SBS turns 30

Susie Porter and Don Hany in the acclaimed SBS drama East West 101." link="/east-west-101/show/75026/summary.html" target="_blank" loc="right">

SBS TV celebrates 30 years of broadcasting by looking back on three decades of multicultural television.

Multicultural broadcaster SBS turns 30 this Sunday.

On October 24, 1980 Bruce Gyngell welcomed Australians to Channel 0-28 and a world of new TV, as envisioned by the Fraser Government.

The first program shown was a documentary entitled Who are we?, which was hosted by veteran journalist Peter Luck. With its mix of international dramas, news from abroad, foreign language films and sport it really did "bring the world back home" as it promised to do.

Significantly, it introduced mainstream Australians to a world of content on our screens that had been dominated by US and UK programs. Known affectionately as "sex before soccer", it built up a host of shows including Iron Chef, South Park, The Movie Show, Queer as Folk, Eat Carpet, Pizza, Global Village, Top Gear, Eurovision Song Contest, Inspector Rex, Dateline, Insight, Mythbusters, RocKwiz and numerous food titles.

But there have been challenges with the loss of David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz, the Top Gear brand and soon George Negus.

Juggling advertising remains an issue as a public broadcaster, but without increases in government funding SBS maintains it must retain sponsorship in order to upkeep its output.

Questions about the amount of foreign-language content continue. Almost all of its prime time slate is now in English.

But there is still a lot of love for its dedication to international news, soccer, documentaries and key dramas including the acclaimed East West 101 (a third series will air in 2010).

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, a special Dateline retrospective will kick off a month of programming that will look back on its contribution.

For a week from October 24, World News Australia will feature snippets of old news bulletins at the end of every broadcast.

On Tuesday, November 2, Insight will examine why anti-Islamic sentiment is on the rise across Europe and the United States and what is really at the core of this backlash.

SBS TWO will also revisit Australian documentaries throughout November, including Taxi to the Dark Side, Who Do You Think You Are, The Diplomat, Black Chicks Talking, as well as foreign features Ran, Wings of Desire, Fitzcarraldo, Delicatessen, Cyrano de Bergarac, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Downfall.

Finally, there will be a tribute online to the extraordinary career of Les "Mr Football" Murray who is celebrating 30 years at the helm of SBS's football coverage.

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