SBS to celebrate turning 30

It is challenged by questions on funding, advertising, and the loss of key brands, but SBS will still find time to celebrate 30 years on air and remind viewers of previous highlights.

On Sunday SBS TV turns 30.

It was October 24th 1980 (United Nations Day) when Bruce Gyngell, the first man on Australian TV screens, welcomed us to 0-28.

SBS Radio had been operating for 5 years, but now it was time for television to broaden its horizons. With new content from across the globe, the public broadcaster was “Bringing the World Back Home.” Within a few years it affectionately became known as “Sex Before Soccer” and presenters were mercilessly sent up by Marg Downey and Michael Veitch on Fast Forward (you know you’ve made it then).

SBS has brough us many favourite brands, South Park, Shameless, Queer as Folk, Eat Carpet, Iron Chef, Pizza, Global Village, Eurovision Song Contest, Inspector Rex, Skins, Dateline, Insight, Mythbusters and RocKwiz. East West 101 is universally lauded. Its News and Current Affairs brand is never accused of going for the tabloid story. And documentaries such as First Australians, Who Do You Think You Are? and spotlights on various corners of the globe are significant contributions. And then there is the World Cup and Tour de France.

But it has lost Top Gear, Margaret and David, Mary Kostakidis and soon George Negus. Last night an Aussie version of Iron Chef began on Seven. One of the few remaining foreign language dramas in primetime, Anna Pihl, has been bumped to 10:05pm from next week. Complaints about in-programme advertising continue. A plea for triennial funding from the government fell short of expectations.

However, SBS will dig deep to celebrate from Sunday looking back over news, documentaries and foreign films.

Sunday October 24
Dateline, one of SBS’s flagship programs, will mark the 30th anniversary of SBS with a special retrospective, to be broadcast on Sunday, October 24. It will look back at the myriad of amazing stories it’s told since the show began, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the shock of September 11, from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the development of the internet and the slide into global warming.

For a week from October 24, World News Australia will feature snippets of old news bulletins at the end of every broadcast, reminding viewers of the headlines that have grabbed our attention over the past 30 years, and the way SBS covered those crucial news stories.

Tuesday, 2 November
Insight will examine why Anti-Islamic sentiment is on the rise across Europe and the United States and what is really at the core of this backlash. Guests from many diverse migrant groups will reflect on their own experiences of discrimination and the maintaining of distinct cultural identities when they migrated here decades ago.

Repeats of Australian documentaries seen on SBS over the past ten years, screening on Wednesday and Saturday nights throughout November. These documentaries include the Academy Award winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side directed by Alex Gibney, and co-produced by Australian Eva Orner, Who Do You Think You Are: Jack Thompson which launched the Australian version of this ground breaking and popular series in 2008, drawing in over one million viewers, The Diplomat Diplomat, the 2000 AFI Winner for Best Documentary & Best Director and Black Chicks Talking, which takes us into contemporary Aboriginal Australia for a chic and sophisticated examination of what it means to be black in Australia today.

A specially curated month-long season of the best films from the last three decades ofdecades of SBS
will begin in November, programmed across Friday (80’s), Saturday (90s) and Sunday (00s) nights on SBS TWO. Ran, Wings of Desire, Fitzcarraldo, Delicatessen, Cyrano de Bergarac, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Downfall are just some of the titles that have been selected to represent the quality and diversity of SBS film programming since the network first began broadcasting in 1980.

Shorts On Screen (SOS) will be dedicated to an Australian short film retrospective for four weeks in November. To echo the SBS TWO film retrospective, SBS will be showcasing the best Aussie shorts from the eighties, nineties and noughties from a crop of now celebrated filmmakers including Jane Campion, Warwick Thornton, David Michôd, Shirley Barrett and Rowan Woods.

There will be a tribute online at sbs.com.au/theworldgame to the extraordinary career of ‘Mr Football’ Les Murray who is celebrating 30 years at the helm of SBS’s football coverage.

24 Responses

  1. “For a week from October 24, World News Australia will feature snippets of old news bulletins at the end of every broadcast, reminding viewers of the headlines that have grabbed our attention over the past 30 years, and the way SBS covered those crucial news stories.” – This didn’t actually happen, did It?

