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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, media, media industry, media production, media text, script writing, 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 will:

  • learn about the importance and relevance of Australian TV drama to Australian audiences, and to relate this to their own TV viewing
  • construct and present an historical time-line in poster or website form
  • word-process a review of an Australian TV drama episode
  • write imagined diary entries and present readings orally
  • create a script for an episode of a TV drama

Curriculum links
National: The Statements of Learning for English- Year 9
Reading, viewing and interpreting information and argument texts

  • Students read and view texts that entertain, move, parody, investigate,
    analyse, argue and persuade. These texts explore personal, social, cultural
    and political issues of significance to the students’ own lives.
  • Students understand that readers and viewers may need to develop knowledge
    about particular events, issues and contexts to interpret texts.


  • When students write information or argument texts, they make appropriate selections of information from a few sources and attempt to synthesise and organise these in a logical way.
  • Students write imaginative texts in print and electronic mediums that contain personal, social and cultural ideas and issues related to their own lives and communities and their views of their expanding world.

These are extracts only. Teachers and students should consult their state’s curriculum and learning programs.
Go to The National Curriculum Statements for English

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. Getting started
    As a class, view the interviews and the archival video clip, then discuss and write notes on the following:
    1. Explain what Mac Gudgeon believes is his role as a writer of Australian TV dramas and documentaries. Do you agree with his opinions?
    2. Comment on the importance of Crawford Productions to the Australian TV industry. Undertake a web search of Crawford productions.
    3. What is important about screening ‘local surroundings’ and ‘people talking in Australian accents’ on TV?
    4. Compare Australian-produced TV drama series to those from elsewhere, in terms of stories, settings, acting and general production and entertainment value. Comment on whether any of these Australian dramas would be popular if screened overseas.
  2. Constructing a Crawfords time-line
    In pairs research then construct an illustrated time-line poster display, with additional written commentary, of the history of Crawford Productions from 1945 onwards. Include a general summary of the importance of Crawfords to the Australian TV industry. (An alternative to this may be to build your display as a website page.)
  3. Reviewing an Australian TV program
    View an episode of any current Australian TV drama series, then draft, edit, proofread, and word-process a magazine review in 250–300 words, discussing the entertainment value and qualities of the production, dialogue, story and acting. Your review may also include comparisons to other Australian and international programs, and whether the episode adequately reflects Australian ways of life, characters, values and settings.
  4. Writing a diary
    Totaling 600 words, compose a set of imagined diary entries from the viewpoint of a character featured regularly in any well-known Australian TV drama series. Rehearse then read to the class.
  5. Creating your own episode of a TV drama. Write a concept for the first episode of a new TV drama set in your local area. Script the first few scenes and videotape. For information on how to script and make a TV drama see further resources below.

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

Go to Screen Education for excellent articles and study guides for using Australian TV Drama.

For complete script to screen tutorials on the production of TV drama go to The Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Live Action Kit

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image has practical resources for teachers covering all areas of Australian media.

Read Media new ways and meanings by Colin Stewart and Adam Kowaltzke. Jacaranda, Milton, QLD, 2008. Go to a sample of chapters online at Jacaranda Books

Read Media 1 by Roger Dunscombe, Melinda Anastasios- Roberts, Juliet Francis, Karen Koch, George Lekatsas and Nick Ouchtomsky and Media 2 by Roger Dunscombe, Melinda Anastasios-Roberts, Kevin Tibaldi and Andrew Hyde. Heinemann Harcourt Education, Port Melbourne, 2007. Two recommended texst for classroom use for discussing representation and video production as well as many other key media concepts that relate to this clip. Go to the books online at Heinemann Media for more detail.