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Anzac on TV


The centenary of the landing of Australian soldiers on a remote Turkish peninsula on 25 April 1915 was a perfect storm of nationalist pride and commercial opportunity. Australians were invited to indulge our patriotism and produce our credit cards, often simultaneously. We could cruise to Gallipoli in remembrance of the Anzacs, with Bert Newton and Daryl Braithwaite head-lining the on-board entertainment, or sleep under ‘the same stars that the Anzacs slept under one hundred years ago’ at Camp Gallipoli.1 We could ‘raise a glass’ of Victoria Bitter beer in tribute to the Anzacs, with the sanction of the Commonwealth government and the RSL.2 Women were invited to adorn their kitchens with Flanders poppy oven mitts and themselves with poppy earrings and aprons. The World War One Commemorative Cook Book offered ‘a culinary journey through the period when the ANZAC legend was born’, with ‘tantalising’ dishes such as Roo Tail Stew, Turkish Delight and Harissa Spiced Backstrap Salad.3 Blokes could wear poppy cuff links, Rising Sun signet rings and T-shirts proclaiming ‘Lest We Forget’ and ‘I ♥ ANZAC’.4 They could collect bits of well-pedigreed pine tree whittled into coasters, lapel pins and letter openers.5 Parents could tuck their kids into bed with cuddly toys called Anzac Ted, Nurse Florence, Murphy the Donkey and Sarbi the Explosives Detection Dog.

Our television screens were not immune from the Anzac rush. The one hundredth anniversary of the beach landing that spawned the nation’s favourite legend had all the makings of a ‘broadcasting bonanza’.6 Yet, despite the high hopes of broadcasters and advertisers, Anzac-themed television shows failed conspicuously to excite the public imagination in 2015. Ratings for expensive dramas and documentaries were poor, as viewers preferred cheaply produced reality television shows. Journalists and academics began to speculate that Australians were suffering from ‘Gallipoli fatigue’ – a reaction against the ubiquity of the Anzac story in popular culture. This chapter traces the fortunes of Anzac television during 2015, with a particular focus on Channel Nine’s seven part series Gallipoli. It argues that Australians are not so much fatigued by Gallipoli as discerning about the forms in which they consume it. The failure of Anzac television in 2015 demonstrates the disjunction between mythology and history; the popularity of the Anzac legend is not underwritten by an abiding popular interest in the story behind it.

Television executives had ample justification for scheduling a bumper year of Anzac programming. There was no doubting the public appetite for Anzac; since the 1990s crowds at dawn services and marches, both in Australia and overseas, had continued to swell. Forty-two thousand people applied for the ballot to allocate just 3860 double tickets for the Gallipoli dawn service in 2015.7 Anzac was popular with young Australians and women: the typical attendee at the Gallipoli dawn service was a woman in her late twenties.8 This statistic would have pleased commercial television executives keen to attract the 16–39 year old demographic coveted by their advertisers. There were other financial incentives. About $4 million of the approximately $530 million that is being spent on Great War commemoration by Australian governments was directed to television and other arts productions.9 In addition to the $4 million of Anzac centenary funding, Screen Australia would contribute almost $7 million to television dramas and documentaries with Anzac themes.10

The ABC was the most prolific producer of Anzac television. It kicked off the ‘bonanza’ in August 2014 with a six-part series called Anzac Girls, which told the stories of five Australian nurses of the Great War.11 The War that Changed Us also debuted in August 2014; a sophisticated documentary-drama that examined the Australian experience of war through the eyes of several protagonists. The ABC aired three documentaries in April 2015. Lest We Forget What?, directed by Rachel Landers and presented by young Sydney journalist Kate Aubusson, trained a spotlight on the unthinking acceptance of the Anzac legend by young Australians. Sam Neill’s Why Anzac? was an equally intelligent exploration of Anzac mythology drawing on the actor’s own family history. And Australia’s Great Warhorse shifted the focus from Anzac mythology to the 130,000 horses who served with Australian troops in the Middle East.

