Meaghan Wilson Anastasios

Screenwriter and bestselling author of 'The Honourable Thief', 'The Water Diviner', and 'The Pacific: In the Footsteps of Captain Cook.'

So this is a little overwhelming.

My baby is called WOKE UP, AUSTRALIA!.

In a nutshell…

Australia, we’ve got a problem.

Cancel culture is tearing us apart. Battlelines have been drawn on social media, as shock jocks shout from the sidelines and Aussies choose their sides.

What’s got into us? In the land of the Fair Go, it’s downright un-Australian.

But Woke Up, Australia! is here to help.

Think Queer Eye, but with a diverse cast of woke guardian angels leading the charge. Each episode, an everyday Australian struggling to adapt to the rules of the contemporary playbook is nominated for a woke-over by their friends, family or work colleagues.

One man is putting off proposing to the woman he loves because she thinks he’s a dinosaur…  Another woman knows she’s not going to make the cut for a promotion because her boss worries that she’s going to offend the clients… And then there’s the bloke whose grandson has been avoiding him because the young man doesn’t want to tell his grandad he’s queer.

Our six advisers tick all the boxes. Gender fluid. Culturally diverse. Wide, wide a-woke. And they’re going to coax our subjects out of their comfort zone and coach them in the skills they need to survive in a world they don’t understand. Yet.

… What’s the correct etiquette when you’re addressing someone who’s non-binary?

… Is sound healing just for people who are hard of hearing?


… What can you expect when you’re given a Ristretto, a Magic, or a Cold Drip? If you answered washing detergent, you need some woking up (PS: they’re all coffees).

These are the deeply moving and often hilarious real-life stories behind the smash hits, Sex Education, Euphoria, and Heartbreak High. It lives on the same block as Love on the Spectrum, You Can’t Ask That, and Old People’s Home for 4-year-olds. And it harks back to the classics, Queer Eye and Go Back to Where You Came From.

Viewers from both sides of the culture wars will tune in – to laugh at and be shocked by the other. And, yes, it will be funny. Very, very funny. And shocking. But everyone will leave with a different way of seeing things.

Truth is – life is messy. And we all make mistakes. But the echo chambers we’re in at the moment mean we’ve forgotten how to forgive each other. Woke Up, Australia! is about breaking down those silos.

At its heart, Woke Up, Australia! is a heart-warming show about building bridges between people who, on paper at least, are chalk and cheese – but have far more in common than they realise.

No matter how woke we are, Woke Up, Australia! is for every one of us.

It’s a pet project I’ve been working on in my spare (!!??!!) time for a bit… but to see it to share the stage with stellar concepts from industry legends Carolyn Swindell, Rachel Kayrooz, Duane Hatherly, Louise Schultze, Jayden James, and George Harrington? Yeah. Unbelievable.

It’s such a cliché, but in this case it’s true… just getting to this stage counts as a win. The development that I’ve done over the past few weeks has really wrestled the concept into shape. And the one-on-one meetings with the five judges – the best in the business – have been worth their weight. I learnt more in my chats with Debbie Cuell, Steve Oemcke, Sharon Wheeler, Maz Farrelly, and Ian Hogg than I have in years. Life-changing. Truly.

Lesson one? If you’re a creative, competitions like this are always… ALWAYS… worth entering. And there are some rippers out there.

Lesson two? Other creative industries take note – this is how you build a cohesive and strong creative community. Off the charts gratitude to AACTA, the AFI, and the Grundy family for their generosity and vision. Thank you.

Now, to Tuesday. Wish me luck!

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