon discover has plenty of scars and secrets of her own.
“From the moment I heard about the idea for Upright, I knew it was the show I’d been waiting to make. I like stories that make me laugh and think and cry, I adore the landscapes of outback Australia, and I love music, and homecomings, and characters full of flaws”, Tim Minchin said in a statement. “It’s awesome to be writing with this extraordinary team, and I’m looking forward to acting alongside Milly Alcock, who I think is a really special talent.”
Chris Taylor created the series, which is being penned by Taylor, Minchin, Kate Mulvany and Leon Ford. Upright is being produced by Lingo Pictures for Sky and Foxtel, with Jason Stephens, Chris Taylor and Melissa Kelly serving as producers. The executive producers are Tim Minchin, Penny Win and Helen Bowden for Lingo Pictures and Morwenna Gordon for Sky. Foxtel and Screen Australia in association with the South Australian Film Corporation are providing investment. It is financed with support from Create NSW and Screenwest. Entertainment One (eOne) is handling global sales. Production gets underway in October for a 2019 premiere.
“Sky Comedy is always striving to work with the best talent and on the most surprising, unique and beautifully crafted shows, so we’re delighted to be collaborating with the world class Tim Minchin on Upright”, said Sky’s Commissioning Editor for Comedy Morwenna Gordon. “Alongside Milly Alcock (and a battered piano), we’re sure this is a road trip Sky customers will never forget.”
While Lingo Pictures’ Jason Stephens added: “There are not many shows I’ve enjoyed developing as much as Upright. It’s been a joy having Tim back home and working with our talented team of writers scripting this beautiful and funny show. Matt Saville’s direction always delivers something special so I can’t wait to start shooting and bringing this story to the Foxtel and Sky audiences.”