Channel Seven, which is owned by the chairman of the Australian War Memorial council Kerry Stokes, was home to the most chest-beating of the Anzac productions. Its two-part series about Australians who won the Victoria Cross at Gallipoli was hosted by Ben Roberts-Smith, who himself won a Victoria Cross in 2012 for rushing an enemy machine gun post in Afghanistan. Gallipoli: The Power of Ten featured intricate re-enactments of the events that earned men such as Albert Jacka, John Hamilton and Alfred Shout their decorations. Like Stokes, Roberts-Smith is an Anzac enthusiast who counts the men in the series as heroes and the Turkish territory in which they fought as ‘our nation’s Sacred Ground’.12

Channel Ten was the least enthusiastic of the free-to-air channels, opting for a low-budget series of ‘mini-documentaries’ called The First Anzacs, in which well-known actors read the letters and diaries of prominent figures from the Great War.13 Foxtel, on the other hand, made a major investment in a four-hour long drama called Deadline Gallipoli. The series found an original angle on a well-known story, examining the experience of four journalists who covered the campaign; Englishman Ellis Ashmead Bartlett and Australians Charles Bean, Phillip Schuler and Keith Murdoch. Sam Worthington, who played Schuler, brought star power to a stellar production, whose themes of war reportage, truth-telling and propaganda remained as pertinent in 2015 as they were one hundred years earlier.

Of the commercial television stations, Channel Nine made the biggest financial investment in the Anzac centenary. The network’s Sunday night flagship show 60 Minutes told the ‘Lost Stories of Anzac’. The formula was well-worn; personal stories and hitherto ‘hidden’ sources caked in layers of hyperbole and manipulated emotion – “For one hundred years these stories have been kept secret, until now … [meet] the Aussie families who will be changed forever by the secrets of Anzac”, shouted the promotion. Nine also boasted the undoubted star of Anzac-themed television in 2015. Gallipoli was a $15 million, eight-hour long series produced by Endemol, three years in the making.14 With a cast of 150 actors and 700 extras, it was filmed over sixty-nine days in Werribee, Point Cook and Bacchus Marsh, west of Melbourne and at Mount Eliza, south east of Melbourne.

Gallipoli tells the story of the campaign from the perspective of Tolly Johnson, played by 17-year-old, Adelaide-born actor Kodi Smit-McPhee. At 17, Tolly is too young to enlist, but lies about his age so he can join his older brother Bevan in the great adventure. Both are among the first wave of troops to land at Gallipoli. The script by Christopher Lee was particularly influenced by Les Carlyon’s book Gallipoli, which has sold well over 100,000 copies since it was first published in 2001.15 After reading widely about the campaign – ‘25 books in toto’ – Lee considered Carlyon’s ‘the finest Australian work on the campaign as a whole’.16 Executive producer John Edwards shared Lee’s admiration for Carlyon’s Gallipoli: “because it’s a complete history of Gallipoli, but also an intensely poetic, personal and humane one. And it was the poetry of it that really attracted us”.17

Lee was born in 1947 and, like so many of his generation, joined in the radical activism of the 1960s. Yet, unlike many of his peers, he did not connect protest against the Vietnam War with hostility towards Anzac commemoration:

As a university student I attended many anti-war demonstrations. It was kind of what you did in those long-haired days. But my view (inasmuch as I took a political stance) was anti-the Vietnam adventure, not anti-war as such. My vague view of Gallipoli was from my middle-class Anglo upbringing (a great uncle was a stretcher-bearer on the peninsula) so, (like most of my demonstrating peers) I was never aware of being anti-Anzac as such. Anzac Day didn’t resonate with us. It was seen as the One Day of the Year when old soldiers got drunk and played two-up. But the Anzacs – particularly the men of Gallipoli – were somehow inviolate. It was probably, even then, the power of their myth that they were untouchable.18

Lee came to the task of writing the screenplay for Gallipoli with strong views about the horror of war, but “not knowing anything at all” about the Gallipoli campaign itself: “and then gradually, the more I learned about it the more I started disliking the politicians and the senior generals and finding fascination in the soldiers down in the trenches”.19 He “wrote the screenplay as an anti-war work, trying to show that the Gallipoli campaign in particular and war in general, is a messy, awful business. I tried to keep the ‘glory’ and the ‘sacrifice’ of ‘the fallen’ and such, well out of it”.20

