Australian slow TV is awesome, here's some more to satisfy your intrigue

Australian slow TV is awesome, here's some more to satisfy your intrigue
Australian slow TV is awesome, here's some more to satisfy your intrigue

It was one of SBS's most highly rated programmes.  If you missed it, you missed a pretty schmick production with an Australian broadcaster's first foray into the 'slow TV' genre when SBS broadcast The Ghan: Australia's greatest train journey in primetime without ads on Sunday night.

But what you might know is that there are many slow tv-like productions available on free sources like YouTube and video on demand services like Netflix.

Norway is credited with kicking the genre off when the national broadcaster created its Bergen to Oslo production in 2009. It's a 7 hour unedited driver's eye view from a train running from Bergen on Norway's south-western fjord-saturated coast to the capital Oslo - if you have a Netflix account, you can view it here.

The Bergen-Oslo broadcast was raw - it's as if the camera was switched on in Bergen, recorded all the way through fjords, the highlands and then was switched off once it reached Oslo's Central Station.  This is the type of unedited slow TV that's all over the web.

SBS's 3-hour The Ghan production broadcast last Sunday has a lot more post-production involved - it's heavily edited (a real-time 54 hour journey condensed down to 3 hours) and provided a lot of on-screen factoids throughout the 3-hours. The ratings success has pushed SBS to now broadcast a 17 hour version on SBS Viceland starting in the early hours of this coming Sunday.

The best example of raw slow TV for Melbourne can be found on Schony747's YouTube channel where some of Melbourne's tram routes are covered in real time.  

If route 96 doesn't tickle your fancy (above), you might like to try Route 24 shot in 2013, the 109 shot in 2014, route 12 shot in 2017 or 11a shot in 2016.

(Ever wondered why your tram commute might be a little on the slow side?  Chances are you probably already know: many frequent stops, but in all the videos above, they illustrate the paltry situation we find ourselves in by continuing to follow a poxy quasi-egalitarian policy of shared space on the road. Always remember the carrying capacity of a tram running on 4-5 minute frequencies is likely to be able to carry the same amount of people you see NOT riding in the 5 seats of each of the cars visible in the videos).

For cameras at the front of trains, Australia's best content comes from the Sydney Train Cab Videos channel.

Every inch of Sydney's entire rail network is covered both in unedited 'slow TV' fashion but also dramatically shortened timelapse / soundtrack version as well.

The video above is both a slow TV-like production but also a really good introduction to Sydney's train network with the journey starting out in Penrith and running, for the most part, express right into the heart of the city.  It's also a really good illustration of how Sydney's rail network is built for multiple tiers of service from its outer 'burbs - quadruple track from a very long way out in outer suburbs which enables faster express and more frequent stopping all station services to run side-by-side.

(To all those Melburnians who tell the political focus groups that you like your cars & new freeways, you're the reason we can't have nice rail things like they do north of the Murray - we too could have a few routes with two tiers of service to make journeys from the outer areas faster whilst boosting frequencies on stopping all services in the denser areas of inner Melbourne.  However thanks to you, that focus group feedback is sending us on a $20+ billion journey backwards to the 1960s freeway plan.)

Slow TV at high speed - or more to the point, slow TV on a high-speed train, also exists on Youtube.  One of the best examples is the Amsterdam-Brussels journey on Thalys trains which dart through the lowlands of Europe at speeds upwards of 300kph.

You can also chill out and watch the driver's eye view of a TGV running at 300 clicks from Paris down to the Med.  How about slow TV at high speed in Taiwan? Come get some.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.


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