A bank of TV screens showing diverse colourful images

World TV Day 2020

World TV Day 2020: From Wireless to Web

Dive into our television collection
 Stephen Groenewegen

Broadcasting Milestones

United Nations World Television Day takes place each year on 21 November, commemorating the date on which the first World Television Forum took place in 1996.  

Our recent From Wireless to Web curated collection looks at milestones in broadcasting technology over the 20th century and includes several key moments in the evolution of Australian television.

These include early TV programming, the impact of local content, landmark current-affairs shows, the introduction of SBS and the explosion of reality TV.

TV critic Scott Goodings talks about the popularity of soap operas like Number 96 in the 1970s and Neighbours in the 1980s. 

In one of Australian television history’s biggest moments, two million Australians and almost 20 million viewers in Britain tuned in to Episode 523 of Neighbours in 1987 for the wedding of Scott Mitchell and Charlene Robinson (played by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue):

Neighbours, Episode 523, 1987. Courtesy: Fremantle. NFSA title: 55134

The clip evokes a powerful sense of 1980s style that transports us back in time. On the soundtrack, the crashing drumbeats and raw vocals of Angry Anderson singing 'Suddenly', along with the zooms and rhythmic editing, underscore the emotion of the scene. Kylie’s lacy, over-the-top wedding dress, the puffy coral-coloured bridesmaid’s dresses and Jason’s mullet haircut all combine to make this a key Australian 80s cultural moment.

That decade was also synonymous with a golden age for the TV mini-series. In this clip, Professor Liz Jacka discusses the hunger for seeing Australian stories on screen in the 1970s and 80s:

Professor Liz Jacka discusses the 1980s golden age of the TV mini-series, 2005.

You can watch clips on australianscreen from the mini-series she mentions, including The Dismissal (1983), Bodyline (1984) and other Kennedy Miller titles.

More World TV Day publishing

Previously for World TV Day, we've explored the mystery behind the surviving footage of Australian television's opening night in 1956, bloopers and behind-the-scenes footage from the first 10 years of televisionChristmas TV pantomimes of the 1960s, rare footage of Olivia Newton-John on TV in 1965, rare TV clips from the 1950s and 60s and an in-depth look at 50 years of regional television.

You can also find a vast range of curated collections featuring clips from our TV collection. These include collections about programs First Australians, Skippy, Prisoner, Homicide, Simon Townsend's Wonder World and The Mike Walsh Show; collections dedicated to popular performers like Graham Kennedy and Jeanne Little; news and current affairs collections about True Crime Mysteries, regional TV newsThe Last Man Hanged and the arrival of colour TV; as well as Vintage Ads and cinema and TV ads for Cadbury's Chocolates and Holden cars.