Lee’s anti-war views were in keeping with those of his creative collaborators. The director of the series, Glendyn Ivin, shares Lee’s distaste for heroic representations of the Gallipoli campaign. Ivin’s brother has recalled that his family “have never been all that involved with Anzac Day … I know my brother and I don’t feel that identity and spirit that is said to have shaped the nation. Yet the horror of war, its stupid waste and emotional destruction is not something we take for nothing”.21

Lee’s script appealed to the show’s leading actor, Kodi Smit-McPhee, precisely because it was subversive: “The story itself is very truthful, it’s not so much chest pounding and patriotic, it’s more showing the real emotional side and taking the mask off the soldier and looking at them in the most tragic times when they’re terrified”.22 Born in 1996, Smit-McPhee was exposed first-hand to the cultural ubiquity of a resurgent Anzac legend that was particularly pervasive among the young: “We all know about Gallipoli and we celebrate the Anzacs but there’s a whole side to it that was what we were taught in school but it was kind of just left because it was so tragic and horrible”, he said.23

Harry Greenwood, who played Tolly Johnson’s (Smit-McPhee’s) older brother Bevan, also professed a hope that the series would encourage people to think more critically about the Anzac legend:

[R]ight from the beginning we wanted to create this very personal and human re-telling of the story of the ANZAC soldiers at Gallipoli as it’s important to remember that it was essentially a very sad, sad event. There was no glory and there is no celebration; for them it was tough and they had to face it unflinchingly. To tell the story, 100 years on, and try and remember the horrors of war is hopefully a lesson to people and for those to remember that war is never a good thing and something we hope we never have to return to.24

The creative team succeeded in their endeavour to create an “antiwar work”. Gallipoli is imbued with a quiet sense of tragedy. Smit-McPhee plays the principal character Tolly as a sensitive and taciturn boy, far from the larrikin digger of national folklore. Tolly’s youth is a metaphor for the young Australian nation: “Australia is a boy in a man’s body thrown into circumstances beyond its control”.25 Tolly’s sensitivity and intelligence allow him to act as a “camera … showing the audience the horrors of war”.26 And Gallipoli does not spare its viewers the horrors. Battles in which men die sudden and horrible deaths are realistically staged. Bloated, blackened corpses litter no-man’s land. Exploding mortars splatter body parts. Some soldiers are eager to “get stuck in” to the Turks; others are troubled by the killing. All are burdened by flies, lice, poor diet, disease, heat and boredom. They are buoyed by letters and parcels from home and the companionship of their friends. Lee consistently veers away from caricature. The soldiers are neither heroes nor shivering wrecks, but ordinary men coping in extraordinary circumstances. The British commander, General Ian Hamilton, is not a conceited fool, but a decent man unable to rise to the challenge before him.

Channel Nine promoted Gallipoli in its typical bombastic and repetitive style in the weeks before its debut in early February. Nine’s chief executive officer David Gyngell had reason to be optimistic: “Research panels across the country said Gallipoli was going to be the biggest show on television”.27 More than one million people tuned in for the first episode on 9 February, though perhaps the writing was on the wall when the show was beaten by Channel Seven’s reality cooking show and ratings behemoth, My Kitchen Rules. That audience had dropped by nearly half the following week, when Gallipoli suffered the indignity of being beaten by Channel Ten’s reality show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, and rated nineteenth in the top twenty shows for the week.28 In its third week, the show shed a further 53,000 viewers, capturing an audience of 527,000 and finishing outside the top twenty programs for the week.29 When the audience continued to fall away, Nine ‘burned-off’ the series, running double episodes.

