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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, broadcasting, creativity, culture, identity, media industry, popular culture, script writing, television documentaries, television drama, 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.

Curriculum Focus


Students have the opportunity to define and exercise the rights and responsibilities associated with being a citizen in Australia.

Students explore how media and information and communication technologies are used to present issues and influence opinion.

Students have the opportunity to analyse portrayal of current issues and to explore viewpoints, bias and stereotypes.

Students have the opportunity to investigate ways in which the media and ICT are used to influence citizens’ views.

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


1. Students, over one week, keep a record of all three of (a) the television programs & television stations they watch, (b) the videos/DVDs they hire and ( c) the films they go to see. In small groups compare viewing habits and develop a selection process to group their viewings, for example, romance, sport, documentary, Australian produced, country of origin, classification, etc. Record the class viewing habits on a master whiteboard.
(The results might make for an interesting article in a student magazine and/or parent newsletter).

2. Using the video clip create a case study of one major media production company, Crawford Productions, noting the range and types of productions, the period over which some were seen on Australian television, the use of local casting and crew, the extent of their appeal to overseas viewers and their overall contribution to a unique Australian media industry.

3. Students consider the argument that we live in a global world, therefore there are more benefits to be gained from watching global production regardless of country of origin, because we learn more or are entertained better. Students might approach this discussion by watching and comparing two television programs – one Australian produced, another produced overseas – with a similar focus, for example, a crime, legal or hospital drama series.

4. Students consider the role that the media has in developing social cohesion, common values and learning about the rights and responsibilities of being an Australian citizen. What’s so important about screening ‘local surroundings’ , drawing on ‘local experiences, enhancing ‘local values’ and ‘people talking in Australian accents’ on television or in films?

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

John Waters on being an actor in Australia, radio broadcast, ABC South West WA, 30 June 2004, presented by Sharon Kennedy.

Biggles takes to the skies again!, radio broadcast, ABC Western Plains NSW, 15 April 2003, presented by Chris Coleman

Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Home baked – film and TV drama production in Australia, Artbeat – Summer 2003