Foxtel turns 25
"The first night on air was electric... because we almost never made it," recalls Brian Walsh.
Today marks 25 years since Foxtel was switched on in Australia.
In that time it has brought an array of international drama, Australian originals, major sporting events, movies, news, music and helped cement a long list of stars and creatives.
TV Tonight asked one of Foxtel’s very first employees, Brian Walsh, to reflect on launch night on October 23rd 1995.
Here is what he wrote:
“I was asked to come on board the Foxtel magic carpet ride by the legendary TV figure, Sam Chisholm, whom I’d worked for at Sky in the U.K.
“Sam gave me the ask of staging the launch event at our then brand new state of the art studios in Pyrmont, by Sydney Harbour and create some stunts to launch the business.
“I was also tasked with finding the company’s first Director Of Programming.
“We were showbiz right from the start; it’s embedded in our brand, FOX.
“The first night on air was electric and hairy and it lives long in my memory, because we almost never made it, thanks to a last minute technical glitch.
“Miraculously though and with minutes to spare, the signal was restored and at exactly 1900 hours (7.00pm) on October 23, 1995, Foxtel was launched.
“The first show we put to air was then and remains today, one of the most iconic television series of all time, The Simpsons – on our flagship channel, FOX.
“Over on FX (which was late to become Fox Classics) Bill Collins made history as the first local talent on air, when he introduced the Marilyn Monroe movie classic, The Seven Year Itch.
“The roll call of Foxtel talent over those 25 years is an impressive list of television stars, sports personalities, actors and journalists, who have carved their name in the history books. Some of them, such as Hugh Jackman and Heath Ledger, went on to bigger things, but they were all part of the Foxtel journey.
“For all of us involved, whether it be veterans like myself or the many hundreds of employees who have proudly joined the company since, it’s been an absolute honour and privilege to be part of something special.
“In 1995, Foxtel gave Australians real choice for the first time – watch what you want, when you want. We have kept evolving , re-inventing and innovating ever since.
“At Foxtel, we thrive on competition. It brings out our best ….and proud as we’ve ever been.
“Our journey continues, with that same spirit of endeavour that marked our start 25 years ago today.”