Mitch McTaggart unleashes on “terrible, terrible television!”

All bets are off in SBS VICELAND series that takes Aussie telly lowlights and inserts them into the shredder.

Amongst his takedown of Australian television, Mitch McTaggart finds it hard to go past the lows of The One, hosted by Andrew Daddo.

The 2008 Seven show tested psychics, and those purporting to be psychics, before a panel of skeptics and experts. As the press release at the time announced, “Each week The One’s psychics will showcase their abilities in a series of studio and location challenges, such as finding a lost child in the bush or getting inside the minds of well-known celebrities.”


“It is honestly such a ridiculous escalation of stuff and then we finally land on what is possibly one of the more ridiculous show that has existed, but no-one really remembers it now.

“All the psychic stuff is just terrible, terrible television!”

McTaggart has packaged together some of Australian telly’s worst bits into a The Back Side of Television for SBS VICELAND.

He warns nothing is off limits.

Which network has a bizarre obsession with Peter Falconio? What happened when a petty criminal broke out of jail, and what did he do to get on TV? Where are all the LGBTQI+ people (host excluded)?

Across three episodes he tackles an array of TV topics including the lack of diversity on 10’s Wonderland, 60 Minutes and conspiracy theories, the “All Asian Mall” story on A Current Affair, Australian Idol and more.

Armed with a remote, McTaggart commentates from the safety of his armchair with biting accuracy. Peppered with references from newspaper articles, ACMA and online articles, he also finds ways to contextualise in order to make his editorial point.

“Some of it’s shocking”

“Some of it’s shocking. That’s the thing that baffles me about it. So much stuff on TV has happened but when certain things are presented in a linear fashion, you can look at it and go, ‘Jesus Christ, what was THAT?’

“There are just so many things that are, frankly, a little bit inexcusable as to how they were allowed to happen in the first place. Whether or not they were approved at the time, or derided, remains to be seen, I guess.”

McTaggart first appeared on SBS late last year with a one-off special The Last Year of Television in which he looked at the bin-fire that was 2020 TV. A new 2021 special will screen on New Year’s Day.

With his producer James Westland, both produced The Last Year of Television for Channel 31 before pitching it to SBS. McTaggart has also presented for LGBTQI radio JOY in Melbourne. While his new show is akin to Media Watch with comedy he insists he is no stand-up comedian.

“My background was doing comedy stuff via Channel 31. But that’s the extent of it, we did do a mini series for ABC as part of Fresh Blood in 2017,” he explains.

“I remember I just typed up these pretend TV Guides. Other kids had slightly more normal activities”

“I was always watching TV as a kid. I remember I just typed up these pretend TV Guides. Other kids had slightly more normal activities like kicking a ball or something. I don’t know why I just kind of retained information. I mean, it’s a pretty useless, quite honestly.”

He has also spent an inordinate amount of time researching obscure Australian television -not the typical stuff you see in clip shows. He admits to going down online rabbit holes in 2021.

“Lots of rabbit holes this year. The majority of the start of the year was just sitting at a computer clicking, which was a mixture of rewarding and infuriating,” he says of his research sources.

“There’s a fair bit of stuff that people have uploaded on YouTube- just fans of Australian content. A lot of newspaper archives, whether or not they were clippings I used, gave leads to go and source more material.

“And very much TV Tonight because as we know you are part of the internet!”

Cheque is in the mail, Mitch!

The Back Side of Television airs 9:20pm Mondays on SBS VICELAND

14 Responses

  1. I watched this on demand last night and loved it, the more it went on the more I loved it. I also noticed the episode of Last year in TV as well and will check that out.

  2. I got confused by the advert somewhat. I thought to myself “Hasn’t that been on before?” Short answer is no, I was thinking of a similarly titled one-off special from the same guy last year. Will check it out on demand.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation as I really enjoyed this show! Never heard of the host before, and he did a wonderful job reminding me about awful Aussie tv. Looking forward to the next episodes.

  4. It was well put together – Iiked the production design too. Too many f-bombs for mine though. I remember when Mad As Hell would drop the odd one for impact at exactly the right moment, then they started doing it regularly and it seemed a little easy. I got the same impression from tonight’s show.

  5. Really looking forward to this tonight, I think I may have to ditch HYBPA for the first time in order to watch.

    There’s a clip on YouTube of former Queensland newsreader Mike Higgins presenting a bulletin in an almost buttoned down shirt so I’m hoping Mitch can possibly dissect that moment somewhere in the series.

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