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Video clip synopsis – Australian content on television reflects our culture and our society. Mac Gudgeon celebrates the importance of Homicide in the history of Australian television production. Stuart Cunningham and Scott Goodings remember some of the popular dramas which showed Australians that they could love Australian programming.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 2min 52sec
Tags - audiences, change and continuity, entertainment, family life, media, national identity, popular culture, script writing, television, television drama, television programs, theatre, see all tags


Australian television drama

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About the Video Clip


The interviews with Mac Gudgeon, Scott Goodings and Stuart Cunningham were recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

Mac Gudgeon is a screenwriter and a community television advocate. Scott Goodings is a self-proclaimed 'TV freak’ and walking archive. Stuart Cunningham is a Professor and Director of the Creative Industries Research & Applications Centre at the Queensland University of Technology. You can view their full biographies at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Background Information


'Action! Suspense! Drama! Join the typical team of investigators from Victoria Police force as they probe major cimes throughout the State.’ (HSV7 publicity material)

In 1964 Melbourne’s HSV7 commissioned a weekly police drama called Homicide from the production house of Hector and Dorothy Crawford. Based on their earlier radio drama D24, the first episode titled ‘The Stunt’ screened at 7.30pm on Tuesday 20 October 1964. For the first time in a television drama, Australian audiences were confronted with culturally familiar settings and characters without American or English accents. Cops in Ford Falcons chased criminals around Melbourne backstreets, rather than American police in Chevrolets steaming down Sunset Strip. According to Australian Classic TV, Homicide is 'the most important and most popular drama series ever produced in Australia’.

Homicide was a great success and ran on the Seven Network for close to 500 one-hour episodes over 13 years. (Day 143) The series achieved limited international sales – the first Australian television series ever to do so – and stimulated the production of other local television dramas in the 60s and 70s, particularly in the police crime genre: Cop Shop (Seven), Division 4 (Nine) and Matlock Police (Ten).

Homicide demonstrated two significant factors to the Australian broadcast industry, relating to production at that time. Firstly, it showed that the local industry was capable of producing quality dramas, using the talents of a large pool of local actors, directors, writers and production crews. It further demonstrated that Australian audiences would watch, and actually preferred to watch, programs made by Australians for Australians.

Classroom Activities


Making and Producing

  1. Constructing a Drama
    Dramas offer scenarios that construct suspense and examine how actors act within situations. Often the situations are placed in the everyday but the events and story are anything but normal. Write a drama script based on a school issue or story. The structure of the drama should be broken into the basic 3-stage structure. That is:
    1. the introduction of the characters
    2. the issue that arises to create the drama (the main conflict)
    3. the resolution of the drama.
  2. Select the best script from the class and utilise the entire class as a production team to produce the drama. The production team will consist of the following elements:

*Director of Photography
*Lighting Person
*Sound Recordist and Foley Artist
*Location Manager
*Music Composer

Critical and Historical study

  1. In the broadcaster interview with Mac Gudgeon, he explains the significance of ‘home-grown’ drama in the development and evolution of the television industry. Look at current television drama and evaluate the difference between Australian and American productions. Do you have a particular favourite in terms of quality and engagement with the audience? Explain the significance of the student’s selection.
  2. Provide a historical account of ‘film noir’ and its influence on crime dramas such as Homicide.
  3. Australians have always enjoyed a good yarn and stories of the past have always featured within Australian productions (both theatre and film and television). Perhaps this explains the popularity of Australian dramas on Australian television. Set up a video interview with a family member who can remember one of the following crime dramas:

*Division 4
*Matlock Police
*Cop Shop
Ask them to explain why it was a good drama and what their memories were of the production and the structure of the drama. Ask them to make comparisons with a contemporary police drama of today, such as Blue Heelers.

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.

Crawfords Australia

Homicide episode guide

Tom O’Regan. Film & its nearest neighbour: the Australian film & television interface, OzFilm, Murdoch University