The failure of Gallipoli to fulfil expectations shocked the television industry and became a story in itself. A journalist at The Australian thought the performance of the miniseries bore an “uncanny resemblance to the military campaign it graphically depicted. Great expectations were quickly followed by devastating setbacks and ultimately retreat”, in the form of the “burn-off”.30 David Gyngell called it “my biggest disappointment of the year”.31 Commercial channels second guessed their Anzac Day broadcasting plans amid fears they might have over-estimated public interest. Reports claimed that Seven and Nine reneged on plans to send their morning televisions stars Sam Armytage and Karl Stefanovic to Gallipoli.32

Various reasons were advanced for Gallipoli’s poor showing, both by journalists and viewers who contributed comments to online sites.33 Journalist Craig Mathieson thought the failure was depressing evidence of Australia’s enduring cultural cringe: “One of Gallipoli’s story strands is how the Australian military was a misused tool of wasteful British generals, and while we bowed down to the British a century ago our empire of choice now is American. Gallipoli’s falling ratings tells us that Australia’s sense of cultural inferiority is as strong as ever”.34 Some claimed the starting time of 9pm was too late, especially given the first episode went for two hours. Scores of readers of Sydney’s tabloid Daily Telegraph decried the barrage of advertisements:

I gave up … too many ads.

I gave it a go but after 10–15 mins I was so sick of the ads.

Love the show with great acting and cinematography BUT as always they totally and utterly killed the whole series with [their] ads and [their] thirst for cash in with the series. It was that bad [that] what I ended up watching was Channel 9 advertisements with brief moments of Gallipoli.35

Jaded viewers flagged their intention to purchase the DVD of the series in order to avoid the barrage of advertising. The experience of Albert, who described himself as an “unimpressed Gallipoli watcher” was evidence of the challenge faced by free-to-air commercial channels:

right at the time you are beginning to get into the storyline … someone comes into your room and switches off your TV and brings in dancing bears and a few snake oil salesmen to entice you to do or buy a host of things that were NOT on your mind seconds before. They all leave after 5 minutes and your TV comes back on. Repeat this every 5 mins and you will soon be cranky …36

The majority of comments on media sites were posted by men and their principal criticism was the volume of advertising. An article about the Gallipoli series on the Mamamia website, which has a large readership of women aged 25–49, suggested that women responded to the show differently from men. There were fewer complaints about advertising and more reflections on the themes of the show. LG64 was “sick of the jingoism and nationalism being shoved down my throat at the moment, I’m Team Australia’d out”. Several women found the themes “too sad, too violent. We get enough of that these days …” Laura Palmer could not “sit there, week after week, crying through a TV show. It looks fantastic, but I can’t do it to myself, not after all the things I have seen already and read about WWI. It’s too horrific”. Susan felt like “I’ve reached my tragedy quota. I can’t bring myself to watch, I just don’t have it in me”. Chriswalk was among the majority of Australian viewers who preferred the more frivolous offerings of rival channels: “light drama and escapism, that’s about all I can handle at the moment”.37

Musing on the failure of Gallipoli to capture a large audience, a number of commentators concluded that Australians had reached “Gallipoli fatigue”. Historian Clare Wright detected “a sense of ennui, almost a kind of nausea in a way where everybody is just over it. I don’t think it’s that there is a sense that they want to show disrespect towards the soldiers or the memory of the Anzacs but the way that that is being exploited presently”.38 Another historian, Jo Hawkins, argued that the official patronage of Anzac by governments over the past thirty years, through the provision of materials for school curricula and funding for museums, was turning people away: “I think people are at saturation point with the basic story”.39 Journalism academic Jason Sternberg claimed that “some people are fatigued by the story and that is compounded when they are presented with another TV show about roughly the same thing, Australia’s national identity”.40 Comments on social media confirmed a sense of overkill. “We are quite simply Gallipolied out”, declared lady_t.41 Sam agreed: “From primary school onwards we are saturated with the Gallipoli story. It’s a shame, but it’s no wonder we are fatigued”.42 Albert thought that another re-telling of the Gallipoli story was “like trotting out Bob Hawke to talk current politics”.43

