Television in Australia: A Special Broadcasting Service

Like most countries, Australia has “terrestrial” TV and “subscription” TV. I’ve mentioned the TV channels before in my post called What’s On Television in Australia?

I’ve also mentioned subscription TV in my post about English Football on Australian Television.

Now I want to talk about one particular channel on the free terrestrial television service, it’s called SBS. SBS stands for Special Broadcasting Service. The notion behind that was…

“…to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society”. SBS is one of five main free-to-air networks in Australia.” – Thanks Wikipedia.

Last weekend they certainly delivered on that. Would you believe it? This will make your day! Thinking of moving to Australia but can’t bear the thought of tearing yourself away from…..


eurovisionYes, it’s here in Australia, full coverage! All thanks to SBS.

Now, you have to do remember though when Eurovision is on live in Europe, it’s about four o’clock in the morning here. So we watch it delayed ‘live’ on the Sunday evening. The shame about that was I saw ABC News on TV, and they announced Sweden as the winner before I had watched the programme.

Sweden Wins Eurovision 2012

Sweden Wins Eurovision 2012

Did that spoil my Eurovision? Not at all!

But the fact that I heard the result just shows how much I still have to learn about being an Australian. Most Australians, especially those going to a Eurovision Song contest party (see below) spent Sunday hiding from the news, not turning on their radios, avoiding the Internet and ignoring the phone when it rang.

That’ll be me next year.

SBS offered a full coverage, with programs on Friday and Saturday evening covering the semi finals and a full four hours to cover the final on Sunday evening.

Engelbert Humperdinck flew the flag for the UK, he looked fantastic at 75. He also notched up 12 points, the U.K.’s highest total since 2010.

Awesome achievement from The Hump.

Last time I saw this show in the UK, it was hosted by Terry Wogan; these days I understand Graham Norton does that job. Here, in Australia, we had Sam Pang and Julia Zemiro, two suitably dry witted commentators for the event.

And parties! Australia has Eurovision parties. Sydney led the way on that one, with the biggest party, apparently, held in the Oxford Art Factory in Oxford Street. The party featured camp outfits, lip-synched lyrics and choreographed dance routines, all helped along with the drink of the day, the Eurotrash cocktail!

Eurovision Drinking Games

There are also Eurovision drinking games. Some of them can have quite complex rules…

  • Helicopter camera shot = have a drink.
  • Somebody mentions the word “love” = have a drink.
  • Someone forgets their words = have a drink.
  • Costume Reveal: If someone strips off part of their costume = strip off one item of clothing!!

Eurovision has never been so good!

SBS also run a televote for the “Unofficial Winner”. Who did they vote for?


That’s a bit boring, isn’t it? Same as the real winner.

But what really shocked me most about the unofficial vote, was the country that should have won the real contest, but came fifth, were voted fourth from bottom by Australia.

I can’t believe it! This was awesome, stick with it, you’ll be stunned. It’s a pure Eurovision delight…

Eurovision: alive and well in the land down under.

Now, where did the inspiration for that Costume Reveal rule come from? Would it be the winners from 1981….

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • emsquared June 4, 2012, 11:05 pm |

    Worry not about the flak Bob. We all have guilty pleasures.Some of us don’t even feel guilty about it.

    • BobinOz June 5, 2012, 1:18 am |

      I am very sensitive, honest 🙂 I’ll get over it.

  • John June 4, 2012, 7:51 pm |

    No I didn’t, I don’t watch any Australian TV, except maybe ABC iview online, mostly for BBC documentaries.

    4 hours of Eurovision? I think you need to take yourself in the corner and a have quiet a word with yourself ; )

    • BobinOz June 4, 2012, 10:16 pm |

      Take myself into a corner and have a quiet word? That would be insane!

  • BobinOz June 4, 2012, 12:08 am |

    I watched all four hours of the final and the excitement of just not knowing what kind of musical delight I am going to be served next is almost unbeatable.

    That’s why I love it.

    But all I see here are negative comments about Eurovision, so I have to ask, did any of you watch it? This years, 2012?

  • John June 3, 2012, 6:23 am |

    Eurovison song contest, credibility zero by the end of the 1970s, and now Eurovision parties 10 000 km away from Europe you say; just turn right at Papua New Guinea and don’t forget your bottle opener.
    Confusing, I shouldn’t be too surprised though, this is the land where C’mon Eileen (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) is still on mainstream radio playlists, just the 30 years since it was big in the UK.

  • Emsquared June 2, 2012, 7:19 pm |

    Oooh harsh but obviously you have a valid point of view. I’m no fan of talent contests but Eurovision is all we’ve got in the absence of any possible return of It’s a Knockout to play out inter European rivalries in a relatively friendly and harmless way (the crimes of questionable music choices aside along with perhaps the more worrying overlooking of the sins of this year’s host nation). Not everyone’s cup of tea I’m sure but only once a year unlike the various TV talent shows franchised around the world.

  • Rupert June 2, 2012, 6:13 pm |

    It’s still a load of sh*t though Bob – and really shows the WORST of European ‘culture’.

    I’ll be giving it a miss, just like I do all the other so-called ‘talent’ contests. Come on people! This kind of puerile TV rots your brain and offers nothing of any value whatsoever. Move along please. Change the channel. Save yourselves!

  • Emsquared June 1, 2012, 7:21 pm |

    Wow the optimistic outlook of Australia has rubbed off on you. The Hump comes 2nd from last & you put an optimistic spin on it. The many language version morning news editions used to fascinate me on SBS.In many ways more multicultural inclusive than any UK TV station equivalent (if indeed there is one).

    • BobinOz June 2, 2012, 1:18 am |

      Optimistic outlook? Nothing of the kind! The Hump put in an magnificent performance, if I can fault it, it was probably ahead of its time. If we bring him back when he is 95, I’m sure he will win it.

      As for those news programs, yes, very multicultural and diverse. Tomorrow we have Japanese news, Chinese news, German news, Italian news, Filipino news, Spanish news, Greek news, French news, Hindi news, Arabic news, Hong Kong news, Indonesian news, Russian news, Polish news, Dutch news, Macedonian news, Croatian news, Serbian news and Korean news all on SBS One and SBS Two. And that’s just between 5:40 AM and 11:30 AM!

      I don’t understand it. Mahahaha!

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