Documentary

9:30pm – Friday, January 25 on ABC2

By day Pattaya is a sun-soaked family beach resort, which attracted seven million tourists last year. It’s home to the world famous ladyboy cabaret shows that see young ladyboys flock to the city seeking fame and fortune. But by night, those that don’t make it on stage flaunt their flesh in Pattaya’s infamous red-light district.

Thirty-one-year-old Too is a bar hostess; selling her body in order to change it. She longs for the operation that will make her a complete woman. Too hopes she will meet a Western customer who will give her a chance at a better life.

Meanwhile Brits David and Scott continue to date their ladyboy lovers. Scott is planning to relocate from the north of England to Pattaya, where he’ll open a bar with his fianc�e Paeng. For Scott, Pattaya is a vibrant accepting city, while David can’t ignore the rampant sexual exploitation that he himself indulged in when he was newly divorced.

One of the lucky ladyboys is 22-year-old March, a backing dancer at Alcazar, the largest cabaret venue in town. March has yet to have a sex-change operation. At night she adorns herself with sequins, glitter and lipstick to perform on stage for the tourists, but March leads a double life: by day she’s a student, forced to wear a male uniform to attend Bangkok University.

8:30pm – Wednesday, January 23 on ABC1

Bee Gees: In Our Own Time is the compelling story of the Bee Gees’ career. From their roots in the north west of England, through their early career in Australia, their return to England and international breakthrough in the late sixties, and then on to global superstardom with ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and beyond.

Alongside the success there is the heartache of the tragically early deaths of first their younger brother Andy and then later Maurice. The story is told ‘in their own words’ through in-depth new interviews with Barry and Robin Gibb and through extensive interviews with Maurice filmed shortly before his death in January 2003. These are lavishly illustrated by live performances, TV and film clips and home movies of their early days.

9:30pm – Friday, January 18 on ABC2

Around one percent of the Thai population are ladyboys: men who use hormone therapy and surgery to transform themselves into women. The results are often so astonishing that many Western men who visit Thailand can’t resist a closer look.

Like many divorced Western men 42-year-old Scott came to Thailand to enjoy the company of the world famous bargirls. Scott was in for the shock of his life when, alone in a bedroom with a ladyboy companion, he discovered there was more to this beautiful woman than he had anticipated. Before long he was seeking more and more ladyboys for company. Scott is now engaged to Paeng, a former prostitute who has given up her previous life to be with him.

Ex-pat Englishman David lives in Bangkok and is playing the ladyboy dating game. He’s already had more than 16 encounters with ladyboys, but has tired of easy and sleazy company, and is now looking for love.

David is on his third date with ladyboy, Annie. It’s a fledgling relationship, subject to mistrust and jealously. Will this relationship be another flash-in-the-pan, or will it develop into something more stable.

Both David and Scott say they are straight. They insist that if they were gay, they would be attracted to men, whereas ladyboys are ultra-feminine – they just happen to have an extra body part.

9:30pm – Monday, January 7 on ABC1

Leonardo da Vinci is considered by many to be one of the greatest artists who ever lived. Yet his reputation rests on only a handful of pictures – including the world’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa.

Fiona Bruce attempts to uncover the story of this enigmatic genius. She begins her journey in Leonardo’s birthplace, the small town of Vinci in Tuscany, and follows in his footsteps to Florence, where he was apprenticed to the master painter Verrocchio.

In Paris, Fiona is given a private view of the Mona Lisa and learns the secret of how Leonardo achieved the extraordinary effect of the picture on generations of art lovers: by meticulously applying layer upon layer of paint thinly mixed with oil to produce a smoky, mysterious finish.

And in New York, she is given an exclusive preview of a sensational discovery: a new Leonardo, thought to have disappeared centuries ago.

10:05pm – Sunday, January 6 on ABC1

In this illuminating and entertaining documentary, narrator and coproducer Keanu Reeves interviews film-industry heavyweights to investigate how the shift from film to digital has changed the way movies are crafted and exhibited.

Reeves talks to directors dedicated to celluloid (such as The Dark Knight’s Christopher Nolan) as well as those who have embraced new technologies – David Lynch, James Cameron and Danny Boyle, to name just a few. He finds actors who miss the breaks dictated by reel changes; producers like Joel Schumacher (who is convinced that actors just use the monitors to check their hair); cinematographers (including Australians Donald McAlpine and Dion Beebe) excited by the possibilities offered by the new generation of cameras; visual effects specialists, editors and colourists.

