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.