The signs of saturation were compounded by the failure of other Anzac-themed shows. Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes Anzac special dragged the network’s flagship show from its usual place in Sunday night’s top twenty programs. The involvement of Sam Worthington in Foxtel’s Deadline Gallipoli failed to attract viewers. Despite the fact that Deadline Gallipoli offered an original perspective on the campaign – something viewers claimed to want – it attracted just 76,000 viewers on its debut on Sunday 19 April, which placed it outside the top twenty programs on pay television. Quality did not inoculate against failure; the sequel on the following night was watched by just 46,000 people.44 More congratulatory formulations of Anzac fared no better. Ben Roberts-Smith’s valorisation of Victoria Cross winners saw ratings for Seven’s Sunday Night magazine, which routinely attracts around 850,000 viewers and occasionally breaks the one million barrier, dip substantially. The first episode, which aired on 12 April, drew 785,000 viewers, while the second episode a week later registered an audience of just 674,000.45

James Brown, a former soldier who has been highly critical of what he calls Australians’ “obsession” with Anzac commemoration, expressed concern that public disinterest in Anzac television would be reflected in low attendances at Anzac Day services.46 The concern was misplaced. Massive, record-breaking crowds attended Anzac Day dawn services around Australia. Attendance at the Australian War Memorial service greatly exceeded expectations, when an estimated 120,000 people turned out. Despite the rain in Melbourne and murmurings of a terrorist threat, there were more than 80,000 people.

The diagnosis of ‘Gallipoli fatigue’ did not match the symptoms. The public might have spurned Anzac-themed television, but its enthusiasm for the ritual enactment of dawn service commemoration had never been greater. Confounding observers even more was that the rejection of Anzac television was near universal. Audiences did not distinguish between sophisticated offerings such as Gallipoli and Deadline Gallipoli, Ben Roberts-Smith’s celebratory documentary-drama The Power of One, or cynical tabloid productions like Lost Stories of Anzac – they turned their backs on all of them. How can we explain this?

The Anzac legend functions in the Australian national psyche as a cluster of lightly scrutinised but extremely powerful ideas. Faith in Anzac is buttressed by the twin pillars of Anzac Day commemoration and Peter Weir’s 1981 film Gallipoli, and Australians feel little need to supplement their faith with knowledge. Many of those who commented on the failure of the 2015 Gallipoli series referred to the film of the same name. A contributor to Mamamia noted that: “While Gallipoli is an historically important event, it’s a story that’s been told before and told well. For most people the movie pretty much covers it”. Another commented that the “story has already been told so much better in Peter Weir’s seminal film”.47

It is remarkable that a film made thirty-five years ago retains such a hold on the Australian imagination. Weir’s Gallipoli appeared when the Anzac tradition was believed to be in terminal decline. The conservative values that underpinned Anzac – loyalty to Empire and the notion of the superior fighting ability of the Australian soldiers – jarred with the progressive values of younger Australians. Overt hostility towards the Anzac legend emerged in the late 1950s, but it was the increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam that hastened its fall from favour.48 The baby boomer generation came to believe that commemoration of war was indistinguishable from its glorification.49 The brilliance of Weir’s film was its capacity to recast Anzac in a form that appealed to sceptics.50 In deference to the contemporary distaste for violence and blood-thirstiness, Weir and fellow scriptwriter David Williamson excised the film of violence. In recognition of the anti-British tone of Australian nationalism in the late 1970s and early 1980s, they turned up the volume on British incompetence. Such was the power of the film that Gallipoli transformed a tired tradition about war and empire into a potent myth of sacrifice and nationhood. The film did not seek to glorify war, but by enveloping the experience of the Anzacs in an aura of beautiful tragedy, inadvertently, it did.

The film Gallipoli was followed in 1985 by a five-part television series called Anzacs, which traced the experience of a platoon within Victoria’s 8th battalion from Gallipoli to the Western Front. The show’s writer and director John Dixon had been trying to secure funding for his project since 1968 but was stonewalled by the unpopularity of the Anzac legend.51 It was the stunning success of the film Gallipoli that loosened the purse strings of investors. Dixon and producer Geoff Burrowes were unabashed in their admiration for the Anzacs. In an introduction to the series, Burrowes told viewers that: “The story of the original Anzacs draws from the deepest well spring of the Australian national character. No story is more central to Australian national experience”.52 While the show was faithful to military events, it tended towards simplified characterisation. In an attempt to find a wide audience, Dixon resorted to an implausible love story between the show’s leading man and an Australian nurse. He succeeded: Anzacs screened in 1985 to large audiences. A re-showing in 1987 also drew good ratings.53