Everyone in the industry has an opinion – not surprisingly, considering it’s changing everything they do and we see.

9:30pm – Friday, January 11 on ABC2

Meet the beauties battling to be crowned the world’s most stunning transsexual. In Pattaya, Thailand, 23 women are vying to be crowned Miss International Queen, the transgender equivalent of Miss World.

Entering the pageant for the first time is 27-year-old trans-gender female, Sahhara. She lives in London, but was born a boy, in Nigeria, to strict Christian parents. Sahhara knew she could never be accepted in her home country. So she fled, arriving all alone in London at the age of 19.

She has entered Thailand’s Miss International Queen as Miss Nigeria to make a statement that as a transgender woman you can follow your dreams. In Nigeria, homosexuality is illegal and in some states, men who dress as women even face execution by stoning. Mokha Montrese is representing the USA. In her quest to turn from a man into a woman, Mokha has spent over �60,000 on surgery. This includes jaw shaving, chin, eye and nose jobs, lip filling, multiple breast implants, buttock augmentation, and four rib removals.

Thirty-year-old Yuni Carey is representing Cuba, but now lives in California. Yuni always knew she had been born into the wrong body. As a young woman she headed to Los Angeles, seeking the liberal freedom denied her in Cuba. If she wins the $US10,000 prize, she’s having a sex change before she returns home. The pageant will be watched on live TV by millions across South East Asia. 23 transsexuals.

5 days. But there can be only one winner.

8:30pm – Sunday, January 6 on ABC2

Born in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, 16-year-old Roger Nsengiyumva returns to his homeland…is reconciliation and forgiveness possible.

At 16, Roger Nsengiyumva has already made a name for himself as the star of the football movie Africa United. But there is something else about Roger that not many people are aware of. He was born in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and only survived thanks to the raw courage of his mother. She spent 100 days hiding her newborn baby from the murderous gangs, and then bravely escaped to Britain after seeing her husband, Roger’s father, shot dead.

This is the story of Roger’s return to his homeland to discover the harrowing truths of his family history and to find out whether he can share his mother’s remarkable willingness to forgive those who destroyed both their lives.

Tuesday December 25 from 9.30pm on BIO

Graham Stafford served almost fifteen years in jail for murdering a twelve year old girl – a crime he has always claimed he did not commit. Early in 2008, a massive explosion in a Hunter Valley winery killed owner Trevor Drayton and and another man William Rikard another man. William Rikard–Bell Bell Trevor , Trevor s’s talented assistant winemaker was walking just behind him when the talented assistant winemaker, was walking just behind him when the explosion occurred.

Monday December 24 at 8.30pm on BIO

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, joins the Queen’s closest companions in a rare and intimate account of Queen Elizabeth Elizabeth the woman beneath the crown A series of rare interv , the woman beneath the crown. A series of rare interviews iews with the royal family provide delightful intimate with the royal family provide delightful intimate details: Prince William tells of her support as he prepares for his future role as king; Prince Harry and his cousin Princess Eugenie reveal private anecdotes about their doting grandmother and Prince Andrew, Duke of York shares his personal memories of her as a young mother. With unrivalled access to Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, together with previously unseen private material, the film paints a revelatory and intimate portrait of Elizabeth as she grew up and married. The result draws back the curtain to reveal the real person – a wife, a mother, a grandmother – as well as a reigning Queen.

8:30pm – Thursday, December 20 on ABC2

Louis Theroux sets out on a personal quest to meet the ultimate pop idol – Michael Jackson – and examine the often bizarre world that surrounded him and those who worshipped at his altar.

The journey began in 2002 with a simple phone call to self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller – a personal friend of Jackson’s – to fix a meeting for Louis. What happened next resulted in a fantastical trek into a weird world of characters who orbited around the self-proclaimed ‘King of Pop’.

Along the way, Louis meets Majestic Magnificent, Michael’s personal magician; E’Casanova, a Michael Jackson tribute artist, and Michael’s father Joe Jackson.

Louis talks to Michael Jackson’s friends, fans and family about plastic surgery, child abuse and that interview with British journalist Martin Bashir.

The film reveals just how tenacious Louis was in pursuit of a subject he was passionate about: hours spent in freezing conditions outside a hotel in Berlin; a journey to an awards ceremony in Vienna where he discovered that Jackson never turned up; trips back and forth to America in the hope of tracking down possible leads.