You Can't Ask That

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Available: 5 x Series

You Can't Ask That




You Can’t Ask That is an innovative, original format offering audiences an intimate, very personal glimpse into the lives of people we rarely get to hear from.

Featuring participants from all walks of life, each episode focuses on a minority or sub-cultural group (including people of short stature, Muslims, sex workers, transgender people, suicide attempt survivors, former cult members, recent war veterans, ex-reality TV stars and more), and asks some very frank and often confronting questions, sourced from the public. Interviewees answer in their own words with candour and humour.

Sometimes an emotional rollercoaster ride, the series takes the audience to unexpected places. By offering insight into the lives of minority or the marginalised, You Can’t Ask That breaks down stereotypes by answering the questions people are afraid to ask.

Creating a safe space for its participants, the series forgoes the typical TV trope of relying on celebrities, social commentators, experts and academics to speak on the show’s chosen subject areas. Instead, You Can’t Ask That goes straight to the source – giving only those with lived experiences the opportunity to talk to the camera.

With courage and vulnerability, participants respond to questions with powerful, surprising, heartfelt and sometimes hilarious answers – in a way that resonates deeply with audiences.

One of the most interesting and diverse programs on Australian television, and having the ability to work successfully for both linear broadcast and digital first strategies, You Can’t Ask That has extended its audience depth and reach with each new series.

Winner of the European Broadcast Union’s prestigious Rose d’Or award and last year, celebrated as the ‘Best Program’ at the Iris Awards in Spain, this heartfelt and innovative series has seen 16 international versions of the show already broadcast or put into production, a testament to the power and flexibility of the format – now the ABC’s most successful ever.

S1 10 x 30' (format); 10 x 10-30' (series)
S2 12 x 30' (format and series)
S3 9 x 30' (format and series)
S4 8 x 30' (format and series)
S5 8 x 30' (format and series)


Kirk Docker and Aaron Smith
Lou Porter
Kirk Docker and Aaron Smith
Jess CohenScott Mitchell and Josh Schmidt
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Awards / Reviews



AACTA Awards 2020: Nomination Best Factual Entertainment Program

Australian Broadcasting Union 2020: Best Entertainment Autism Spectrum


Television Business International – Content Innovation Awards: Nomination for Entertainment Format of The Year

Media Diversity Australia Walkley Award: Winner

AACTA Awards: Winner Best Factual Entertainment Program


AACTA Awards: Nomination Best Factual Program/Best Direction in Non-Fiction Television

Logie Awards: Nomination Most Outstanding Factual or Documentary Program


2020 Ondas Awards (Spain): Winner Best Broadcast Program for TeleMadrid

2019 Israeli Television Academy Awards: Winner Best Factual Series

2018 Iris Awards (Spain): ‘Best Program’ Jury Award for TeleMadrid

2017 Rose d'Or: Winner Reality & Factual Entertainment