Thanks ABC and Sam Neill and the producers of his Anzac special last night (from 8.30). It was a true Anzac report, encompassing his Kiwi heritage and his Australian life. It was the best piece so far in the orgy of stories and lashings of jingoistic nationalism about the heroic digger/Anzac Day moulding of Australia (and New Zealand). It had a large dollop of sense and compassion. Personal and revealing in a way little else so far has been (with the honourable exception in places for Nine’s mini series on Gallipoli), Neill not only brought us the essential stupidity of Gallipoli, but the personal cost that still echoes down the years, (including the stupid move in 1938 by returned servicemen in Melbourne to try and ban women from Anzac Day remembrance services in the city).

I have always thought that the Alan Seymour play, The One Day in The Year was the best judgement on Anzac Day and war (my father served in WW2 in the RAAF). But this story by Sam Neill and others is in that class. It nicely exposed the phoney nationalism of generations of politicians and former military officers and their shills in the media – the latest being our Prime Minister. (Why is there so much difference between what Keith Murdoch wrote and did at Gallipoli and what his son’s newspapers now write and spruik? on the subject). Much of the focus in the stories and analysis of Gallipoli has been on the sacrifice by the diggers: they were sacrificed by the leaders of the day, sometimes nobly, sometimes for grubby personal or political reasons. And how many people in Australia or NZ could tell you that the British lost three times as many men on Gallipoli than Australia and NZ?.  But there is also little understanding in the all the celebrating and phoney solemnity of the sacrifices endured down the decades by the families of those who died, were wounded or damaged by fighting for Australia and NZ. Lip service at best — not last night.

Sometimes that is the greatest damage of all — the pain through the generations, as Sam Neill so emotionally showed last night when he saw his grandfather’s grave. And to think the Abbott government is fiddling with the pensions of those who served or receive pensions for those who died! Abbott is not alone, other leaders have been just as rotten handling Anzac Day in a non-political way, free of jingoism and nationalism. He is just the latest in the exploiters.  This is the sort of story the Seven Network (which is the most serious about Anzac and WW1 among the commercial networks) should have taken on. It would have sat very well in the Seven schedule (as it did in the ABC’s last night).

Why Anzac with Sam Neill had 854,000 national viewers, with 589,000 of those in metro markets and 265,000n in the regions. It deserved many more, as a lot of the Anzac stories have, but Australians are mostly unconnected — they will on Saturday. But unlike so many in the media and political classes, ordinary Australians seem to have the balance right when it comes to Anzac.

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (30.7%)
  2. Nine (28.3%)
  3. Ten (18.2%)
  4. ABC (16.9%)
  5. SBS (5.9%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (24.7%)
  2. Nine (21.0%)
  3. Ten (12.9%)
  4. ABC (12.5%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.6%)

Top digital channels: 

  1. Gem (4.1%)
  2. 7TWO (3.8%)
  3. GO, Eleven (3.2%)
  4. ABC2 (2.6%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. My Kitchen Rules (Seven) – 2.111 million
  2. Nine News — 1.811 million
  3. The Block (Nine) — 1.500 million
  4. Seven News — 1.433 million
  5. ABC News — 1.403 million
  6. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.333 million
  7. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.297 million
  8. Nine News 6.30 — 1.139 million
  9. 7.30 (ABC) — 1.065 million
  10. Seven News/ Today Tonight — 1.010 million

Top metro programs:

  1. My Kitchen Rules (Seven) – 1.457 million
  2. Nine News — 1.267 million
  3. Nine News 6.30 — 1.139 million
  4. Seven News — 1.102 million
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.100 million
  6. The Block (Nine) — 1.039 million
  7. Seven News/ Today Tonight — 1.010 million

Losers: Anyone who missed Why Anzac with Sam Neill on ABC from 8.30pm — a classic.Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Nine News — 1.267 million
  2. Nine News 6.30 — 1.139 million
  3. Seven News — 1.102 million
  4. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.100 million
  5. Seven News — 1.010 million
  6. ABC  News — 958,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 753,000
  8. Ten Eyewitness News — 663,000
  9. Foreign Correspondent (ABC) — 543,000
  10. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 529,000

Morning TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 328,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 327,000
  3. The Morning Show (Seven) — 147,000
  4. Mornings (Nine) — 145,000
  5. News Breakfast (ABC 103,000 + 37,000 on News 24) — 140,000
  6. Studio 1o (Ten) — 70,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox 8  (4.1%)
  2. TVHITS , lifeStyle (1.8%)
  3. UKTV (1.7%)
  4. Sky News (1.5%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. Wentworth (Arena) – 98,000
  2. The Simpsons (Fox) – 90,000
  3. The Simpsons (Fox) – 88,000
  4. The Simpsons (Fox) – 84,000
  5. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy) – 8,2000

*Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2015. The data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of OzTAM. (All shares on the basis of combined overnight 6pm to midnight all people.) and network reports.

Peter Fray

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