Screen Australia has announced a research project into cultural diversity, disability and LGBTQI representation on Australian television which will determine just how homogeneous our small screen programming is.
Basically, our nation’s screen content overlords will scrutinise the main characters and actors in dramas from 2011-2015 (which is a curious time-frame) on all Aussie networks – free-to-air, subscription, and public broadcasters like us and the ABC.
But don’t fret, this project isn’t run by three over-caffeinated interns forced to watch every single minute of content to ever air on any channel over the 1460-day period under scrutiny. You’ll be happy to know that Screen Australia is working with the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Diversity Council Australia, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Screen Producers Australia, and both the directors' and writers' guilds.
A study like this has been a long time coming, given last year’s inquiry into gender imbalance and the fact that Aussie actors have been waiting for this for a while...
Miranda Tapsell, Firass Dirani, Jay Laga’aia and Remy Hii have all spoken out about whitebreading our screens, as exampled in the following trailer for Whiterlan... sorry, Wonderland.
So, what was Aussie TV like way back in 2011 to 2015? What could Screen Australia possibly dig up from that bygone era?
Let’s start with the Neighbours neighbours, circa 2011.
Nope, no luck there. What about its bestie 4eva, Home and Away?
That bloke on the far, far left might not be white. But he doesn't look like a cast member.
OK, forget shows that play into UK fantasies. Let's head over to that overcrowded Sydney house that’s rafters had been packed since 2008. Surely, over time, the Rafter family made extensions on their dwelling’s structure in order to make room for…
Um... well, James Stewart is half Chinese. That's something. Good for you, Packed to the Rafters.
Now what about Puberty Blues (2012-14)? Minorities existed in the '70s, right? Cinema was a multicultural ocean around that time, so…
I see... well, what about our other critically lauded programming?
Here’s a promo image for Spirited (2010-11):
And A Moody Christmas (2012):
And Tangle (2009-12):
Well, forget old-school broadcasting. Online subscription services are the future. They’re extremely forward-thinking when it comes to cross-cultural content creation...
Maybe No Activity refers to “no activity” for POC actors. Clever and topical. Not very helpful, though.
All right, but there was that 2014 Network Ten show Secrets & Lies that ended up all over Netflix in various countries. Maybe that show will...
Okay, getting desperate... but if anyone will save us, it’s Rake (2010-present). Richard Roxburgh has a way with all shades of man and woman.
All right, we're done Roxburgh. Thanks for nothing.
Well, what about his mate Jack Irish (2010-present)? Guy Pearce has been all over the world. Surely he’s brought the future back with him...
Not too bad, Guy. At least he tried.
Hmm… what’s a show that people love AND respect? That’s it, I’ve got it…
Offspring (2010-present)! If anyone’s gonna even the tally it’s too-talented goddess Asher Keddie.
Oh, Asher... not you too?
Well, it looks like Screen Australia has their work cut out for them. I wish them the best of luck in tackling the colossal monster of white dominance on both sides of the camera.