  2. I’m also disappointed that SBS won’t replay that “Who Are We” documentary, nor any anniversary documentaries or even the 20 year documentary “20/20 Vision”. Or re-runs of Fat Pizza! Some old idents would make it even better (a few years ago Seven aired the “Hello Melbourne” promo multiple times, I reckon it was a great, effortless way to celebrate their 50 years or whatever it was). I’d kill to see the entire first few hours of the opening of 0-28!

  3. @ Stan – it seems you aren’t watching many of the movies on SBS these days, there are often three ad breaks now – sometimes quite close together, it’s a gradual increase but maybe soon we’ll some movies between the ads.

  4. @owl I agree totally, I mean maybe the ads can remain in normal shows but when SBS shows a film they shouldn’t put ads in between them.

    That was what made SBS very unique, free of ads and I for one supported that.

  5. I find that the only downside to SBS is SBS World News which is far from neutral.

    Otherwise, SBS has always been a great alternative to everything else on offer. It has contributed well to my life. I loved shows, such as Alchemy, Life Support, John Safran’s Music Jamboree, Eat Carpet, In Siberia Tonight, Newstopia and the list goes on. Here’s hoping for another 30 years of quality productions.

  6. Geez! They only have two commercial breaks per-movie that last a total of six minutes! SBS have been taking ads since 1991. It’s time some people built a bridge & got over it already!

    Andrew B, maybe SBS should commission something mainstream like Border Security to get them over your line? That’ll rate through the roof.

    Happy birthday, SBS. May you last another thirty.

  7. Sure, there’s some valid of criticisms of SBS but there’s still plenty across their platforms I enjoy wholeheartedly. They maintain a much higher quality control than the McChannels.

  8. For me it’s the great doco’s and real journalism that makes SBS such a great station. Jenny Brockie never gives away her opnion when she runs Insight, she stays neutral the whole time, like a journalist should. So many shows on the other channels could learn alot from watching Jenny.

    Well done on 30 years SBS, I hope your funding continues.

  9. It’s a pity that SBS couldn’t dig enough into their archive to present a replay of the Who Are We documentary, and telemovie Three Sea Wolves (starring Chantal Contouri) which were both produced for opening night.

    And I remember all the fuss about the channel not being received across Sydney as so many of them didn’t have antennas that could pick up Channel 0!

  10. If SBS really want to give us a birthday present, prehaps they could stop inserting ads in the middle of movies. It really does interrupt the flow of a film and the corresponding experience of that film. I accept they need to have ads and even accept them during certain TV programmes, but in films they merely destroy the coherence of the film. I never watch films on commercial TV for the same reason – it is not, for the most part, the experience the filmmaker intended. Let them have double the ads at the beginning and the end (if they’re intreresting we’d watch them!!) Then I’d really celebrate their birthday!!

  11. Ah, I remember when Mary read the news, before the idiots employed Stan and lost her. Love Lee Lin Chin & Janice Peterson & Anton, but sad to lose Neena.
    I remember watching Rex and lots of movies, before they put ads in them.
    I remember the best of all – a 30 minute news program, with all the bloody sport in a separate program afterwards!
    We used to watch SBS a lot, but these days only the news and Shameless (recorded to skip ads).
    Celebrate 30 years by sacking the CEO please.

  12. Wonder if Margaret Pomeranz, one of the original producers and presenters and her iconic co-star Mr Stratton will be invited to the proceedings, especially after their show was one of the most popular for 18 years!

  13. Hope the government gives more money to SBS in the next round of funding
    especially considering that all the other networks will have 3 unique channels and SBS will be left out as we head to the close off date for analogue .

  14. 0-28, the 28 being UHF. Reminds me how everyone was supposed to migrate to UHF-only eventually, and SBS did stop transmitting on 0… 30 years later and the others all still have their VHF channels! Wonder if the analogue turn-off will go down the same path? 🙂

    In regards to the acronym, one of my mates called it Silly Bloody Station. 🙂

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