Television drama has been the dominant form of popular storytelling for more than sixty years, shaping the imaginations of millions of people. This book surveys the careers of the central creators of those stories for Australian television—the writers who learnt how to work in a new medium, adapting to its constraints and exploring its creative possibilities. Informed by interviews with many writers, it describes the establishment of Australian television drama production, observing the way writers grasped the creative and business opportunities that television presented. It examines the development of Australian versions of the major television genres—the sitcom, the police drama, the historical series, docudrama, and social drama— presenting a ‘canon’ of significant Australian television drama productions that deserve to be remembered. It offers an account of the emergence of work by Indigenous writers for television and it argues for the consideration of television drama alongside histories of Australian film and stage drama.
‘For years, Susan Lever has been talking to Australia’s best television writers about their work, their craft and their industry. Now it’s all here in this book; a toast to a vital part of Australian culture.’ – Geoffrey Atherden
‘This is a wonderful book. Meticulously researched and engagingly written, it tells in fascinating detail, from the writers’ points of view, the story of Australian scripted television from its beginnings in the 1950’s, to the present. Better yet, Susan Lever has allowed the writers themselves to speak about the work, about their visions and processes, their joys and frustrations. I am delighted to see television drama, docudrama and comedy acknowledged so generously for their role in Australian culture.’ – Sue Smith
‘Brilliantly researched, lucid, comprehensive … the big picture on writers for the small screen in Australia.’ – Ian David