Both Weir’s film and Dixon’s television series appeared at a time when Australians were receptive to a reconditioned Anzac legend. In retrospect we can see that Anzac was in the earliest stages of a monumental transition in the early 1980s and that Weir, in particular, masterfully seized the opportunity to remake the Anzac mythology. The version of Anzac pioneered by Weir allows Australians to mark their respect for ‘the fallen’ and to empathise with the suffering of the beautiful young men embodied by Mark Lee and Mel Gibson in Gallipoli. This version has congealed in the Australian imagination like fat over a lamb casserole, leaving Anzac impervious to criticism or suggestion. It is the form that is taught to Australians in school, preached by politicians and peddled by generously-funded institutions such as the Australian War Memorial. Tragedy, suffering and sacrifice are the keywords of contemporary Anzac commemoration.

Harry Greenwood, who played the character of Bevan Johnson in Gallipoli, is a pacifist who found grist for his belief in the series. By depicting Gallipoli in its brutality and horror, Greenwood hoped to inure Australians against the tendency to “mythologise and perhaps go away from the truth of what happened”.54 Such a hope seems poignant in retrospect. Yet, the failing of the 2015 Gallipoli series was not that it represented war in a truthful light. As with the rest of the Anzac programs of 2015, Gallipoli’s failure was its assumption that the popularity of the myth was indicative of a deeper interest. Like the religious worship to which it bears so many similarities, Anzac thrives on symbol and emotion, not close examination of ‘what actually happened’. At the end of 2015, as at the beginning, Anzac rested comfortably at the apex of the national mythology. Its temple was sprawled across a distant Turkish beach-head and its scriptures sealed within the frames of a film called Gallipoli.


1Gallipoli Cruise 2015,, accessed 20 November 2015. Camp Gallipoli,, accessed 20 November 2015.

2Raise a Glass Appeal,, accessed 20 November 2015. Commonwealth legislation governs the use of the word ‘Anzac’. Carlton and United Breweries is permitted to use the word ‘Anzac’ in its advertising by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the RSL because it donates $1 million each year to the RSL and Legacy.

3David Hopgood, World War One Commemorative Cook Book: A Culinary Journey Through Our Military History, Big Sky Publishing, Sydney, 2014,, accessed 20 November 2015.

4Signet Ring at Webstore,,pgr,George-Crown-Rising-Sun-1915-2015-Commemorative-Ring,name,51554367,auction_id,auction_details, accessed 20 November 2015. A selection of T-shirts can be found at Zazzle,, accessed 20 November 2015.

5Australian War Memorial online shop,, accessed 20 November 2015.

6Andrew Hornery, ‘Stars Pulled as Networks Get Cold Feet on Gallipoli’, 17 April 2015,, accessed 13 November 2015.

7Lisa Cox, ‘Ballot for Passes to Anzac Centenary Commemorations at Gallipoli Now Complete’, 16 April 2015,, accessed 21 November 2015.

8For statistic, Cox, ibid.

9For the latest figures on how much Australia spending on Great War commemoration compared to other nations, see Honest History,, accessed 27 November 2015.

10Justin Burke, ‘Patriotic Drama: Arts Undaunted by Anzac Fatigue’, Australian, 18 April 2015,, accessed 4 November 2015.

11Hornery, op cit.

12Ben Roberts-Smith, ‘The Power of One: Watch Part One’, 20 April 2015,, accessed 25 November 2015.

13The First Anzacs, Channel Ten,, accessed 9 November 2015.

14Emma Reynolds, ‘The Story That Made Liz Hayes Cry: Teenager Lured to His Death in Gallipoli’, 2 March 2015,, accessed 25 November 2015. ‘Australia’s Biggest Stars on Frontline as TV Networks to Fight with Competing Gallipoli Dramas’,, 25 April 2014,, accessed 11 November 2015.

15Les Carlyon, Gallipoli, Macmillan, Sydney, 2001. For book sales, Pan Macmillan Australia,, accessed 16 November 2015.

