Airdate: I Was Actually There

What was it like to be in the raging waters of the Boxing Day tsunami? Or to banter with The Beatles in their Adelaide hotel room?

From the makers of You Can’t Ask That, ABC’s new factual series I Was Actually There is a bold, new six-part documentary series that explores defining moments of our recent history through the eyes, ears and voices of those who witnessed them firsthand.

What was it like to lie quietly on the floor of the Broad Arrow Cafe in Port Arthur while a mass murderer shot everyone around you? How did it feel to be a first responder on the scene of the massacre? To be the journalist who accidentally found herself on the phone with the gunman? Or the sniper tasked with taking him out?

How emotional was it to be part of the high-stakes rescue mission of two miners trapped a kilometre underground in Beaconsfield? Or to be one of those miners, caught under the rockfall, writing messages on your clothes in case you never saw your family again?

What were you thinking as you lost your grip on your teenage son in the raging waters of the Boxing Day tsunami? Or sped away from a desert detention centre in Woomera with an escaped asylum seeker hiding in your car? Or bantered with The Beatles in their Adelaide hotel room? Or captured the moment on a suburban footy field where a proud Noongar man called out racism?

Employing the unfiltered and up-close interviewing style that made You Can’t Ask That an international sensation, I Was Actually There uncovers hidden perspectives and never-before-seen footage to create a multi-dimensional, experience-driven picture of the events that shaped Australia.

Series One episodes:
Episode 1 Port Arthur massacre: 28 April, 1996
Episode 2: Boxing Day tsunami: 26 December, 2004
Episode 3 AFL footballer Nicky Winmar’s stand against racism: 17 April, 1993
Episode 4: The Beatles’ world record-breaking Adelaide visit: 12 June, 1964
Episode 5: Woomera Detention Centre breakout: 29 March, 2002
Episode 6: Beaconsfield mine rescue: 9 May, 2006

For audiences who want to learn more from our exceptional eyewitnesses, I Was Actually There also presents a companion podcast, releasing Tuesday 9 July on the ABC listen app. Hosted by director Kirk Docker, each episode is a gripping, in-depth interview with an individual featured in the television series. The podcast allows audiences to delve deeper into the personal accounts of these pivotal moments, as our interviewees share their memories and reflections in vivid, intimate detail.

A Docker Media production for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Finance by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Screen NSW. Executive producer Kirk Docker. Producers Loni Cooper, Josh Schmidt and Jess Skinner. Created by Kirk Docker, Aaron Smith, and Jon Casimir. ABC Commissioning Editor Julie Hanna. ABC Head of Factual Susie Jones. International sales: ABC Commercial.

Tuesday 9 July, at 8pm on ABC.

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