16Author email correspondence with Christopher Lee, 20 November 2015.

17John Edwards quoted in Karl Quinn, ‘Cameras Roll on Gallipoli as War Stories Hit the Trenches’, Sydney Morning Herald,, accessed 17 November 2015.

18Author email correspondence with Christopher Lee.

19Interview with Christopher Lee, ‘Arts on the AU’,, accessed 9 November 2015.

20Author email correspondence with Christopher Lee.

21Leigh Ivin, ‘Gallipoli: A Defining Moment of TV Drama’, 10 February 2015,, accessed 17 November 2015.

22Andrew Fenton, ‘Nine’s Gallipoli TV Series Filmed its Ceasefire Scene with Real-life Gunfire in the Background’,,, accessed 18 November 2015.

23Peter Wilmoth, ‘Kodi’s War: Gallipoli’, Weekly Review, 29 January 2015,, accessed on 16 November 2015.

24‘Harry Greenwood, Gallipoli DVD Interview’,, n.d.,, accessed 13 November 2015.

25Andrew Fenton, ‘Nine’s Gallipoli TV Series Filmed its Ceasefire Scene with Real-life Gunfire in the Background’,,, accessed 18 November 2015.

26Author email correspondence with Christopher Lee.

27Annette Sharp, ‘Gallipoli a Big Defeat for Channel Nine with David Gyngell calling it “Disappointment of the Year”’, 27 February 2015, Daily Telegraph,,accessed 6 November 2015.

28Craig Mathieson, ‘Gallipoli’s Ratings Fail Highlights Australia’s Inferiority Complex’,, accessed 2 November 2015.

29Sharp, op cit.

30Justin Burke, op cit.

31Sharp, op cit.

32Hornery, op cit.

33For an excellent summary of social media commentary, see Jo Hawkins,, accessed 19 November 2015.

34Mathieson, op cit.

35All quotes from Sharp, op cit.


37‘This Show Has Been Called a “Must-Watch” for all Australians. So Why Aren’t We Watching?’, Mamamia, 19 February 2015,, accessed 13 November 2015.

38Clare Wright quoted in Alice Matthews and Nick Grimm, ‘“Gallipoli Fatigue” Causes Poor Ratings for World War I TV Shows as War Weary Australians Switch Off’, The World Today, ABC Radio, 24 Apri1 2015,, accessed 30 October 2015.

39Jo Hawkins quoted in Burke, op cit.

40Jason Sternberg quoted in Australian Associated Press, ‘Viewers “Fatigue” of Gallipoli Retellings’, Daily Mail, 3 March 2015,, accessed 13 October 2015.

41‘This Show Has Been Called a “Must-Watch”’, Mamamia.


43Sharp, op cit.

44‘Gallipoli Fatigue?’, Crikey, 21 April 2015,, accessed 7 November 2015.

45For ratings figures, see TV Tonight,, accessed 13 November 2015.

46James Brown, Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession, Black Inc., Melbourne, 2014. Views about Gallipoli fatigue quoted in Burke, op cit.

47‘This Show Has Been Called a “Must-Watch”’, Mamamia.

48Carolyn Holbrook, Anzac: The Unauthorised Biography, New South, Sydney, 2014, pp.117–20.

49Carolyn Holbrook, ‘Protest or Propaganda? Psychology and Australian Memory of the Great War’, Phillip Deery and Julie Kimber, eds, Fighting Against War: Peace Activism in the Twentieth Century, Leftbank Press, Melbourne, 2015, pp.291–312.

50For more detail about the effect of the film Gallipoli, see Holbrook, Anzac: The Unauthorised Biography, pp.137–42.

51Daniel Reynaud, Celluloid Anzacs: The Great War through Australian Cinema, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2007, p.205.

52Geoff Burrowes, Introduction to first episode of Anzacs, quoted in Marzena Sokolowska-Paryz, Reimagining the War Memorial, Reinterpreting the Great War: The Formats of British Commemorative Fiction, Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2012, p.194.

53Reynaud, op cit, p. 215.

54‘Greenwood, Gallipoli DVD Interview’.

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